The Amazon platform has many rules and regulations for its sellers, the Amazon packaging requirements for merchandise being one of them.
There are three types of Amazon fulfilment:
- FBM(Fulfilled By Merchant)
- SFP(Seller Fulfilled Prime)/FBM(Fulfilled by Merchant)
- FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon)
There are various debates for FBA vs FBM, but no matter what fulfilment route you decide on for your business, you need to follow the Amazon packaging requirements and strict policies for sending product orders to customers. Both FBM and SFP require the seller themselves to process and send out orders to customers.
If you are a seller on Amazon, you do have the option to sign up and register for the Amazon FBA program. There is no fee to sign up, and it is ultimately more convenient than the other fulfilment options available.
What is Amazon FBA?
A seller that is registered in the FBA program needs to pay fees but enjoys many privileges. You get access to Amazon Prime customers, enjoy free shipping on your product, Amazon handles customer service plus returns for you and are even able to process orders from other platforms.
There are a number of Amazon FBA fees charged to FBA sellers, but they pay for the ultra-premium services Amazon handles on your behalf. For FBA sellers, Amazon takes care of order processing, picking, packing, packaging and shipping to your customers.
Granted that Amazon handles your product when it gets shipped to a customer, but they still want you to follow FBA packaging requirements when sending products to their warehouses.
Amazon Packaging Requirements
Follow these rules when preparing your product shipments for Amazon fulfilment centres. Doing so will ensure your products are readily received and stored in preparation for upcoming orders.
FBA packaging requirements checklist
- Use a rigid, six-sided box with flaps intact.
- Use a single address label that has clear, complete delivery and return information.
- Every box you include in the shipment must have its own FBA shipment label printed from your Shipping Queue.
- Each pallet requires four labels, one on the top centre of each side. Each box on the pallet also requires its own label. This helps you meet the Amazon FBA label requirements.
When shipping multiple case-packs in a master carton, apply the unique shipping label on the master carton you are using for shipping inventory to Amazon fulfilment centres.
- If you are reusing boxes, remove all old shipping labels or markings.
- Wrap all items separately.
- Use adequate packaging material and strong tape designed for shipping.
- Use two inches of cushioning between each of your items and the inside of the box.
- After you pack your box, shake it gently. The contents should not move when shaken.
- Using boxes with dimensions measuring at least 6″ x 4″ x 1″ and weighing at least 1 lb. (but no more than 25″ on any one side and under 50 lb. total) can reduce delays in receiving.
- Acceptable packing materials
- Polyethene foam sheeting
- Inflatable air pillows
- Bubble wrap
- Full sheets of paper
Never use these materials when packing:
- All types of packing peanuts, including
- Foam strips
- Crinkle wrap
- Shredded paper
Acceptable standard boxes
- Regular slotted carton (RSC)
- B flute
- ECT-32 (edge crush test)
- 200 lb./sq. inch (burst strength)
The above information is sourced directly from the Amazon seller central website for accuracy.
Packaging Individual products
- Packaging for individual products need to be labelled with a barcode.
- All items in the same package must have the same SKU. In case you are selling a product with several items in the set then each set must be packaged together.
- Make sure there are no other barcodes on the box other than your own.
- Use laserjet printers to ensure your barcode label will not fade.
- If your product is sharp, prone to damage or sensitive to external forces, then each item must be wrapped by protective packaging like bubble wrap.
- You can use regular cardboard boxes when packaging your products.
If you have your own Amazon FBA private label, then prepare your merchandise the same way you want your customers to receive them.
If you do not have a private label, then you need to adhere to these packing guidelines because most likely your products will be commingled.
Amazon FBA label requirements
In addition to packaging requirements, Amazon has labelling requirements hat your products need to meet. If your packages and products are not labelled correctly, you risk incurring the fees for Amazon to fix them for you once they arrive at their warehouses.
Labelling the Cartons
When you set up a shipment to Amazon FBA on your seller central account, the system will create labels for your shipment.
If it is a large shipment, then it will include labels for cartons and pallets. The heaviest cartons allowed are only 30kg.
Boxes that weigh between 15-30kg need to be labelled “heavy-weight” and must be seen from the top down and side view angles. Each carton needs to have one shipping ID, and if possible, pallets should contain similar products
Once the cartons are adequately labelled, they then need to be loaded onto a four-sided pallet. Pallets are crucial to transport products easily. Do not stack cartons in columns. For stability interlock cartons when stacking them on the pallet.
Every pallet needs to have a label with the seller’s name, To and From address and Po box if any. The pallet should also indicate the number of cartons and the number of pallets as well on the upper right side of the pallet.
- When sending in bulk shipments, all pallets must contain similar items.
- All pallets with mixed merchandise must be labelled “mixed SKUs” or “mixed merchandise.”
- Pallets must be the standard four-way access pallets of 1200 mm x 1000 mm.
- Pallets must be stretched wrapped in clear plastic. There has to be a “do not break stretch wrap” warning on the pallet.
- The total weight of the pallet must not be more than 500kgs.
- The pallet height must not be more than 1.8 meters with the pallet included.
- Merchandise must not hang over the edge of the pallet, give an allowance of 25mm
- Damaged pallets are not accepted and may be rejected at the seller’s expense.
If ever you do not follow the preparation requirements, safety requirements, and product restrictions when shipping to Amazon fulfilment centres then you run the risk of your products being rejected.
Not only that but the refusal of inventory or future shipments may result in additional fees being charged to you for non-compliance by the fulfilment centre.
If your supplier in China is shipping to Amazon directly then you need to ask them to follow the stringent packaging requirements when shipping to Amazon fulfilment centres. Send the supplier the details so they know what they need to do.
Summarising the requirements
Preparation is critical when shipping your products to Amazon fulfilment centres. Create a checklist and make sure you do not miss anything.
Start with the packaging of your product, make sure it will get to your customer safe and intact. Label the product packaging then label the box you will be shipping your products in. Follow all the guidelines when preparing packages, cartons and pallets so you won’t have problems.