The Dos, Don’ts and Best Practices of Amazon FBA Packaging

Prepping your customers’ packages correctly is as important as listing and promoting your products on Amazon. Just because the audience has chosen you over your competitors doesn’t mean that they’ll do the same in future. In order to ensure customer loyalty and repeat customers, you need to pack your goods right as per Amazon FBA product packaging requirements.

The global e-commerce giant has specified many terms and conditions for its sellers, packaging requirements being one of them. If you don’t abide by all of Amazon’s packing and shipping rules, chances are that your packages will be refused, returned, or even repackaged. You may also be subject to a certain amount of noncompliance fees. Hence if you’re new to Amazon selling and wondering how to package products for Amazon FBA, it’s important to know the rules. Before we get down to further details, let’s take a quick look at what Amazon FBA means.

Amazon FBA – An Overview

FBA is the commonly used abbreviation for Fulfillment by Amazon. It is one of the three kinds of fulfillment schemes that sellers can choose when selling their products online, FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) and SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime)/FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) being the other two. FBA is the standard and most popular choice for sellers who are new to Amazon trading.

While the FBA program is paid, there are certain benefits to it. The subscription fee is worth the valuable services that Amazon handles on your behalf. With FBA, the company takes care of your order processing, collecting, packaging and shipping to your customers. They also handle customer service and returns for products (if any) sold on their platform. You’ll also be eligible for free delivery of your products through Amazon. 

Even though Amazon handles your product when shipping it to a customer, you’d still need to follow Amazon FBA packaging requirements when sending products to their warehouses.

Why does correct packaging matter?

Unlike many other online sellers, Amazon sellers cannot simply pack their products into any box and send it to their customers. There are certain packaging protocols that they need to follow when sending their products to the warehouse. While it may seem a little useless and exaggerated at first, the rules do make sense.

  • Poorly packaged items can suffer damage in transit.
  • Wrongly labeled products may get lost or confused for obvious reasons.
  • Unnecessary packaging materials are wasteful and detrimental to our surroundings.
  • Wrong or poor packaging could damage your brand reputation and trust.

As a new seller, you may get overwhelmed by the enormous Amazon FBA product packaging requirements, but it doesn’t need to be so. If you break down the rules into categories by different types of products and shipment, it may seem a lot easier. Below, here’s a detailed guide on how to package products for Amazon FBA so as to avoid any unnecessary delay, hassle or cancellation.

Amazon Packaging Requisites

Here are the dos and don’ts that you need to follow when preparing your product shipments for Amazon fulfillment centers. This way, your products will be readily approved, received and processed to be sent to your customers.

Disclaimer: Remember: Requirements can change at any time, so stay informed and check back in often.

Regular Packaging Requirements

  • Every individual product or product type (e.g. color or size) must have its unique FNSKU.
  • Each unit should feature an outer scannable label or barcode with corresponding human-readable numbers that can be readily accessed.
  • Any previous or wrong scannable barcode on the outside of shipping boxes must be removed or covered. Say, you can cover those barcodes using opaque tape or a black marker to make them unscannable. This prevents any accidental scanning of the incorrect barcode during the receiving process.
  • You have the choice to use either manufacturer barcodes (e.g. GCID, UPC, EAN, or ISBN) or Amazon barcodes (ASIN or FNSKU).
  • Amazon rejects product packaging that would require them to assemble multiple pieces (for instance, kids’ riding cars or perambulators where the handles, wheels, and other parts are separate, but sold as a single piece). Every product, no matter how many pieces it has, must be contained and shipped in a single, sturdy packaging.
  • Units without a secure, custom packaging must be secured with tape.
  • Loose units like socks, sleeves, pouches, or crayons must be secured with a removable tape or non-adhesive band.
  • Footwear, no matter its type, style, or material, must be packaged with no part exposed, either in poly bags or cardboard boxes. If you’re using poly bags, you must go by an additional set of rules.
  • Scannable barcodes must be removed or covered when reusing a previous retail box to ship different items.

Some additional rules

  • All cartons as well as individual boxes must be properly labeled. Cartons have a weight limit of up to 30kg. Any carton exceeding the weight limit of 15kgs must be tagged as a ‘heavyweight box’ and have its individual shipping ID. Make it a point to use this label on all the four sides of the carton, no matter its weight.
  • All cartons must be placed onto pallets, which also needs to be labeled. What’s more, the pallet should include a shipping label along with the seller’s name, the shipping address, and a proper return address.
  • You need to specify the number of cartons included in the pallet, as well as the number of pallets in the shipment. All these labels should be placed on the upper right-hand side of the pallet.
  • The pallets must be stretch covered in clear polythene with a “do not break stretch wrap” caution placed somewhere on the pallet. Product packaging with damaged pallets may not be received by Amazon.
  • Pallet should neither weigh more than 500kgs nor exceed a net height of 1.8 meters.
  • The standard measurement for your pallet should be 12000mm by 1000 mm.
  • There are two ways to ship your pallets – bulk shipment pallets and mixed merchandise pallets. While bulk shipments should contain only similar products, mixed pallets can contain variable items with a label of “mixed SKUs”.

Requirements for poly bags

If you’re using an Amazon FBA poly bag for packaging your products, you need to follow these rules:

  • Poly bags that have a 5-inch opening or even bigger (measured when flat) should feature a suffocation warning, either attached as a label or printed directly on the poly bag.
  • The poly bags must be transparent and have a thickness of at least 1.5mm.
  • The poly bag must be totally sealed.
  • It is mandatory to have a barcode, XOO-label or ASIN label on the poly bag, which is easily visible and scannable.
  • Amazon has strict specifications for choking warning label print size, depending on the length and width of the poly bag.
  • The poly bag or shrink wrap should not extend 3 inches beyond the dimension of the product.

For sellers who prefer more environmentally-friendly packaging options, there are plant-based and biodegradable poly bags.

Products with expiry

If you sell products with expiration dates like cosmetics, food or pharmaceuticals, make sure to follow these packaging requirements:

  • Products with expiry must have the expiration date on the master packaging (typically carton) in 36-point or bigger font as well as on the individual products.
  • The expiration date should go by the format MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY.
  • The expiration date must be readily accessible to the Amazon employees while receiving your products, even when they are subject to further packaging procedures (e.g. for delicate items like cookies, ketchup bottles and more).

Specialized products

There are specific packaging and preparation guidelines for certain products, besides the above requirements. These include:

  • Liquids products like beverages, lotions, sprays, edible oil and more.
  • Pellets, powders, and granular items
  • Glass, ceramic and other fragile or breakable products
  • Items with sharp edges like furniture, glass figurines etc.
  • Batteries
  • Baby products
  • Plush units
  • Jewelry
  • Plexiglass
  • Clothing, fabric, and textiles

Materials prohibited while packaging

All types of packing peanuts, such as

  • Foam strips
  • Crinkle wrap
  • Shredded paper
  • Styrofoam

NOTE: Amazon does not accept marketing materials like pamphlets, pre-priced labels, price tags, or any other non-Amazon labels.

Key takeaways,

Preparation is key when selling your products on Amazon and sending them to Amazon fulfillment centers for shipping. Knowing how to package products for Amazon FBA can help you avoid product damage during transit, negative customer reviews, shipment return from Amazon, and money or material wastage.

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