Module 7 - Ship Your Product to Amazon

7.1 Gather All The Information Needed For Your Shipping Plan

The first step to getting your stock into an Amazon fulfillment center is to get all the details ready that you’ll be needing to raise the incoming inventory order on the Seller Central system.

Not sure about some of the prep work required for sending in your inventory? Don’t worry, watch Amazon’s FBA Packing, Prep, and Labeling Tutorials and you’ll have it all sorted out in no time.

To build an incoming inventory order and ship your first product units to Amazon from your Seller Central account, you need to tell Amazon the following:

  1. The Number of Units and Cases
  2. Who Does the Packing Preparation?
  3. Will You Use Amazon’s FBA Label Service?
  4. Who is Your Shipping Partner?
  5. What is The Weight and Size of Your Order?
  6. From Which Location Are You Shipping Your Products to Amazon?

In order to ensure your product quickly makes it to the shelves in the Amazon fulfillment facility, and on to the Amazon marketplace so that buyers can begin to give you money for your product, you need to make sure that your shipment is packaged and labeled properly so that it is “e­commerce ready.”

Receiving inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers can be as quick as 1­2 hours, or if there are delays it can blow out to a week. So, don’t let that happen.

Follow the labeling and packaging guidelines above and you’ll ensure a smooth receipt of your shipment by Amazon. If you don’t follow these, your product will be sent to “problem-solving” and there will be a delay in shelving.

Yes, there are jobs at Amazon with the title Problem Solver. If you do things well, you will never need to speak with them.

1. The Number of Units and Cases

Amazon will need to know the incoming units so that they can tell you how to pack it and where to send it. Be advised that boxes over 50lb need to be marked “team lift”. Also, Amazon has a set limit of 150 units per case, and for each case on the same inventory re­stock order, the quantity per case needs to be the same.

Therefore 3 cases of 150 units (450 units total) can’t be shipped with 1 case of 50 units (to make the total 500). Rather than making 2 shipping orders, it’s better to simply divide the units per case into matching numbers resulting in 4×125.

Previously, we spoke about limitations of incoming inventory for first-time sellers if they have chosen an oversized product. It’s now during your incoming inventory order when you advise Amazon of your number of units that they will advise you of any such limits being imposed upon you.

2. Who Does the Packing Preparation?

You will be asked “Who Preps?” the shipment. As we previously indicated, we recommend to let your suppliers handle this part of the prep work. You should have discussed this with them at the Finalize Order stage to check they are familiar with the Amazon shipping prep. If not, you’ll need to educate them, but this is rare. Because Amazon is such a dominant marketplace, most manufacturers have had dealings with them already.

For FBA sellers the Merchant option is selected automatically. Just make sure your supplier understands Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers specific guidelines for goods in your product category. Meaning you can’t just send in your product covered in packing pellets, so be sure to look up these details in Amazon’s shipping guide:

  • Loose products
  • Sold as sets
  • Boxed units
  • Poly­bagged units
  • Case­packaged items
  • Expiration dated items

3. Will You Use Amazon’s FBA Label Service?

Each unit you send to Amazon for fulfillment needs a scannable barcode. This will enable Amazon proper storage and fulfillment at their fulfillment centers. If units miss a scannable barcode, you will need to label them.

We suggest using a supplier to place FNKSU labels on your products. In most cases you’ll be able to have your supplier apply the stickers for free or at a fraction of the cost. Amazon’s FBA Label Service costs $0.20 per item and certain products do not qualify. Otherwise you can do it manually yourself at your own cost.

See this video created by Amazon for more info:

4. Who’s Your Shipping Partner?

If you only use a domestic shipping partner, you have 2 options. You can select:

  • An Amazon Partnered carrier, who will provide you with the shipping labels and tracking number. We recommend UPS via Amazon’s partnership for shipments within the United States.
  • Any other carrier, so long as you provide Amazon with the Tracking Number.

Alternatively, you might be shipping your goods directly to Amazon from your overseas supplier.

Within this scenario, you’ll also need to select your own shipping partner before you can apply your labels on the boxes or containers. BUT, you might need to consider hiring a freight forwarder to ensure a smooth process. Read more about freight forwarding in the ‘Overseas Supplier ­ Don’t lose your ship…ment!’ section later on in this module.

5. What is The Weight and Size of Your Order?

To complete your shipping plan you’ll need to provide Amazon with the weight (in pounds, lb) and dimensions (in inches, in) of each box that you’ll be sending to the Fulfillment Centers. If your supplier is preparing and sending your merchandise, you’ll need to ask your supplier for this information.

6. From Where Are You Shipping Your Products to Amazon?

Finally, you’ll need to provide the location of your shipping origin and tracking number associated with the shipment.

Amazon has multiple fulfillment centers in each marketplace and it might require your products be separated into multiple shipments for delivery to multiple distribution centers in your desired marketplace.

Your assigned fulfillment centers are determined based on product sales per region, inventory levels, or special handling requirements.

Once you have entered the required information and are satisfied that your shipping plan is correct and you accept it, you will then be directed to where you will need to send your products. Often, this will means 3­ to 4 different Amazon fulfillment centers. This is because having product spread across multiple locations allows for faster shipping to the customer.

Meanwhile, some of you might be introducing your private label brand and products to millions of other customers on Amazon’s global marketplaces. As mentioned, Amazon operates 11 online marketplaces worldwide, enabling sellers to grow their business internationally and these marketplaces represent many of the world’s largest e­commerce opportunities.

For example, if you are interested in Amazon’s EU Marketplaces, you can follow a similar process and register for an Amazon Seller Central European (EFN) or Multi Country Inventory (MCI) account where you’ll be be able to select the inventory management system that you prefer to serve the European region and send your products to the most appropriate fulfillment centers.

Ok, that’s it. Everything you need to know before creating your incoming inventory order.

In the next section, we’ll show you how to actually create your Shipping Plan in your Seller Central account, and get your shipping labels. Let’s get to it!

Ready To Create Your Shipping Plan?

You should now have gathered all the information you need. Let’s create your shipping plan to send your first inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers! Ready?