University - Shipping Items
Amazon offers sellers a number of different packaging options, depending on the means they choose for order fulfillment. When selling on Amazon via Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), the seller must follow all general requirements for shipping inventory to different fulfillment centers. The seller should be aware that Amazon has the right to refuse, return, or repackage any product that does not meet packaging requirements. The seller may also be subject to certain noncompliance fees.
General Packaging Rules
- FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit). An FNSKU identifies a product as a Fulfillment by Amazon product and by an SKU. FNSKUs must be unique, corresponding to only one product. Sellers who market similar items, where the only differences between the products are size, shape, or color, must give each product variation a new FNSKU.
- Tracking. Each package must have an exterior barcode or label, which may be scanned for easy tracking. The label must be accessible and readable.
There may be different requirements for certain items under any given category. The following is a list of packaging rules by category:
- Loose products. When sold together, loose products must be contained within one package. Units that are sold as sets with many pieces within one box must be marked with a label that says “Sold as set” or “Do not separate.”
- Boxed units. Any shipments in boxes must be six-sided and completely sealed and difficult to reopen. All boxes must be able to withstand a medium amount of pressure on any given side.
- Poly bag units. Poly bags with openings larger than five inches must contain suffocation warnings that must be printed on the bag or attached as a label in an easy-to-find location. The bag must be transparent and contain a barcode that may be scanned easily. The poly bag must be completely sealed.
- Expiration dates. When shipping items that include expiration dates, the date must be written on the container as well as on each individual unit. The dates must be displayed in the MM-DD-YYYY format.
Note: If an item fits multiple categories, it must be prepared for shipment according to the regulations of all of the applicable categories.
Specific Poly Bag Requirements
Poly bags that are used to protect product units must meet specific requirements on Amazon. As mentioned above, poly bags with a 5-inch opening or larger (measured when flat) must have a clear suffocation warning. If you do not comply with this regulation, your products may need to be re-bagged. An example of the clause could be “To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and young children. This bag is not a toy.”
The suffocation label should be printed in the below sizes:
- If the bag is 60 inches wide or more, print size should be 24 point
- If the bag is 40 to 59 inches, print size should be 18 point
- If the bag is 30 to 39 inches, print size should be 14 point
- If the bag is less than 29 inches, print size should be 10 point
Each bag needs to be at least 1.5 mil, which is the thickness in thousandths of an inch. It must be transparent and have a barcode such as a UPC or EAN that is easily scannable through the bag. The bags need to be completely sealed and must not protrude more than 3 inches past the dimensions of the product.
Where Can You Buy Amazon Packaging Supplies?
Amazon packaging guidelines are specific, so sellers should be sure that they are buying packaging supplies that meet Amazon’s FBA requirements.
Sellers can now get Amazon-preferred poly bags, boxes, stretch wrap, bubble packs, and more directly from Amazon. For sending products to FBA, sellers can also get free supplies from UPS, FedEx, and USPS but will need to send to Amazon fulfillment centers utilizing the specific rates from each of those vendors.
FBA Packaging Checklist
With Fulfillment by Amazon, it’s important to understand the general prep requirements of shipping FBA inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers, as well as the specific product categories that require unique prep. It is also important to take FBA product restrictions into consideration.
Here is a helpful checklist for preparing your Amazon FBA packaging:
- Make sure your boxes are rigid and have flaps intact.
- Wrap each item individually.
- Use strong shipping tape.
- Do not use string or paper over-wrap.
- Use a single address label with clear delivery and return information.
- Use at least two inches of cushioning between each of your items and inside of the box.
- Do not bundle several boxes together.
- Scannable barcodes should be covered or removed when reusing a retail box to ship different products.
It will be critical for sellers to adhere to the Amazon packaging requirements in order to avoid receiving negative seller reviews, having your FBA shipment returned from Amazon, damaging your product, or wasting materials or money.