With our easy to follow guide, we’ll go through the process of using Amazon's Fulfillment by Amazon(FBA) Service step by step, breaking it down into simple sections and helping you take advantage of its many benefits.
Before we get into the specifics of how to use the FBA system, let’s look at the benefits of using FBA and how it can help you, the seller, significantly streamline the logistics of storing your products and shipping them to your customers.
By allowing you to take advantage of Amazon's vast logistics network, the FBA service lets you, the seller, ship a larger number of orders faster and more efficiently than you could on your own.
The FBA service does this by allowing sellers to ship products directly to an Amazon fulfillment warehouse. Once your products arrive there, Amazon takes over the task of storing your products and sending them to your customers when you receive an order.
In essence, FBA allows you to run a home business with the bulk storage and delivery capabilities of the world’s largest company.
Using FBA means you can rely on Amazon to take care of tasks like warehousing, picking, shipping, and delivery while you focus on the more personal side of your business, like product design, customer service, and marketing.
Marking a product as FBA also makes it eligible for Prime Delivery, giving you the option to offer one or two-day delivery options to your customers.
For all the logistical complexity that FBA represents, using it is remarkably easy and the process can be rendered down into five principal steps:
To make it as easy for you to take advantage of the benefits of FBA as possible, we’ll be going through these steps in detail and providing you with easy to use instructions and helpful resources for each step.
The first step to using the FBA system is selecting the products you want to be stored and delivered by Amazon. This can be done in Seller Central and is a reasonably uncomplicated procedure.
All you need to do it follow the steps below:
Setting up which products you want to be Fulfilled by Amazon is as simple as that! Now that you’ve marked your products as being Fulfilled by Amazon, you’ll need to properly label and package them so they can be picked up from you and transported to an Amazon warehouse.
This step is optional, but it does come with certain benefits.
If you choose not to label your inventory, Amazon will use the Manufacturer barcode as product identification and place your items into what they refer to as “Commingled Inventory.”
Only certain items are eligible for commingled inventory and they must meet the following requirements:
The benefit of commingled inventory is that it allows Amazon to dispatch products to your customer from the nearest warehouse that contains the right product, potentially speeding up delivery times.
The downside is that having your products added to commingled inventory means there is a potential for your customers to receive goods that are of inferior quality, or possibly counterfeit, that have been sent to the warehouse by other sellers.
If you are happy to have your products added to commingled inventory, and they meet the criteria listed above, you can skip this step.
If you would prefer your products not go into the commingled inventory, you will need to attach a barcode yourself or use the FBA Label service.
In order to attach your own barcodes to your products, you’ll need to change your default barcode preference. To do this, follow the steps below:
Printing and attaching your own barcodes is the most cost-effective method of labeling your products. Still, it is a little more complicated and time-consuming than using FBA Label service or leaving your products in Commingled Inventory.
For the cost of $0.20 per label, Amazon will attach the FNSKU barcodes for you. How much benefit you will get from the FBA label service depends on how much inventory you are sending out via FBA.
If you want to see a complete breakdown of the FBA label service, you can check out our article “Should You Use Amazon’s FBA Labeling Service?" for a more detailed cost/benefit analysis.
Once you're sure you are happy with your product going into commingled inventory, or you've taken the extra step to either label you products yourself or have the FBA Label Service do it for you, you'll need to pack them for transit.
There are two options for packing your shipment, doing it yourself, or using the FBA Prep Service.
Packaging your own product means you’ll have to have to make sure they meet Amazon’s Product Preparation Requirements.
These requirements differ depending on what category your product falls into, with items requiring additional preparation if they fall into the following categories:
To make correctly packaging your own products as straightforward as possible, Amazon has produced extensive packaging guidance.
If items arrive at the Amazon warehouse incorrectly packaged or labeled, you might incur an FBA Manual Processing Fee.
If you’d rather Amazon packaged your products for you, you can always use the FBA Prep Service.
If you use the FBA prep service, Amazon will repackage your product, as per their Product Preparation Requirements, once it reaches the warehouse. You can find more on the FBA Prep Service fees HERE.
To qualify for the FBA prep service, your products must meet specific minimum qualifications:
Even if you do use the FBA prep service, you'll still need to package your products so they will arrive safely at the fulfillment center.
It is your responsibility to make sure that fragile, glass, and sharp items don't get broken and can be safely handled by Amazon's fulfillment center associates.
To enable the FBA Prep Service, select the following option when creating your shipping plan:
Your shipping plan is the method you’d like to use to ship your product to Amazon. The first step in doing this is picking which carrier to use to transport your goods. Some carriers, primarily UPS and FedEx, offer significant discounts under the Partnered Carrier Programme (PCP).
The Partnered Carrier Programme is an attempt by Amazon to make its FBA service as streamlined and straightforward as possible. By partnering with UPS and FedEx, the PCP can reduce the costs of shipping goods to an Amazon warehouse by up to 45%.
Using the PCP also means you can enter all your shipment details into Seller Central, and shipments from PCP couriers are processed faster.
One of the benefits of using the PCP is that you can add a product to Seller Central, mark it as Fulfilled by Amazon, and then set up shipping to send it to an Amazon warehouse, all in the same place.
To use the Partnered Carrier Programme to ship your products to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, just follow the steps below:
You aren’t required to use PCP carrier in order to use the FBA service, but the discount offered by PCP affiliated carriers means they are almost always to most cost-effective shipping option.
If you do choose to use your own carrier, you must provide tracking numbers for Small Parcel Deliveries and a Bill of Lading (BOL) and Freight Numbers if you selected Less Than Truckload (LTL).
You’ve selected the products you want to be Fulfilled by Amazon, you’ve labeled them correctly, you’ve packaged them as per Amazon’s guidelines, and you’ve created a shipping plan to have them picked up by a courier and sent to the nearest fulfillment center.
Now you are only one step away from sending out your shipment!
In order for your chosen carrier and Amazon to identify your shipment and make sure it goes to the right place, you will need to print off and attach some shipping labels.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to do this is with a thermal printer. Unfortunately, Amazon does not support printing directly to a thermal printer from Seller Central.
Thankfully, that is where AZLabels comes in, adding a convenient and easy-to-use browser extension button that allows you to print your labels and barcodes directly from Seller Central on a cost-saving and efficient thermal printer.
All you need to do is follow our comprehensive guide to printing FBA labels on a thermal printer to find out which labels you need and how best to print them off. We’ll even show you how to get a free thermal printer and thermal printing supplies to cut your overheads down to nothing.
Once you’ve printed off the required shipping labels, you can just sick back and wait for your inventory to be picked up.
So there you have it, by reading our detailed guide on shipping products to FBA, you now know how to:
By following these five steps, you can use Amazon's huge logistical set up to warehouse more products and get them into the hands of your buyers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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