To streamline the process of marketplace sellers getting purchased products to their customers, Amazon makes use of a fulfillment program called Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA).
The FBA system allows sellers to ship products in bulk to an Amazon fulfillment center. Once it is received by Amazon, the product can then be listed on the website and, when it is sold, Amazon ships it directly to the buyer.
In order to manage the logistics of the FBA system, Amazon requires sellers to attach two labels to the outside of each box being sent to one of their warehouses:
Shipping label - The shipping label is a printed barcode that allows the shipping companies used by Amazon, primarily UPS and FedEx, to identify where the box is being sent and to provide tracking information for it. This label is usually 4 x 6 inches in size. The shipping label looks like this:
As part of its seller program, Amazon provides discounted shipping rates for sellers who use UPS or FedEx to ship their goods to Amazon’s FBA warehouses.
FBA Box Label - The FBA box label is scanned when the item reaches the warehouse and allows Amazon to identify which goods belong to specific sellers. The FBA box label is the same size as the shipping label and looks like this:
So Why Do I Need a Thermal Printer?
Unlike a standard printer, thermal printers use heat and a particular type of paper instead of ink. Printing with heat, rather than ink, has a couple of advantages:
When printing large amounts of labels using a thermal printer is considerably cheaper than using a standard ink printer.
Thermal printers have no speed loss or drying time, which speeds up the printing process.
Thermal printers have fewer moving parts, meaning they require less maintenance and are less likely to break down.
Setting up Your Zebra Thermal Printer
Before you start printing labels, it is vital to make sure your printer is correctly set up. Taking the time at this stage will save you a lot of headaches later.
Shipping labels can be printed directly from seller central. By default, the shipping labels are set up to be printed on regular 8.5" x 11" printer paper in portrait view. To create a shipping label, use the following steps:
On the Manage Orders page, click the Buy Shipping button for the order you want to ship.
On the Package Details page, verify the product(s) and enter the package weight and dimensions. Click Continue.
On the Shipping Services page, select a service type and any optional services. Here you have a choice between selecting Amazon Partnered Carrier, such as UPS or Fedex, or shipping your products by a different carrier of your choice.
When you have selected your desired service, click Continue.
On the Confirm Shipping page, click the Buy Shipping Services & Confirm Shipment button.
After you approve the shipment cost, click on the button to Print Box Labels.
Once you hit Print Box Labels, Seller Central will generate a shipping and FBA label in the same document.
You'll have the option to print both labels in 8.5" x 11" format or to download them as a PDF file called "package.pdf."
Unfortunately, Amazon does not support printing directly to a thermal printer in 4 x 6" format directly from the Seller Center.
In order to print your shipping labels from your FBA printer, you’ll need to use one of two options.
How to Print an Amazon Shipping Label (The Hard Way)
Open your package.pdf file in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Under Edit in the Menu bar at the top of the screen choose the Take a Snapshot option.
Below the Menu bar is the Tool Bar.
In the Tool Bar, click on the Minus (-) sign several times. This will reduce the image size to make taking a snapshot easier. An image size of 50% should work.
Make sure your shipping label is entirely visible.
Click, drag, and release your mouse so that all borders of your label are within the darkened area.
Then Right-click within the label and select Print.
To the right of the Print Window, you should see a preview image of the label you are about to print.
If you correctly selected the entire label, you should be able to see all of it in there.
If it doesn't look right simply repeat the click and drag from step 6 until you can select it all.
From the Printer menu, choose your Zebra from the list of available printers.
In the Pages To Print section, select More Options, then Selected Graphic.
In the Page Sizing and Handling section, select Size Options then Fit. Check the box for Choose Paper Source by PDF Paper Size.
In the Orientation menu, select the Auto Portrait/Landscape option.
Click the Print button to print your label.
If you are printing multiple labels, scroll down to the next label and repeat steps 1 through 10. When the Print Window appears the settings should remain the same, so go ahead and just click on Print.
As you can see, because of a lack of native support of thermal printers when producing shipping labels from the Amazon Seller Center, printing a seller label on your Zebra thermal printer is very labor-intensive. Not ideal when you are shipping potentially thousands of packages.
But don’t worry, there is another way!
How to Print an Amazon Shipping Label (The Easy Way)
Go through the process above to create a shipment of products for Amazon FBA.
Instead of downloading a PDF and going through the arduous process above, simply click on "Print Thermal Labels" button added by our browser extension. The button looks like this:
Allow our server to process the data and generate labels based on the specific settings you selected from your AZlabels dashboard. Our servers will generate approximately 100 shipping labels in 8 seconds.
Your labels will automatically be converted into PDF files which are downloaded onto your computer, correctly sized and ready to print from your Zebra thermal printer. If you’ve signed up for one of our Business or Enterprise accounts, our AZLabels Instant service will connect directly to your printer and automatically print your labels for an even more streamlined experience.
Sit back and relax!
Try it for Free!
With our basic account, you can print up to 100 product and 10 shipping labels every month for free, and you do not need to add a credit card to get an account.
If you find that your business is growing and you need more label printing resources, simply upgrade to one of our three premium accounts, each with a range of services designed specifically to streamline your selling process.
Print Thermal Labels Straight from Seller Central
AZLabels is trusted by thousands of Amazon Sellers to print tens of thousands of labels every single day.