Fulfillment By Amazon - or FBA - is a shipping service the e-commerce giant offers to independent sellers on its marketplace. The e-commerce giant's program includes packaging, storage, and shipping services, making it significantly easier for sellers to distribute their products.
Sellers who join FBA can ship their items to Amazon Fulfillment Centers for storage until sold. Their employees package, prepare, and ship the products, granting significant flexibility. For a fixed fee, Amazon gives its sellers access to its massive logistics network. This service is especially advantageous for merchants who are not ready to fulfil national and global orders themselves.
In this article, we'll discuss FBA shipment and how to ship directly to Amazon FBA.
How Does Amazon FBA Work?
The Amazon FBA program grants sellers the use of their massive logistics centers. This includes warehouses and employees who handle packaging and shipping. Sellers transfer their products to the fulfillment centers either through the company's transportation partner program or via other freight forwarders.
The basic requirement to participate in the program is to register yourself as a seller on Seller Central. You can then enable FBA through the Shipping Through Amazon option in your merchant account. You also have to specify FBA inventory when you add your products in your account. After this, you can send your products to Amazon fulfillment centers. You can do this yourself or get your supplier to ship directly to Amazon FBA. You have to follow the platform’s rules on packaging and labelling the products if you want to be accepted into the program. We have explained the entire process in detail below
Step By Step: Shipping to an Amazon Warehouse
To ship your goods to Amazon's warehouse, you must first be a registered merchant. If you haven't done so already, register your Seller Account. You have to then identify the product you want to sell on Amazon. You can use our product research tool to find the most profitable products and find a supplier for those products.
Once that is out of the way, enter your dashboard and follow the steps in the guide below.
- Enter the Inventory tab and select Manage FBA Inventory
- Check the product you wish to ship and hit Send or Replenish Inventory from the dropdown menu on the right (the one that says Edit)
- If the item in question is already listed for FBA business, just hit Send Inventory; otherwise, select Create A New Shipping Plan.
- Enter the address you are shipping from
- Check the Case-Packed Product options if you are sending more than a single unit; otherwise, go with Individual Products.
- Continue to Shipping Plan
- Enter the units number or the number of cases. For example, when sending 10 products in a single box, enter 10 as Units Per Case and 1 as the Number Of Cases. Hit Continue.
Prepare Your Products
- Choose the type of items you are shipping and check the instructions Amazon provides.
- Depending on the product type, you might be prompted to put the item in a polybag, bubble wrap, and add appropriate safety labels.
- If your product falls under no category from the menu, preparation is not required.
- Depending on the product type, you can have your products prepped by Amazon for anywhere between $1 and $2.30 per item.
- Again, you can choose to label the items manually or have it done by Amazon if the company's FNSKU barcode is required. The price is $0.30 per item.
- For manual labeling, select Print Labels From This Page
- Print the labels and stick them onto each item
- Depending on the product, you might be required to include the manufacturer's barcode.
- For FNSKU codes starting with XOO, Amazon barcodes are required. Codes beginning with BOO use the existing barcodes from the manufacturers. FNSKU is available under the Product Name section.
Find the Shipping Location and Adjust if Needed
- Choose between Distributed Inventory Placement and Inventory Placement Service. The adjustments are available under Settings. Go to Fulfillment By Amazon and click on Inbound Settings.
- Distributed Inventory Placement is the default, meaning that they can require you to send different amounts of products to different warehouses.
- If you want to make sure you send all items to a single location, go with Inventory Placement Service. The price is $0.30 per item under a pound or $0.40 per item for units heavier than a pound.
Finally, Choose the Shipping Service
- Choose between Small Parcel Delivery for individual boxes and Less Than Truckload for shipping over 150 pounds in pallets
- Choose the shipping carrier between an Amazon-Partnered Carrier and Other Carrier
- Enter the number of units in each box and the number of boxes in the shipment, with size tier and weight
- Hit Calculate to get the Amazon fulfillment center costs
- Choose the shipping date and print the labels
- Make sure that both barcodes you get are visible. One is for the shipping service, and the other is for Amazon
- Hit Complete Shipment. Done!
Send Products to Amazon FBA
Amazon has a strict set of rules for different product size tier options. The company offers six different categories, ranging from Small Standard-Size for items under 12 ounces to the Special Oversize category for items over 150 pounds. Other categories include Large Standard Size, Small Oversize, and more.
You can find the full table of product size tiers in the table below.
It is important to note that the listed measures refer to the packages, not the item itself.
Whenever possible, it is advisable to avoid any of the oversize categories as they will ramp up your Amazon Fulfillment Center costs. If your item borders on a higher-tier category, even the slightest bulges will cause additional charges. To save extra money, you might want to invest time in finding Amazon-friendly freight forwarders online. The process of finding the right delivery service can be challenging at first but pays off in the long run if you find a good deal.
Finally, consider the difference between LCL, or Less Than Container Loads, and FCL, or Full Container Loads. Both options are valid, but it's advisable to strive for the FCL. All shipments have that tipping point where LCL becomes less profitable than FCL due to higher per-unit costs. Feel free to consider larger containers, too. For about a quarter of a price higher, you can double the load by switching to a 40-footer from regular 20-foot containers.
Another factor to point out is that LCL shipments are more prone to detailed customs inspections and multiple openings during the process. This increases the risk of damaging the goods or delaying the shipment.
How Long Does It Take FBA to Process Shipment?
The standard waiting time is between two and six days. It's safe to say that the products will be available and ready for sale within days, although holidays can cause slight delays. In some cases, merchants have reported processing times as fast as 22 hours. In other instances, though, the wait can go on for eight days. To follow the status of the process, check the Shipping Queue section on your Seller Central dashboard.
73% of Amazon sellers use FBA to fulfill orders because benefits to the business can be massive. We give some of the key benefits below.
Eligibility for Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is a premium free shipping and fast delivery service to paid subscribers. There are over 150 million Prime subscribers and 7% of these subscribers order products daily on the site. Prime users spend $1400 annually on the site – added up that is a huge market and only FBA sellers can access this lucrative customer base.
Amazon has a much larger and more efficient logistics network than any you can access yourself. FBA products are shipped and packaged much faster than you could manage yourself. They will also continue shipping for you even when you are on a break or on holiday. Faster shipping increases customer satisfaction.
Return handling by Amazon
To sell on Amazon, you have to match or surpass the platform’s return policy for customers. This means organizing full refunds irrespective of item condition. You then have to repackage and resell the item yourself. Amazon handles this process directly for FBA sellers. Depending on item condition, they will also refund some portion of fees and item costs back to you.
In short, Amazon takes away the need for major logistic operations at your end. Let's sum up some of the key benefits here:
- You don't have to store or post items.
- A simplified shipping process where you only ship larger loads of your products to fixed destinations.
- You get instant exposure to millions of potential buyers.
- Amazon offers 24/7 customer support and free delivery to Prime customers. By accessing this customer base you can get free goodwill and positive reviews.
Based on numerous Amazon FBA USA experiences, too many merchants lose money and beef their storage fees up for unnecessary reasons. Such problems can easily be solved just by reading the rules in more detail.
When shipping products for the Amazon FBA program, make sure to keep the following factors in check.
- Selecting the wrong shipping method or freight forwarder. Make sure the forwarder knows the Amazon FBA rules to a tee.
- Mislabelling, damaged, or poorly displayed barcodes. Make sure the labels are correct, readable, and visible.
- Over-ordering or under-ordering
- Failing to get cargo insurance
- Measuring the product improperly or calculating the product size instead of the box dimensions.
We hope this guide was helpful to you and that you have learned something new about the Amazon FBA program and how to sell to Amazon warehouse. As long as you do your research and follow the platform’s rules, the FBA program is a convenient and efficient way to expand your e-commerce business. You can reach a much larger audience in a more stress-free manner. Just get your supplier to send products to Amazon Fulfillment Center and let them handle the rest!
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Confused about Amazon fees and need more clarity? Fees can be tricky because Amazon charges different prices based on product categories, product sizes and the selling and advertising options you choose. To learn more read our detailed blog on the cost of selling on Amazon.