With the surge of the global pandemic, online shopping demands increased, and Amazon FBA sellers were forced to learn about Amazon FBA prep requirements and packaging without much warning or experience. Having formal standard operating procedures (SOPs) for prep in your Amazon business is essential if you want to play the long game on Amazon and have satisfied customers and a healthy Amazon account.
No matter the size of the business and volume of orders, it’s crucial to establish SOPs for prep of products being sent to Amazon FBA fulfillment centers.
Following Amazon FBA prep requirements ensures customer satisfaction, quality control, and adherence to Amazon’s terms of service.
This article will walk you through everything you need to know about Amazon FBA prep requirements and how to best leverage prep in your FBA business.
What is Amazon FBA Prep, exactly?
Amazon FBA prep is the process of having your products packaged and ready to send to Amazon fulfillment centers. Packaging requirements vary by product type and size.
What happens if your Amazon Prep isn’t adequate?
Due diligence with your Amazon FBA prep is essential to ensure you meet Amazon’s terms of service and create a remarkable and consistent customer experience.
If you cannot properly manage Amazon prep or your Amazon FBA prep company is not meeting standards, your FBA business can suffer severe consequences.
Customer complaints – Amazon enforcement can ensue if your packaging and prep do not meet customers’ expectations.
Shipment correction – If your shipment is incorrect, Amazon will correct the shipment, taking longer for Amazon to receive your inventory. You may also incur expenses such as fees Amazon applies for adding stickers to inventory.
Shipping privileges suspended – Amazon may cut off inbound shipping privileges if you break the rules repetitively, leaving you without the means to efficiently ship orders to customers.
3 Tips to improve your Amazon FBA Prep service experience
To ensure you’re navigating your Amazon FBA prep to the best of your ability, we’ve drafted these top tips you can leverage to level-up your prep game.
#1 Establish an inspection process
Create an inspection process within your Amazon FBA prep service before goods are shipped to Amazon to deliver a consistent customer experience. The best way to navigate inspections is to create standard operating procedures for every product and order.
Once your goods arrive at an Amazon FBA prep company, here are a few tips for the prep service to check before shipping.
Create a detailed checklist for your Amazon FBA prep company and ensure SOPs are followed.
Follow up on any miscommunication promptly and track issues in prep to mitigate further problems and losses.
Match each product to its detail page (aka ASIN) to ensure it’s the correct product with packaging that matches the right photos and description.
Ensure that the item is in brand-new condition, including a brand new box without damage to corners, etc.
If the item is in used condition, ensure that you use the correct listed condition based on Amazon’s rules.
Ensure you properly vet your Amazon FBA prep company of choice before hiring. Ask to randomly view assembly line videos and still images of packaging in production. View video content of a few orders packed and ready for transport with proper shipping and Amazon labels.
#2 Prep your inventory appropriately
Familiarize yourself with these suggestions to adequately prep your inventory to ensure compliance. Note: Amazon has specific requirements for the labels you attach to boxes and is quite sticky about these parameters.
1. Correct barcodes
Ensure your product is identified with the correct FNSKU sticker and follow Amazon’s label requirements.
Amazon barcodes must be applied to all products that are not tracked using the manufacturer’s barcode. You can print Amazon barcodes and apply them to your products, or you can have your Amazon FBA prep service or Amazon FBA prep company print and apply these essential stickers. Search Amazon barcodes and FBA label service in Amazon Seller Central for more details.
Alternatively, Amazon offers an FBA Label Service that will affix your FBA label on each of your boxes for a per-item fee.
It’s essential to remove any old shipping labels or markings and place labels in an easy to locate visual placement. Avoid placing labels on box seams as this can damage barcodes.
2. Protective polybags & shrink-wrap
Ensuring your products arrive at customers in pristine condition is paramount to your sales and reviews on Amazon. Use TOS-compliant polybags and shrink-wrap to maintain product quality and ensure you once again follow Amazon’s prep requirements.
A lot of things can go wrong once your inventory hits multiple touchpoints. Ensuring your boxes arrive at customers in ideal condition means ensuring your spend time and money on adequate box packaging.
Boxes must not exceed the maximum size and weight requirements. This means no more than 25.00 inches on any side and 50.00 lbs. total unless the box contains an individual oversize item that exceeds these limits.
Always use high-weight boxes to adequately hold and contain shipments. Do not attempt to cheap out on box construction, as your sales, reviews, and customers will pay a hefty price.
Use strong tape designed exclusively for shipping so that you can trust each box to hold up en route to your customer.
Invest in dunnage to prevent items from moving around in your boxes. Dunnage options generally vary in size and shape. Your Amazon FBA prep company should be able to provide you with reliable options.For more details about Amazon’s box requirements, see this link.
Whether you take your boxes yourself to the shipping carrier or have them picked up, insist that the carrier scan each barcode. Without a scanned barcode, you won’t have proof of shipping on the off chance there is a dispute.
Prep services are Amazon FBA sellers’ new standard in today’s climate. Developing SOPs for the Amazon FBA prep company or Amazon FBA prep service you hire is paramount to the consistent and positive delivery of orders to customers.
Are you performing Amazon FBA prep? Tell us how it’s going in the comments!
Need help with an account issue or have a question about Amazon FBA prep compliance? Riverbend Consulting offers essential services to help you scale on the world’s largest online marketplace. Contact Us for a quote.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their accounts and ASINs back up and running. Lesley leverages two decades as a small business consultant to advise clients on profitability and operational performance. She has been an Amazon seller for almost a decade, thanks to her boys (19 and 13) who do most of the heavy lifting.