How To Pack Your Products for Amazon FBA
Mar 1, 2021

How To Pack Your Products for Amazon FBA

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Estimated reading time: 11 minutes.

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Amazon FBA makes fulfilment and distribution simple. 

All you have to do? Get your inventory to the warehouses. 

Now, whilst the program is designed to make your life as easy as possible, you are still required to meet certain criteria when packaging your products for Amazon FBA. 

In this guide:

 

You might want to bookmark this page or grab a notepad for this one. Let’s get started. 

Why Does Correct Packaging for Amazon FBA Matter?

Unfortunately for sellers, it’s not just a question of packing your items into any box you have lying around and sending it off to Amazon. Amazon has some specific packaging requirements for their FBA clients. 

It may seem onerous at first but when you think about the below, it’s really just common sense:

  • Poorly packaged goods can be damaged in transit.
  • Poorly labelled goods may get lost or mixed up.
  • Over-packaged goods are wasteful and damaging to the environment. 
  • Poor packaging could negatively impact the reputation of your business.

All fair points, no?

Amazon takes its packaging requirements seriously and there are penalties for suppliers who fail to comply. For example, Amazon may dispose of your inventory and even block future shipments to its fulfilment centers - not the makings of a successful business model. 

Improperly-labelled products may be marked as unsellable, and you might be slapped with a non-compliance fee. Not good. 

But don’t worry, it’s all totally avoidable if you just stick to the rules.

Amazon FBA Packaging Requirements

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the detail of the requirements of Amazon FBA packaging. But if you simply break them down into categories by type of product and shipment, they make a lot of sense. 

Plus, the Amazon website has a comprehensive help service within Seller Central that can provide you with advice on packaging and prep requirements.  

There are video tutorials with links to more detailed, technical information and plenty of resources to help you learn the ropes. 

Remember: Requirements can change at any time, so stay informed and check back in often. 

Amazon’s specs cover general packaging requirements, and additional for particular categories including loose products requirements for items sold as sets, boxed units, and particular packaging materials. Let’s take a look at them. 

General packaging requirements  

  • Each unique unit or product type (e.g. size or color) must have a unique FNSKU.
  • Each unit must have an exterior scannable barcode with corresponding readable numbers that are easily accessible.
  • You can either use manufacturer barcodes (eg GCID, UPC, EAN, or ISBN) or Amazon barcodes (ASIN or FNSKU).
  • Existing barcodes on the outside of shipping boxes must be rendered unscannable. This can be done by covering the redundant code with tape or by using a black felt-tip to block it out. This ensures that the incorrect barcode cannot be accidentally scanned.
  • Each unit, including multiple volume book sets, must be contained within a single, secure package.
  • Units may not include multiple pieces requiring assembly by Amazon.
  • Units not contained in secure packaging must be bagged or secured with tape.
  • Footwear must be packaged with no shoe material exposed, either in boxes or in poly bags. Poly bags must have a suffocation warning (see below for detailed packaging requirements for poly bags).

Approved packaging materials

Amazon can provide packing materials for you which meet their requirements. You can get Amazon-preferred poly bags, boxes, stretch wrap, bubble packs and other materials directly from Amazon. 

US-based sellers can also get free supplies from UPS, FedEX and USPS provided the seller is using those services to send products to Amazon fulfilment centers.

Amazon FBA-approved standard boxes

You can’t just use any box to ship to Amazon FBA, you need to stick to the following:

  • Regular slotted carton
  • B flute
  • ECT-32 (edge crush test)
  • 200BH (burst strength)

Amazon FBA-approved packaging materials

The types of packaging that Amazon uses include:

  • Foam sheets or cushioning
  • Air pillows
  • Bubble wrap
  • Full sheets of paper

Amazon FBA general labeling requirements

The labels you need for Amazon FBA must meet the following criteria:

  • Product labels must all include the exact same product title.
  • Use no more than 50 characters.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word but do not use ALL CAPS.
  • Symbols and special characters are not allowed.
  • Promotional titles are not allowed.

FBA items sold as sets

Units that are sold as sets must be marked as sets on their packaging, and clearly labelled to that effect. For example: “Sold as set” or “Part of a set, do not separate.”

Units must be sealed so that sets cannot be separated.

FBA items sold as boxed units 

If you intend to ship boxed sets to Amazon FBA warehouses, make sure to follow these instructions:

  • Boxed units must be six-sided and must have openings that will not easily open on their own.
  • If the box can be easily opened on its own, adhesives or staples must be used.
  • The box must not collapse when medium pressure is applied to any of the sides.
  • If the boxed unit has perforated sides or openings, it must pass a 3 foot drop test. This consists of one drop on each side and one drop on a corner.
  • If the product does not pass this test, it must be placed in a poly bag with a suffocation warning.
  • Boxes containing multiple standard-size items must not exceed 25 inches on any side. The limit may be exceeded if the box contains oversize units that measure longer than 25 inches.
  • Boxes may not exceed the standard weight limit of 50 lbs unless they contain one single oversized item that exceeds 50 lbs.
  • Boxes containing jewelry or watches must not exceed 40 lbs.

FBA case-packed products

To send case-packed products to Amazon FBA, make sure your items meet the following criteria:

  • All products in a box must have a matching SKU and condition and must have been packaged by the manufacturer.
  • Boxes with the same product must contain equal quantities of that product in the box and contain no more than 150 units per case.
  • When receiving this type of shipment the fulfillment centre scans one unit from the box and the box is placed in the inventory.
  • In some cases multiple case packs may be packed into a larger box called a master carton. The above requirements apply at the case pack level.

Requirements for poly bags

To use an Amazon FBA poly bag for protecting items, you must follow these instructions: 

  • Poly bags with a 5 inch opening or larger (measured when flat) must have a suffocation warning either printed on the bag or attached as a label.
  • Amazon has precise requirements for minimum suffocation warning label print size corresponding to the length plus width of the bag.
  • The thickness of the bag must be at least 1.5mm.
  • The poly bag must be transparent.
  • The poly bag must have a barcode or XOO-label that is scannable through the bag or have an XOO or ASIN label on the outside of the bag.
  • The poly bag must be completely sealed.
  • The poly bag or shrink wrap must not protrude more than 3 inches past the dimensions of the product.

You can use poly bag alternatives as long as they meet these requirements. If you want more environmentally-friendly options, there are plant-based poly bags and biodegradable poly bags.

Expiration dates

Do your products have expiration dates? Make sure to follow these rules:

  • Products that expire must include the expiration date on the master carton in 36-point or larger font and on the individual units.
  • Expiration dates must be in the format MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY.
  • The expiration date must be accessible to Amazon during the receiving process even when the product is subject to additional packaging requirements (e.g: for fragile items).

Specialized items

There are specific wrapping and preparation specifications for particular products in addition to the above requirements. These products include:

Specific wrapping requirements for each product can be found in Amazon Seller Central. 

Ready, Set, Ship!

Once you have familiarized yourself with the requirements, it’s time to get started. 

We recommend that you:

  • Make yourself a checklist of the packaging requirements that apply to your shipment. That way, you won’t overlook anything and you can step yourself through the processes easily.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time for that first shipment. Don’t rush it. The processes will become second nature over time and you will need to spend less time on it in the future.
  • Make sure that you have the right basic equipment: In addition to your packaging material, Xero’s 12-step Amazon seller checklist recommends that you have available a laser printer, shipping labels, and accurate scales with which to weigh your packages. 

Larger shipments will call for more sophisticated equipment, but this should provide reassurance to small startups that preparing packing for shipment to an Amazon FBA center doesn’t need to be complicated.

Third-party packaging and prep services

If this is all sounding like too much time and hassle then you do have the option to outsource shipping prep for your business.

If you do opt for this, don’t underestimate the importance of researching an experienced, reliable company for the job. As you’ve seen, Amazon is specific, so they need to be up to the task and have demonstrable experience packing for Amazon FBA. 

This option may not be cost-effective for smaller sellers but for larger businesses it may well be worth pursuing.

If you are interested in this route then check out this link for an assessment of the 11 best service providers. Your choice of service provider should be based on quality and cost but there are also some pragmatic considerations such as where your business is based or where your supplier is based, particularly where your supplier may be in a third country.

Alternatively, Amazon will also provide packing and prep services for a fee as part of its wrap-around FBA services.

Check out this link for more information on FBA Prep and pack services.

Amazon FBA Packaging FAQs

How do I pack items for Amazon FBA?

That depends on what your items are and how they need to be delivered. If your items are sold in sets, boxes units or cases, you need to package them accordingly. If your items are specialized, you need to follow a different set of requirements. Start first with the general Amazon packaging requirements in this blog and narrow down what applies to you. 

How do I use Amazon packaging?

Your Amazon packaging needs to meet size, material and labelling criteria. These criteria depend on the products you are sending and how you want to send them (i.e., individually, in sets or case-packed). If your products are specialized or have expiry dates, you will also need to meet other sets of requirements, which you can find above. 

What type of packaging does Amazon FBA use?

Amazon FBA specifies how to pack your boxes, label your products and effectively use poly bags so that your inventory is properly processed through their fulfilment centers. The types of packaging accepted will depend on your items and their size.

Can I use any box to ship to Amazon FBA?

No, you need to pack your Amazon FBA items with specific boxes. Amazon FBA requirements for boxes specify material, durability and labelling, so make sure you check the best solution for your products before investing in packaging materials. 

What size are Amazon FBA boxes?

The sizes of Amazon FBA boxes vary greatly, depending on the products being shipped. Amazon FBA requirements are focused more on durable materials, proper labelling and whether they can survive “drop tests”.  

What labels do I need for Amazon FBA?

The Amazon FBA requirements for labels include: a 50 character limit, no special characters, exact product titles (don’t shorten them) and use capital letters but not all caps. 

Does Amazon provide packing material?

Yes, Amazon can provide you with packing materials. These can include poly bags, boxes, stretch wrap, bubble packs and more. Some US sellers may also get free supplies from shipment providers like UPS, FedEx and USPS if they use their services.

How do I use Amazon FBA poly bags?

Amazon FBA poly bags must be transparent, 1.5mm thick, show a warning for suffocation, have a barcode, XOO-label, XOO or ASIN label, and be completely sealed. For the full list of requirements, check out the section on this blog. 

What can we use instead of poly bags?

There are numerous alternatives to poly bags you can use which may be more environmentally friendly. They will need to meet the same criteria, however, so be sure to check before you buy. 

Don’t Let Shipping Fees Sink You with A2X for Amazon

Amazon FBA is notorious for its suite of complex fees. It’s hard enough interpreting what they are on your seller statement, but calculating them manually each month? That’s far from ideal.

A2X acts as an interpreter between your Amazon account and your accounting software. It splits your statements by month, organizes your accounts via the accrual method and lays out your deposits so that your income and expense lines are calculated for you automatically. 

You can stay on top of your fees, profit margins, shipping costs, sales tax and more without crunching the numbers yourself. 

Save time and resources while still making informed decisions about the future of your business with A2X. 

See what our customers think:

“Would not do Amazon FBA without it…. Does all the heavy lifting and never complains!”

Try A2X for Amazon today with a free trial.

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