By Ben Miles
Packing & Stickering Your Shipments Correctly
Amazon set strict guidelines for the preparation of products being sent to their warehouses. If you choose to use FBA you need to make sure you are labelling and packing your products correctly otherwise you run the risk of incurring unexpected charges from Amazon if they need to repackage items or they may even reject your delivery entirely.
This would not only be inconvenient for you as you would need to repackage and reship your products, but it could end up being costly.
With that in mind we’ve put together this guide to help you understand how Amazon wants you to package your shipment to them. With the use of screenshots we’ll show you how to apply stickers to your products and pack your shipments securely.
(You can download Amazon’s ‘Prep Matrix’ here; this provides packaging information for specific types of products and is worth printing out and keeping for future reference.)
Stickering Your Products Properly
If you have read our article on ‘Creating an FBA Shipment’ you will know that at ProfitSourcery we strongly recommend stickering all of your stock to protect yourself and your customer. If you decide not to sticker your products and have your stock commingled, you have no control over the products your customer receives and could end up with complaints, bad reviews or in extreme cases, legal action against you.
FBA labels need to be printed with a laser printer, this will ensure the label does not smudge or fade easily. Amazon state that labels need to be readable and scannable for at least 24months. Pre-cut sticker sheets in the correct size are available from Amazon and will save you time cutting out labels.
(Do not print labels on ordinary paper and tape them to products as they will not be scannable.)
These labels are 27 to a sheet and 63.5 mm x 29.6 mm each. When attaching your labels they need to be on the outside of any packaging to make sure they are scannable and they must cover the manufacturer’s barcode completely.
This will avoid errors in scanning products and prevent your stock becoming lost in the warehouse. Beneath the barcode on your FBA stickers you will see a short description of the product which will help you ensure you stick the correct sticker on each product.
(Make sure the barcode does not fold around corners or curve; they should be stuck on a flat surface. If necessary you can cover the existing barcode with a white sticker and place your FBA sticker somewhere more convenient to ensure it can be scanned.)
Whilst it is of utmost importance that you adhere to these rules in your stickering you also need to consider your customer. The label should not cover an important part of the packaging, particularly if it is not easily removed.
Customers may be buying the item as a gift, they may be a collector who is concerned with the state of the packaging, quite simply you do not want to give customers any reason to complain or leave you negative feedback.
If the packaging is a key part of the item or particularly special in some way it might be worth placing the items into individual plastic bags and placing the stickers on these. This will protect the packaging from the sticker as well as protecting the packaging from dust and damp in the warehouse.
If you are putting stock into plastic bags either because you have decided it to be a good idea or because Amazon have deemed it necessary you need to make sure the plastic bags are printed with suffocation warnings. These bags are available to buy in large quantities online.
(For more information about products that Amazon list as needing plastic bags please refer back to the prep matrix linked at the beginning of this guide.)
Packing Your Products into Boxes
Once your individual products are labelled and prepped accordingly you can pack them into the boxes you will use to ship. It is okay to reuse boxes as long as they are not too damaged and sturdy enough to withstand delivery also make sure you remove any previous shipping labels to avoid confusion.
Make sure the boxes are well packed to prevent stock moving around in transit and becoming damaged. If you shake the box there shouldn’t be any movement. You can use bubblewrap, air pillows, foam sheets or whole sheets of paper. Packing peanuts or shredded paper are not allowed.
Finally you will need to apply shipment labels to the outside of the boxes, this should be the final step in the process as they must not be covered by tape used to seal the box. If you are using Amazon’s partnered carrier (UPS) the labels will print as A4 sheets, you can purchase A4 sticker sheets online. These must be stuck on the top or side of the box in an easily visible place, they should not be stuck across the seam of the box, when the box is opened this should not damage the label.
Amazon provide many guidelines for specific product lines and shipment types, for more information have a look at their packaging and shipping guide.