The first shipment to Amazon FBA warehouse
If you have already been selling your products on Amazon through the FBM (Fulfiled by Merchant) model for quite some time, you probably started thinking about selling through FBA (Fulfiled by Amazon) at some point.
To begin with, we will remind you what the advantages of choosing the FBA method are:
- Amazon’s warehouses are responsible for storing your products.
- Customers trust products with the Shipping by Amazon logo more.
- Amazon takes care of the customer service and returns.
- Amazon offers additional programs such as FBA Small and Light, FBA Subscribe & Save, FBA Pan-EU, etc.
- Products are eligible for fast Amazon Prime Free Shipping.
How to make your first Amazon FBA shipment?
First, you will have to set up FBA. If you have the selling account, just add FBA to it, but if you don’t have the selling account, you will have to set it up. You should add products to Amazon’s catalogue or use the existing listings.
If you have your selling history, you know which products sell best. Pick these products and check whether they are suitable for FBA. Namely, learn about dangerous goods, restricted products & FBA product restrictions, categories requiring approval, and packaging requirements (you can find the detailed information on Seller Central).
While you are preparing the products, keep in mind that you shouldn’t sell more than the predicted sales for a maximum of two months. Too many products can result in overstock and additional fees for keeping the products in FBA warehouses.
Before adding products to FBA, make sure that you chose the proper settings for your FBA account concerning the product barcode preference. It means that you should set your FBA account based on whether your products already have an EAN barcode or whether the labels will be printed separately (Amazon barcode). You will find such preferences in Settings → Fulfilment by Amazon.
The right SKU for Amazon FBA warehouse shipment
After you do this, you can either convert the existing listings to be fulfiled by Amazon (by choosing a product in the Inventory and picking the Convert to FBA option from the drop-down list) or create a separate SKU that indicates you will sell it through the FBA model. Such an indication is just for you so that you don’t mix products from FBM with FBA.
While creating a shipment for the first time, you will be asked about product labelling options. You can choose Stickerless, Commingled Inventory if you want to use the existing barcodes or Labelled Inventory if you can print labels from your account and put them on the products yourself.
Now we are good to go. We can pick the products to create a shipment in two ways:
- Find the products you want to send to the FBA warehouses in Manage FBA Inventory, choose them by ticking the box right next to them, and pick Send/Replenish Inventory from the drop-down list of options (the grey bar above the products).
- Go to Manage FBA Shipments. The new interface shows a bar where you can find the Send to Amazon option. If you click here, you can see your latest workflow.
- You will see a Start New button in the top right corner of the workflow. When we click here, we can pick products using the search bar (we can choose whether we want to search by title, SKU, ASIN or FNSKU).
- Then we choose the quantities we want to send. We can also select a File Upload on the left side of the workflow.
- In the File Upload section, we generate the template and put the necessary information. Default prep owner, default labelling owner, merchant SKU and quantity are required, and the remaining fields are optional.
When we choose the products we want to send, we need to pick the address from which we ship and the marketplace destination (i.e. where the warehouse you want to send your products to is located). Then we continue to Send to Amazon.
Sometimes, under the Information/action heading, we get a “Prep and labelling details needed” notification. Then we pick the appropriate prep category and choose who labels the product (usually, you pay a fee when you mark the option where Amazon takes care of these steps).
You can prepare products and label them yourself. Then you should select “No prep needed” and “Seller labels” options. If we do not use third-party software that manages our shipment creation process, we can download SKU labels (available next to the quantity) here. Then we can move on to the quantities.
The right quantities for the first Amazon FBA shipment
When we put the quantities, we need to confirm that the products are ready to be packed. After confirmation, we have to provide the pack list either through a web form (up to 10 boxes) or via Excel file. Remember that there are several requirements for box weight and dimensions, as Amazon states on their help page:
- Boxes containing several standard-size products must not exceed 63.5 cm on any side.
- When you select an Amazon-partnered carrier, you must weigh and measure boxes and pallets accurately. Make sure that the numbers are correct.
- The weight limit for FBA is 23 kg. You mustn’t exceed this limit.
- If any box exceeds the weight of 15 kg, you must attach a “Heavy Package” label. The labels must be visible on the top of the box and sides of each heavy weight container (5 labels in total).
When we don’t meet these standards, our ability to create or modify shipments can be temporarily suspended. You can learn more about these requirements in the Help section in Seller Central – “Shipping and routing requirements” article.
Make sure that you provide the necessary box contents. You cannot combine products from multiple shipments in the same box. The shipments we send to FBA warehouses should match the details on our shipping plan (data provided in Seller Central while the shipment was created, e.g. FNSKU, SKU, weight, barcodes, etc.).
This is almost the last step of shipment creation – we choose the method (SPD – Small Parcel Delivery for boxes individually labelled, or LTL – Less than Truckload for pallet shipments). We select our shipment name and the carrier. Here, you may consider using Amazon Partnered Shipping or other carriers.
Check your options and what is more profitable for you. When you confirm the shipment, you receive an individual shipment ID and destination address (FBA warehouse to which you send shipments).
Here you can also print your box labels that must be placed on the boxes before dispatch. If you want to avoid labelling boxes on your own, this step can be reassigned to FBA warehouse staff for a fee.
We shouldn’t stop there. When our shipments are sent, we should still take care of the stock. It is vital to control the products after they get to the FBA warehouses. Check the Stranded Inventory tab (you will find it in Seller Central; go to Inventory → Inventory Planning → Fix Stranded Inventory).
If you see that your products sell fast, make sure to dispatch more of them to keep your stock levels sufficient. Also, whenever you see some discrepancies between sent and received quantities of products, you can request an investigation. In order to do this, prepare a proof of delivery from the carrier and an invoice, and attach these documents in the Contents tab of a particular shipment.
There are also some indicators that we have to control, namely: restock limits and storage volume. You can access these indicators in the Manage FBA Inventory tab (hidden at the bottom of the page) or in the Inventory Performance dashboard.
- Restock limits are based on our past and forecasted sales. These limits will change according to these factors. You can check the units in utilisation, maximum inventory level and maximum shipment quantity.
- Storage limits (measured in cubic feet) are based on volume. Amazon sets these limits for different storage types.
Remember not to exceed these limits. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create a new shipment of a particular storage type. Try to analyse your reports and send the appropriate quantities of goods.
Also remember that if you want to send your inventory abroad, you should learn about the tax requirements to avoid any potential issues.
If you are still struggling with this topic just contact us HERE and we will help you make it done.