When selling products through Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program, adhering to the platform’s packaging requirements is vital as it affects how Amazon receives and processes your inventory.
If you do not package and prep your products according to Amazon’s guidelines, they can refuse or return your inventory, and you, as the seller, may be subject to extra fees or even lose the ability to ship to Amazon fulfillment centers.
This article aims to shed light on Amazon’s FBA packaging requirements, ensuring sellers are well-equipped to meet these guidelines and prevent sellers from violating Amazon’s TOS.
- Amazon FBA packaging requirements
- FBA product barcode requirements
- General packaging requirements
- FBA inbound shipping requirements
- Shipment label requirements
- Where to buy Amazon packaging supplies
Amazon FBA packaging requirements
Before creating an FBA shipment or having your supplier package your goods, ensure you fully understand Amazon’s FBA packaging and prep requirements.
Tip: When working with your supplier, ask them if they know how to package and prep for Amazon FBA (most of them do know by now).
This section will go over prep, labeling, and packaging requirements for FBA shipments. If your products are not prepped or labeled correctly, you may incur a preparation fee.
FBA product barcode requirements
FBA uses barcodes to track and identify sellers’ inventory throughout the fulfillment process. Having the proper barcodes tells Amazon which products belong to your seller account.
Each unit sent to an Amazon fulfillment center must have a scannable barcode.
Amazon uses two types of barcodes to track inventory: The manufacturer barcode and the Amazon barcode, aka the FNSKU.
Amazon will use the manufacturer barcode (such as a UPC barcode) by default unless you change your barcode settings to the Amazon barcode. When more than one seller of a product uses the same manufacturer barcode, Amazon may fulfill orders with the inventory that is closest to the customer.
If you are an arbitrage or wholesale reseller and don’t want your inventory commingled with other sellers’ inventory, you can use the Amazon barcode labels on your units.
By using the FNSKU (Amazon barcode) it tells Amazon that those exact units belong to your specific seller account.
Amazon barcodes (FNSKU)
FNSKU barcodes must be applied to all products that do not use the manufacturer’s barcode. You can either print and label the barcodes on each unit yourself (you can do this during FBA shipment creation), have your supplier print the barcode on your product packaging, or you can have Amazon label your products for a fee.
If your product does not have a manufacturer barcode, you can apply for a GTIN Exemption in Seller Central and all of your products will use the Amazon barcode instead.
We suggest always using the Amazon barcode as it makes tracking your inventory easier, and that way, your inventory doesn’t mix with another seller’s inventory.
Note that every product on Amazon will have its own FNSKU, even if you use the manufacturer’s barcode.
General packaging requirements
Here are the general packaging guidelines according to Amazon:
- Any FNSKU you use on a unit must be unique and must correspond to one unique product. For example, each assortment type, such as size or color, must have a different FNSKU.
- Each unit must have an exterior scannable barcode or label (which includes a scannable barcode and the corresponding human-readable numbers) that is easily accessible. For more information, go to FBA product barcode requirements.
- Remove, cover, or render unscannable any existing scannable barcodes on the outside of shipping boxes. For example, cover existing barcodes with opaque tape or use a black felt-tip marker to render the barcode unscannable. This prevents the incorrect barcode from being accidentally scanned during the receiving process.
Going back to the barcode section, this basically states that every product sent to Amazon FBA must have a scannable barcode that links those products to the corresponding seller account.
Amazon also has different requirements depending on how your products need to be packaged.
Each unit sent to Amazon must be contained in a single, secure package. Units that aren’t contained in a package, must be bagged or secured with easy-to-remove tape.
The barcode must be scannable without having to remove any bags or tape.
Footwear must be packaged with no shoe material exposed, either in shoe boxes or in poly bags with a suffocation warning.
Clothing such as shirts or pants, should also be secured in a polybag to prevent damage.
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. Failure to apply a suffocation warning may lead to the items being re-bagged.
The print size of this warning should conform to the following table:
|Total length plus width of bag
|Minimum print size
|60 inches or more
|40 to 59 inches
|30 to 39 inches
|less than 29 inches
- The thickness of the bag must be at least 1.5 mils (thousandth of an inch).
- The poly bag must be transparent.
- The poly bag must have a barcode (such as a UPC or EAN) or X00 label that is scannable through the bag or has an X00- or ASIN label on the outside of the bag.
- Poly bags must be completely sealed.
- The poly bag or shrink-wrap must not protrude more than 3 inches past the dimensions of the product.
- Adult products must be packaged using black, opaque poly bagging or shrink-wrap
Sold as set
Units that are set, such as a set of six tubes of toothpaste sold as one unit, must be marked as sets on their packaging.
Add a label to the unit that clearly states that the products are to be received and sold as a single unit. For example, “Sold as set,” “Ready to ship,” or “This is a set. Do not separate.”
For bundled sets, the barcodes on the individual units in the set must not be visible. The bundle set should have its own unique FNSKU barcode that tells Amazon the unit is a set.
This helps ensure that fulfillment center associates scan the barcode for the pack, not the barcode for the individual units inside.
If you sell units that come in a box, such as granola bars, must have six sides, must have openings that cannot be easily opened on their own, and must not collapse when medium pressure is applied to any sides.
If the box perforated sides or openings, the product must pass a 3-foot drop test. If it fails, the unit must be placed in a polybag.
Bubble wrap may be required because the item is:
- Fragile and could be easily damaged during transit
- Heavy or dense and could damage other items during transit
A fragile product must be packaged in either a six-solid-sided box or completely secured in bubble wrap so that it is not exposed in any way.
Products with bubble wrap must meet the following criteria:
- Tightly wrapped and taped shut so the product cannot fall out
- Labeled with a scannable barcode on the outside
- Able to pass a 3-foot drop test on a hard surface without the contents breaking.
FBA inbound shipping requirements
When you are ready to package your units into a shipping box and send them to FBA, here are the requirements you must follow:
The first step is to provide box content information during the FBA shipment process. You must provide Amazon with what products you’re sending, how many of each, and how many in each shipping box.
If you are having your supplier package and ship your units directly to Amazon FBA, make sure they fully understand Amazon’s packaging and labeling requirements before shipping.
There will be sections for all of this information when creating your FBA shipment.
Follow these instructions laid out by Amazon to ensure shipments arrive undamaged and ready for intake to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
- Use a rigid, six-sided box with flaps intact.
- Use a single address label that has clear, complete delivery and return information.
- Each box you include in the shipment must have its own unique FBA Box ID label printed from your Shipping Queue.
- Each pallet requires four FBA Pallet ID labels, one on the top center of each side. Each box on the pallet also requires its own unique FBA Box ID label.
- When shipping multiple case packs in a larger box, apply the unique FBA Box ID shipping label on the outside of the primary box.
- If you are reusing boxes, remove all old shipping labels, barcodes, or markings.
- Cover existing barcodes with opaque tape or use a black felt-tip marker to render the barcode unscannable by crossing out the barcode. This prevents the incorrect barcode from being accidentally scanned during the receiving process.
- Wrap all items separately.
- Use adequate packaging material.
- Use strong tape designed for shipping.
- Use 2 inches of cushioning between each of your items and the inside of the box.
- After you pack your box, shake it gently. The contents should not move when shaken.
- Using boxes with dimensions measuring at least 6 x 4 x 1 inches and weighing at least 1 lb can reduce delays in receiving.
- Boxes must not exceed these maximum size and weight requirements: No more than 25.00 inches on any side and no more than 50.00 lb total, unless the box contains an individual oversize item that exceeds these limits. See the Box Dimensions and Box Weight sections below for additional information on box requirements.
One of the most important pieces of information from above is the box size and weight you can send to Amazon.
Maximum box dimensions: No more than 25 inches on each side
Maximum box weight: 50 lbs
If you go over the dimensions or weight, it may delay your shipment and Amazon may restrict your ability to send FBA shipments.
The only time you can exceed the maximum weight and dimensions is if the individual unit exceeds 50 lbs or 25 inches.
- For a single item that exceeds 50.00 lb, attach a label that clearly indicates Team Lift on the top and sides of the box.
- For a single item that exceeds 100.00 lb, attach a label that clearly indicates Mechanical Lift on the top and sides of the box.
Here are the packing materials allowed Amazon will send in shipments to fulfillment centers:
- Bubble Wrap
- Full sheets of paper (heavy-weight kraft paper is best)
- Inflatable air pillows
- Polyethylene foam sheeting
Do not use these:
- All types of packing peanuts, including those made of biodegradable material or cornstarch
- Foam strips
- Crinkle wrap
- Shredded paper
- Thermocol chips
Shipment label requirements
After properly boxing your units, it is time to label the shipping boxes and send them off to Amazon.
Before that though, you need to determine the appropriate shipping method and carrier to use.
- SPDs. Small parcel deliveries (SPDs) are for items packed in individual boxes, and the shipping boxes are individually labeled for delivery. These are normally smaller shipments that are sent through DHL, UPS, FedEx, or local postal services. For more information, see Small parcel delivery to Amazon.
- LTL/LFL. Less Than Truckload/Full Truckload (LTL/FTL) shipment combines individual boxes on pallets for delivery. For more information, see Truckload delivery to Amazon.
Here are the labeling requirements according to Amazon:
- Print the full set of labels. Because each label is unique, don’t photocopy, reuse, or modify labels for use on additional boxes.
- Labels support a measurement of 3 1/3 x 4 inches. If you have a thermal printer, you now have the option to print directly on a 4 x 6 inches format by selecting thermal printing paper in the box and pallet label printing options.
- Don’t place labels on a seam or opening on the box because they will be damaged when the box is opened.
- Place both the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) box ID label and the carrier label (UPS, FedEx, or other SPD carrier) on a flat surface of the box so the barcodes don’t fold over the edges or corners.
- Both labels must remain uncovered so they are scannable and readable.
- Each box in the shipment must have its own FBA box ID label printed from your shipment workflow.
- Each pallet you send requires four pallet labels, one on the top center of each side.
- If you’re shipping multiple case packs in a larger box, apply the FBA box ID label to the larger box. You don’t need to apply labels to the individual case packs.
Make sure the FBA box ID label is visible. This label tells Amazon what the contents of the box are and what seller account the shipment belongs to.
Follow the guide above to learn more about how to create Amazon FBA shipments.
Where to buy Amazon packaging supplies
Supplies such as shipping boxes, labels, bubble wrap, thermal label printers, and packing tape are things that all Amazon sellers should have if they’re handling their own FBA shipments.
For most of these things, you can actually order them from Amazon!
Here are acceptable standard box types you can send to FBA:
- Regular slotted carton (RSC)
- B flute
- ECT-32 (edge crush test)
- 200 lb./sq. inch (burst strength)
If you are using UPS to send your FBA shipments to Amazon (one of Amazon’s partnered carriers) you can actually get free shipping labels from UPS.
For heavy-duty shipping boxes and other shipping supplies, you can also check out local stores like Home Depot or Lowes.
Now you’re ready to ship to FBA
Shipping your products to Amazon doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need to do is follow Amazon’s requirements and you won’t have any issues sending your products to FBA.