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Ship Directly to Amazon FBA: Definitive Guide in 2021

Jenna M
  •  
  •  
February 4, 2021

Customers will have confidence in supporting your products once you say the three magic words: "Shipped by Amazon." But first, you have to master how to ship directly to Amazon FBA. It might be confusing as you start learning the ropes. Eventually, everything will be worth it because you don't have to worry about the time-consuming order fulfillment process. Plus! You will have the chance to offer your products to ready-to-buy Amazon Prime members worldwide. 

This guide will teach you everything you need to know, starting from setting up your account for FBA to creating a shipping plan. Plus, we will answer the common FBA shipping questions at the end of this article. Questions about Amazon FBA shipping rates, the supplies needed for shipment, FBA international shipping, and more. Here's a quick overview of what we will cover:

  1. Amazon-related definition of terms
  2. Set up FBA account 
  3. Assign a new product for FBA
  4. Prepare products to be "eCommerce-ready" 
  5. How to ship directly to Amazon FBA

1. Product selection

2. Set quantity 

3. Prepare products

4. Label products 

5. Preview/Review shipments

6. Prepare shipment

  1. Amazon fulfillment services tracking
  2. Common questions when you ship directly to Amazon FBA

Now, let's dig in:

Amazon-related definition of terms

If you're a newcomer, you will find yourself googling a couple of terms that you will encounter while selling on Amazon. Although starting an Amazon FBA business doesn't require a steep learning curve, a little knowledge about the so-called "Amazon-speak" can help you make an informed decision. Here are a few terms you should know: 

  • FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is a fulfillment service where you let Amazon store your products in their fulfillment centers and allow them to pick, pack, and ship it to your customers. Moreover, Amazon will handle your returns and customer service.
  • ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) is a ten-digit alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies products on Amazon. Whereas, every time a new product is created, an ASIN is assigned to it. You can find it in the product details page. 
  • FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) is how Amazon identifies a product as distinct to you, the seller, that has sent it to Amazon's fulfillment center.
  • MSKU (Merchant Stock Keeping Unit) is a barcode that Amazon uses to keep track of your inventory.
  • UPC (Universal Product Code) is a barcoding scheme used in the United States for retail packaging that consists of 12 digits.
  • FTL (Full Truckload Shipping) is perfect if you're transporting large or high-risk shipments. It is also ideal when your shipment can fill a full truckload, or you want a dedicated truck for it. This method is faster but more expensive.
  • LTL (Less than Truckload Shipping) is an affordable option for small business owners. However, you will share a space with multiple customers.
  • SPD (Small Parcel Delivery) is the best way to ship fewer than two pallets. Take note that it is in loose cartons and not on a pallet.
  • BOL (Bill of Lading) which means "a list of cargo," is an important document between you and the carrier. It is used for a receipt for goods, contract for carriage, and evidence of title.

Set up an FBA account 

As advised by Amazon, it would be better to register right away for FBA as you sign up for a Seller Central account. In the Billing/Deposit section, tick the checkbox labeled "Fulfillment by Amazon," as shown below:

Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

Or via a link at the bottom of the Seller Central page if you have an existing account. Once you click this link, you will be directed to this page:

Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

Amazon highly recommends this method rather than directly converting your listings as it will ensure you of all the functionality you need to get started with FBA.

In case you're still in the "deciding mode" of whether to opt for FBA or not, you can choose a Fulfillment Channel while you're creating a listing or assign an existing one to FBA as you prepare your inventory for shipment. First, let's discuss the option where you're creating a listing.

Assign a new product for FBA

Before you create a new listing, take note of the following:

  • It isn't in Amazon's catalog. Otherwise, all you need to do is create a new offer under the existing listing and add it as you prepare the product for shipment.
  • The product you're offering doesn't belong in the FBA restricted categories. Otherwise, you need Amazon's permission first before selling that product.

Now, let's go straight ahead on the part where you can choose a Fulfillment Channel by following the steps below:

  1. Login in to your Seller Central account
  2. Go to Inventory > Add a Product
  3. If the product is new, click on "Create a new product listing" link.
  4. Classify your product's category.
  5. Next is filling in the Listing Info.
  6. After you completed the Vital Info and Variations tabs, go to the Offer tab.
  7. On the Offer tab of the Listing Info, you will find the Fulfillment Channel at the end of the page.
Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

The Fulfillment Channel has two options, either you will fulfill the orders yourself or let Amazon do it. This is how you assign a new product for FBA.

Prepare products to be "eCommerce-ready"

Amazon requires that your inventory be "eCommerce-ready" before transporting to their fulfillment centers. If you fail to do so, you will experience a delay and additional charges due to unplanned services. You have an option to prepare the products by yourself or let Amazon do it.

What is an "eCommerce-ready" product? It is a product that follows the strict and ultra-specific Packaging and Prep Requirements of Amazon for FBA products.

How strict are FBA prep requirements? Let's cite some examples. 

If it is made of glass or fragile, wrap it in bubble wrap or put inside a box. It should not break even if it is dropped on a hard surface. For liquids in plastic bottles, you must tighten the lid of the container and place it in a transparent bag or apply a second seal. The bag must be sealed to prevent leakage. If it is packaged as a set and sold as a single item like multi-packs of food, seal it with a shrink wrap, a box, or a bag. Then put a "Sold as Set" or "Ready to Ship" label to the package.

For the complete guidelines, go to this link and better read it carefully to avoid unnecessary and costly consequences.

How to ship directly to Amazon FBA

First and foremost, ensure that you inform your supplier, manufacturer, or freight forwarder that Amazon will get your inventory from them for shipment. Moreover, the packages must be "eCommerce-ready" and better ask your supplier or freight forwarder additional information such as the number of cases, size and weight of cases, the weight of each item, number of items per case, and shipping address. In Stallion Express, we will provide the US "Ship From" address, which you can use when you start to ship directly to Amazon FBA, plus other shipping details you need from us.

After you settle these things, go to Inventory > Manage Inventory in your Seller Central account, and perform the following:

Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

1. Product selection

In the Manage Inventory page, choose the products you would want to ship directly to Amazon FBA by ticking the box next to the item:

Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

Select Change to Fulfilled by Amazon in the Actions pull-down menu. After this you may either select:

  • Convert & Send Inventory = if you're ready to create a shipment.
  • Convert = when you just want to ready the products for FBA shipment. 

Select Send/Replenish Inventory from the Actions pull-down menu. When you’re at this part, you may create a new shipping plan or add items to an existing shipping plan on this page. 

After this, enter the Ship from address, the location where Amazon will pick up your products. If you want to change it, click Ship from another address link.

Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

Determine the Packing type of the products that you will ship directly to Amazon FBA. You have two options, either individual products or case-packed products.

Once you're all good, click on Continue to create a shipping plan. 

2. Set quantity

The first part of the shipment creation workflow is the Set Quantity page. We suggest that you ensure you're providing the correct details (Information required) and remove the prohibited products (Removal required) before proceeding. 

Then, you may now set the quantity per product in the Unit per Case and Number of Cases textboxes under the All products tab.

In case you want to add more products to your shipment, click the Add Products button. You may add a product by searching its name, ASIN, or MSKU. But make sure that you already converted that product to FBA. If you haven't, return to step no. 1.

Everything's a-okay? Click Continue.

3. Prepare products

Next, you must see to it that all your items adhere to the product preparation requirements. This is the purpose of the Prepare Products page.

It shows you how you should prepare a product based on its category. There are seven prep categories: Fragile, Liquids, Textiles, Plus/baby, Sharp, Small, and Adult.

In the Who preps drop-down list, you may choose who will prepare your products. If you select Amazon, FBA will do it, providing that it has a UPC. Otherwise, you may do it yourself by selecting Merchant.

After everything's in order, you may now move forward to the labeling part.

4. Label products

On the Label Products page, check which products require labels by selecting the Labeling required tab. Enter the number of labels in the # of labels to print column and click Print labels for this page button to start printing. Labels are printed with FNSKU.

5. Preview/Review Shipments

You will have a chance to review and later approve your shipping plan in the Preview Shipment page. You may do this by clicking the View shipment contents to view the contents of each shipment.

After making sure you haven't missed anything, click Work on shipment to complete the shipment. Take note that if you do this action, the page turns to the Review Shipments page.

6. Prepare Shipment 

In the Prepare Shipment page, you will set on how you want to deliver your inventory to Amazon's fulfillment centers by selecting your preferred Shipping method and Shipping carrier. There are two shipping methods, namely, SPD and LTL.

For SPD (Small Parcel Delivery):

Choose your preferred carrier and type the number of boxes in the Set number of boxes. Once you enter the weight and the dimensions of each box, click Calculate to estimate your shipping charge. Select I agree to the terms and conditions and hit Accept charges.

It is now time to start printing the box labels, and you can do this by clicking Print box labels. Stick the FBA shipment labels to the boxes.

For LTL (Less than Truckload):

Select your chosen carrier and then indicate the number of boxes and the number of labels. Click Print box labels and affix them to the outside of each box.

Next is preparing your pallet. Enter the height and weight of your fully packed pallets and their quantity. Enter the shipment date under the Freight-ready date of when it will be ready for pick-up. 

Check the contact information first for correctness. You may now select your freight class from the drop-down list. Click Calculate to get your estimate and select I agree to the terms and conditions. Hit Accept charges.

Proceed to print by clicking the Print box labels. Post the FBA shipping label on each pallet.

You’ve now completed your first shipment! Congrats! But it doesn't end there because you can't relax yet until your shipment arrives safely at Amazon's fulfillment centers. This is where the Summary page in the shipment creation workflow will come in handy.

Amazon fulfillment services tracking

The Summary page lets you track your shipments, review its contents, and show you the fulfillment center's receiving status. In case any problems arise, you will be notified on this page and in the Shipping Queue.

Take into account that you must provide tracking numbers (for SPD), or BOL and freight numbers (for LTL and FTL) if you're not using an Amazon-partnered carrier. This is required if you want accurate Amazon fulfillment services tracking.

If you encounter any discrepancies, you can fix it in the Reconcile tab of the Summary page.

Now, let's discuss your pressing questions about Amazon FBA shipping.

5 Common questions when you ship directly to Amazon FBA

What are Amazon FBA shipping rates?

The rates are calculated based on the dimension and shipping weight. It has three categories, such as FBA Small and Light, Standard, and Oversize.

FBA Small and Light have a max dimension of 16" x 9" x 4", weighs 4 oz. or less, and costs $1.97 per unit. For Standard size tier, it starts at $2.50 with a dimension of 15" x 12" x 0.75" and 10 oz. or less. On the other hand, Oversize size tiers are products with 60" x 30" and 71 lb or less. Its starting rate is $8.26 + $0.38/lb above the first 2 lb.

Is there a Fulfilled by Amazon international shipping option?

Amazon has your back if ever you wanted to expand your online business worldwide. This is possible when you register and launch with Amazon Global Selling

You can also opt into FBA Export, where your products become eligible and available for export. Amazon will pick, pack, and ship your products to the customer at no additional cost. Enable FBA Export in your Seller Central account by clicking Settings > Fulfillment by Amazon > Export Settings. Remember that only standard-size units are eligible for this program.

How much is Amazon shipping for FBA Export?

There are two types of FBA Export. First is through Amazon, which you don't have to pay anything. The second one is through Multi-Channel Fulfillment which comes with a price, as shown in the table below:

Source: Screengrab from Amazon.com

Does Amazon FBA pay for shipping?

Here's how it works. You will pay for storage and fulfillment. But Amazon FBA will be the one to pay for shipping when your product is delivered to the customer.

What are the supplies needed for shipment?

Make sure you have the following before deciding to ship directly to Amazon FBA:

  • Product and shipment prep workspace
  • Zebra GX430t model printers with a direct thermal setting or a similar model
  • Scale for weighing boxes
  • Measuring tape
  • Printed copies of How to Prep Products and Shipping Matrix
  • Product labels (if applicable)
  • Paper for packing slips
  • Tape
  • Packing materials
  • Boxes
  • Polybags which are at least 1.5 mils thick
  • Opaque bags for adult products (if applicable)
  • Bubble wrap
  • "Ready to Ship" or "Sold as Set" labels

Key takeaways

The hands-off approach of inventory and shipping of Amazon FBA entices both new and seasoned sellers to sign up for it. Imagine letting the Earth's customer-centric company's global logistics empire handle your order fulfillment process while working on more important things like sourcing quality products and advertising. 

However, it all starts with properly setting up your FBA account and following the steps above on how to ship directly to Amazon FBA. You must also be proactive in monitoring and tracking your shipment to avoid its loss or damage. Once you do all of these, you will thoroughly enjoy the benefits of using Amazon FBA.

Are you ready to ship directly to Amazon FBA? Stallion Express has experienced consultants willing to help you with your shipping needs and concerns. For inquiries, you can call at +1 877-863-7447 or email [email protected]

Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.

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Written by Jenna M
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