Amazon Packaging Requirements for FBA Sellers

If you sell products through Amazon, you know one of your primary decisions surrounds your fulfillment model—fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), fulfilled by merchant (FBM), or seller-fulfilled prime (SFP). 

An FBA seller can take advantage of the world leader in fulfillment and distribution and more easily move up the ranks of listing order and promotion, but it comes with a cost. Amazon packaging requirements are strict and must be followed. 

Let’s take a look at what that means.

Packaging Requirements vs. Shipping Requirements

When you ship inventory to an Amazon warehouse, you’ll need to pay careful attention to two separate levels of preparation. These are: 

  1. Shipment packing – Amazon FBA shipping requirements include how you group products for sale within a box, pallet, or truckload destined for an Amazon warehouse, including labeling, packaging material, weight limits, Amazon stock limits, and other guidelines.
  1. Unit packaging – Amazon FBA packaging requirements include how you package each unit for sale to the consumer, including labeling, barcoding, box or bag types, and so on.

In this article, we’ll focus on unit packaging. 

Amazon FBA Label Requirements

While it may be the last step you take in packaging your products for sale, labeling requires careful product compliance with Amazon policies. You can either apply labels outside of the Amazon product packaging or they can be under a transparent poly bag or shrink-wrap so long as they remain visible and scannable.

The most important component of your label is barcoding. These must be: 

  • Scannable 
  • Printed including the corresponding human-readable numbers
  • Unique to each unique product (so different for each color, size, etc.)
  • Either a manufacturer barcode (UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN) or Amazon barcode (FNSKU)
  • Singular; if you’re using FNSKU rather than UPC, ink out or cover the old barcode

Product labeling should also include: 

  • Expiration dates for relevant product types formatted as MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY
  • “Sold as set” labeling for multiple-item product listings
  • Suffocation warnings for poly bags

FBA Packaging Checklist for Each Unit

When your inventory arrives at an Amazon FBA warehouse, it needs to be ready to be stored, picked, and packed for shipment to the consumer most efficiently. Below are five key steps and considerations for FBA product packaging. 

#1: Group Items Together to Match Listing Description

The Amazon FBA warehouse needs to be able to easily select a unit for sale. If your product listing is for a set of salt and pepper grinders, they must already be packaged together and labeled appropriately when shipped to the warehouse. 

If a listing describes a set of multiple products for sale as a unit, such as 24 AAA batteries, they must also be labeled as such (i.e., “Sold as Set” or “Do Not Separate; Packaged for Sale as Set”). 

#2: Box, Bag, or Other Container

Amazon will not accept loose products. Although in a brick and mortar store, you may be able to pile stuffed animals in a pile on a shelf with only a price tag, at the Amazon warehouse each unit for sale must be fully enclosed in a box, bag, bubble wrapping, or shrink wrapping. 

You can package the product using: 

  • Boxes – Amazon FBA box requirements dictate a six-sided box that doesn’t easily open on its own and doesn’t collapse under medium pressure to any side. If it has perforations, drop it from three feet on each side and corner; if any of these cause the box to come open, it must be poly-bagged.
  • Poly bags – Select transparent poly bags, at least 1.5 mils thick with a minimum opening of five inches when measured flat that is completely sealed. Poly bags must also be printed or labeled with a suffocation label; Amazon Seller Central provides minimum print sizes relative to bag dimensions.  Additional poly bag requirements include:

1) Poly bags cannot protrude more than three inches past the product dimensions

2) If you’re selling adult products, poly bags must be opaque black

3) Products with strong scents should be bagged even if they’re box-packaged

  • Bubble wrap – Bubble wrap should be used to protect breakable products and those that could cause damage to other products during shipping. As with perforated boxes, these must pass a three-foot drop test on each side and corner. Wrap tightly and tape the bubble wrap shut so the product is secure.

#3: Extra Taping

Still concerned about your packaging? Apply extra tape to the product, box, poly bag, or bubble wrap if there is any concern that your product may: 

  • Slip out of the packaging
  • Leak (i.e., tape a lid or cap closed to prevent it coming loose inside the packaging)
  • Otherwise suffer or cause damage to the product, other products, or its environment

#4: Special Preparation Products

There are additional guidelines for certain types of products, such as Amazon ungated categories or gated categories. Note, if your product falls into multiple categories (i.e., baby products and plush products), you need to follow all relevant specifications. Amazon Seller Central provides specific packaging and preparation guidelines for: 

  • Liquids, pastes, gels, and creams
  • Pellets, powders, and granular products
  • Glass or ceramic breakable and fragile products
  • Batteries
  • Plush products
  • Sharp products
  • Apparel, fabric, and textiles
  • Jewelry
  • Small products
  • Plexiglas
  • Baby products
  • Adult products
  • Mattresses

#5: Labeling

Noted above: legible, accurate, and visible labeling is critical to your shipment being accepted at the warehouse and available to your customers. Bad labeling can cause shipments to be refused, returned (at your expense), or destroyed. 

Ready to Try Something New?

Once you build your FBA business, what’s the next step for your financial future? One option is to sell your Amazon FBA to Forum Brands. We are uniquely situated to understand the value of your business and provide you with the capital to take on new ventures. 

Reach out today to learn more! 

Sources: 

Amazon Seller Central. FBA product barcode requirements. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/201100910?language=en_US&ref=efph_201100910_cont_201100890

Amazon Seller Central. Packaging and prep requirements. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/G200141500?language=en_US&ref=efph_G200141500_cont_G201730840

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