So, you finally decided to kick off your Amazon journey. And like 94% of Amazon sellers, you prefer fulfilling orders through Amazon FBA. You sure have excellent taste. But you're not quite familiar with the process yet and don't want to mess up on your first shipment.
In this article, you'll learn why Amazon FBA is the best order fulfillment method around and how to send your first product to Amazon FBA facility. Let's dive in.
Why Choose Amazon FBA
Whenever you ship products on Amazon, you'll be asked to choose between two order fulfillment methods: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). FBA is when Amazon picks, packs, and ships your products, while FBM is when you ship the products yourself or hire a third-party logistics provider.
We've already established that you prefer FBA, but why exactly? How does it differ from FBM? What makes it more beneficial?
Here are some of the advantages of FBA over FBM:
- Your products can arrive at your Prime customers' doorsteps in two to three days instead of a week or longer if you ship them yourself or with a 3PL provider.
- With more storage than you'll ever have in your home or small warehouse, you have more freedom to scale your business.
- Amazon handles returns and refund requests, preventing delays that could escalate complaints.
- Shipping costs less and is even free for some products because Amazon secures huge discounts with shipping carriers.
- Amazon manages your customer service, saving time and maintaining positive customer engagement.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Sending Your First Product to Amazon FBA Facility
This guide covers the process of shipping one unit of product. Bulk listing and fulfillment will be covered in another blog post. If you don't have a verified Amazon seller account yet, you can create one here. Prepare documents, such as a valid government-issued ID or passport, recent bank account or credit card statement, chargeable credit or debit card, and contact details for faster processing.
To list your first product, go to Menu on the upper left side of your account page, then click Catalog and Add Products. One thing that sets Amazon apart from other platforms is that it doesn't allow duplicate listings. Once a product has been listed, it can never be relisted. So, if you think the product you wish to send already exists on Amazon, all you have to do is find it using its ASIN, UPC, EAN, or ISBN. Then, you can add it to your inventory and start selling.
Now that we've gotten the basics out of the way, it's time to send your product to an Amazon FBA facility. You can do this in three steps.
Step 1: Prepare your shipment.
Go to Menu again and look for Inventory. Then, click Manage All Inventory. This will lead you to all the products you've listed. Choose the product you wish to sell, and on the right side, click the Edit button to reveal the sub-menu. Choose Print Item Labels. You'll be asked to provide the number of units you wish to send. Put "1" since you're only sending one unit.
Format your label by choosing a dimension for your template from the preset selections. Template stickers with similar dimensions and properties are available on Amazon. You can purchase those or create your own. After choosing a template, click Print.
The template will automatically download on your computer. You can then print this template on the sticker you purchased from Amazon. Peel off one label and stick it on top of the existing barcode on your product. If you're sending more than one item in a single unit, each item should have a new barcode.
Important: Why does your product need a new barcode? It adds a layer of protection for you as the seller. If another seller ships the same product and their product gets damaged, Amazon won't be able to tell who sent it if it has a barcode similar to your product's. If you're unlucky, Amazon might write the damaged items under your name, resulting in a loss. With an Amazon FBA barcode, Amazon can quickly identify which items are yours.
The next step is to choose a box for your product. The box should be less than 63.5 cm on each side (length, width, and height). Seal the box with tape. Then, measure the box's dimensions again and write them down on your phone or a piece of paper. Take note of the box's weight, too. You'll need this information later.
Step 2: Create a shipping plan.
Go to Inventory and click Edit again. This time, click Send/Replenish Inventory. This step is where you prepare the box and make arrangements for your shipment. Amazon provides three precise but easy-to-understand instructions.
First, you need to choose the product you want to send. Since you're creating a shipping plan for the first time, you must enter the address where you want Amazon to pick up your product. It could be your home address or the supplier's address. Then, type in the number of units and follow Amazon's instructions on packaging and labeling your product. Next, click Pack Individual Units and enter the box details, including your product's weight and dimension, which you recorded earlier. Choose "Everything will fit into one box" since you're only sending one unit.
Important: If your box weighs more than 15 kg, it must have a warning label that says "heavy package." You can find a template of this label on Google or design it yourself. Print six copies and stick them on all sides of the box. Even if Amazon allows this, keeping each package below 22 kg is safer.
Second, confirm your shipping information. Decide on a shipping date, a shipment method, and a carrier. You'll be asked to choose between "small parcel delivery (SPD)" and "less than truckload (LTL)." Choose SPD since your product only comes in a box and will not be placed in a pallet. You'll notice that the default carrier option is UPS. That's because UPS is an Amazon-partnered carrier. It's the ideal choice if you're shipping within the US.
Third, print the label on the box. This is different from the label on your product's packaging. But, like the first set of labels, you need to follow Amazon's formatting guidelines. Choose the size that fits your box and print it on the sticker you purchased on Amazon or designed yourself.
Here's a tip: Stick this label on the sides of the box, not on top, to prevent damage during shipment. Also, make sure it doesn't run along the fold to make it easier for Amazon to scan the barcode.
Step 3: Schedule your shipment for collection.
After preparing your package, it's time for it to move out of your storage. On the same page, view the tracking details. You'll find it on a table that shows your package's FBA box label number and tracking ID #. Copy the tracking ID #.
Go to UPS.com and click Shipping. This is where you will schedule your shipment for collection. Go to Schedule a Collection and fill out the form. Paste the tracking ID # you copied earlier on the box. Then, press Next and Confirm. After this step, your product is ready to be picked up and sent to an Amazon warehouse.
Ship your first product through Amazon FBA now!
You now have the blueprint for your Amazon selling journey. All that's left is to take the risk and give it a shot. Once you grasp the shipment process, there's no other direction but forward. It may be bumpy, but if you stay focused on your entrepreneurial goal, you'll reach it no matter what. Start your first shipment today!