Step-by-Step: How to Ship Products to Amazon’s Warehouses
So you’ve sourced your products and you’re now ready to start selling them to your potential customers. Since this is your first time with Amazon FBA, you’re all excited and pumped up until you realize and asked yourself, how are you actually supposed to do it?
How exactly do you ship your products to Amazon in the first place? What are the steps involved in getting this done?
Before we jump to the steps, it’s important to note there are two ways to do this. You can either ship the product directly from China to Amazon or ship the product to yourself or to a US-based middleman (presuming you’re selling to the US), then send it to Amazon’s warehouses.
The difference lies in communication and familiarity with Amazon’s requirements. If you’re shipping from China, you need to instruct your suppliers to prepare the product according to Amazon specifications. You see, Amazon can reject your package if it doesn’t comply with their standards. Though suppliers are usually familiar with the process, there’s always the chance of miscommunication or incorrect labelling.
Sending the goods to yourself or to a US-based middleman may put you in a safer position because there’s likely clearer communication, knowledge of the process, and a quality inspection before they are sent to Amazon.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, below are the steps you need to take to ship your product to Amazon:
1. Prepare your shipping plan
The first step is to get all the details ready for the Incoming Inventory Order you will be raising in Seller Central. You’ll need the following information to build an incoming inventory order:
- Number of Units and Cases – There are two things you need to remember. First, Amazon has a limit of 150 units per case and that boxes over 50lbs need to be marked “team lift.” As long as you follow these conditions, your shipment should be okay.
- Universal Product Code (UPC) – new products require a UPC which you can buy and send to Amazon as a way of telling them that you’d be introducing new products to the market.
- Who does the packing and preparation? – For this part, it will be better to have your suppliers handle the preparation. With Amazon’s popularity, it’s rare for these suppliers not to know the processes and guidelines for shipping products to Amazon FBA.
The only thing you have to make sure is that suppliers understand Amazon’s fulfilment center guidelines specific to the goods you are sending (loose products, products with expiration, etc.)
- Are you going to use Amazon’s FBA Label service? – Each product you ship to Amazon requires a scannable barcode for storage and fulfilment purposes.
- Who’s your shipping partner? – You have 2 options to choose from if you are to use a local shipping partner. You either use one of Amazon’s partner carriers who will provide you the tracking numbers and barcodes (UPS recommended), or any other carrier. Just take note of the tracking number and give them to Amazon.
- Weight and Size of order – You’ll need to provide Amazon with details about the weight and dimension of the product you’re sending. Just make sure to specify weight in pounds and dimension in inches. If your supplier will be the one sending the goods, you have to get this information from them.
- Location you are shipping your products from – For the last part, you just need to give the location where the shipment will be coming from along with the tracking number associated with it.
With a couple of fulfilment centers in each marketplace, it is worth noting that Amazon may require you to separate your products into a couple of shipments so they can send them to different warehouses. The reason being that delivery will be much faster if the product is spread across different locations.
2. Creating your Shipping Plan
Now that you’ve got the necessary information ready, the next step is to fill out your shipping plan and create the shipping labels. To make things easier for you, we’re going to do it step-by-step.
- In Seller Central, go to the menu bar and click on “Inventory.” This will take you to the “Manage Inventory” page.
- Check the box directly to the left side of your product. It should now indicate “Action on 1 Selected” just above it.
- From the drop-down menu select “Send/Replenish Inventory.” Make sure “Create a Shipping Plan” is selected on the screen that follows.
- Enter the address where the shipment will come from. This is usually your supplier’s address.
- For the Packing type, select “Case Packed” if all your products have the same ASIN or “Individual” if they have different ones.
- On the “Set Quantity” tab, fill out the “Units per case” and “Number of cases” fields.
- You will be shown the FBA prep requirements screen after clicking on Continue. If your product is already packed, just click on continue. If you want Amazon to do all the packing and preparation for you though, click on the “Prep may be required” tab.
- Select “Amazon” under the “Who Preps?” drop-down list then click continue to proceed to the “Label Products” page.
- Make sure Amazon is selected under the “Who Labels?” field. Otherwise, change it then click continue.
- On the “Review Shipments” page, go over all the information you provided again before clicking on “Approve Shipments.”
- Click on “Work on Shipment.”
- Select “Small Parcel Delivery” under “Shipping Method.”
- For “Shipping Carrier,” select “Amazon-Partnered Carrier (UPS)” if you have a local supplier in the US. Select “Other Carrier” if you’re going to use your own or if you’re using a supplier outside of the US.
- For “Shipment Packing,” fill out the fields for “Number of Boxes”, “Box weight (lb.)”, and “Box dimensions (in.)”
- For “Shipping Charges,” if you see the “Shipping charges” field, you can click on calculate so you will have an idea of the cost it will incur. Click “Accept Changes” when you’re done.
- For “Shipping Labels,” simply click on “Print Box Labels” so you can save the PDF and send it over to your supplier.
- Click on “Complete Shipment” when you’re done.
With your shipping plan complete and accomplished, it’s now time to send your shipping labels to your suppliers since they’ll need these if they are going to be the ones to send your product to Amazon. Just make sure that the products were packed and prepared correctly according to Amazon’s guidelines to avoid problems before UPS picks them up.
You can always track the status of your shipment at any time through Seller Central. Amazon will also be sending you emails once they receive your product so make sure those are scanned and saved to inventory before closing the shipping queue ticket.
As a necessary precaution in case Amazon loses your shipment, make sure to assign a retail price for your product in Seller Central before sending them to inventory. By doing this, you’ll be able to get some of your money back based on your product’s retail value.
That’s basically it!
You now know the essentials of how to send your product to Amazon and should be ready to send your first shipment. In addition, we would also like you to become familiar with the following shipping terminologies which will come in handy if you ever have the need for it.
Inventory Placement Service
Remember what we said earlier about how Amazon distributes your products across multiple locations? Well, you can now send all of them to just one fulfilment center (though you don’t get to pick which one) via Amazon’s new service called the Inventory Placement Service.
This option isn’t really something we would recommend for first timers but it is undeniable that it does offer some advantages. One of these advantages is that you’ll be doing your customers a favor, especially those who order in bulk because they’d be receiving your products in one shipment instead of separate ones.
This will also help reduce the likelihood of mistakes like putting on the wrong shipping labels or sending to the wrong fulfilment centers in the case of sending your inventory to multiple fulfilment centers.
It’s also worth noting that the feature will cost you $0.30 for each standard size unit and $1.30 for each oversized unit.
Using Freight Forwarders
While Amazon allows the sending of inventory from an International Supplier straight to their fulfilment centers, it’s important to know that they won’t take responsibility for the shipment should something unexpected happens so you have to talk to your suppliers to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Your best option is to use a freight forwarding company because apart from taking care of your shipments and sending them to Amazon, they will also take care of the customs issues and be your onsite quality assurance checker, making sure that everything’s in place on your behalf.
They’ll take care of some of the hassle, allowing you to avoid certain headaches.
The process of shipping your products to Amazon can be overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it for the first time, as it is for any new venture you dive into. It’s complicated and takes a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it.
Once your products reach Amazon’s fulfilment centers, you have nothing more to worry about. You can just sit back, relax, and have a cup of coffee because Amazon will be the one to ship your products to your customers. “All” you have to do is drive customers to your product listings so they can see what products you have to offer and ultimately buy them. That’s it!
Remember Amazon’s motto: “You sell it, we ship it”. But for that to happen, you obviously have to successfully send your product to Amazon first. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand the process.