Prepping FBA Shipments For First Timers – A Beginners Guide

by | Dec 19, 2016 | All Posts, Beginners, Uncategorized |


Shipping and preparing your first inventory shipment to Amazon is arguably the most underrated and overlooked part of the whole process. Ship your goods incorrectly and you risk your products being damaged, damaging your other products (think liquids leaking) or even being rejected by Amazon warehouses.

Amazon has very strict packaging guidelines in place and enforces them very strictly. Amazon’s number one priority is making sure the customer has the best shopping experience possible.

Following the guidelines in this article will help you prepare your first FBA shipment correctly and ensure you get positive feedback, your account remains in a healthy state and you can continue to trade.

For beginners who are just starting it, the process can often be intimidating and confusing due to all the different rules that must be complied with. When prepping your inventory you have two options. Either prep the goods yourself or have them delivered to a prep centre for preparation and forwarding to Amazon.

Prepping your items yourself in the early days of growing your business is a good way to save cash while building your business. The essential items you will need to complete your own product preparation are in my previous post here.

Prepping Guidance

All individual SKU items must be contained within a single package. Amazon does not accept products requiring assembly of multiple separate pieces at their dock (for example, beds where frames and slats come in separate boxes).

All products must contain an FNSKU identified that covers the existing product barcode (the exceptions to this being if you ask Amazon to label your products for you or you are enrolled in the commingled inventory system – commingled inventory is something that I recommend you do not enrol in).

The FNSKU identifier is basically Amazon’s own barcode that they use to identify stock. To generate this barcode check my video here.

Safety: You are required to use safety knives with covered blades in packing and distribution of Amazon deliveries to prevent sharp objects such as blades being accidentally causing injury to Amazon Associates or Amazon customers.

➤ Liquids — Shampoos, gels, face wash or any other cosmetic items in liquid form must be properly bagged and not exceed 1,000 ml. FBA guidelines also stipulate that the bottle containing the liquid should be able to withstand a fall from a hand height. I personally use these poly bags to bag all my liquids. This stops any potential leakages damaging the rest of my stock.

“Liquids and Fabrics should be poly bagged”

 ➤ Glass/Breakables  These items are most fragile and suffer the most chance of being damaged while being transported. To avoid any such incidents, Amazon requires you to bubble-wrap or put items in a protective box. The items also need to pass the drop test from a hand height. I buy my bubble wrap from Amazon.

“Glass and breakables should be wrapped in bubble wrap”

➤ Plush toys/fabrics — Fabrics and soft toys, when left in the open, can accumulate dust and become dirty. To prevent this, you need to pack/ bag them to prevent them being exposed to dust or water. If you don't, Amazon will not accept the goods. I personally use the following Amazon poly bags.

➤ Small items  Anything with the longest side smaller than the width of a credit card needs to be poly bagged.

Grocery or other perishable items — Need to have a clearly marked expiry date.

All Poly bags larger than 5” in width should be clearly marked with a suffocation warning.  You can either buy poly bags with warnings printed onto them or simply apply warning stickers to clear poly bags.

suffocation warning

“Poly bags greater than 6″ in width need suffocation warnings”

Shipping Boxes

Double-walled boxes are ideal when shipping inventory due to their extra strength and durability. When I first started out, I found good places for sourcing free boxes were the local supermarket or from Amazon itself.

➤ Boxes must not weigh more than 30 kilogrammes; and

  Boxes weighing between 15kg and 30kg must be marked ‘Heavy Package' (viewable from both the top and sides of each heavy-weight container).

Boxes may only be packed with certain forms of dunnage (this is just items to fill up the spare box space) which will protect your goods from being damaged during transit.

List of approved forms of dunnage:

Kraft Paper Roll – I simply use this and buy it straight from Amazon;

➤ Polythene Rolls;

➤ Newspaper;

Air Pillows; and

Thermocol Sheets.

List of unapproved forms of dunnage:

➤ Shredded paper;

➤ Thermocol chips;

➤ Styrofoam peanuts; and

➤ Crinkle wrap.

You can download the official Amazon FBA Packaging Requirements guide here.

“Boxes weighing between 15kg and 30kg must be marked ‘Heavy Package”


➤ Your essential item list for efficiently prepping your items is located here;
➤ Liquids and fabrics should be poly bagged;
➤ Glass and breakables should be wrapped in bubble wrap;
➤ Poly bags greater than 6″ in width need suffocation warnings;
➤ Boxes must not weigh more than 30 kilogrammes; and
 Boxes weighing between 15kg and 30kg must be marked ‘Heavy Package’.

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