Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service in which Amazon stores, packs, ships products for its sellers and provides customer service on behalf of them. This includes responding to customer inquiries about fulfillment, shipping, exchanges, refunds, and returns. As an Amazon seller, it is important to create an ‘FBA Shipping Plan’ to ensure that your shipping process runs smoothly and that you take advantage of Amazon FBA service. From a seller's perspective, the key to an FBA shipping plan is getting your products safely to Amazon's warehouses, as Amazon performs almost all of the work for you once the Amazon consumer has completed the purchase process. Amazon provides sellers with a user-friendly platform called ‘Amazon Seller Central’ to efficiently manage their inventory, shipping, and orders. You can think of it as the ‘admin page’ of your online store. The FBA shipping plan in Seller Central is called ‘Send to Amazon’. If you're not familiar with the Send to Amazon process, it can be overwhelming and intimidating, so we would like to walk you through it step by step in this article. Please use this guide only as a reference because there may be differences between sellers, categories, and products.
The process of creating a shipping plan can be divided into three main steps: Step 1 is the pre-review step, which is to collect and prepare information before creating a shipping plan in Seller Central. Step 2 is to directly create a shipping plan using Send to Amazon on the Seller Central, which includes the process of first-time shipment of new products to Amazon FBA for the first time and the process of inventory replenishment of existing products. Step 3 is to package the products, deliver them to the forwarding company, and enter the tracking code on the shipping plan. This is the process of sending products to an Amazon Fulfillment Center (FBA). Let's take a closer look at each step.
I. Pre-review of shipping plan: Check listing product and outbox size (Outbox, Carton box: Boxes containing multiple items)
To fill out the FBA Shipping Plan - Send to Amazon, you need to make sure that your listing has the package size and capacity information for your product. You also need to make sure that the carton box you are using meets Amazon's outbox regulations. It is not uncommon for foreign sellers to make clerical errors when creating a shipping plan due to the units used in the U.S. These errors not only create a hassle but can also cause financial losses. Therefore, it is important to become familiar with at least two of these units: weight and size. In the U.S., weight is typically expressed in pounds, with one pound being approximately 0.4536 kilograms. Size is usually expressed in inches, with one inch being approximately 2.54 centimeters.
Check listing information: From the Seller Central’s Manage Inventory page, go to Edit Listing mode. On the listing page, under 'more details', check whether the size (inches) and capacity (lbs) information is entered in the 'package dimension' field. If not, fill in the field accordingly.
[Go to Seller Central’s Manage Inventory page]
[Select Edit Listing mode] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
[Edit Listing page - More details] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Check outbox size:
Since Amazon has a very strict outbox policy, sending an outbox that fails to comply with its requirements to an Amazon fulfillment center can result in the cancellation of your FBA service. Therefore, sellers should prepare and ship their products in outboxes that comply with Amazon’s box dimensions and weight.
- Box dimensions: Boxes containing multiple items of different sizes must not exceed 25 inches (63.5 centimeters) on all sides.
- Box weight: Boxes containing multiple items can weigh up to 50 pounds (22.68 kg), and boxes containing a single item can weigh more than 50 pounds (22.68 kg) but must be labeled separately. The additional labels are different for boxes weighing over 50 pounds and over 100 pounds.
II. Send to Amazon
- - For single item, 50+ lb boxes: Place a label that reads ‘Team Lift’ on the top and sides of the box
- - For single item, 100+ lb boxes: Place a label that reads ‘Mechanical Lift’ on the top and sides of the box
Once your products listed, you can convert them to Amazon FBA service. For new products, you can fill out 'Send to Amazon' after reviewing FBA service conversion and product safety information for those available for FBA service. The entire process will be performed at the 'Inventory' page on Amazon Seller Central.
Convert new products to FBA service and submit product safety information:
Go to Amazon Seller Central 'Inventory' 'Manage All Inventory', and on the Manage Inventory page, 1) select the products you want to send to Amazon Fulfillment Center, and 2) click 'Change to Fulfilled by Amazon' from the dropdown menu in the upper left corner.
[Convert new products to FBA service] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
When you first convert new products FBA service, there is a process to verify the safety of your products. To prevent potential health and safety risks, Amazon collects hazardous materials information related to all products sold on Amazon. Amazon defines ‘hazardous material’ as any substance or material that can pose a hazard during storage, handling, or transportation because it is flammable, pressurized, corrosive, or contains other harmful substances. Surprisingly, some of the most common products we use in our daily life fall into this category. This includes consumer products like laptops, smartphones, household cleaners, spray paint, and cosmetics.
If your product is not related to batteries or dangerous goods, select ‘No’ and click submit.
[Enter product safety information for conversion to Amazon FBA service]
[Product not related to batteries and not classified as dangerous goods]
For battery-related products, select the relevant option to provide the information, and for dangerous goods products, provide additional information as suggested. The same applies if you are not sure what information you need to provide regarding dangerous goods. Provide Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information or submit dangerous goods documentation as requested by Amazon to perform the review process. The review process can take several days and additional requests may be made, so you need to keep monitoring.
[In case of battery-related products / dangerous goods products / unclear dangerous goods information] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
If you are uncertain about your dangerous goods information, fill in all the fields provided and select the Submit button, and check any additional requests. If there are any documentation requirements, fill them out and submit them for review.
Once the safety information is entered and the process is finalized, you can either 1) convert the selected products to FBA service only, or 2) convert them to FBA service and create a shipping plan directly from the inventory management page.
[Final page of conversion to FBA service] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Create Shipping Plan - Send to Amazon: The next step is creating a shipping plan to ship products to Amazon fulfillment center. This process is the equivalent of the ‘replenishment’ process for the existing products. Now, start creating your Amazon shipping plan. Similar to Change to FBA service, click the checkboxes of the products you want to ship on the Manage Inventory page and select ‘Replenish inventory’ and go to ‘Send to Amazon’ workflow. The ‘Send to Amazon’ workflow consists of four steps, including entering the carrier tracking code.
[Seller Central Manage Inventory – Replenish Inventory] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
[Send to Amazon 3-step Workflow] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Send to Amazon Workflow Step 1: Step 1 items include the product's ship-from address, product packaging, label, box quantity, and expiration date (for food). The ship-from address is set as the address you entered when you signed up as a seller, and you can change it in the edit mode.
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 1 – Set ship-from address] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
You also need to set up your product packaging. Since most sellers pack their products individually in the local countries or in the manufacturing country and ship them to Amazon fulfillment centers in the U.S. due to cost differences, click the drop-down menu and select ‘No prep required’. This means that the seller will package and ship the product on their own. The labeling will be processed with barcode. If a seller wants to use Amazon's packaging services, they will need to contact Amazon Seller Support.
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 1 - Product packaging and labeling]
(Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Once you set the quantity of products to be shipped and the number of boxes, step 1 is completed. For food products, you need to set the expiration date, which should be at least 105 days.
The 'Boxes' option is disabled at default, but it will appear after setting the quantity of products. In the box information settings section, you can enter the relevant details.
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 1 - Set quantity to send]
(Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Send to Amazon Workflow Step 2: In Step 2, you need to set the delivery date, shipping mode, shipping carrier, and shipping method. Once you have finalized these settings, you will be able to check the address of your Amazon fulfillment center or warehouse.
The ‘ship date’ is the date that you shipped your products to Amazon fulfillment center, and you can fill in the date that you shipped your products to the carrier, while the ‘delivery window’ is the date that you need to set if you are using a non-Amazon partnered carrier.
The ‘delivery window’ date is the timeframe by which the shipment is expected to arrive at the Amazon fulfillment center. Even though the date is an estimate, it is best to provide precise timeline if possible.
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 2 - Set ship date, shipping mode, etc.] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Send to Amazon Workflow Step 3: Step 3 is printing shipping box labels. You can choose an option from the dropbox, and the label will be provided as a PDF file.
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 3 – Print box labels]
(Source: Amazon Seller Central)
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 3 – Sample FBA box label] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
* For palletized shipments, check the pallet information and print the labels. Pallet labels come in sets of four.
[Send to Amazon Workflow - Sample FBA pallet label] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Lastly in Step 4, you need to do a few things to enter your shipment's tracking ID.
1) Attach the printed FBA box labels to each box.
2) Create a carrier label and deliver the shipment to the carrier.
Enter the tracking ID that you received from the carrier, and you are done creating your shipping plan.
[Send to Amazon Workflow Step 4 – Enter tracking ID] (Source: Amazon Seller Central)
Creating a FBA shipping plan in Amazon Seller Central is crucial to ensure smooth inventory management and shipping process. If you are a new seller starting your Amazon business or a new team member working on Amazon, we hope that this step-by-step guide for ‘Send to Amazon’ will give you the confidence to create your own shipping plan and perform a series of shipment tasks. # References
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