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Steps to Shipping Your Products to Amazon FBA

Geri Mileva
November 27, 2023
May 7, 2024
Steps to Shipping Your Products to Amazon FBA

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) helps you optimize and streamline your e-commerce operations. FBA lets you take advantage of Amazon’s fulfillment centers, which expertly handle your products and customer service tasks. What’s more, enrolling in FBA also allows you to ship globally and target Amazon Prime members.

Shipping products to FBA involves a complex process, though, so review these steps carefully.

How to Ship Products to Amazon FBA

Step 1: Set up FBA.

After creating an Amazon seller account, log in to Seller Central to set up FBA. Review the FBA costs and estimate your potential spending for each product you want to enroll in FBA.

Step 2: Enroll products in FBA.

You can enroll products in FBA from Seller Central in two ways.

One is by selecting “Amazon will ship and provide customer service (FBA)” when you add new inventory. You’ll find this option in the “Offer tab.”

The other is enrolling existing products in FBA. Click or tap “Manage Inventory” when you hover over “Inventory” in the Seller Central main menu. Select “Edit” from the drop-down menu on the right of the product you want to send to FBA. Then, click “Change to Fulfilled by Amazon.”

Whichever option you choose, remember to double-check your products’ dimensions to avoid inventory issues due to inaccurate measurements.

Step 3: Prepare and pack your products.

Below is Amazon’s checklist for prepping and packing your products for shipping. Be sure that all of these are included in the packaged items:

  • “Shipping from” address
  • Product measurements
  • Case sizes
  • Boxes for shipping
  • Poly bags and bubble wrap
  • Shipping scale
  • Label printer
  • Avery 5160 or 8160 papers for printing Amazon’s barcodes

Step 4: Ship your products.

In this step, you’ll follow the “Send to Amazon” workflow in Seller Central, which simplifies FBA shipment creation. Carefully review the steps below.

  • Step 1: Choose inventory to send.

Go to the main menu of the Seller Central homepage. Navigate to “Inventory” and click “Manage FBA Shipments.” Then click the “Send to Amazon” link. It will take you to a page showing a list of all of your SKUs that have been converted to FBA.

Choose inventory to send to Amazon

Set the address you want to ship from and the marketplace destination. Note that the marketplace destination, which is Amazon’s fulfillment center, can’t be changed once it’s been confirmed.

You can add inventory to FBA in two ways: by using case packs—which are shipping boxes with one or more units of the same SKU—or by adding the inventory as individual units with different SKUs. You can choose both since you can add case packs and individual units to the same workflow.

If you use case packs, Amazon recommends creating reusable case pack templates to provide your box content information, measurement and weight details, and prep and labeling information. Since you’re putting these details in a reusable template, you won’t need to re-enter them anymore next time you ship that SKU.

Once that’s done, enter a number for “Quantity to Send.” You can select the recommended quantity that’s been determined based on your shipment history. For example, 10 for “Boxes” and 100 for “Units.” These quantities indicate that each box contains 10 sellable units. Click “Ready to Send” when you’re done.

If you want to add individual units to the workflow, select “Individual Units” under “Packing Details” on the Choose Inventory to Send page. Then, enter the prep and labeling information of each unit. You can change the Prep Category for each SKU by clicking “Set Prep Category.” Choose a category from the drop-down menu for the Prep for each unit pop-up window, then click “Save.”

To specify the prep or label owners, or both, click “Set prep and label owner.” A pop-up window will appear in which you can select whether the edits will apply to the chosen packing templates only or to all of them. Then, under “Packing labels,” select an owner from the drop-down menus for “Who preps units?” and “Who labels units?” 

Click “Save” and close the pop-up window. Next, enter the number of units and click “Ready to pack.” Then, provide the box content information for the other SKUs in “Step 1b: Pack individual units.” You can also print all SKU labels by clicking “Print all SKU labels” next to the “Pack individual units” button.

Now that you’ve added all the inventory you want to send to FBA, click “Confirm and continue.”

  • Step 1b: Pack individual units. (Skip if you’re shipping case packs)
Pack individual units

As mentioned, you should proceed to Step 1b to enter the box content information for every SKU. 

You can create pack groups when packing individual units and put multiple SKUs in a pack group in any combination. For example, various types of apparel can go into one pack group. However, you shouldn’t mix SKUs from one pack group with SKUs from another pack group. For example, an apparel from Pack Group 1 can’t be packed with another apparel from Pack Group 2.

If all units in a pack group fit into a single box, select “Everything will fit into one box” and click “Confirm.” Enter the shipment’s weight and dimension details, then click “Confirm packing information.”

If the units in a pack group will be shipped in multiple boxes, select “Multiple boxes will be needed” and click “Confirm.” Provide the packing information for the boxes through any of the three methods under “How will box content information be provided?”: “Enter through a web form,” “Upload Excel File,” or “Amazon manually processes the box contents.” The last option costs $0.15 per unit.

Use a web form if you’re packing less than 12 units. Enter the estimated number of boxes and click “Open web form.” Provide the required box content information in the form, then click “Confirm packing information” once you’re done.

If you have more than 12 units to pack, choose and upload an Excel file. Estimate how many boxes the SKUs need, then click “Generate Excel file.” Download the template, open it in Excel, then enter all the required information. Ensure that your entries for “Expected Quantity” and “Boxed Quantity” are the same. Save the file when you’re done and upload it to the workflow by clicking “Upload and validate file.”

You can go back to Step 1 if you need to update the SKU quantity you want to send to FBA. Note that the pack groups can change when you add or remove SKUs. If you’re uploading an Excel file, you should update the box content information in the file and reupload it.

Once you’ve provided the correct box content information for all pack groups, click “Confirm and continue.”

  • Step 3: Confirm shipping.

Depending on the SKUs you selected in Step 1, your inventory could be sent to different Amazon fulfillment centers. To know where your shipments will be allocated, click “View Contents” under each shipment (e.g., Shipment #1). You can download a pack list to see the SKUs in every shipment. You can also print your SKU labels here if you haven’t already.

After reviewing your shipments, look for the shipment date field directly below “Step 2 – Confirm Shipping.” Enter the date when you’ll hand off your inventory. If you’re unsure when to ship them out, make a guess in the meantime. You can enter an accurate date later.

Next, choose a shipping mode. Your options are small parcel delivery (SPD) and less than truckload (LTL), which refers to pallets. You can choose multiple shipping modes by unchecking the “Shipping Mode” checkbox.

If you choose SPD, you must pick a carrier that will ship your products to FBA. It’s highly recommended to select an Amazon Partnered Carrier to get discounted rates. Moreover, you can print shipping labels within the workflow.

If you prefer a different carrier, select one from the drop-down menu under “Non-Amazon partnered carrier.” You can choose “Other” if you’re undecided or if you want to use more than one carrier.

Review the estimated shipping fees shown on the bottom-right corner of the screen, then click “Accept and confirm shipping” if you won’t change anything.

If you choose LTL as a shipping mode, you’ll see the estimated pallet configuration, which depends on the box content information you provided in Step 1. The pallet configuration estimates your LTL shipping fees. 

Review the shipments and click “Confirm shipping destinations” afterward. This creates your shipment and generates an ID for each of them.

  • Step 3: Print box labels.

With your shipments confirmed, you can review their details on the workflow, such as shipment name, shipment ID, shipment contents, and more. You can modify a shipment’s name by clicking “Rename” beside “Shipment name.” You can also edit the shipment contents by clicking the arrow beside “Shipment contents” to extend that section. Click “View or edit contents.” A pop-up window will appear, showing how your boxes are allocated across each shipment. Print the pack list and update the units’ quantity within a shipment by six units or 5% of those units, whichever is higher. Click “Validate updates” once you’ve finalized the quantity changes.

If you need to change more units than the limits allow, click “Delete shipment and charges” at the bottom of the page. This cancels the workflow.

To print box labels, select the box and shipping label size from the drop-down menu within the shipping card. Click “Print” to generate a PDF file with the labels for each box in your shipment. 

If you use an Amazon Partnered Carrier for your SPD, a shipping label and an FBA box ID label will be generated for each shipment. On the other hand, if you use a non-Amazon partnered carrier, they will be responsible for your boxes’ shipping labels. 

Ensure that the correct shipping labels are applied to the boxes to prevent delays and other issues. For SPDs, apply one shipping label per box and box labels. For LTL shipments, apply one shipping label per pallet.

After handing off an SPD to a non-Amazon partnered carrier, go back to the workflow and click “Proceed to enter tracking details” in Step 3. Enter the carrier’s tracking ID in the field provided. Then click “Save” to update the shipment’s status to “Shipped.” You can track the shipment by clicking “Track shipment” at the bottom of the page.

If you use an Amazon Partnered Carrier, they will automatically provide the tracking information after picking up your items. Click “View tracking details” on the workflow. This completes the Send to Amazon workflow for SPDs. On the other hand, if you have LTL shipments, proceed to the next step by clicking “Continue to carrier and pallet information.”

  • Step 4: Confirm carrier and pallet information. 

If you use an Amazon Partnered Carrier for your LTL shipment, select the “Amazon partnered carrier” tab on the workflow. Enter the freight ready date, which is when the carrier can pick up the shipment. If you’re sending an LTL shipment for the first time, add the contact information for someone at your pickup location so that they can coordinate with the carrier. Otherwise, select an existing contact.

Next, organize your boxes in pallets if you haven’t done so yet. Enter the pallet information for each shipment; Amazon pre-determines the details based on the box content information you provided in Step 1. Verify if they are correct, then click “Confirm” to view the estimated carrier fees.

To brief you on the details in the pallet information section, these include the freight class, a standardized classification system determining a shipment’s billable weight and risk. It runs on a scale of 50-500, and you can enter them on the workflow manually or use Amazon’s estimates instead.

You can also see a field for the freight declared value, but filling it is optional. If left blank, Amazon will assume that your inventory’s value is Freight Declared Value = ($1.50 * Shipment Weight). 

The rest of the details you’ll find in the pallet information section include configuration weight, box height, a drop-down menu for whether it’s stackable or not, and count, which specifies the number of pallets for each configuration.

After confirming the pallet information for all your LTL shipments, click “Confirm carrier and pallet information” to accept the carrier charges. This completes the workflow for LTL shipments with an Amazon Partnered Carrier.

If you’re using a non-Amazon partnered carrier, click the “Non-partnered carrier (use your own carrier)” tab under the Step 4 heading. Palletize your boxes if you haven’t done so yet, and confirm the pallet information of each shipment. Then click “Print” to print four copies of the FDA pallet ID and shipping labels for each pallet. The ID labels include details that the fulfillment center can use to verify your shipment’s arrival and contents. Place one label on each side of the pallet to let forklift operators see them while handling your shipments in the fulfillment center.

Next, select your non-partnered carrier. Choose “Other” if your carrier isn’t included in the drop-down list. Then click “Proceed to enter tracking details.”

Enter the PRO or Freight bill number your carrier provided. If you also have a bill of lading (BOL) number, you may enter it along with the PRO/freight bill number. Click “Save” to update your shipment’s status to “Shipped.” This ends the workflow for LTL shipments with a non-Amazon partnered carrier.

  • Step 5: Print pallet labels.

This additional step applies for LTL shipments with an Amazon Partnered Carrier. Select a print format from the “Pallet labels” drop-down menu. For example, thermal printer. 

Click “Print pallet labels.” Four copies of the FDA pallet ID and shipping labels will be generated. Place one label per side of the pallet. You can also print the BOL if you click “View tracking details.” The BOL is generated before 8 AM on the morning of the pickup. You must provide the BOL for each pallet and the Amazon Reference Number (ARN) to the carrier to allow them to schedule a delivery appointment. You can track your LTL shipments by clicking “Track shipments” at the bottom of the page. 

This concludes the entire Send to Amazon workflow.

Step 5: Track your inventory.

Now that you have finished the workflow, you can track your inventory and manage stock levels from your FBA dashboard. You can find this dashboard by going to the Seller Central main menu, hovering over “Inventory,” and clicking “Dashboard” under Fulfillment by Amazon.

Track Your Inventory

You can monitor shipments or create new ones using the “Shipments” tab. To track, plan, and restock inventory, click the “Inventory” tab.

You can also use the FBA Restock Inventory tool to eliminate guesswork from your inventory operations. This tool helps you plan shipment quantities and timeframes, makes custom recommendations based on sales history, predicts demand and seasonality, and provides replenishment settings. 

Amazon FBA Costs

FBA costs depend on the products you sell and the services you use. The Send to Amazon workflow shows cost estimates, and you can also use Amazon’s Revenue Calculator to compare FBA cost estimates and your own fulfillment method. 

To give you an overview of FBA fulfillment costs, it ranges from $3.22 to $3.77 for small standard non-apparel shipments with a maximum dimension of 15" x 12" x 0.75". However, during the peak season, which runs from October 14 to January 14, the costs increase from $3.42 to $3.97. The final cost depends on the shipping weight, which can go from less than 4 oz to 16 oz for small standard, non-apparel shipments.

For large standard non-apparel shipments with a maximum dimension of 18” x 14” x 8” and weighing less than 4 oz to 20 lbs., the cost ranges from $3.86 to $7.17. It increases from $4.16 to $ $7.67 during the peak season.

The fees for the rest of the size tiers for non-apparel shipments are in the image below.

Amazon Fba costs non apparel

Apparel shipments with a maximum dimension of 15" x 12" x 0.75" and weighing 4 oz or less to 16 oz cost $3.43 - $4.15. They increase to $3.63 - $4.35 during the peak season. If their dimensions reach 18” x 14” x 8”, and their weights range from less than 4 oz to 20 lbs., the costs are $4.43 - $7.17. They go up to $4.73 - $7.67 during the peak season.

You can see the FBA costs for the rest of the apparel size tiers below.

Amazon Fba costs for apparel

Here’s an Amazon-provided example of FBA costs depending on the product type:

Amazon Fba costs depending on product type

Items below $10 qualify for the Low-Price FBA rates, which deliver products with the same speed as standard FBA. The costs are $0.77 less than the regular rates, with free shipping for Prime members and standard shipping for non-Prime customers.

For FBA storage fees, see the image below.

Amazon FBA storage fees

You may also encounter other FBA costs, such as:

  • Aged inventory fees that apply if your item has been stored in a fulfillment center for over 181 days. 
  • Unplanned services that can be charged if you send an inventory to a fulfillment center without proper labeling or preparation. 
  • Removal order fees that are charged when you ask Amazon to return or dispose of your inventory.
  • Return processing fees that apply to orders of a customer who is given free returns shipping.

Wrapping Up

Amazon FBA can be a costly service, but you can avoid unnecessary spending by ensuring that every shipment information you provide is correct. You can also recoup the costs quickly by leveling up your marketing game. What’s great about the Amazon FBA is that it handles the rough logistical tasks for you, allowing you to focus on promoting your products and growing your sales.

Browse through and read our other blog posts that are data-driven insights with our very own proprietary data and learn more on Mother's Day trends and best practices, Easter sales, price elasticity of demand, Amazon FBA fee changes, Amazon product title optimization, winter seasonal products, Amazon end of year sales, Valentine’s Day trends and best Amazon fulfillment centers by location and throughput.

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.