FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon, meaning that from the moment the pallets with your product arrived at their warehouse, Amazon is taking over the storage, the delivery, the returns, and the customer service. FBA Amazon sellers benefit from the Amazon shipping infrastructure and offer Amazon Prime two-day and same-day delivery.
Amazon has 75 logistic centers in North America, with most being available for FBA sellers. The shipping process is relatively easy, but for the system to operate for maximum gains, you need to put work in and follow strict guidelines. Before you make your decision whether to work with Amazon FBA or not, you should carefully review its pricing structure and make sure that you read all the fine print taking into account any potential additional fees. While you’re deciding if the Amazon FBA structure is worth it for your business, this article will inform you about everything you need to know about the logistics of shipping pallets to the Amazon distribution centers.
Create an Amazon Seller Account
First, you have to create an account on the Amazon website with all the information about your business, including its name and contact address, phone number, credit card, and personal identity details.
Create a New Product and Choose the Fulfillment Channel
Next, have to find the right category for the product you want to sell via Amazon. Afterward, you have to give a lot of information about this product, including its name, brand, ID, and manufacturer. You can add photos and product variations, such as color or size.
Amazon will ask you to set your product’s price and decide whether you want to use Amazon FBA or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). With FBM, Amazon functions as a platform, but you’re still responsible for the individual shipping, packing, and customer service.
Create a Shipping Plan
After deciding on FBA, you have to create a Shipping Plan. From the Amazon Dashboard, you click on the Inventory. This plan will ask you for information about the products you’re sending to Amazon, how many products you’re sending, your shipping method and carrier, and who will handle the preparation and labeling. You have to accurately give all the information about your boxes’ content, the required weight, dimension of the packages, possible expiration dates, and further details on your shipping.
Get Ready for Your Shipment and Choose the Right Carrier
Smaller sellers can also use Small Parcel Delivery (SPD) to send items in single boxes to Amazon FBA. Since we’re focussing on items and boxes secured on pallets, there are mainly two options available: Less Than Truckload (LTL) means that your pallet is going on a truck shared with other sellers, while Full Truckload (FTL) is for pallet shipments filling up a whole truck. Make sure that you calculate which category is right for your business.
While Amazon partners with carriers like UPS and FedEx, you can choose your own shipping company to carry out your shipment. A marketplace based provider like CitizenShipper can be a more affordable option for the same quality shipments. You can post the details of your freight shipment on the platform and available carriers will contact you with price offers.
Choose the Right Packaging
To choose these FBA pallet shipment options, the weight of your combined pallets must be a minimum of 150 lb, but a single pallet must not exceed 1500 lb for non-stackable pallets and 750 lb for stackable pallets. Ideally, they are 50 inches high. If they are not stackable, the pallets cannot be higher than 72 inches. Amazon prefers stackable pallets since they are more space-efficient.
All pallets must be made out of wood and follow the GMA standard Grade B or higher, measure 40 x 48 inches with 4-way access. The pallet boxes are not allowed to extend the pallet’s edges and must be secured to the pallet with plastic or stretch wrap. Single items weighing more than 100 lb or are longer than 80 inches or wider than 30 inches wide must be on their own pallet. If you are selling multiple boxes as a set and this set weighs together more than 100 lb, it must be on a separate pallet. The limit for LTL deliveries is 5000 boxes per shipment.
Properly Label the Products
You have to confirm the number of boxes and pallets you are sending and generate your box labels and the pallet labels. Amazon uses a barcode system for storing and tracking products. Therefore every single FBA item must be labeled according to the Amazon standard guidelines. All boxes on a single pallet must have the same shipment ID, and each box on a pallet requires a unique FBA shipment ID label. You’re not allowed to copy, reuse or modify the labels for use on another box. Ensure the tags are visible on every box and every pallet, so they are easy to process in the fulfillment center. On pallets, there must be an FBA pallet ID label on the top-center of each of the four sides of every stretch-wrapped pallet in your shipment.
Complete your shipment
When your packaging and labeling is ready, you can complete your shipment online. Amazon requires that the appointment of delivery is scheduled in advance. This means you should make sure that you find a reliable and punctual partner for the shipping – a 30-minute delay can be enough for Amazon FBA to refuse the shipment. Ensure that your carrier is registered with Amazon. If this is the case, you can log into your Carrier Central and schedule an appointment. Amazon will mail you within one day to confirm the date.
During the whole process, you should keep in mind that if you don’t follow all the necessary steps, it could lead to delays, rejection of your shipment, or the banning of future shipment creation. Amazon has stringent guidelines, but if you follow the previous steps, everything should go smoothly. You should regularly check if Amazon FBA updated its rules and regulations. But if you stick to these steps, your shipping should go smoothly. We wish you good luck!