You've decided to start selling on Amazon. Congratulations! Now it's time to get your products to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This guide will show you how to prepare your products for shipment to Amazon to be stored in their fulfillment centers and shipped to customers on time. Follow these steps to keep your FBA inventory levels in check:
1. Find your Listing in the Seller Central Dashboard
Once you decide to send your inventory to Amazon FBA, open your Seller Central Dashboard and find the "Manage Inventory" option from its menu. Next, find your listing from the subsequent menu. From there, you can choose how many units you want to send in and print out a packing slip. This step is relatively simple, but it's important to ensure you have all your ducks in a row before proceeding. Once you've found your listing, you'll need to provide basic information about the product, including the price, quantity, and shipping details. After entering this information, you'll be able to submit your listing for approval in the "Send/Replenish Inventory" category. If everything looks good, Amazon will approve your listing, and you'll be able to start selling your products on their platform.
2. Select your Sending Address
The second step of sending items to Amazon FBA is to select the sending address from your Seller Central dashboard. If you have already added your storage facility's address, select that. But if you want to change it, follow these steps:
● Select the "Ship from another address" option from the dashboard. This will allow you to add a new address.
● Include any relevant information, such as the name and address of the storage facility and your account number.
● Once you have entered this information, click "continue to shipping plan," and you will be ready to move on to the next step.
3. Select the Number of Units you Want to Send
After entering your address, you’ll have to select the number of units you want to send to an FBA center. You'll have to select cases (read: boxes) and add individual units in each case. This can be confusing, but you'll need to decide how many cases you want to send and then add the number of units in each case. For example, if you're sending 10 cases, each with 20 units, you'll need to select 10 cases and add 20 units to each case. Once you've done this, you can click "Continue" to move on to the next step.
4. Prepare your Products
The fourth step of sending items to Amazon FBA is to select the type of your products and follow the preparation steps suggested by Amazon. If you can't prep the products, you can use the Amazon Prep service for this task and pay a service fee. They do have limitations like not being able to bundle items together or send pictures of damages to get reimbursements from suppliers so keep that in mind. This step is important because it ensures that your products are properly prepared for shipping and storage. Amazon can require prep including polybags, bubble bags, suffocation labels, do not separate labels, expiration dates, etc. If items aren't prepped correctly it can cause a delay in receiving as well as additional service charges from Amazon. A prep center is a great option for those who don't have the time or ability to prep their products themselves. The added benefits of being able to inspect, bundle, and combine shipments can save lots of money in the long run. The service fee is worth it to have peace of mind knowing that your products will be properly taken care of.
5. Label Your Products or Have Amazon do it
Labeling your products is the next essential step in replenishing your inventory in the Amazon FBA facility. You can download labels from the Seller Central dashboard, where you've already fed in other details, or you can have Amazon label your products later on. To avoid ambiguity, new sellers should download, print, and paste labels themselves. This step is important because it helps Amazon keep track of your inventory and ensure that your products end up in the right place. Make sure to follow all the instructions carefully so that your products can be properly labeled and shipped off to Amazon FBA.
6. Shipment Plan Creation
Next up, you'll have to create the shipping plan and Amazon will route your units to specific fulfillment centers. In some cases, the items will not all go to the same fulfillment center. If you want to avoid this, there is the option to use Inventory Placement Service. This comes at a fee however so make sure to factor this into your overhead per product. But if you go with Amazon's default warehousing decision, this step won't cost you anything extra. Amazon will spread your inventory across different warehouses depending on where they think it will sell best. This way, you don't have to worry about paying extra fees for storage, and your items are more likely to sell quickly. So, if you're not sure which option is best for you, it's probably best to go with Amazon's default.
7. Select a Shipping Service and Calculate its Cost
The last step of sending items to Amazon FBA is to choose a shipping service and have the dashboard select shipping costs for you. The costs will be deducted from your account. Once you know the shipping charges, select a date on which you want to send out the inventory to the Amazon FBA warehouse. Amazon will provide you with a list of carriers and estimated transit times. You can also track your shipment online to know when it is expected to arrive at the warehouse.
Once these steps are complete, your job is done, and now Amazon's partner shipping service will pick up your inventory on the selected date.
How can a Prep Center Help You Ship Inventory to Amazon?
A prep center can help you ship your inventory to Amazon FBA more easily in several ways. Here's how a prep center can ease the fulfillment task for you:
● It can provide you with the necessary packaging materials and labels cheaper than Amazon and startups will provide the service. With bulk discounts negotiated with their suppliers, they are able to pass the savings on to customers.
● It can help you pack your inventory in a way that meets Amazon's requirements.
● The prep center can ship your inventory directly to Amazon's warehouses. This step can save you a lot of time and hassle, as you won't have to deal with logistics yourself.
● A prep center can also offer other services such as Quality Control and returns processing. This can take a lot of the stress out of selling on Amazon FBA.
Using a prep center is definitely worth considering if you want to efficiently ship your inventory to Amazon FBA.
Managing your FBA inventory levels is essential for your business's success because you can't miss orders as a result of no stock. Similarly, leaving the overhead stock in an FBA facility will drain your funds and become counterproductive. Luckily, you can store your inventory in a third-party facility and ship it to Amazon FBA when the time is right to avoid unnecessary charges. But remember that shipping/prepping costs and instructions vary according to the product in question. Therefore, you'll have to carefully wade through all the steps to be sure of the obligations and service charges involved in this process.