Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First FBA Shipment
By: Skip McGrath
I wrote this article for two reasons. The first is that I get email from a lot of folks who are stressing out over creating their first FBA Shipment. The other reason is, when I wrote the Complete Amazon Marketing System, the Amazon workflow was different. Amazon changed to this new workflow a couple of months ago, so those who bought the book before that will notice this looks a little different than what is in the book.
FBA Shipments – Step 1
If you are currently Merchant Fulfilling (MF), the first thing you have to do is convert your item to FBA. Look at the first screenshot below:
Notice the last column where it says Fulfilled by Merchant. So to convert to FBA first check the box in the first column and then pull down the Actions Tab and select Change to Fulfilled By Amazon (see below)
When you do this you will go to a new page that looks like this:
FBA Shipments – Step 2
OK, now just hit the yellow button that says Convert and Send Inventory. That will bring you to this next page.
Now just hit the button that says Convert and Send inventory then you will get the next page.
Since this is your first shipment you select Create a new Shipping Plan. If you are adding items to an existing plan then you would select the other button. Hit the button and you will see this next:
Notice that I have filled in the quantities. I would not normally send in a shipment this small, but wanted to keep it simple for this example. (If you look at the ship from address I have blurred out my home address. You will also see my real name is Harry McGrath [Skip is my nickname and pen name])
You can’t see the button in this screenshot but if you scroll down the page there is a button that says Continue. Hit that and go here next:
Notice the drop down button that says Merchant under who preps. There are two selections: Amazon and Merchant. Amazon will prep items for you, but they charge high fees for this, so I suggest you use Merchant prep.
FBA Shipments Step 3 – Prepping Products
We have not gotten to label our products yet (we do that in the next step), but before you do that you want to prep them. If your product is in a standard retail box and is not fragile, you can just put your labels right on the box covering up the existing UPC code on the box. If your item is fragile or not in a retail box, what we like to do is bubble wrap the item, poly-bag it and seal them with a heat sealer. You can also use a fitted box, but that can get expensive. Here is a photo of an item we send in fairly often.
FBA Shipments Step4 – Labeling Products
OK – Now after you select: Prep by merchant, scroll down and hit continue and you will go here:
Make sure all your quantities are correct and hit the button that says: Print labels for this page.
Doing this will download a PDF file to your desktop (or wherever you have your downloads set up). It looks like this:
The next step is to print the labels out and put them on your items. The correct label for this step is Avery 5160, which has 30 labels to a sheet.( I have links to these labels near the end of this report).
Remember, if there are any original bar codes showing on your items to cover them with your labels. (The reason is your labels are coded to you so Amazon knows who to pay when an item sells). Once you have your items labeled, hit the continue button and you will go to a page that looks like this:
Look at this page very carefully. The first thing you have to do is give the shipment a name. I like to use names that describe what the shipment contains because Amazon will send you an email when the shipment is received and you will know when your inventory is available to sell. Once you have done this you hit continue and go to the next step.
FBA Shipments Step 5
OK – Now you are almost ready to ship. Put all your items into a box and use newsprint or bubble pack as filler and cushioning. (Note: Amazon does not allow Styrofoam peanuts or shredded paper as filler. If you have a lot of Styrofoam peanuts and want to get rid of them, you can place them in polybags and use for filler, but Amazon just does not want loose peanuts, as they tend to screw up their automated handling equipment.
Next weigh and measure your box and fill in the information in the weight and size fields. Then hit the button that says “Calculate.” After you do that a shipping estimate will appear and you need to check the box that says “I accept shipping charges (Amazon gives you 24 hours to change your mind and void the shipment).
Once you accept the shipping charges the button that says “Print Shipping Labels” will appear. Click that button and it will download a shipping label to your desktop. Print that label out on your computer using Avery number 8465 full sheet labels.
Here is a link to buy your labels on Amazon. Note – You will see other cheaper brands of labels on Amazon but every time I have tried them they jammed my printer so I stick with Avery.
One last rule to be aware of: When you put the shipping label on the box, place it in such a way that when the warehouse cuts the box open the cut will not go through the shipping label. The shipping label has two parts, so I like to cut them in half and add each half to one half of the box top.
Once you put the shipping label on your box, just take it to the nearest UPS drop off point or hand it to any UPS drivers that you see in your neighborhood. Now sit back and wait for your goods to arrive at FBA.
FBA Shipments Step 6 – Exceptions
Now there are a few curves that Amazon may throw at you along the way that I have not covered. Don’t panic if these happen it’s very easy to deal with them.
Amazon likes to have goods delivered to warehouses as close to customers as possible, so they will often split your shipments. When you get to the point to approve a shipment you might see that there are two windows to enter the shipment name. If this happens they are telling you to split up your shipment and send it to two different warehouses.
If this happens there is a link to view the contents of each shipment. So box them up in two boxes with the products and quantities on the packing list that will open up. Then just proceed as normal. Weigh and measure the boxes, enter the info and just print out two shipping labels.
If you don’t want your shipments split, Amazon has a program whereby you can pay 30¢ per item and they will send all your goods to one warehouse. To set that up, go to your Seller Central page. Click on Settings in the upper right hand corner of the page and selectFulfillment By Amazon from the drop down menu. When the page opens, the second item on the page is Inbound Settings. Under that will be an item that says Inventory Placement Option. If you want to select this, just hit the edit button on the right and it will take you to a page where you can do that.
So there you have it. Just follow the steps and you can’t go wrong. Oh and if at any point you are confused, all of the pages shown above in this report have links to Amazon on them that explains what that page is about and how to use it.
Good luck and good selling!