Packaging, Prep & Labeling Requirements for Amazon FBA
Before you start selling on Amazon, you’ll need to get your products packaged and ready to go. Having a strategy in place for packaging, prep, and labeling is critical to your success on Amazon. Poor packaging can result in a range of negative consequences including bad reviews, lost inventory, and even blocked shipments. Here’s what you need to know:
- Amazon stipulates that any product sent to a fulfillment center with packaging that is inadequate or non-compliant may be refused, returned, or repackaged at your expense.
- All parts and pieces sold as an individual unit must be contained within a single, secure package, including items sold as sets.
- Units that are contained in non-secure packaging, such as loose sleeves or pouches, must also be bagged or secured with a non-adhesive band or removable tape.
- Boxed packages must be six-sided.
- The opening or lid of a box must not easily open on its own. Tape, glue, or staples must be used to keep it closed if it opens easily.
- Boxes must be able to withstand medium pressure applied to any of its sides.
- Boxes with perforated sides or openings must be able to withstand a 3-foot drop test (one drop on each side and one drop on a corner).
- Boxes that do not withstand the drop test have to also be enclosed in a poly bag with a suffocation warning
- Over-boxing may be required for certain products with safety concerns in regards to shipping or handling.
- The practice of over-boxing requires placing a product that is prepared or packaged in a box for additional protection, regardless of whether or not that item is already boxed.
- Double-wall corrugated boxes should be used for over-boxing on products over 10 lb.
- The following items are subject to over-boxing requirements:
- Sharp items that can puncture packaging.
- Fragile items with bubble wrap applied that couldn’t withstand the 3-foot drop test.
- Items that could be easily damaged during shipping or handling.
- Glass containers that exceed 4.2 oz and carry hazardous liquids.
- Vinyl records.
Use of Hangers
- Most normal-size hangers must be removed from apparel.
- Mini-hangers used for packaging such as those for baby clothes are allowed.
- Accessories, Bras, Hats, Shorts, Sock, Hosiery, Sweaters, Swimwear, and Underwear are prohibited from the use of any type of hanger.
- The following items are exceptions and must remain on a hanger:
- Blazers, Suit Jackets, and Suits.
- Dresses with a list price exceeding $299.99 per unit.
- Formal or evening wear or garments that contain materials that could be damaged when laid flat (garments with intricate beading, sequins, or other detailing).
- Outerwear with a list price exceeding $299.99 per unit.
- Items whose primary material is real leather, real fur or wool.
- Pants, shirts, skirts, and sleepwear with a list price exceeding $299.99 per unit.
- All products within a box are required to have matching SKUs and conditions and must have been packaged by the manufacturer.
- All boxes in a case that contain the same product must have equal quantities of a product in each box (ex: All 2 Packs must contain 2).
- Alternatively, Individual Products that are not case-packed may contain various products with differing quantities and conditions.
- Cases are subject to a case pack limit of 150 units per case.
- When receiving a case, the fulfillment center only scans one unit in each case.
- If manufacturers pack excess units into a larger box, this cannot be shipped as a case. Products must be separated and repacked at the appropriate case-pack level.
- Scannable barcodes from the case must be removed or covered. Only the individual units within the case may have scannable barcodes.
- To ensure the safety of customers and prevent serious injury, use safety knives and covered blades during the packing process to prevent sharp objects from accidentally being left in packaging.
- Amazon warns that inventory shipped to a fulfillment center that is not properly prepped and labeled may incur additional preparation fees.
- When products fall under multiple categories, they must be prepped to meet the conditions of all categories.
- Theft-prevention devices are prohibited and must not be attached to products.
- All FNSKUs must be unique and correspond to one unique product. Variations must all be assigned their own unique FNSKU.
Prepping Products in Sets
- Loose items sold in a set must be marked as a set on the packaging. The unit should indicate that the product is sold as a set.
- Items in a set should not only be marked as a set but also combined and sealed in order to prevent loose items from being separated.
- If a set contains items that have their own unique ASINs assigned to them, the set should still have it’s own unique ASIN assigned to it.
- Any ASINs on individual items within a set should not be outwardly visible and will need to be covered.
Prepping with Poly Bags
- When using poly bags, a suffocation warning must either be printed on the bag or attached as a label if the bag has a 5-inch opening or larger (measured flat). Failure to apply this warning may lead to rebagging.
- The warning should be prominently printed or placed in a legible font size suitable to the size of the bag. Amazon’s size requirement are as follows:
Total length plus width of bag Minimum print size
60 inches or more 24 point
40 to 59 inches 18 point
30 to 39 inches 14 point
Less than 29 inches 10 point
- The bag must be at least 1.5 mil thick.
- The poly bag must also be transparent.
- A scannable barcode (UPC, EAN, etc) or X00-label must either be scannable through the bag or have an X00- or ASIN label on the outside of the bag.
- Bags must be completely sealed.
- Poly bags or shrink wrap must not protrude more than 3 inches past the dimensions of the product.
- Black, opaque poly bagging or shrink wrap must be used on adult products.
- Products with strong scents (candles, incense, etc) must be sealed or bagged to prevent the scent from absorbing into other products.
Prepping with Bubble Wrap
- When using bubble wrap, products must be tightly wrapped and taped closed so that product doesn’t come loose.
- Products must have scannable barcodes on the outside.
- Packaging must be able to withstand a 3-foot drop test on a hard surface without contents breaking or becoming damaged.
- The drop test will include 5 drops: Flat on the base and top, Flat on the longest and shortest sides and on a corner.
- Bubble wrap may be required for fragile products that can be easily damaged during transit or heavy or dense products that can damage other products during transit.
Prepping Products with Expiration Dates
- If products have expiration dates, additional prepwork may be required such as poly-bagging or bubble-wrapping.
- Expiration dates must be accessible and labeled on the outside of the product prep or packaging.
- The required formats for expiration dates are MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY. Products using any other format of expiration date are subject to stickers being applied with the correct format covering the original expiration label.
- Expiration dates must be displayed on the outer box in 36-point or larger font on individual units.
- Using only lot numbers is not sufficient for expiration date requirements.
- Products with expiration dates may require additional prep, such as poly bags or bubble wrap.
- Expiration dates must be accessible during check-in and labeled on the outside of any prep or packaging.
- Perishable items are prohibited.
Prepping Products with Tape
- Extra tape may be required for items that need boxes or poly bags sealed or bubble wrap secured around them.
- Some instances that may require extra tape are the following:
--Product may slip out of packaging if the container is not taped close.
--Product may leak if the lid is not secured with tape.
--Container is not fully sealed.
- The exterior of each unit must be equipped with a scannable barcode or label. This must include both the scannable barcode and the corresponding numbers associated with that barcode.
- Any existing scannable barcodes on the outside of shipping boxes must be removed, covered, or rendered unscannable. Using opaque tape or a black felt-tip marker are acceptable methods for rendering the barcode unscannable.
- Not labeling boxes with the required FBA box ID label can result in all future shipments being blocked, as well as a manual processing fee.
- Labels must be able to be scanned quickly and easily at fulfillment centers otherwise you may encounter delays in your inventory being received.
Best Practices for Printing Labels
- Printable labels in Seller Central are optimized for thermal printers. However, you may also use laser printers.
- Inkjet printers should not be used to print labels.
- To prevent scaling, your printer’s scaling settings should either be set to “None” or 100%.
- Ensure you are using the correct label stock for your printer.
- Opt for a printer with a 300 DPI resolution or better.
- Ensure the printer head is tested, cleaned, and replaced as needed.
- Testing your barcodes occasionally by scanning them can help ensure quality.
- Amazon barcodes are required to be printed in black and white on non-reflective labels with removable adhesive.
- Label dimensions must fall within 1 x 2 inches and 2 x 3 inches.
Product Labeling Guidelines
You can use one of three types of barcodes:
- Manufacturer Barcodes (UPC or EAN)
- Amazon Barcodes (FNSKU)
- Transparency Labels
Additionally, you have 3 options for labeling your products:
- Use existing manufacturer barcodes (UPC or EAN) for eligible products.
- Apply Amazon barcodes on prep or packaging.
- Have Amazon’s FBA Label Service apply them for you at a cost of $0.30 per item.
When printing barcodes, ensure they include all of the following:
- There must be sufficient white space around the Amazon barcode and text (Include margins of 0.25 inches on sides and 0.125 inches on the top and bottom).
- ASIN or FNSKU
- Product name
- Item condition
When placing your barcode, make sure you do the following:
- Place the correct barcode on every item.
- Cover any visible barcodes except serial numbers or transparency authentication codes.
- Place barcodes on the outermost layer of prep or packaging.
- Don’t place barcodes on a curve or corner of packages.
- Every item in a case pack must have an Amazon barcode.
- Allow for a margin of 0.25 inches between the label’s edge and the packaging’s edge.
Box & Pallet Labeling Guidelines
- Any box or pallet sent to an Amazon fulfillment center, must be identified with a unique box ID and pallet label.
- Amazon recommends printing the full set of labels. Since they are unique, it’s important not to photocopy, reuse, or modify labels.
- Labels support a measurement of 3 ⅓ x 4 inches. With thermal printers, the option is available to print directly on a 4 x 6 inch format by selecting thermal paper in the printing options.
- Labels should not be placed on seams or openings to avoid damage when the box opens.
- Both FBA box ID labels and mail carrier labels should be placed on a flat surface of the box, not folded over edges.
- Both labels must be uncovered, scannable and readable.
- The FBA box ID label should be printed directly from your shipment workflow.
- Each pallet requires four labels, one on the top center of each side.
- When shipping multiple case packs in a larger box, apply the FBA box ID to the larger box only. It is not necessary to label all individual case packs.
- Marketing materials are prohibited, including pre-priced labels, pamphlets, price tags, or other non-Amazon labels.
Additional Category-Specific Resources
Use the following Seller Central resources for additional, up-to-date information on category-specific regulations for Packaging, Prep & Labeling:
Now that you know the basics of preparing your products for FBA, you’re ready to get your first shipment in!