Amazon’s FBA packaging requirements help ensure your products get to where they need to be on time.
The world’s biggest marketplace ships 1.6 million parcels daily. This is both incredibly impressive and scary for sellers trying to stand out.
However, at this point, you can pretty much guarantee that your target audience is on Amazon. So why wouldn’t you want to add your products to their virtual shelves?
To do that, you must familiarise yourself with the FBA packaging requirements. We can help you there.
Let’s start by analysing why ensuring you get your Amazon FBA packaging right is important.
Key Takeaways from this Post
The Importance of Proper FBA Packaging
Nailing your FBA packaging is the difference between your products flying off the virtual shelves and them not even arriving at fulfilment centres.
Packaging your products for sale on Amazon may seem as simple as finding a suitably sized box, printing the shipping label, and sticking it on your package.
But there’s a little more to it than that.
Failing to follow the Amazon FBA packaging requirements could result in several issues, including:
- Your products getting lost or damaged.
- Incurring added Amazon fees.
- Too much packaging risks damaging the environment.
- Causing harm to your business’ reputation.
- Your account could be suspended or deactivated.
- Access to create shipments can be removed.
Although, you can avoid all that nastiness by simply sticking to the requirements. So, what are they?
Packaging Requirements for US Sellers
The first thing to say about the Amazon FBA packaging requirements is that each unit should be secured in its own package.
That package should also have a scannable barcode to track the products in your inventory. But we’ll talk more about barcodes and labelling a little later.
There are 3 accepted types of Amazon packaging:
- Bubble wrap
Each type of packaging has its own set of requirements to ensure it gets to the fulfilment centre and out to your customer.
But it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s break down each type in more detail.
1. Box packaging
One of the most common ways to ship products on Amazon is in boxes. However, there are some requirements to be aware of before shipping your boxes.
Amazon FBA box requirements
- All boxes must be six-sided.
- Boxes must have openings or a lid that will not easily open on their own.
- Boxes that can easily open on their own should be fixed shut by glue, tape, or staples.
- They must not collapse when medium pressure is applied.
- If the box has perforated sides or openings, it will be subjected to the 3-foot drop test (more on this shortly).
Amazon FBA box size restrictions
In his FBA secrets guide, experienced Amazon FBA seller Michael Tona talks about Amazon FBA box size limits. He suggests keeping boxes under 25 inches and 50 lbs on any dimension.
If the product is over 25 inches, you must highlight that using proper stickers. He also recommends using double-walled corrugated boxes for added structure.
Alternatively, you can use one of these four other box options:
- Regular Slotted Carton (RSC)
- 200BH (burst strength box)
- ECT-32 Box
FBA polybag requirements ensure your packages adhere to the guidelines below:
Amazon polybag requirements
- Polybags with a 5-inch opening or larger (when measured flat) need a suffocation warning.
- Suffocation warnings should be printed on the bag or attached as a label.
- Polybags must be at least 1.5mm thick.
- The bag must be transparent.
- Polybags can be different colours, but they must remain transparent.
- The polybag must have a barcode (such as a UPC or EAN) or X00-label that is scannable through the bag or attached to the outside of the bag.
- The bag must not protrude over 3 inches past the product's dimensions.
- Adult products must be packaged using black, opaque poly bagging or shrink-wrap.
In addition, pungent products like incense sticks or candles should be packaged in a sealed bag to prevent scents from penetrating other products.
Suffocation warnings on FBA polybags
As mentioned above, depending on its size, you may need to apply a suffocation warning to your polybag.
You can buy polybags with the suffocation warning already in place. Alternatively, you can add this yourself, but the print size in your warning should adhere to the guidelines below.
3. Bubble wrap
Amazon also allows you to package FBA products using bubble wrap. These products should meet the below requirements:
- Tightly wrapped and taped so the product cannot fall out.
- Appropriately labelled with a scannable barcode on the exterior.
- Able to pass the 3-foot drop test without breaking.
What is the 3-foot drop test?
The 3-foot drop test ensures you have followed the FBA packaging requirements, and it’s as ruthless as it sounds.
During this exam, you’re product will be dropped onto a hard surface 5 times to confirm its structural integrity.
Why 5 times, you ask? One for each side of your box and a corner.
- Flat on base
- Flat on top
- Flat on the longest side
- Flat on the shortest side
- On a corner
Requirements for Different Product Types
Now you know more about those standard Amazon packaging requirements, let’s dive into those parcels with alternative circumstances.
We’re talking loose, fragile, and heavy items (among others).
Sold as a set
Products sold as a pack (a set of 6 light bulbs, for example) must be marked as sets on their packaging.
All you need to do here is add a label to your packaging that says words to the effect of "Sold as set," "Ready to ship," or "This is a set. Do not separate." They should also have their own ASIN number.
All items you supply to Amazon must be in a secure package. Items not contained in a package must be bagged with easy-to-remove tape.
If you’re sending shoes, you cannot have any part of the product exposed. They need to be boxed or housed in a clear polybag. Don’t forget that suffocation warning, too!
When packaging clothing, ordinarily, Amazon does not like you sending clothing with the hanger included.
However, if the item costs exceed $299, you’re okay to keep the hanger in.
Expiration dates must be displayed clearly on the package in the MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY format.
However, there is slightly more to unpack here (forgive the pun).
- Expiration dates should be displayed in 36-point font or larger and on the individual units. Lot numbers alone are insufficient.
- Expiration-dated products in polybags or bubble wrap must have labels with expiry date details on the outside of the packaging.
- Perishable items are not allowed.
They should be housed in a six-sided box or tightly wrapped in bubble wrap to ensure they pass the 3-foot test and won’t get damaged in transit.
Boxes with the same product must have matching SKUs. This would refer to a box of 10 water bottles, for example.
In the fulfilment centres, the teams will just scan one item. So, each case should ensure it has a matching amount of content.
However, no crate should feature over 150 items.
As mentioned above, each box's maximum weight limit is 50 lbs. If your package exceeds this weight, attach a label indicating a “Team Lift.”
If your package exceeds 100 lbs, attach labels to indicate “Machine Lift.”
These warnings ensure no one at the fulfilment centre risks injury by attempting to lift your heavy package on their own.
While the above guidelines are correct for Amazon FBA sellers in the states, there are some slight adjustments to the requirements for UK-based sellers. So, let’s get into those next.
Packaging Requirements for UK Sellers
Over in the UK, Amazon FBA packaging guidelines highlight that sellers still need to adhere to all the same barcodes, polybags, and bubble wrap regulations.
However, there are a couple of changes to the rules surrounding boxes. Boxes from the UK need to fit the below requirements:
- Cannot be longer than 63.5 cm on any side
- The weight of the box cannot exceed 23 kg.
- If your package weighs between 15 - 23 kg, you must display labels to show it is heavy.
Packaging Materials Approved by Amazon FBA
How can you ensure that your items stay safe and in perfect condition while on their way to the fulfilment centre and on to your client?
A strict list of Amazon FBA package requirements outlines what materials you can and can’t use to protect your products.
Want to take it one step further? Check out our guide on how to send products to Amazon FBA in the UK.
Acceptable Amazon packaging materials
- Air-filled pillows
- Thick craft paper
- Bubble wrap
- Foam sheeting
Now you know which materials you can use to pack your FBA packages, which items should you avoid?
Packaging materials not accepted by Amazon
- Packing peanuts (biodegradable or otherwise)
- Thermocol chips
- Crinkle wrap
- Foam strips
Why is it important to only use FBA-approved packaging materials?
Getting your packaging correct is super important for ensuring your products arrive with your client in the best possible shape.
Plus, you’ll want to adequately protect your items just in case they have to come up against the 3-foot drop test.
Amazon even has a scoring system for your packages to ensure the regulations are followed.
Shipment problem groups scoring system
This is broken down into five of the most commonly occurring mistakes. You need to ensure your score stays below Amazon’s APR level.
If you regularly ignore the Amazon FBA box size restrictions or packaging guidelines, your percentage score could rise above the above numbers, and you could face penalties.
But we’d suggest it’s pretty challenging to push your score above those numbers. So, don’t worry if you do make the odd mistake. Your account isn’t going to get deactivated.
Here's where to find approved Amazon FBA packaging supplies
You can reuse old boxes, but we don’t recommend it. You must carefully remove any old labels and barcodes from the package.
Does Amazon provide boxes for sellers?
Want to ensure you’re using new packaging each time? Amazon doesn’t supply FBA-approved materials, but it does sell acceptable packaging materials.
Alternatively, you could also use Uline to buy new plain boxes.
Now we know all about packaging, let’s talk labels and barcodes.
Labelling Requirements for Amazon FBA Products
When labelling your products to ship, you need to adhere to these simple guidelines:
- Each product needs an FNSKU label
- Product labels should match the product titles
- Capitalise the first letter of each word
- Avoid capitalising complete words
- Do not use symbols or special characters
- Do not use promotional titles
- Do not place labels over a seam or opening
- Place both the FBA box ID label and the carrier label on the box so the barcodes don’t fold over the edges or corners
- Both labels should remain uncovered and scannable
- Each box in the shipment must have its own FBA box ID label printed from your shipment workflow
- Each pallet you send requires 4 pallet labels
- When shipping multiple case packs in a larger box, apply the FBA box ID label to the larger box. You don’t need to apply labels to the individual case packs
- Print the complete set of labels
- Don’t photocopy, reuse, or modify labels for use on additional boxes
- Labels support measurements of 3 1/3 x 4 inches
- If you have a thermal printer, you can print directly on a 4 x 6 inches format by selecting thermal printing paper in the box and pallet label printing options.
What is an FNSKU?
The Fulfillment Network SKU or Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit is Amazon’s way of tracking stock levels.
Each of your products should have its own FNSKU. An FNSKU includes a barcode, product title, and item condition.
Although, the FNSKU barcode is separate from the manufacturer barcode or Universal Product Code (UPC).
UPC barcodes appear on every product worldwide, but FNSKUs are Amazon’s own internal codes.
Just like a UPC, each variation of your product needs its own FNSKU. For example, if you sell t-shirts, you must generate a new code for each size and colour in your range.
However, a box of 25 large white t-shirts would only require one FNSKU if you sell in bulk because the batch comprises the same product.
How to get an FNSKU
Each product line will have its own FNSKU. But you use your product’s UPC to create the FNSKU when creating your product listing in Seller Central.
From here, you can then add your FNSKU to all products. You can ask your supplier to do this directly, or Amazon can do it for $0.20 a unit.
Determining SPDs or LTL and FTL
Determining the preferred shipment method is the final thing to remember when correctly labelling your package.
- SPDs: SPDs (or smaller delivery parcels) are for items packed in individual boxes, and the shipping boxes are for individual delivery.
- LTL/FTL: Stands for less than truckload or full truckload for combining individual shipments on pallets.
Packaging Checklist for Amazon FBA Shipments
Here’s a helpful checklist to review everything we’ve just been through to help you nail the Amazon FBA packaging requirements every time.
- Make sure you have a rigid, 6-sided box or polybag with a suffocation warning (if necessary)
- Do not exceed 50 lbs in weight or 25 inches in length (or 63.5cm)
- Wrap each item individually
- Use approved FBA packaging materials to protect your shipment
- Use strong tape
- Ensure any easily opened lids are fixed shut
- Generate your FNSKU
- Use a single address label and return info
- Ensure all other codes on the box are covered.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few additional questions that you may have about Amazon packaging requirements.
Can I use my own packaging for Amazon FBA?
No. You need to ensure your boxes are 6-sided and meet the applicable size and weight requirements. Your box will also need to feature your product’s unique FNSKU code.
What boxes do I need for Amazon FBA?
Amazon’s FBA packaging requirements accept four types of boxes:
- Regular Slotted Carton (RSC)
- 200BH (burst strength box)
- ECT-32 Box.
What are the Amazon polybag requirements?
Bags with a 5-inch opening or larger need a suffocation warning. They should also be 1.5mm thick, transparent to allow for barcode scanning, and not protrude more than 3 inches past the product dimensions.
Are there Amazon FBA box size restrictions?
Amazon FBA packaging requirements dictate that boxes should be 6-sided, rigid, under 25 inches on any dimension, and weigh under 50 lbs.
The Amazon FBA packaging requirements may seem demanding. But they ensure your packages don’t get lost, end up in the wrong hands, or become damaged in transit.
Just remember to use the correct packaging, protect your items, and label clearly, and you’ll be well on your way to running a super successful business with Amazon FBA.