April, 12th 2017 | 6 min read

Amazon FBA labels: the TLDR version header

Introduction:

Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is the retail giant’s solution for Amazon sellers who can leverage the company’s fulfillment networks for packing, delivery, customer service, and returns. Basically, you send your product to Amazon, the company stores it, packs and ships it when the customer places an order. That’s just one side of the service - it also provides perks like free shipping for Amazon Prime and on qualifying orders, reliable and trusted customer support, competitive pricing and more. 

So, since FBA is practically a complete service, there are some questions left unanswered. Why do you need to label your items? Doesn’t Amazon cover that as well? What are the options for labeling? This post will provide all the answers about Amazon FBA labels in a concise matter for all of you with a shorter attention span out there. There will be many sentences that state Amazon requisites for FBA labeling in this text so bear with us. Let’s begin.

Why labels?

It’s simple - Amazon requires labels for all products in order to be able to identify and track them. 

Can Amazon do that for me?

Sure, but why would you want to pay a fee per item  for something you can easily do yourself? This is especially valid for sellers who sell in larger volumes where the fee can significantly add up over time. 

Is there a way to avoid these labels?

Yes, it’s called stickerless or commingled inventory. In this instance, you use the manufacturer’s barcode to track inventory (as set per default). What happens is that items identified and tracked using manufacturer barcodes are commingled (thus the name) with other items of the same products from other sellers also opting for this method. That way, Amazon might send one of your competitors’ products, potentially damaging your reputation or increasing returns. You also need to meet certain eligibility rules to use stickerless inventory, which is another reason why we don’t recommend it. 

On to the labels!

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How to print Amazon FBA labels yourself

There are two ways you can do this. As a rule of thumb, Amazon requires that labels are printed either with a laser or thermal printer. An inkjet printer is a no-no as it produces lesser quality prints susceptible to smudges and fading over time. It’s also necessary to have removable labels that last for two years that are readable and stick for that period. If you are wondering where to find FBA labels, the Seller Central is the answer, specifically the Manage Inventory page. From there, you can: 

  • Print from an auto-generated PDF
  • Print from the product labeling page while creating shipment
  • Print directly from the inventory screen 

Sellers with larger Amazon operations might want to consider using a dedicated label printer to speed things up. There are several label printers like Dymo and Zebra that are extremely popular with FBA labelers for a number of reasons. They allow on-demand labeling, meaning you can print the exact amount of labels you need. This isn’t the case with traditional printers using Amazon FBA software as it lines up the printing labels at the top of the first column, effectively canceling the way to use the blank labels if you don't print all of them labels at once. Since these printers are specifically made to print labels, they optimize the complete process and can churn out 70 labels in a minute with their own software. Also, since they rely on thermal printing technology, this eliminates the need for ink or toners. 

Of course, this all depends on the scope of your Amzon business. Calculate if the amount of your weekly or monthly shipments justifies the move to buy one or two printers (it’s wise to have a backup) in order to save time, supplies and energy. 

Type of labels

There will be a few labels you’ll need to print and stick during the shipping process.

 1. Amazon label

amazon label

source: weprintbarcodes 

This is the label the online retailer uses to identify and track your item. It has an FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) number, the name of the product and the condition of it.

 2. Expiration/Best By label

This is for products that have a limited lifespan (groceries, health and beauty products). The expiration date needs to be in 36 point (or larger) and in a specific format: MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY (if the exact day information isn't available). 

3. Bundle/Sold as set label

If you don’t want Amazon to receive your bundle and immediately open it up, you need this label so that the people in the warehouse know it too. Labels saying "Sold as set" or "This is a set. Do not separate." do the trick.

 4. Ready To Ship label

ready to ship label

source:: Online Labels

Sometimes, your product may already be in a shipping-ready box that you don’t want the warehouse team to open and alter its selling condition for worse. The principle is same as with the bundle labels - "Ready to Ship" or "Single item enclosed. Do not open." lets the warehouse people know they have less work with this item.

 5. Suffocation warning label

All items shipped in a poly bag must have a suffocation warning label. Some manufacturers print the warnings directly on the bag, in which case you don’t need put a label.

 6. Team and Mech Lift label

Mech Lift label

If the package you are sending is more than 50 lbs (22.6 kg), Amazon deems it oversized and you must label it with a "Team Lift" sticker. If the package weighs more than 100 lbs (45.2 kg), the label should read "Mech Lift." 

Label placement

Place the label on the outer side of the packaging, the smooth and flat portion of it for best sticking and easy scanning. Try to avoid the opening of the package, curves and the corners of it. Amazon suggests allowing 0.25" between the edge of the label and the edge of the packaging. If you need to include multiple layers of packaging, place the label in a position where it is scannable without opening the package. The general idea is to make it easy for Amazon people to pick it of a shelf, scan, and ship. 

You also need to cover all existing barcodes (including the manufacturer barcode) except the Amazon barcode. Multiple barcodes can delay the shipping process and result in unplanned prep service fees. You can cover them up using another label.

Conclusion 

It might not seem like that from the outside but Amazon FBA labelingis a rather serious business. There is a lot of things that the retail giant demands. Labels need to be printed with a high-grade printer, be removable and last 2 years. Font size is also important in some cases, as is the placement. 

At first, it might look like meeting Amazon FBA requirements is a Herculean task. Now that you have a better understanding of the labeling process thanks to this guide, you’ll sail through the entire shipment process with ease and become a real FBA labeling pro.

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