When I first started FBA, I had so many ‘stupid questions’. It seemed there were YouTube videos and blog posts on all sorts of complicated questions, but I just wanted to know the bare basics. In addition to the FBAMaster facebook page where you can ask any question you have, we want to make sure we cover the basics here. Today’s basic concept: How To Create a Shipment in Seller Central.
One of the advantages that newer sellers have is the creation of Amazon’s Seller University. Amazon has created some step-by-step video instructions for many of the tasks that newer sellers struggle with. I’ll be spotlighting two of these videos, but there are a couple dozen that are worth looking at.
Before we start with the first video, there is an area that is not covered. Amazon has warehouses all over the country and it is in their best interest to split your inventory up in various geographical regions. This allows them to easily ship to customers in their 2-day Prime window. However, since we have to pay to ship our items, you might not want to have your 20 items divided up between warehouses in Arizona, Indiana, and Florida. If you’re shipping a lot of items, this isn’t a huge problem, but for new sellers it can be both expensive and frustrating. Amazon does have a solution for this. Click Here to read my explanation of the Inventory Placement option.
With that, let’s have a look at the first video to create a shipment:
- Note carefully that there is a limit for boxes: They must not exceed 25″ on any side or weigh more than 50lbs, but there is an exception. If you have an item that itself is longer than 25″ or over 50lbs, then that package can exceed the limited dimensions. If your package is over 50lbs, it needs to be marked Team Lift. If it is over 100lbs, it needs to be marked Mechanical Lift. I advise against oversized and heavy items for new sellers, so this shouldn’t be too important, but it is worth knowing.
- Please note that this video assumes that you’ve already created a listing (which you’ve marked as Fulfilled by Amazon). If you have not done this stage yet, then you are not ready to create a shipment. Consider this video on How To Add a Product.
- As stated in the video, on the Set Quantity page, notice at the top left that there is a button to “Add Products”. This can be used to add any more items to the shipment, rather than returning to your Manage Inventory page. I have always found this method for adding products to a shipment to be far quicker than going to the manage inventory page, finding the item, and choosing to send a replenishment.
- The prep guidance page is notoriously bad. Never assume that Amazon will correctly tell you how you need to prep your products. I would suggest familiarizing yourself with the rules and then use the Facebook Group to ask any questions that you remain unsure of.
- There are many kinds of labels that you can choose to use, but 30up labels are selected by the majority. These are 10 labels down and 3 labels across for a total of 30 labels per sheet. The name brand option is Avery. They sell both the normal labels or the removable labels. If your label touches the actual product, then it is supposed to be removable. These are more expensive. I have found success using an off brand alternative.
- On the Review Shipment page, actually look at what is being sent where. If this is a problem, NOW is the time to fix it. Once you accept a shipment, you should really complete the shipment, sending the items where Amazon has determined. One thing that I will occasionally do is to come to this review page and if I do not like where my items are going, I will go back and edit either the quantities or the items themselves. Alternatively, you can try to create a shipment, and if you do not like the shipping locations, you can back out of the shipment and turn on Inventory Placement.
- For most new sellers, we are only looking at SPD — Small Parcel Delivery. It is good to know about the other alternatives, but to avoid getting overwhelmed I recommend focus on only the instructions for SPD.
- When it talks about an Amazon Partnered Carrier, please note that for those inside the United States, this refers to UPS.
- I am a strong proponent of signing up for UPS Connect, which gives you a free year of at home pickup. I almost never go to a UPS store anymore. I simply tell UPS to pick up the next day, leave my boxes outside, and the driver hauls them away.
- When you press calculate, you might notice that your billable weight is different than your actual weight. The most likely explanation for this is dimensional weight. Click on the link to get a quick rundown of what that means. In short: just because something is really light weight doesn’t mean the shipping will be cheap, especially if it is very large on bulky.
- While you have to buy labels for your items, you can get FREE labels for your boxes. You’ll need a free account with UPS and then you can choose to have them send you 50 UPS WorldShip Peel-and-Stick Labels – (2 per Sheet) labels at a time (you can get more, but for a new seller this will probably get you through a few months).
I hope these resources can guide you through your first shipment. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will do my best to help. Please know that your first few shipments are going to take some time. It does get easier. Shipments that used to take me 3 hours are now out the door in under a half hour. Push through this difficult stage and you’ll be a master in no time.