We all are aware of the black and white parallel lines with some numbers printed on the back or bottom of the product packaging called barcodes.
As consumers, we usually don’t take note of barcodes since they don’t have anything to do with our shopping decisions and experience.
However, barcodes are quite crucial to the other side of the counter. They provide quick identification of products throughout the sale process.
Retailers use them to process purchases. Warehouses need them to track inventory. Businesses also utilize barcodes to do accurate invoicing.
Amazon also uses barcodes to identify and track products. FNSKU is one of such barcodes. As an FBA seller, you must label your products with FNKSU to ensure they get through the fulfillment process without a hassle.
If you are starting out and don’t know what FNSKU is, where to get one, and what’s the difference between different Amazon barcodes, continue reading on.
In this post, you will find answers to all such and many more related questions and queries.
Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU) is a proprietary barcode or product identifier used by Amazon to keep track of its inventory in the fulfillment centers. FNSKU enables Amazon to uniquely identify a product with its seller.
It is essential to know that FNSKU is not a general barcode that can be used across different platforms. It is exclusive to products supposed to be sold through Amazon while using its fulfillment operations.
A general FNSKU label looks like this.
“My product already has a barcode on it. So, why do I need to add another one?”
This question can come to any sellers’ mind using FBA for the first time. So, let’s try to understand why you need FNSKU when your products already have a barcode.
Usually, the preexisting barcodes on products are UPC barcodes. It is quite common for sellers operating in wholesale or retail arbitrage to sell the same products bearing the same UPC. For example, 14 sellers may be selling the same shoe (same brand, size, and color) in one region through the same fulfillment center. It can be a nightmare for those at the fulfillment center to categorize products with the same UPC for their sellers.
In short, Amazon fulfillment centers can’t tie a product to its seller when a single UPC is repeating several times for different sellers. Here, an FNSKU label on your product will ensure that your inventory doesn’t get mixed with the other inventory featuring the same UPC.
By now, it’s been established that FNSKU labels are really crucial for all the products you sell through FBA. If you are not using Amazon’s label service for whatever reason, you have to take care of FNSKU labeling on your own.
You have to acquire FNSKUs product-by-product from your Seller Central profile. Then, you will get them printed and label them on corresponding products before sending them to the fulfillment center.
Assuming that you have launched a product and set it for FBA, Here’s the breakdown of how you can get FNKSU labels for your product on Amazon.
Click Manage FBA Inventory from the drop-down menu. It will open a page that lists all your products to be fulfilled by Amazon with relevant data.
You can see this drop-down menu to the right of the product listing for which you want the FNSKU label.
Click on that drop-down menu and select Print item labels.
This will open the page from where you can get the FNKSU label generated for various paper and sticker types. After selecting the paper/sticker type, click on Print Item Labels and it will download you a PDF file of the FNSKU label.
Print the label and affix it to the corresponding product. Remember that no other code should remain readable on your product once you affix it with Amazon-assigned FNSKU.
If your product bears a unique UPC or EAN under your private label (brand and trademark registered), you can do without FNSKU. However, it will remain Amazon’s right to stop processing your shipments if they don’t have FNSKUs. So, it is always better to label your product with your FNSKU even if it sports a unique UPC/EAN.
On the other hand, if you are selling a common product sold by many others as well, you will certainly need FNSKU. Or else, your inventory will be comingled and dumped in the same storage bin with all other items with similar UPCs/EANs.
Comingling is not something sellers would want for their inventory. This poor handling can damage the packaging as well as the product. Also, your original product might get mixed with someone else’s counterfeit model. You certainly don’t want to get flagged and taken off of Amazon due to someone else’s fraud. FNSKU labeling can save you and your product from any such misfortune.
There is a list of acronyms that keeps new Amazon sellers confused all the time. Here, we will try to address the confusion around those acronyms once and for all.
Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a unique code that sellers can assign to their products for easy tracking and management on Seller Central. It is usually an alphanumeric combination with no barcode. It is important to remember that SKU is not a short form of FNSKU. Nor does it go on the item label you print and affix on your products.
Also, SKU is internal to each business and seller. It means SKUs don’t have to be unique like FNSKUs. Two sellers can have similar SKUs for their inventory and invoice management and it won’t create any problem at Amazon’s end.
In short, SKU has nothing to do with FNSKU.
Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is an alphanumeric code assigned by Amazon to each item in its catalog. This 10-character product identifier helps everyone from the seller to consumer in tracking down a product.
ASIN is essentially a part of the FNSKU label that you print and affix on the corresponding product. The 10-character string written below the FNSKU barcode is the ASIN of the given product.
Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode that you see on most retail products. It is essentially a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) encoded in the form of a barcode— just like EAN and ISBN barcodes. Global standards organizations (e.g. GS1) issue UPC and other universally accepted barcodes.
Since UPC remains similar for similar products (having the same manufacturer, color, and size) across the globe, it can’t be used as a unique identifier by Amazon for wholesale and retail sellers.
Therefore, FNSKU replaces UPC as a unique identifier when you use Amazon FBA for your products.
UPC labels on products feature the barcode and the corresponding GTIN number. Meanwhile, an FNSKU label contains a barcode, ASIN, a brief product description, and its condition.
Before signing off, let’s answer some more questions related to FNSKU.
You will have to download the PDF file of the FNSKU labels from your Seller Central account (step-by-step procedure discussed above). Print that PDF file in 1 ⅓ x 4 inches dimension and affix that label on the corresponding inventory items.
Only Amazon generates FNSKU labels for products enrolled as FBA inventory on its system. Like UPC and other barcodes, you can’t get FNSKU generated from any third-party platform. So, if you stumble over any FNSKU barcode generator online. At best, it will just be a guide on FNSKU and redirect you to any other unrelated webpage to collect user visits.
No, you don’t need FNSKUs if you are shipping and fulfilling on your own and not using the fulfillment facilities of Amazon.
Yes, you can outsource FNSKU labeling to Amazon just like you outsource shipping to the platform through FBA. Amazon offers a full FBA label service. If you opt for this service, the fulfillment centers will apply the FNSKU to your eligible inventory in light of the product information you provide. Amazon charges 0.30 per item for FNSKU and other relevant FBA labeling.
You will have to change settings on your Seller Central if you want Amazon to affix FNSKU labels on your products. Follow this action flow to change this setting.
Settings > Fulfillment by Amazon > Optional Services > Edit > Who Labels > Amazon
FNSKU labels serve as a useful product identity tool throughout the extensive FBA process. In addition, it helps fulfillment centers to track inventory easily to you and save it from commingling and damages.
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