Amazon has 175 fulfillment centers across the globe sitting on roughly 150 million square feet of space. Thousands of products move in and out of these centers as part of daily operations. To ensure proper storage and shipping, sellers must label their products according to set guidelines.
If you’re new to Amazon, product label requirements can seem a bit confusing—do it the wrong way and you might incur a fine or get charged extra for labeling services. To prevent any of that from happening, in this blog, you’re going to learn how to print Amazon FBA labels the right way.
The collection, storage, and shipment of goods under Amazon’s FBA program relies on a barcode-driven system. This makes it considerably easier for Amazon to manage goods and quickly ship them out to customers. It also prevents products from getting lost or mixed up (as multiple sellers may sell the same product) and guarantees that the customer receives exactly what they ordered each and every time.
There are two types of labels or barcodes you need to apply to your products. The first one is called a manufacturer barcode and the second is an Amazon barcode.
A manufacturer barcode is a unique code used to identify retail products as they move along the supply chain. These codes are also referred to as GTIN or Global Trade Item Number. Once scanned, the label provides vital product and manufacturer information. Amazon accepts GS1-issued codes including UPCs (Universal Product Codes), EANs (European Article Numbers), and JANs (Japanese Article Numbering).
An Amazon barcode—more commonly known as an FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit)—is an alphanumeric code unique to the platform. In case you’re selling a unique private label product no other seller offers and you use GS1-issued barcodes for your products, an FNSKU is not needed.
Generally speaking, you’ll need both. When listing your products, Amazon will ask for a UPC or EAN barcode for each ASIN. After the listing goes live, you then have the option of generating and printing out the FNSKU label file directly from Seller Central. Send this information to your manufacturer and ask them to print the FNSKUs on your products.
Relying solely on manufacturer barcodes increases the risk of having your products commingled with those belonging to another seller. Since a barcode cannot prove your identity as the rightful owner of your products, someone else can slap UPCs onto cheap replicas of your products and market them as their own.
Mitigate the risk of that happening by using both GS1-issued barcodes as well as FNSKUs. However, if you’re really serious about stopping sellers from producing counterfeit products and ruining your brand image, enroll in the Transparency program today.
Learn more about how the Amazon Transparency program acts as a strong deterrent against Amazon listing hijackers.
Note: When selling books, you will need to use ISBN (International Standard Books Number) instead of UPCs or EANs.
Amazon wants sellers to be meticulous regarding the content and placement of product labels. Each label should include:
The same rules apply when placing Amazon barcodes on the product packaging as well. According to the label placement requirements, you have to:
Pro tip: Convey these requirements to your supplier/manufacturer.
If for any reason your inventory reaches a fulfillment center without the correct labels, Amazon may impose an unplanned prep service fee. For each missing barcode, you can get charged anywhere from $0.20 to $0.40 per unit fee.
To print Amazon FBA Labels:
Clicking on the yellow button will download a pdf file which you can then email to your supplier.
As far as the label paper requirements are concerned, each Amazon barcode must be printed in black ink, be non-reflective, and get attached using a removable adhesive. The dimensions for each label should fall between 1 x 2 and 2 x 3 inches. Your Seller Central account supports the following label sizes:
Note: Set your printer scaling to none or 100% in case your printer tries to scale the print area.
The Inbound Performance Summary keeps a check on how well sellers ship their inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Common problems related to inbound performance that could appear in your shipping queue include:
It is unclear to what degree the Inbound Performance Summary affects the Inventory Performance Index (IPI). However, it’s safe to assume that avoiding these errors will reflect positively on your reputation as a seller.
As the name implies, Amazon FBA Label Service lets you outsource the task of generating and applying barcodes to your products. A $0.30 per item fee is applied for products that:
Should your product be approved for FBA label service, you must abide by terms and conditions which include dividing shipments and clumping together products enrolled in the FBA label service.
Is the service worth the money? In our experience, suppliers generally don’t complain about applying product labels—it’s an understood part of the deal. Aside from exceptional circumstances, it’s better to skip Amazon’s FBA Label service.
The printer requirements for Amazon FBA are that you should use thermal (which is what your Seller Central account is optimized for) or laser printers. Do not use inkjet printers to create barcodes.
You can’t go wrong with either a Zebra or Dymo printer—just make sure to purchase a relatively new model with positive feedback and review ratings (Amazon currently uses a Zebra GX430t for printing barcode labels). It’s considered good practice to clean and test the printer from time to time especially when it’s not in periodic use.
Printing Amazon FBA labels is no rocket science—do it once by following the steps we mentioned and you won’t need to look up a guide again. What can feel like rocket science, however, are other aspects of running an Amazon FBA business.
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