Shipping Inventory to FBA

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This is a view of your shipping queue. To find your own shipping queue on Amazon, you can start at Amazon Seller Central home page, as we showed you. Go up to the Inventory knob, and go all the way down to Manage FBA Shipments. This will take you into your shipping queue, and you can see all of the shipments that you have ever sent into your Amazon FBA account. You can choose to sort them as to only see the working and transit at the fulfillment center, et cetera. These are all the shipments you’ve ever made.

I want to discuss a little bit about what is the difference between a Shipping Plan and a shipment. As you can see, Shipping Plans that are in view contain more than one shipment. A Shipping Plan is the terminology by Amazon for all of the items that you send in at one time. It contains multiple shipments. Once you finish entering items and process the Shipping Plan, it will create multiple shipments. Sometimes as few as two, sometimes as many as five.

You can avoid having your items split into various shipments and have them all sent to one warehouse by using a service that Amazon offers called Inventory Placement. This is a for-cost, fee-based service, and to access these settings on your Amazon account. You will go to the top-right button where it says “Settings,” and go all the way to the bottom, where it says, “FBA Settings” — Fulfillment by Amazon Settings.

This will bring up the option of inventory placement services. Before you decide on this,

I think you should make sure that you understand all of the fees involved. Amazon terminology, “Distributed Inventory Placement” is a default setting. This means Amazon will tell you where to ship your items, and it will be to multiple fulfillment centers. Inventory Placement Service is the for-fee service that they offer for your Amazon account.

Amazon only guarantees that all quantities of a single merchant’s SKU will be assigned to a single fulfillment center. In other words, they’re only guaranteeing that all of the same item will go to the same center. In experience, for 99 percent of the sellers, what happens when they turn on Inventory Placement is that all of their items go to the same warehouse, but as you can see, this is not guaranteed by Amazon.

You can turn Amazon Inventory Placement Service off and on. You can turn it on for a particular shipment you want to use it for, and you can turn it off for the next one. As you can see at the top of this page, there are certain categories to which inventory placement does not apply, so even if you choose inventory placement and you sell in some of these categories, it may not all go to the same warehouse anyway, so be aware of that.

Many teachers will tell you that Amazon Service Inventory Placement costs 30 cents per item. That’s not exactly the truth, or the full truth. Inventory placement costs 30 cents per items that are less than one pound, or one pound or less. For one to two pounds, it’s 40 cents, and anything over two pounds, you’ll pay 40 cents plus 10 cents a pound above the two pounds. You’ll also pay $1.30 plus a poundage rate for anything that is considered over-sized and/or over five pounds.

These fees will not be charged to you during the shipment so you won’t see them then. They will all be added up and charged to your account once a month, so before you turn Inventory Placement on, make sure you understand all of the fees. It can be a very useful service in some circumstances. Just make sure you understand what you’ll be paying.

Again, to change this, you’re going to go into your settings on the far right side, all the way down to Fulfillment by Amazon Settings, and then you’re going to go into here where it says Inventory Placement Option, all the way over to the side, click “Edit,” and then choose “Inventory Placement Service” and click the “Update” button. You can turn it on, create a shipment, then turn it off and create a new shipment. It can be enabled and disabled as often as you wish. Just be careful that you understand the fees, and what you’re using it for.

Now let’s talk about all the ways to get an item into your FBA shipment. The first way is to add a product to Amazon. You’ll go up to your inventory, and down to “Add a Product.” If you are creating a new product, you’ll use this button if it’s a product that’s brand new to the Amazon Marketplace, you’ll be creating the product listing. Once you’ve finished that, as in the earlier video for Listing, you’ll add it to an Amazon shipment.

One other thing we should talk about as you’re preparing shipments are the two kinds of packing for products that you’re going to be sending in. We have a separate video for preparation. That’s not what I’m talking about.

You can ship both individual items and case-packed items into your Amazon FBA account. Individual items can be up to 300, 400. It doesn’t have to be just one item, but individual means that they are a single, unique unit by themselves.

The other alternative is what is called “case-packed products.” These are for our sellers doing wholesale. According to Amazon, a case-packed product has been previously packaged together by the manufacturer, so packing in a case of like items is something that will save you a lot of time and money for your wholesale products, but it’s not available for other types of products.

Now let’s talk about another way to add a product to your FBA shipment. This method is for products that are already in your Amazon FBA inventory. You’ll go to Inventory, Manage FBA Inventory. This link will bring up a page on Amazon of all of the FBA items in your account, and this is how you find the items that you want to do what is called “Replenish,” which means you want to send in more of them.

You can use the text Search box at the top, or simply search through the pages of inventory, which is pretty inefficient. You can search by anything that’s in the Title, for instance, I’m going to look for some Passion Pear fragrance products that I’m sending in, and this link will bring up all of the items with that fragrance on them. From this shorter list of products, I can choose the one that matches the product I want to send in, which happens to be the 8-ounce pump Shower Cleansing Gel. Click an x-mark in the box that chooses that listing and selects that item.

Then I go to the drop-down menu, which is defaulted to what I want, “Send and Replenish Inventory,” and click “Go.” By doing this, I’m telling Amazon that I want to send in more of an item that’s already in my FBA Inventory.

This will bring up my shipment page, and as we talked about before, the first decision I have to make is do I want to create a new shipping plan, or add to an existing shipping plan. Since this is the first item in this bunch of products I want to send in, I’m going to choose Create a New Shipment Plan.

The next option is the Ship From address. If you are traveling or shipping from another place, you’ll change your address there. As you can see, this is also the individual or case-packed items choice. The first thing Amazon is going to ask me is how many of these products I want to send in, and for instance, this chance, for simplicity, I’ll simply enter “2,” and hit the “Continue” button.

It’s going to bring up Prep Guidance, and tell me what I should be doing with these items, but in many cases, Amazon doesn’t have any guidance available yet.

Now we come to the labeling stage. These are the product barcode labels Amazon requires on each product, unless you choose “Stickerless Co-mingled Inventory” on your account, which the Proven Amazon Course does not recommend. These are labels, they’re 30-up labels, which means 30 on a page. They are 1-inch by 2 5/8 inch, and they are on a regular US letter-sized page. You can purchase these. There are other options, but the 30-up labels are what is recommended. Make sure you purchase the removable labels. Amazon requires them. You can buy them on Amazon, eBay, or your local office supply store.

This is where I tell Amazon who is going to print these. If I choose to print them myself, I’ll simply use the “Print Labels” button. If I ask Amazon to print the labels and put them on the products for me, they are happy to do that for a fee.

I’m going to zoom out and let you see over here, that because I have two of these,

Amazon is telling me they’re going to charge me 20 cents per unit, a total of 40 cents, to print these two labels for me. If you don’t have the labels, or don’t understand, you can certainly pay Amazon to do that. Make sure you figure that in your profit.

Back to Merchant, and it tells me that they’re not going to charge me anything, because I’m going to print the labels myself. Here’s my new Shipping Plan. I’m not finished, so I’m going to go back and add another item to my shipping plan. Again, I can go back to my text search and my FBA Inventory.

This time I’m looking for a pair of earrings I’d like to add to my shipment. The search will bring up all of the items that match my word “earrings,” and I can choose which one I want to send in. For this shipment, I’ll choose the “Hunger Games Catching Fire Mockingjay” hoop earrings.

Again, I simply check the box that I want that, go up to the drop-down, make sure that it is selected Send and Replenish my Inventory, and click the Go button. This will process this item into my Shipping Plan.

I’ve added this one to my shipment, and again, it’s going to ask me do I want to create a new Shipping Plan or Add to Existing. I choose Add to Existing, and in the drop-down menu, I find the shipment I’ve begun, and make sure I add it to that Shipping Plan. Again, we’re talking about a Shipping Plan. “Add to Shipping Plan and Continue” is the button that I choose, and now I have two items in this shipment. Again, the first thing that Amazon’s going to ask me is how many of this item I want to send in. For the earrings,

I’m going to select “1,” and then I have the Continue button.

Now we’ll go up to Amazon Inventory, and use the drop-down menu to select “Add a Product.” This is how we add something to our shipment that is not already in our Amazon FBA Inventory. It brings us back to the page we’re familiar with from the “Listing” video, and you can enter in a UPC code, a European Article Number — Universal Product Code for UPC, an ISBN number. You can use any of these numbers, or you can actually type in, for instance, the title of the book, or for instance, my shower gel, I would put Camille Beckman Shower Gel Passion Pear and search that way.

If we are fortunate, it will bring up one result. As you can see on this item, it brought up seven results, so it is incumbent on the seller to make sure you are listing exactly on the correct product page. So I have to look through all of these and make sure which is the correct listing for me. Fortunately, on this item, I can leave a lot of these out automatically. If you look at the titles of the listing, you’ll see how I can choose which ones to leave out. Starting at the bottom, we’ve got a package of ten, a package of five, a package of three, a package of two, none of which matches the single product that I want to send in, so I know those are not the correct listing.

Going upwards, however, I have two listings that both have one in the box. Fortunately, I can look at the picture and notice that one is a different shape than the other, and identify my product and choose the correct listing. However, if you’ll notice the UPC code is the same, and you want to very careful to list only on the correct product page. Best practice is to open these up and make sure you’ve selected the correct one.

Once you’ve identified the correct product, the button is simply the “Sell Yours” button, just like in the Listing video. Since we already have the Listing video, we’re going to go through the information that we enter very, very quickly.

The important part of what you’re entering here is when you get to the bottom of the listing, and it asks you who is going to ship the item. By selecting “I want Amazon to ship the item,” that is how I get the item added to my Amazon FBA shipment. I select that radio button and click Save and Finish.

Now it takes me back to the familiar shipment page, where it asks me again, do I want to create a new Shipping Plan, or add this item to an existing Shipping Plan. Again, I’m going to select Add to an Existing Shipping Plan. Use the drop-down menu button to select the shipment that we’ve been working on in this video, and then I’m going to click the button to continue.

Again, the familiar page pops up and asks me how many of these items I want to add. I’m going to select 1 and hit Continue, and we’ll go through this one more time so that you can see again how to add an item to your shipment that is not already in your Amazon inventory. Inventory, Add a Product. In this instance, I am choosing to add a book to my shipment, so I’m going to be typing in the ISBN number and not the actual UPC code. Many books have both, and you can use either one. For this example, I’m just going to type in the ISBN number for the book.

Again, the search brings up more than one. This time, four. The thing with books that you have to very careful about is that many times publishers will re-use the ISBN number, so you’ve got to make sure that you’re selecting the exact version of the book that you have. Amazon is very clear on that. It is your responsibility, so the best practice is to open up all the product details as we discussed earlier. Make sure you have the correct copyright date, number of pages, hardback, soft cover, paperback, Kindle version. Whatever you’re listing, make sure you choose the correct listing.

Once you’ve done that, just click the Sell Yours button, and again, all of the same information that we went over on the Listing video, scroll to the bottom and use the radio button to select “I want Amazon to ship,” and Save and Finish.

Again, we come to the familiar button asking do we want to create a new shipping plan or add to an existing, and of course, we choose “Add to an Existing Shipping Plan.” Use the drop-down menu to select the correct shipping plan, and click the button to “Add to Shipping Plan and Continue.”

We’ll get ready to finish this shipment so you can see how that works. Again, I’m going to tell it I want to send one copy of the book, and click the Continue button.

The next step, of course, is the Prep Guidance, which Amazon does not have for these items. Again, I’m getting a chance to print all of the barcode labels or ask Amazon to print them. If I click Print Labels for the page, if I choose Amazon, of course it’s going to update and show me my fees. If I click Merchant, I click “Print Labels for This Page,” and the computer will download, as you saw, a pdf that I can open and print on my printer. Amazon recommends not using an ink jet, but rather a laser or a thermal printer to print your labels.

These barcodes that go on the products contain all the information Amazon needs to identify them. Make sure they’re printed clearly and on the correct product. Make sure they cover the barcode. We’ll talk more about this in our “Prep” video.

Once you’ve printed the labels and done your prep and labeling, we will click the Continue button and move on in our Shipping Plan.

The next step in our Amazon Shipping Plan, I want you to see the fees that Amazon keeps track of for you. If Amazon offers to do your prep work for you, such as poly bags, none of the products in this shipment had that option, but if they do offer, you can choose to pay and it will keep track, the labeling fees, if you choose to have Amazon label. This little area at the top of the Shipping Plan will keep track of what fees you have accrued so far for this shipment.

As you can see, Amazon has chosen to create two shipments out of this shipping plan. One item will go to the IND-1 warehouse in Whitestone, Indiana. Three items, quantity of total 4, will go to EWR-4 warehouse in Robinsville, New Jersey. The MSKUs, or Merchant SKUs, those are the different types of products. As you can see, I have an option of creating a new shipment or adding to an existing shipment.

For example, if I had another shipment going to the same warehouse that wasn’t already been shipped, I could add these items to that shipment that’s going to the same warehouse. Most of the time you will need to go ahead and create a new shipment as you don’t have one waiting.

Once you approve the shipments on the “Approve Shipments” button, you’ll see that you now have two shipments to work on out of the one Shipping Plan. Let’s work on the one that has three different products, total quantity of 4 items going to New Jersey. Simply click on the “Work on Shipment” yellow button to finish the shipment.

This is all the information at the top that you could need. This is my shipment name, where I’m shipping from — another chance to correct that address if I’m shipping from a different address this time. It tells me where I’m shipping to, in this case, New Jersey. It tells me how many different types of Merchant SKUs — three different types of products are in this shipment, a total of four units. It shows me the status of the shipment, when it was created, and when it was last updated.

To see the items in the shipment, I click the button “Review and Modify Units.” Here is where you can adjust, if you want to add one or take one away. You’re not to add five or ten of each item, but you can add, I think it’s two percent, so you can make small changes here.

Again, there’s another chance to print your labels if you didn’t print them before, or one of them got messed up and you need to reprint them. Double check your quantities, make sure you have four of these items prepped, labeled, and in a box ready to ship to Amazon.

Down here is where you set the number of boxes. Obviously for this small shipment, one box will be fine, but I can set the number of boxes right here. The box weight is the most important thing. Get yourself a good scale. This particular box, I’m going to estimate at three and a half pounds. The box dimensions go here. It doesn’t matter in what order you put them in, simply put them in.

The interesting thing on this is, I’ve recently discovered you don’t have to put the dimensions in. You can simply put the weight, and Amazon will go based on that. However, if the box is oversized, the DIM Weight that it refers to, you will have an extra fee on the end, so I prefer to put in my measurements and know up front my exact fees.

If you want more than one box, you simply click the “Add Another Box.” I’m going to say this one weighs one and a half pounds, and just put in some measurements for this one. You can add more and more boxes up to a total of 200 boxes for each shipment as you can see here by number of boxes left. I’ll get rid of this one, since I really only need the one.

As you can see, when you have more than one box, this pops up to the right — “Download Your Pack List.” This something that Amazon has begun putting in, about six months. It is not required at this time. We’re not recommending it. Just keep an eye on it. At some point, they may require you to do it. What it’s trying to do is to get you to download a CSV-type file and tell Amazon which items are going in which boxes. Then you upload that file after you’ve made your additions to it. Again, right now, this is not required, and since it’s extra work, we recommend you don’t do this until they ask you or demand that you do it.

DIM Weight is called DIM — dimensional weight, and it means that UPS will charge you, not always based on the weight of your package, but also based on the size, so if I had a very large box for this shipment, say 24 by 24, instead of paying a shipping weight of four pounds or three and a half pounds, I’m now being charged for a 21-pound box because of the size that box takes. This is new. It’s called dimensional weight. So it behooves you to use the smaller boxes if at all possible.

The shipping services available to an Amazon seller include Small Parcel Delivery and LTL — Less Than Truckload. Less Than Truckload are for large sellers shipping pallets of merchandise, so most of you will be using Small Parcel delivery. You can choose another shipper. You can use DHL, FedEx, UPS — your own account, or USPS. We strongly recommend you do not use any of these options, as it can delay the receiving of your goods into the Amazon warehouse. Amazon has a great system with their own UPS account, and extremely low rates that I seriously doubt anyone can beat. There are really no advantages to using a different shipping service.

Once you’ve have Amazon calculate the cost for your shipment, you’ll see that every other button is greyed out. There’s nothing you can do, until you agree to the terms and conditions and accept the charges. The way the Amazon shipping works is that they will not make you pay up front for your shipping. Instead, it will go as a debit on your account. For instance, right now there is a debit of $4.56 on my account. If I change my mind, I have 24 hours to void this label and get that money credited back to my account.

It will sit on my account as a debit, and as I sell items and make a profit, they will deduct this $4.56 out of it.

The next step is now to print box labels. Just like the other labels, once I click that button, the computer will download a pdf to my desktop or My Downloads. I click the “Open” button, and this is what the box label looks like. No matter how many boxes you have in a shipment, one, five, or seven, one file will contain all of the labels. This label says “1 of 1,” because I have one box in this shipment. If I had more, it would say “1 of 2,” or “1 of 3,” and then “2 of 3,” and “3 of 3.” Again, it will all be in one file no matter how many labels.

These labels can be printed on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper and taped to the box. Amazon strongly recommends self-stick adhesive labels. They do not have to be the removable type. You can buy these labels. They’re two to a page. The pages are 8 1/2 by 11, standard US letter size. You can purchase them at Amazon, eBay or your local office supplier or Wal-Mart. You can also open a free account on UPS for UPS.com. Open a free shipping account and order supplies and order these labels for free.

Once you print this label, what’s left to do? Not much. Simply click the “Complete Shipment,” and let Amazon know that you are finished with this shipment from the Shipping Plan. There is a button at the top that you can mark as “Shipped.” The only reason to do that is to make sure that you don’t add items to a box that’s already been sealed. “Work on Another Shipment.” Remember Amazon created two shipments for this Shipping Plan, so I can now go back and finish that other shipment at this time if I’d like to.

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