Packaging Items for FBA

Prepping Items for Fulfillment by Amazon

It’s a common concern to make sure you package your items for safe transport both from your office/home to the Amazon warehouse and then warehouse to your end customer. But where do you begin?

Because you will have a wide array of items available for sale (remember, key is to diversify) – I’d recommend printing this PDF below out for easy reference near your packaging station. (Okay, I’m kidding saying we all have packing stations. A girl can dream!)
Prep Matrix (By Amazon) Back to reality, here is the PDF with a summary of basic prep guidelines. You can right click, and choose Save As to save and print off at your leisure.

Without Guidelines

But what about those items that don’t have guidelines? Like comic books, DVDs, and CDs? Two words. Drop test.
The rules of Amazon say you should be able to hold it 3 feet above ground and it should not break.I’ve actually cracked a few CD cases during my own mishandling and can only imagine what could happen in a warehouse. While we have personally packaged DVDs without bubblewrap, we’ve changed CDs to have these mailers protecting them. (These aren’t prime, but if you can wait – I’d go with them as they run about .20 each, and still free shipping.) If you are in a time crunch, head to your Dollar Store and buy only what you need. If you buy them at the office stores, you’ll pay at least .40 each, and that’s just silly. I haven’t done this with DVDs because I don’t feel they are too fragile. Nor do I with any other books, or VHS tapes. I have packaged comic books in stiff board sleeves to protect their quality but I’m sure that goes without saying.

Odd stuff

Other odds and ends have included sharp kitchen scissors which were sent in a bubble mailer again. Large kitchen utensils, with bubble wrap
ends. I’m not 100% sure on those though as they could fall under the “item exposed” issue and need to be fully wrapped. We’ll see! If that’s the case, we can use Amazon’s unplanned services and test that out! (Upside to everything folks!)

Don’t Forget about Selling Perishables

Yes, if diversity is goal – we need to travel the grocery aisle to find some new products. But with new and unknown come more rules and guidelines. Here is the PDF you’ll need.
You’ll need to ensure you’re not selling items on the “can’t sell during summer” months, and also confirming expiration dates are 90 days out. Don’t forget the extra label with super large font! While it seems like a pain now, the grocery market is an untapped one for this reason – dive right in and you’ll profit from it.

Well, I hope I covered enough to get you through a few shipments! If you have specific packaging woes, do share and we’ll create a tutorial or find relevant Amazon info.

Options to Creating Fulfillment by Amazon Labels

Its now been about 2 months and we’ve had our ups and downs with labels. When we initially signed up for FBA as a Pro Seller, we went all out and purchased a DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo labels, and more labels. Only to find out, the labels we bought were wrong, and the Scan and Ship program wasn’t jiving with the printer. We tried it on a Mac, a Windows PC (2 actually) and nothing. I’m not an expert, but I’m no novice either. Talking with Amazon’s support did nothing either. While the printer worked, it wasn’t talking to Amazon for whatever reason. So, it sat for over 45 days collecting lovely dust. This last week I decided it was time to check out the options.

1. Print using Amazon’s standard fulfillment process. This means me using the 30-up Avery labels

Advantages: Feeds into my current printer, no extra costs.

Disadvantages: If I don’t have 30 items, I have to play a little bit to not waste labels. I will often print extras of whatever items I am testing. If I have thrift items that aren’t going to be replenished, I am a bit up a creek. I use the blank labels to cover up multiple UPCs on packaging, or label boxes as I create new shipments.

2. ScanPower (scanpower.com), a subscription based service. I have limited experience as I subscribed so I can’t say if it is good or bad product.

Advantages: According to the site, you can “Choose condition, set your price, print your FBA label, and pack the item in the box all in one step.” That’s one heck of an advantage. Are there probably a ton more of advantage with a service with a monthly subscription? Probably!

Disadvantages: Monthly fee of $39, yuck. For those starting out, you’re already in the negative.

3. FBA Labels, (fbalabels.com) a subscription based service. It works as an add-on with the Firefox browser. To be honest, I’m pretty ecstatic over this product. It prints labels at the time of listing. It works seamlessly right out of the gate with my DYMO. No complaints, about 60 items into it.

Advantages: Worked seamlessly. It works at the Send/Replenish stage, or initial listing stage.

Disadvantages: My scanner for some odd reason doesn’t work with it. I think this is just an issue on my part though. My only disadvantage is my fault (most likely), so no disadvantages yet!

Cleaning your Books

One problem we have run into while doing FBA these last few weeks is sticker residue. Sticker residue has been the worst with used books, and we’re sure you know what we mean.

After we use our Scotty Peelers to remove the label we are often left with a residue that is tough to remove. Here are a few tips to help you get your books ready for fulfillment.

Glossy Dust Jackets

You can use several solvents to remove residue from your dust jackets. As a rule we do not use Goo Gone simply because we are nervous that a dust jacket will smear its ink. However, we know it is recommended to be used so do this at your own risk.

Other cleaners to be used are : Windex, 409, or Clorox wipes.

When removing the sticker from the dust jacket, lightly moisten the label and remove with a scotty peeler. Of course when dealing with rare or extremely valuable books take caution.

Matte Dust Jackets

Visit your local art supply store for dry cleaning pads. The bag will allow you to rub against the grid surface of a matte jacket and reach the crevices to remove dirt. Rub the jacket gently to ensure minimal wear as a result.

 Odors in the Books

Buying used means buying a book’s past. Often the past may have a cigarette smoke odor, moth ball, or musty odor. Time can cure this odor if left in a dry environment to air out. However, this is not a cure all. Bringing a book with a musty odor into your home can mean spreading the mold to other books. Before buying a book tainted with an odor, consider if it is worth the trouble sitting on your shelf or worth a potentially unsatisfied customer.