How to create your first shipping plan
So you’ve got a good idea – a great new product – and you want to bring it to market on the world’s largest eCommerce platform through Fulfilment by Amazon (Amazon FBA). What now?
To get your products to Amazon customers, you first need to get them to fulfilment centers, which requires you to tell Amazon what you’re selling, how much of it you’re sending them, and from where. This is your shipping plan.
The first step will be to make sure you’ve got an account all set up on Amazon Seller central. This will require creating individual pages for each product you are selling, complete with a shipping address from either the manufacturer or the freight forwarder (both to find out which fulfilment center to send your product too, and in case there are returns to be made).
Be sure to paint Amazon a clear picture of what it is you’ll be sending, including the number of items per box shipped, box dimensions, weight of boxes and items as well as the number of items ordered.
It might seem a bit annoying to fill out a maze of questions and sub-questions, but in the long-run it may prevent bigger problems like shipping delays or unexpected fees.
So I’ve got my account set up…
The initial steps are straight-forward enough, starting with managing your inventory – which will be the case no matter the size of the shipment you’re putting out.
On your main Amazon Seller Central portal, go to the Inventory tab on the top left and select manage FBA Inventory.
On the right-hand side of the hub, go to Edit and scroll down to Send/Replenish Inventory.
On the next page, tick the items you want to ship, and once selected, go to the top to where it says Action on [Number of] Items and select Send/Replenish Inventory.
Select what kind of shipping plan you want – whether a new one or add to an existing one – as well as give them a ‘ship from’ address.
It will also ask you on the same page to choose whether you’ll be sending individual products and case-packed products – the first of which applies if you are sending different kinds of products in the same carton, and the latter if you’re sending multiple units of the same product in a given box.
Once you’ve made your selection, click Continue to Shipping Plan
Preparation, labels, and split shipments
When it then asks you to select who preps your packaging – either a merchant or Amazon – which most of the time will be the merchant.
You’ll have the option to print labels for the page, which – it is important to point out –are not shipping labels but FNSKUs, meaning you will not need them if you already have a FNSKU or a UPC barcode. In fact, you’re likely to save time and money by handling the label yourself.
At this point, you’ll find out the warehouse Amazon will send your merch to (something you have no control over). For larger shipments, this could mean getting your gear sent to multiple warehouses, in which case you’ll be on the hook for shipping costs to each of them, though Amazon offers an inventory placement service that allows you to send it all to one place (for a fee, of course).
When the warehouse destinations are sorted out – whether just to one or two multiple locations – the shipment will get moved to the shipping queue, which you can find at the top right of the Manage Inventory page.
Click Work on Shipment on the shipment you want, and you can review the shipment – the contents, number of units etc
Choose what kind of shipping service you need, whether a Small parcel delivery (SPD – for individual boxes) or Less than a truckload (LTL – for pallets and a shipment of at least 150lbs).
Once you’ve confirmed the shipment size, you can go on to print the labels and you’re done!
Loads of steps can seem like a tough hill to climb, but Amazon itself has useful resources, and – better still – Old Street Media can help you do it to fit your specific business needs. Reach Out to us at email@example.com
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