With over 1,000 Amazon fulfillment centers, warehouses, and distribution centers around the world, Amazon needs to operate like a well-oiled machine. To do this they need strict policies and procedures, which I'm sure you're well aware of if you're already selling on Amazon.
One of their requirements for FBA sellers is to do with packaging and shipping boxes when sending products in to Amazon FBA, which is what this guide is going to discuss in detail.
Guidelines for Acceptable Amazon FBA Boxes
I'm no box expert personally, but Amazon has a list of acceptable standard boxes that you can use to send your goods in to Amazon FBA. So before you go and collect cardboard boxes from around the place, read up on the following to ensure you're getting suitable shipping boxes.
Regular Slotted Carton (RSC)
Sometimes referred to as a standard corrugated box, the regular slotted carton (RSC) is probably the most common of the shipping boxes.
A B-Flute box has a thickness of 1/8" and was originally created to store canned goods. They're also great for printing or cutting given their thin smooth surface, but they may not be suitable for heavier products.
A 32 edge crush test box can handle stacking pressure of 32lbs per inch of edge without collapsing, hence the name. They are stronger than your standard box, but still quite lightweight and affordable.
200 lb./sq. inch (burst strength)
Considered more heavy duty than the ECT-32 boxes, the 200lb burst strength boxes will also stack heavier than an ECT 32. You can also pack more into a 200ln single wall box than an ECT-32, but they will also cost you more.
It's easy to get new boxes that meet these requirements, but you are also allowed to re-use second-hand boxes if they are still sturdy enough and meet Amazon's requirements.
Basic Requirements When it Comes to Sending Boxes to FBA
It's highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with Amazon's policies inside seller central, but in a nutshell you should follow these guidelines:
- Boxes must be six-sided, rigid and in-tact
- At least 2 inches of packaging materials should be used around box contents
- If you're re-using boxes, existing barcode labels should always be covered up or removed
- Each box should have a clearly printed label with your delivery and return info on it, plus the appropriate FBA box ID label (more that further along in this article)
- Strong tape should be used to secure all flaps to ensure they don't come loose
Amazon Box Size and Weight Requirements
There's limits on both the size and weight of boxes that you send to Amazon FBA, as follows:
- Boxes should be no more than 25 inches on any side (unless you're sending oversize products)
- Boxes must weigh no more than 50lb, unless they have a single item only that weighs more
- Single items in boxes weight more than 50lb must have a "Team Lift" label
- Single items in boxes weight more than 100lb must have a "Mechanical Lift" label
- If you're sending in jewelry or watches, the box may not exceed 40lb.
Amazon FBA Packaging Requirements
Ok so now we've touched on the box requirements, let's talk about the Amazon FBA packaging requirements.
If you're an established seller then you've probably already read Amazon's policy on packaging and prep requirements inside Seller Central, but if you haven't then I highly suggest you do so before sending anything into an FBA warehouse. As a side note, using a third party Amazon FBA prep center service will take the stress out of this process. Worth considering.
Acceptable Box Packaging Materials
When packaging and shipping boxes into Amazon FBA, you will need to know what materials are ok to use and what you should avoid.
Here's the packaging materials that you should use in your shipping boxes:
- Bubble Wrap
- Full sheets of paper (heavy-weight kraft paper is best)
- Inflatable air pillows
- Polyethylene foam sheeting
When packing Amazon FBA boxes, avoid the following:
- Packing peanuts
- Foam strips
- Crinkle wrap
- Shredded paper
- Thermocol chips
Where to Buy Shipping Boxes for Amazon FBA
I'm a big fan of recycling and re-using boxes so we'll touch on that topic, but if you need to buy boxes for Amazon FBA then these suggestions are going to work for you.
Uline is the bees knees when it come to packaging and shipping supplies. They sell a heap more than just boxes so they might have other things you're looking for too.
Well, it makes sense to check out Amazon themselves when it comes to buying your boxes for FBA.
Personally I like to keep my big box store shopping to a minimum but if for some reason I need a box quickly, I'll go to Lowe's or somewhere similar.
Where to Get Free Amazon FBA Boxes
I always encourage people to recycle and re-use, but I do understand that it can also take extra time and effort. If you want to find free boxes for your Amazon shipment, try these places:
The first place you should look to get free boxes is on Facebook marketplace. There is usually an abundance. People will also try and sell them, but after a while they might need to get rid of them so they mark them as free.
Buy Nothing Groups
"Buy Nothing" is a worldwide gifting project and groups are usually local to only one or two suburbs. There's a few rules, like you can only join your local suburb group for instance, but they are purely there for giving away free stuff. Join your local one and put out a request for boxes, group members are always very helpful and generous.
Of course no list of places to get free stuff would be complete without mentioning Craigslist.
It might be a little hit and miss but hey, free stuff is free stuff!
Every local grocery store, liquor store, or any other retail store receives deliveries all the time in cardboard boxes. They quite often have to pay to recycle them too, so they may not mind if you go and ask to take some away.
Amazon FBA Box Label Requirements
If you've followed the CTS blog for a while, you may have read my article on how to ship to Amazon FBA. I recommend you take a read of that when you can, it covers the next step in sending your products to an Amazon fulfillment center.
Part of that next step is printing labels and putting them on your cardboard boxes!
When it comes to FBA box labeling, here's what you need to know:
- Labels are generated from inside your Amazon seller central account when you create your Amazon shipment. You can then print them off from there.
- Both your FBA Box ID and the carrier label need to be placed on a flat part of the box so they don't get damaged or bent around the edge of the box
- Don't place your box label on a seam, otherwise it will be damaged when the boxes are opened
- Labels need to be unobstructed and easily scannable
- You should consider investing in a thermal label printer to print off 4x6" labels, it'll make your life so much easier!
Conclusion - Amazon FBA Boxes, Packaging and Shipping
So as we wrap up this guide on Amazon FBA boxes and packaging, I'd love to ask where you get your boxes from? Do you prefer to find second-hand boxes or do you always buy new?
I hope this article has given you a little more insight into boxes for FBA, who would have thought that there were so many requirements? Even if you're an Amazon FBM seller, this info is still handy to have right?
If you found this article about Amazon FBA boxes useful, I'd love to invite you to join my email list below. I send out helpful tips each and every week!