Amazon FBA Prep Guidelines – Barcode Etiquette

Amazon  provides tons of documentation and videos to help prep your items so that they can be received at Amazon’s warehouses without incurring additional fees. Amazon has also created and infographic to help sellers know, at-a-glance, how to prepare items for shipment. You can find it here. I recommend printing it out and having it posted wherever you prep shipments so you have a quick reference guide.

Over the next few weeks I'll be discussing the ins and outs of inventory prep including Amazon's guidelines, tools you can use to work more efficiently, and how to make sure your items get received quickly and correctly. Today I'll be talking about barcode etiquette. There are certain guidelines to follow when covering and applying barcodes to your FBA items.

Barcode Etiquette

Coverage:  All barcodes (UPC, EAN, Serial #, etc) need to be obscured so that a warehouse employee doesn't accidentally scan the incorrect one. You can use the FBA label to cover the UPC code. If there are any other codes, or I am assembling a multipack where there multiple barcodes are not covered by the FBA label then I use a plain white label an cover the barcode. I know some sellers use a pricing gun to make the barcode unreadable (see image below).

Pricing gun used to obscure barcodes to make them unreadable by optical scanners at Amazon Warehouses. Image posted by Brian Mann – Fast Turns Radio Facebook Group 2/5/15

You can buy a pricing gun like the one pictured above at many office supply stores or online at Recently, I've started doing more grocery bundles and think this will be a great way to speed up my processes.

Placement: It is also important to make sure that the FBA Labels lay flat of the surface of an item and not over edges or across curved surfaces. This makes them hard or impossible for the warehouse workers to scan and will send your item(s) through another couple of steps before being received.

Amazon also produced a video about How to Label Products for FBA.

Additional detailed Amazon FBA packaging and prep guidelines can be found here.

What tools do you use in ways other than they were originally intended? Let us know in the comments below. I use my heat gun to test if any of my items are considered meltable under extreme conditions to determine if I need to pull them from the warehouse before May 1. NOTE: Amazon does not allow meltable items (chocolate, candles, etc) in the warehouses between 5/1 and 9/30 due to increased warehouse temperatures.

What are you doing today to move your business forward?


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