One of the shipping frustrations that you will run into is FBA Shipments To Multiple Fullfillment Centers. I was really confused when I first started to ship to Amazon – all products do not go to the same shipping center.
I live in Arizona – and Phoenix has multiple shipping centers for FBA. Plus – Amazon has centers that are for specific products. (And they have changed what shipping centers specialize in shipping at times). It can be quite a headache.
When I have “over – sized” products or boxes of products they get shipped back east. This causes an additional shipping expense that must be factored into the C.O.G. (cost of goods). I do want to make a profit… 🙂
What is super frustrating is that you don’t “know” where the product is going until you get pretty far into the listing process. Once you have been at it a while – you get a pretty good idea that books are going to x and media is going to y and then toys are going to z.
Then Amazon will throw in some odd place where they want you to ship “One thing”. grrr… see below where I talk about “high shipping rate solutions” – these are often also the culprit when you get that “One Oddity”.
Amazon does have a shipping FBA checklist.
You must keep your inventory separated when you are boxing. This is one way to keep from going crazy:
I first have all my books and media in one box. It keeps them contained and I can sort as I go along. The books in this box (above) are already cleaned (tags removed etc. and have bar codes. I have a different pile of books and media that don’t have barcodes or are not showing up as “In The Amazon Catalog” (which I know they are – I just need to find the exact product page).
I keep several boxes going at one time. As I work through my inventory – I can create the listing, add the bar code and drop into the correct box. When a box looks full(ish) – I start a new box.
I label each box (with a sticky note) listing the “Shipping Center Acronym”. PHX-6 is an example of one of the Amazon FBA shipping center acronyms. I see these in my FBA Power listing software… but you can also see these right on Amazon’s Seller Central if you are listing directly from that point.
Amazon Fulfillment Center U.S. Locations:
I can’t always remember what acronym belongs to “which center” – so I’ve created a listing that you can download yourself here:
Amazon seems to be in a constant state of fluctuation when it comes to Opening and Closing Fulfillment Centers. When a fulfillment center closes – they will pack up your inventory and move it. Plus – The oversize warehouse that was very close to me has since changed (no one can say permanently or temporarily) to one in KY. Yikes – that can add up in shipping costs. 🙁
If a box of products is going to be shipped back east – I pay special attention to those products. I usually adjust the prices (after the listings go live on Amazon) to reflect any additional expenses I incurred in shipping to a long distance location.
When a box/product seems to have an unusually high shipping rate… I can do several things to make sure I’m not paying more than I need to:
- I check the product page on Amazon to ensure that the product size and weight are listed correctly. If not – I need to contact Amazon to correct the issues.
- I check the size/weight price calculations using different size boxes. I can pay to combine content – It can also pay to break the box up into multiple boxes.
This takes a bit of time & effort – but I figure I’m still in the learning stage and eventually this will be quicker and easier to just calculate in my head.
I don’t use a fancy scale for shipping. I just use a bathroom scale. Caution – Don’t just put the box on the scale. You must weigh yourself and then weigh again while holding the box. This gives a more accurate reading of actual weight.
Amazon Products Without Images
When you find a product page without an image – take a picture of the product. You can update the product page later. This also helps to get the product sold… I would never buy something without seeing an image – would you?
p.s. I started selling on Amazon in May of 2011 with just a test of a few products and was blown away by my success right off the bat. – Of course – I’ve now had some failures to match up with the successful parts and I’ll be sharing all of that with you.
You can read about my journey so far in this 54 page report:
Click Here ==>>Amazon Arbitrage