Any products available for sale in the Amazon network of Fulfillment Centers must be carefully prepped for storage and shipment. Until recently, this has always been handled prior to shipping the items to the Amazon warehouse (be sure to check out our extensive list of Amazon FBA Prep Services below). Now Amazon has started their own FBA Prep Service. What will this mean for the 100+ third-party Amazon FBA Prep Services already in existence?
Amazon’s prep service offers a full range of FBA Prep Services for many classes of products, including Fragile and Glass, Liquids, Clothing, and even Adult items. The full list and complete explanation can be found on the Amazon FBA Prep Service page. This new service is considerably more exhaustive than the “poly-bagging and labeling” that their former service used to be limited to.
In certain situations, it may make sense for some sellers to take advantage of the Amazon FBA Prep service. If you are able to manage the inbound shipping of products to your location, sort them according to where Amazon wants them shipped, create the inbound shipping plans to Amazon, and do any initial prep required for safe transportation to the Amazon warehouse, then the Amazon FBA Prep Service may very well fit your business model. This seems to be well suited for those who use Retail Arbitrage as their main sourcing model, as well as smaller Online Arbitrage businesses. Some wholesale and import shipments may be able to be scheduled on your behalf by the shipper in order to take advantage of this new Prep service.
Amazon will still require you create the shipping plans and print the shipping labels so they can track the inbound shipments. They will not allow online retailers to ship items into the Amazon warehouse. You will need to make sure the items can safely be transported to the Amazon Prep Warehouse, which might mean that you need to do some prep work before Amazon even receives the item. You may also find that your items are being shipped to warehouses that you are not familiar with, depending on how Amazon chooses to handle the workflow.
For many, especially the larger sellers, this will not be an option. They may have already grown beyond their capacity to process the amount of shipments they receive from online retailers, wholesalers, or imports, and need a Third Party Fulfillment Service to handle receiving their orders. In addition to prepping, these 3rd-party services can receive shipments, hold the items until all orders are received (or even longer), palletize when necessary to save inbound shipping costs to Amazon, and provide other services that neither a small seller working out of their home, nor a large seller sitting on the beach with their laptop would be able to do.
Keep in mind that not all items need to be prepped. As always, Amazon reserves the right to split shipments to be sent to multiple Fulfillment Centers. Do not be surprised if Amazon starts demanding that items needing Prep Services be shipped separately from items that do not need to be prepped. It is also worth noting that Amazon may decide at any time to discontinue providing this service, so it would be a good idea to have a backup plan in any event.
The Prep Centers listed below stand ready to assist you in getting your goods prepped and delivered to the Amazon FBA Warehouse where they can be sold. Besides for the US, there are also FBA Prep Services from all over the world, whether you need an Amazon FBA Prep Company in the UK or another country in Europe, Asia, Australia, or Canada. Not sure what you need? Watch the short video at the top of the page to learn how to choose the Amazon FBA Prep Service that is right for your business.