The Ultimate Guide To FBA Prep Services in 2023 and How WareIQ Can Help
For all online sellers, order fulfillment is a difficult task. Fortunately for Amazon sellers, this job is made easy by Amazon’s intricate network of fulfillment centers and transport facilities through Fulfillment-by-Amazon (FBA). However, its FBA prep services can be challenging for certain sellers who may struggle to meet the requirements. In this blog, we take a look at FBA prep services, the processes involved in it, why it makes sense and key metrics to keep an eye on. Let’s take a look.
- What are FBA Prep Services?
- 6 Processes Involved in Amazon FBA Prep
- Why Does it Make Sense to Outsource FBA Preparation Servicesin 2023?
- Key Metrics to Choose the Best FBA Prep Services
- Conclusion: Why Should You Choose WareIQ for Your Amazon FBA Prep?
- FBA Prep Services: FAQs
What are FBA Prep Services?
FBA prep services are the processes involved in getting a seller’s products ready to be sent to Amazon warehouses so that they can eventually be sold and fulfilled. Amazon takes the onus of order fulfillment, which can get tricky and challenging for the seller.
The process might sound simple but involves many steps before you push the consignment out of the manufacturing unit. Amazon expects all its sellers to follow specific standards and procedures for packaging and labeling. Some of these requirements are specific to product categories. Moreover, if international shipping is involved, you are expected to comply with additional practices.
WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.
6 Processes Involved in Amazon FBA Prep
Picking & Packing
Picking the order from the storage and packing it as per Amazon guidelines is the most crucial step in FBA preparation services. Although you may be using automated software to manage this step, the task becomes more demanding as your orders keep increasing.
Here are some of the instructions for packaging issued by Amazon:
- All packages must have scannable barcodes and labels.
- They must be packaged to safeguard them from any damage.
- All packages must have a unique FNSKU.
- You need to remove old barcodes present on the outside of each order.
- You must ship all products to the Amazon warehouse in an assembled state.
- Different items must be packaged separately.
- All edible products must have an expiration date.
- No items should have any pilferage-prevention gadgets enclosed.
This procedure transfers items directly from the manufacturer to the customer or retailer with minimal or no storage. Cross Docking occurs at a terminal with mostly truck docks and the least storage capacity. As the name suggests, it refers to moving the goods through an inbound dock to an outbound dock without any halt in the movement of goods.
This is one of the FBA prep services that help streamline logistics and reduce expenses incurred between the origin and point of sale. In addition, it acts as a huge time-saver and lowers delivery timelines. Amazon stresses this step to ensure customers receive their parcels on or before time.
Using Advanced Software
Robust technology helps optimise every stage involved in Amazon FBA prep. For instance, it enables you to bookmark sales with every customer order, automate mapping and track all deliveries and returns. Amazon’s FBA platform has also undergone frequent changes to make tasks easier for you. It allows you to track the inventory and every order as it is shipped.
Amazon expects you to use a combination of the FBA Seller App and an online account for the complete experience. Their software can capture and process information relating to your inventory and orders. Amazon’s Inventory Performance Index helps map each seller’s inventory performance and storage. It shows your level of efficiency in managing your FBA preparation services. Having accurate inventory information enables you to make more informed decisions.
Implementing Smart Storage
Storage of inventory and finished goods demands a lot of planning that leads to timely deliveries. You need to store the products safely and in an organised manner. To do so, Amazon has smartly designed its storage system to enable speedy processing and dispatch to customers. For example, it introduced Network Commingling (NetCo), wherein a seller can choose to activate order fulfillment from an Amazon center closest to the end user. So the customer receives the order from a nearby fulfillment centre irrespective of the seller’s proximity.
Amazon virtually swaps the order received by a seller with another NetCo authorised seller. Doing so saves time, effort on handling and label fixing expenses. The inventory stored in such a case is called stickerless inventory.
Meeting Amazon Product Compliance
Amazon is very firm about its guidelines for FBA Preparation services. Any discrepancy can result in your product being rejected before it is dispatched to the customer. While Amazon allows most products for sale on its portal, there are some strict requirements for shipments to be eligible for FBA.
For example, the expiration date and temperature-sensitivity handling information must be in place. Information about dangerous goods, hazardous materials or any other product restrictions must be prominently visible. The product you send must not be on the FBA prohibited products list.
Hiring Happiness Engineers
Any eCommerce business needs the support of experts to run smoothly. These happiness engineers act as problem-solvers and guides in case of queries and crises. Well-trained happiness engineers can be employed as shipping experts who can guide you on critical matters like achieving a high Inventory Performance Index score.
A few things indicate that you need a happiness engineer or that you need to consider collaborating with an agency that knows the job. For example, not knowing how to start your FBA business, being unable to optimise operations, dipping sales or simply wanting to continue the success story of your business are some of the reasons why you would need one.
Why Does it Make Sense to Outsource FBA Preparation Servicesin 2023?
You can manage FBA Preparation Services in three ways: do it yourself, get Amazon to do it on your behalf for a cost or hire a third-party professional to undertake the tasks. The third-party providers know their job well and can guide you on the best way forward.
Here are a few reasons that you may consider outsourcing Amazon FBA Prep Services:
Access to Experts
Professionals know the rules of Amazon FBA Prep. They have a deep knowledge of Amazon’s product packaging and labelling checklists. Hiring them makes them responsible for getting the order accepted by Amazon and can also remove the burden from you of trying to comply with the long list of rules
Saves Time and Money
Third-party experts are quick at completing the processes faster than you can because of the sheer amount of advanced technology and resources they have access to. Secondly, these third-party providers can better handle discrepancies or changes in orders. You can save time and money and rather, spend it on expanding your business.
Improves Business Productivity
When you can avoid rejection costs, outsourcing FBA prep services provide value for money. Plus, 3PL companies act as consultants whenever you need guidance and take on all the tasks to get your products ready, enabling you to spend more time focusing on core business activities and thus, promoting business productivity.
Avoids Leasing Storage Space
Storage space adds a considerable amount to your overall expenses. An experienced service provider can guide you on how to streamline your processes and optimise costs, including warehousing. Cross Docking is a practice that can help save money but needs high operational and workforce efficacy. Your third-party service provider can tell you how to prevent such expenses without putting an additional burden on other resources.
Streamlines Selling Processes
Your service provider can help optimise your resources and reduce the time taken by every order to travel from your location to Amazon. This scenario highlights better performance and leads to enhanced sales. 3PL companies are often equipped with the resources needed for you to streamline various aspects of the supply chain, leading to more efficiency.
Handling returns can get troublesome and can involve a lot of additional expenses. Your FBA Partner will usually handle returns on your behalf, thus taking a huge responsibility off your shoulders. They can receive the returned product and share the returns management data with you regularly.
Suggested Read: Alternatives to Amazon FBA Services
Key Metrics to Choose the Best FBA Prep Services
Selling online is expensive. Your bill keeps expanding and before you know it, you start incurring losses. That’s why it is critical to trim every possible cost. For example, some companies may charge you for packaging and storage while others may have additional costs like consultancy fees to pass on to you. While selecting your FBA prep services provider, look at their pricing structure. For example, see if they charge a wholesome amount on set intervals like a fortnight or a month or if they bill you per each item that is sold.
You must pay per usage, based on your inventory size for higher business productivity. You may want to consider the monthly pay-out if you deal in many orders daily. On the other hand, if your daily sales are manageable, you can opt for the per-item payment method. Either way, your aim should be long-term profitability rather than short-term success.
Significant distances between the prep service centre and your transportation facilities can add unwanted costs, which could be a substantial loss-making deal for sellers with fewer shipments or smaller packages. Your FBA prep services company should be located close to the shipping area to avoid delays and additional transportation expenses. Your service provider must be able to guide you on this.
Plus, the climate and weather conditions where the prep center is located can affect delivery timelines. You should take advantage of your service provider’s expertise to avert such crises.
Different countries have varied tax scenarios that impact business operations and profitability. Therefore, your service provider must have deep knowledge of the tax liability for your business in the nation of operation. Moreover, sales tax happens to be the most significant component in the slab. If your service provider operates in a country with a high sales tax percentage, hiring them can be expensive for your business.
Many sellers use FBA prep service centers as warehouses so that their stock stays in the Amazon fulfillment center and doesn’t incur additional storage costs elsewhere. By doing this, sellers can directly send their products to FBA for dispatch and delivery on receipt of the orders. This step also reduces the risk of rejection if the consignment is directly sent to FBA.
Amazon usually returns damaged and rejected goods to the seller in around a fortnight. However, once received, the seller needs to run quality checks while incurring extra costs for re-packaging and labelling. So while finalising the service provider, ensure you know all about their storage facilities.
For every service provider, a key performance metric is time management. A proven service provider can process your orders in the shortest possible time with minimal errors. And if you are selling high-demand products, time plays an even more prominent role in effective customer service. Fast-moving goods need to be processed quickly without any damage. You can opt for a performance guarantee for your FBA Prep Services provider.
The eCommerce industry thrives on customer experience. Your success depends on the type of customer service that is offered by your FBA prep services provider. Check previous customer feedback, reviews online and inquire directly with prior and existing customers of the company to verify the positives and negatives and see of they balance out.
Before signing up, ascertain the list of services your FBA prep services partner will provide. It needs to include efficient quality checks for all your orders. Poor quality products affect your reputation and customer feedback. Any shortcoming can trigger a negative response from Amazon and initiate a returns procedure.
Your FBA preparation services provider must offer multiple layers of quality checks to ensure no loophole goes unnoticed. Doing so is important to save time and costs in managing returns.
Conclusion: Why Should You Choose WareIQ for Your Amazon FBA Prep?
To take advantage of Amazon Prime membership, your FBA prep services provider must have in-depth knowledge of FBA. An incompetent service provider on board can bring in many losses, including costs for non-compliance or rejections. Additionally, they will help streamline processes, reduce costs and provide an enhanced experience. One company that offers FBA prep services is WareIQ.
WareIQ‘s automated software and team of specialists can provide smooth FBA prep services. Here are a few criteria that make WareIQ the ideal choice:
- We offer superior tech including a custom WMS for automated picking and packaging. WareIQ can handle more than 10,000 orders a day!
- We expect you to pay only for what you use. WareIQ charges you on a per-item basis and has no minimum order requirements.
- You can avoid the hassles of rejections at Amazon fulfillment centers. WareIQ can prepare your inventory and run ample quality checks to protect you from such unwanted scenarios.
- WareIQ’s API integrations with various sales channels allow you to map your storage units across the nation from one dashboard.
- We help streamline your logistics with WareIQ’s ‘Hub and Spoke Transport’. WareIQ takes care of the consolidation needs for your shipments for an optimised supply chain.
A proficient FBA preparation servicer like WareIQ can take some load off so you can concentrate on expanding your business and polishing your offerings. In your series of business decisions, selecting the right partner is one of the most critical.