A FBA box with an FNSKY that follows FBA labeling requirements.

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Amazon FBA Label Requirements

When Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) launched in 2006, it revolutionized small business logistics. Instead of coordinating shipping, inventory management, warehousing, refunds and returns independently, Amazon sellers can hand over these responsibilities to Amazon FBA for a flat fee. Thanks to the company’s extensive network of Amazon fulfillment centers, it’s possible to get items to customers faster with less overhead than most alternatives.

However, it doesn’t always make sense to let Amazon do all the work. While they’ll print and apply your product’s shipping labels that comply with their internal tracking system as part of their label service, it’s usually cheaper to add them during packaging.

So, what are Amazon’s FBA Labeling requirements? Let’s go over all the information you need to make sure your product packaging is ready for Amazon shipping.

What is an FBA Label?

The FBA label is an identifier used for Amazon products, and FBA shipment labels replace other tracking and identifying information, including UPC codes (with a format used internally by Amazon). FBA label requirements have three components:

  • A Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU)
  • The product name
  • The product condition

Amazon FBA product labels are required on all items sold through their Fulfillment By Amazon program.

What is an FNSKU?

While a standard SKU is specific to a product, Amazon’s Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU) is unique to each product and seller. A scannable FNSKU is generated for each new product when you add them to your catalog. The FNSKU consists of a two-dimensional bar code with a human-readable code below it. In some cases, Amazon may give you a choice of using either an FNSKU or an SKU. Using an FNSKU makes it easier to track your inventory as it moves through their logistics system.

If you remove an item and relist it, you will get a new FNSKU label. This Amazon barcode must be used on your new products, even if they were already labeled with the old scannable barcode. Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) items do not get an FNSKU barcode.

The FNSKU should not be confused with the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN), which is unique to each item, but not to each FBA seller. In the past, Amazon would occasionally issue the same code for both tracking systems.

Item Condition and Expiration Dates for Amazon FBA Packages

Amazon’s condition categories take into consideration the item, its included accessories, and the packaging. Here’s how they define each category.

New (Amazon Guidelines):

This product is new and usually includes all of its original packaging. In some cases, items may be reboxed.

Renewed (Amazon Guidelines):

These are used products that were tested to work and look like new by an Amazon-qualified seller or vendor or by Amazon themselves. These items can ship in generic boxes and packaging materials, such as bubble wrap or poly bags, and with generic accessories.

Open Box or Used, Like New (Amazon Guidelines):

With both categories, the item is like new, but may be missing some of the internal packaging. Some slight damage to the exterior container is acceptable.

Used, Very Good (Amazon Guidelines):

The item shows some light signs of wear. It might use generic packaging and might be missing some accessories.

Used, Good (Amazon Guidelines):

Like “Very Good,” these items are good but show more signs of wear. The original instruction manual and minor parts might be missing. However, the item still functions like new.

Used, Acceptable (Amazon Guidelines):

Like “Good,” minor parts may be missing but the item has more visible wear and scratches.

Collectible (Amazon Guidelines):

The item has something that adds to its value over a standard offering. This could be something that is out of production or has a signature.

Amazon rejects items that are too close to their expiration date. This date must be labeled on the case in 36-point font or larger in MM-DD-YYYY format. The date must also be on each container inside the case. Products with differing expiration dates cannot be in the same carton, and manufacturing dates cannot be visible to avoid confusion.

Amazon FBA Label Requirements

Amazon FBA box ID labels have four requirements:

  • Uses thermal or laser printing
  • Minimum 300 DPI resolution
  • No scaling that may cause blurriness or create artifacts
  • Printed on white, non-reflective paper

While not required, Amazon guidelines recommend using a removable adhesive, so that the item label can be removed by the end user. Their built-in label generator is aimed at small-volume sellers, formatting prints for standard A4 or U.S. letter paper.

Amazon doesn’t have a strict rule on label sizes. For the greatest compatibility, you should stick to the dimensions of their pre-made labels. These have a width of 48.5-70 mm and a height of 25.4-38.1 mm.

Amazon Packaging Requirements When Preparing a FBA Box

    • The new label should cover all other manufacturer barcode labels or carrier labels, such as ISBNs, UPCs, or EANs, except for transparency product serialization codes used for the Amazon Transparency Program.
    • Labels must be on a flat surface.
    • Labels should not be placed on parts of the container that open, such as lids and box tops.
    • Labels must be on the exterior of the product.
    • There should be at least ¼ inch between the edges of the label and the edges of the container.
    • The Amazon FBA must be on every item in a case.

If you need to use cover labels on previously-labeled products, consider blockout paper. This paper is opaque, preventing scanners from reading the printing behind the label.

If you’re selling cases instead of individual items, add a sticker stating “sold as set” or “This is a set. Do not separate.” on the outside of the case. If your product comes in a shipping box, include an address label or add a label with “Ready to Ship” or “Single item enclosed. Include “Do not open.” to the outside of the box. That way, warehouse workers won’t open the box, separating the contents from the FBA label.

Choose the Best Labeling Machine

All of our print and apply machines are available with a choice of Datamax, Zebra, and Sato print engines. These printers can be used as either a thermal transfer or direct thermal printer. While there are extra charges for items stored in Amazon warehouses for over 6 months, this may still be too long for print to stay visible with a direct thermal label. Thermal transfers, however, melt ink onto standard labels, creating a stable, long-lasting print.

The PLCs on these labelers can act independently or they can connect with your OT system to receive information for each label, including the FNSKU, name, and condition. The PLC can generate the barcode for the label itself once it receives the SKU number. When setting up your system, keep in mind that printing speed is DPI-dependent.

Simplify Your Logistics with CTM Labeling Systems

If you’re looking for a way to meet Amazon’s FBA labeling requirements, contact us today. Our local distributors will work with you to find a solution that reliably generates and applies FBA labels without interrupting your e-commerce production system.

Want to learn more about how you can use our equipment to improve logistics and fulfillment? Get a free copy of our study on Amazon’s use of our labeling machines in their fulfillment centers.