Each product you send to an Amazon FBA warehouse needs to have a barcode on it (or on its packaging). Whether you choose to use FNSKU barcodes or EAN barcodes (with the stickerless inventory option), you must make sure you have the appropriate barcodes in place so that Amazon can scan your items into their system upon arrival at the warehouse.
If you’re completely new to Amazon and don’t know where to get barcodes, here’s exactly what you need to do:
If you are opting to use EAN barcodes, you can simply use them straight away, without creating the corresponding listing. You simply get the code from GS1, then use a barcode generating service (such as https://barcode.tec-it.com/en) and send the image to your designer.
With that said, I would still recommend that you create the product listing first, just in case Amazon rejects the barcode for some weird reason.
If you want to use FNSKU barcodes, simply create the product listing first in your Amazon account. Go to Inventory and select the item. Then, from the menu, choose “Print Item Labels”. The provided file will contain multiple barcodes, but don’t worry! These are all the same and your designer will simply crop out one to use on your product’s packaging design.
The FNSKU label will remain the same for this listing as long as it’s active, so there’s no need to go through this process every time you place a new order with the supplier.
With the barcode image sorted, it’s now time to decide how you will use it.
What is the best way to get these barcodes onto your products or packaging?
There are four ways you can do this, and I will start with the cheapest one:
1) Integrate the barcode into the product design or packaging.
This is my personal preference, and it’s the method I recommend you use, too. If your product comes in custom packaging, make sure that you integrate the barcode image into the design so there’s no need for labelling at all.
Sometimes, you can even put the barcode directly onto the product, but the principle remains the same: the barcode is added to the product or packaging at the manufacturing stage, and this is done by the manufacturer for free. The cost of doing this will be nothing. Zero.
Make sure that your barcode is big enough to be scannable (you can test this with a smartphone barcode scanner app), clear and easy to find. Ideally, you want it to be black on a white background. If you’re using a brown Kraft cardboard box, it will be printed in black onto a brown box background. This is perfectly fine as long as it scans well.
DO NOT put both EAN and FNSKU barcodes on your product or packaging! You should only use one barcode.
2) Ask your supplier in China to label products for you.
If you can’t integrate the barcode into the packaging design or the product itself (for example, in cases where you’re not using custom-printed packaging), simply ask your supplier in China to do this task for you. You can send them the barcode and they will label your products for you. Usually, this service won’t cost you anything extra.
Now, the only time I wouldn’t personally choose this option is if you order lots of different SKUs, say five, ten or more. The risk of the supplier mixing up the codes is simply too high. In that scenario, I would rather…
3) Label the products yourself.
When the goods arrive at your home/office, simply print out the barcode labels and apply them yourself. This way, you can also check the product quality and do an inspection of the whole order while you’re labeling the products. You can only do this if you are receiving the goods first, though, and it won’t be an option if your goods go directly to Amazon FBA from China via your freight forwarder.
Don’t spend money on expensive inkjet or laser printer label sheets and paper. And you should definitely avoid big-brand label sheets like Avery as they are SOOOOO expensive! If you have a cheap inkjet or laser printer available, you can order very cheap labels from eBay, such as these ones:
If you choose the option with 40 labels per sheet (that size should be big enough) and order 10 sheets, the total cost will be just £2.95 or 0.7p for each label. The ink cost will also be quite low, so the overall cost per label should not go over the 1p mark.
Alternatively, if you have a thermal printer at your disposal, such as the Dymo 450 or similar, you can order cheap, Dymo-compatible thermal labels from eBay. This seller is a good example:
Choose the 11354 option, which costs just £1.99 for 1000 labels and includes free shipping! With this method, the individual label cost is just 0.2p (!!!) and there are no extra costs for ink as you’re using an inkless thermal printer.
I personally have multiple Dymo machines in the office and find them perfect for the job. You don’t need to buy this type of printer if you already have a laser or inkjet printer. But if you don’t have any printers available (even at work), then it’s a good idea to invest in a Dymo machine.
Lastly, if you can’t integrate your barcode into your product or packaging design, your supplier can’t label the items for you (or it’s too late), and you can’t do it on your own, there’s one last option available…
4) Let Amazon label your products for you!
The last option is the most expensive one, but in some rare situations when there are no other options left, you could consider paying for this extra service that Amazon provides for 15p per product. Yes, super expensive, I know! That’s why this is the least recommended option, but sometimes you just don’t have any other way around it.
To order the Amazon labelling service, simply pick it from the list of available services when you create your shipment plan.
And that’s about it! That’s four ways to get your Amazon FBA products labelled! The first three options basically cost you nothing.
Even if you label the products yourself, the cost of labels is negligible. The last option is the most expensive one and should only be used as a very last resort.
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Thanks for this article.
I was wondering, if you have a new product, with a new brand, how do you go about getting the FNSKU to put on the packaging? I have been unable to do this as Amazon requested an image of the branded product or an image of the printed packaging with the branding on it before being able to list a product under my new brand name. Since I needed to send the packaging design to the supplier before they would produce my branded product, this created a bit of a circular problem! Do you recommend getting a sample printed with your brand on it so that you can create the listing and generate the FNSKU before getting the packaging designed? Or is there another way around this?
Thanks for your comment.
If you want to use your BRAND in the listing, you need to register for Brand Registry first. Yes, this will require a sample of your branded product and/or packaging as Amazon will ask for images. You can always use the stickerless inventory option and use EAN barcode on your packaging (not the FNSKU) OR you can also contact Amazon and ask for exemption of this and they will allow you to register without an EAN code.
You will also need a registered TRADEMARK for this to go through.
Alternatively, you simply create a listing without using a Brand name.