For users, Amazon is easy and even fun. For businesses, Fulfilment by Amazon, FBA can make reaching customers far easier than ever before. Many online shoppers go straight to Amazon before looking elsewhere (including brick and mortar stores) – which makes it a great place to sell your products. But there are plenty of ins and outs to know about floor loaded shipments before diving in to the world of Amazon fulfilment.
When must you use your own carrier to deliver your shipments to FBA warehouses? Packing shipments is always labor intensive, but when packing a shipment for Amazon the ordeal becomes a bit more complex. The company requires every shipment to be palletized in order to use their in-house carrier. If your shipment cannot be sent in pallet form, you’re going to have to use your own carrier, instead of one of Amazon’s partners.
Floor-loaded shipments: Shipments that aren’t in pallet form are floor-loaded, which means the product is loaded right onto the warehouse floor. Despite the fact that a floor-loaded shipment adds another layer of complexity to your shipment, it is often less expensive and sometimes necessary to move products without packing them in pallets. Many times it is just not possible to conform to a palletized shipment due to the amount of product or the product itself.
Shipments in pallet form are easier to deal with, from unloading to ensuring everything is there. Floor-loaded shipments must be unloaded and then counted by hand, instead of just counting the individual pallets and doing quick math to get a count of the product. Because of this extra work, and the fact that non-partnered carriers need to make an appointment to deliver to the Amazon warehouse in order to complete the extra work, your shipment could take longer to become available for sale on the website if you don’t adhere to Amazon’s regulations. There’s also a good chance that your shipment will be assessed surcharges from your carrier, but a floor-loaded shipment is still quite cost-effective.
How to deliver floor-loaded shipments to FBA warehouses? If you have a non-palletized shipment, make sure your carrier knows that they must make an appointment in order to deliver the products to the Amazon fulfillment center. You will also have to download a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) booking form and complete it, then send the completed form to your carrier for them to email to Amazon. You’ll also want to remind them that it is important to follow the floor-loaded delivery instructions. You’ll need to remember to email your carrier the FBA booking form and instructions, and then they will be able to request a delivery appointment. It is mandatory that the carrier includes the FBA identification number (found on the FBA form).
Carriers need to unload and stage the shipment in a way that meets Amazon’s many requirements. To understand just how detailed this process is, some (but not all) of these requirements are as follows:
- Stack boxes in columns, with at least three inches of space between each column and container walls.
- Boxes must be stacked no higher than 72 inches with exceptions allowed if the stacks conform to Amazon regulations.
- All columns must be more than three inches away from the container ceiling.
Using your own carrier instead of one of Amazon’s will often cost less, and has many other benefits for small business owners. But it is vital that shipments are unloaded correctly in order to work smoothly with Amazon’s fulfillment service. The best way to guarantee that your shipment will not be held up during the unloading process is to work with a carrier who is familiar with Amazon’s floor-loaded shipment rules. That's why at Fleet we always encourage communication between customers and freight forwarders. When considering a potential freight forwarder on Fleet – who ultimately will help you find and work with a carrier to deliver your goods to FBA warehouses, you can ask whether or not the company has experience with floor-loaded deliveries for Amazon.