June 12, 2024

Amazon FBA Shipping: How to Avoid Longer Processing Time

Amazon FBA Shipping: How to Avoid Longer Processing Time
Amazon FBA Shipping: How to Avoid Longer Processing Time

Due to several factors on the Amazon marketplace, processing times may fluctuate, and receiving times may be slower. Because of these fluctuations, FBA shipments may appear on receiving status for some time which can delay the entire shipping process. 

As an Amazon FBA seller, getting your products processed by Amazon as quickly as possible is crucial to proper warehouse inventory management and increasing sales on Amazon. 

In this article, we will break down what causes longer processing times while selling on Amazon and how you can avoid this for faster shipping. 

How to send your inventory to an Amazon FBA warehouse

Getting your inventory to an Amazon FBA warehouse goes through a simple process. 

Firstly, you need to prepare your Amazon listing on your Seller Central Account and select products you want to sell with fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). You can do this by navigating to "Inventory" > "Manage FBA Shipments" in Seller Central. Alternatively, you can manage all your inventory, select the products, and then choose "Send/replenish inventory" from the action button.

Next, you will need to create a virtual shipping plan. This shipping plan will include products you want to send to Amazon and the quantity, labeling information, and shipping details including a tracking number, carrier name, etc. Provide the address you're shipping from and the marketplace destination and decide how you'll pack your shipping boxes. 

After preparing your shipping plan, proceed to prepare your products for shipping. Next, provide the estimated ship date, allowing Amazon to plan for the arrival of your inventory. Choose your shipping mode (small parcel or pallet) and select a carrier for small parcel delivery. You'll see estimated shipping costs after making your selections. If you're shipping pallets with an Amazon-partnered carrier, you'll need to print labels and attach them to your boxes. Once the carrier picks up your shipment, tracking will automatically update. 

You will need to look at Amazon's packaging and preparation requirements to ensure you pack your products to standard. If you don't meet packaging standards, your inventory may not be accepted by Amazon fulfillment centers. 

How long does it take FBA to process shipment? 

So how long does it take for Amazon to receive FBA shipment? Well, the processing time typically takes between two to six days. However, this can be extended due to some factors including holiday season delays, missing shipments or unforeseen delays, staffing problems, errors in processing, FBA storage restrictions, etc. 

If you sell with fulfillment by Amazon, you may notice that some of your shipments may be in the Amazon FBA ‘Receiving status” for longer than usual. This may mean that your inventory is lost or that the Amazon fulfillment center you are sending your inventory to is backed up. You want to check your inventory status regularly through your Seller Central Account to monitor the progress of your shipments. 

Best practices to avoid longer Amazon processing time

Here are a few best practices to ensure faster processing time and shipping.

Monitor your inventory status 

To stay up to date with your shipping process, it is important to monitor your inventory status. You can easily do this within your Seller Central Account. Simply click on the “Manage FBA Shipments” page. Here, you will be able to see three different stages of your shipments. It could indicate that your package has been “Delivered”, “Checked-In” or “Receiving”. The whole process can take up to a week. If your package takes longer to process, you may want to contact Seller Support for assistance.  

Ensure your product is properly packaged 

The best way to avoid any delays in Amazon’s processing time is to ensure your products are properly packaged. Even the smallest oversights can cause significant delays in your processing time. Here are a few packaging best practices: 

  • The shipping label should only have one barcode. Your shipping box should not contain more than one barcode to avoid any confusion. If you are using an old shipping box in good condition, ensure you cross out the old barcode so Amazon knows not to scan that one. 
  • Shipping boxes should follow Amazon’s size requirements for shipping boxes. It should meet Amazon’s dimension and weight criteria. You can check for more on Amazon’s shipping requirements here
  • Use packing materials like pillows and foams that are easy to use and unpack. Avoid using packing materials like shredded paper or packing peanuts as these may get difficult for Amazon employees to work with. 
  • Your shipping label should be on top of your box flaps or the side panel. 
  • Avoid taping two boxes together. This is because each product in your portfolio can only have one SKU. 

Plan your holiday inventory in advance 

Holiday seasons are peak periods on the Amazon marketplace. Even with the best inventory management software, you are likely to have longer processing times during the holidays. To ensure you don’t get stuck waiting for  Amazon and lose out on Amazon sales, it’s best to prepare and ship your holiday inventory in advance. Ship your inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers before November. 

Consider alternative shipping options 

You can use non-partner carriers that offer faster check-in times and shorter pickup lead times. This can give you more control over the shipping process and help avoid delays associated with Amazon's partner carriers. Additionally, you can explore Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) for some products, where you handle shipping and customer service yourself. This can offer more flexibility and potentially reduce check-in times. 

Monitor your performance metrics

As an Amazon FBA seller, regularly monitor your seller performance metrics to identify areas for improvement and address any issues that may be impacting your processing times. Pay close attention to metrics such as order defect rate, late shipment rate, and pre-fulfillment cancel rate, as these can affect your Amazon processing time and overall seller performance.

Check Amazon FBA capacity limits

Keep track of the latest Amazon FBA capacity limits to plan your shipments accordingly and avoid being affected by potential delays due to capacity constraints. 

Other FBA shipping mistakes you should avoid 

  1. Choosing the wrong freight forwarding company 

Amazon follows strict shipping guidelines. Working with a freight forwarding company that does not specialize in Amazon FBA forwarding may not be good for your business. If your freight company is not knowledgeable about the requirements, Amazon may not accept your inventory. This non-compliance could incur hefty fees, inventory disposal, and even stop future shipments. 

Look out for freight forwarding companies with years of expertise and good client feedback to ensure you shun mistakes in the long run. 

  1. Inaccurate product dimensions and weight

One of the most crucial aspects of FBA shipping is providing accurate product dimensions and weight. If you fail to do so, it can lead to unexpected fees or even shipment rejections. Amazon typically uses product information to calculate shipping costs and allocate space in its fulfillment centers. So, it is crucial to measure and weigh your products correctly, including any packaging materials.

  1. Shipping your inventory to the wrong fulfillment center 

Amazon has a large network of fulfillment facilities for its customers. However, Amazon will reject inventory sent to a different fulfillment center than the one allocated. Before shipping your products to fulfillment centers, it is important to review and carry out some validation steps. Review your shipping plan and double-check everything to ensure your product gets to the right fulfillment center. 

  1. Not calculating your total shipping costs

To ensure profitability and increase Amazon sales, it is important to plan for any additional overhead costs. Calculate the total cost of getting your goods from your supplier to Amazon FBA. Here are a few costs you should keep in mind:  

  • Cost of shipment to multiple Amazon warehouses: There may be occasions when Amazon distributes your inventory across the country. Using its algorithm, Amazon identifies different warehouses to send your shipments to. This will increase your shipping costs. 
  • Shipping cost during peak seasons: During peak seasons, shipping costs are likely to go up and this could affect profitability. It is important to plan for extra costs during the peak period and ensure you maintain a healthy profit margin. 
  • Custom fees: US customs may randomly choose to inspect your shipment. For thorough examination by the Contraband Enforcement Team, your cargo will need to be warehoused. This comes with storage and labor fees that you will need to shoulder. 

To minimize the risk of losing money, it is important to consider all the potential costs of shipping your products to Amazon FBA before placing an order with your supplier. 

  1. Not using a suitable shipping method

To ensure that you minimize costs and run your business sustainably, consider the best shipping methods. Choosing the right shipping method will avoid delays, ensure your products are also in stock, and improve your inventory performance. You can choose between these three common shipping methods: 

  • Air freight: The air freight shipping method is ideal for shipments that weigh over two cubic meters and around 150-500kg. This shipping option is generally considered the best option. However, it is expensive. The standard air freight between China and the US typically takes around 8-10 days.  
  • Ocean freight: The ocean freight shipping option is often the best for products that weigh at least 2 cubic meters or 500 kilograms. This shipping method is very flexible. You can choose to use an entire container - Full load container (FLC) or you can share a container space - Less than container load (LCL). Ocean freight is also less expensive than the air freight shipping method. 
  • Express shipping; Express shipping is the fastest shipping option and is suitable for shipments that weigh up to 150 kilograms but less than one cubic meter. With the express shipping method, you can get your shipments within a short duration. It is more expensive than ocean freight and air freight. 


  1. Shipping products not eligible for Amazon FBA 

You can send certain items using FBA shipping. However, they may not be eligible for FBA. Amazon bans sellers from sending items like alcoholic beverages or car tires. Damaged goods are also prohibited. Going against this policy may result in a heavy penalty and extra costs. It could even get as bad as getting banned from selling on Amazon. 

  1. Poor inventory management 

With poor inventory management, you run the risk of losing out on a significant amount of sales. Tracking your inventory properly will help you know when to reorder. It will also help you identify which Amazon warehouse needs a restock. 

It may get difficult to keep an eye on your shipping. As such, you may want to consider investing in a warehouse management system. There are different types of warehouse management systems including Standalone warehouse management systems, Integrated WMS, Cloud-based WMS, and so on. 

Amazon warehouse management system is a specialized cloud-based warehouse management system that allows eligible sellers to track inventory levels, and manage their orders, sales, and deliveries. 

  1. Neglecting your shipment tracking  

Once your FBA shipment is in transit, it's crucial to track its progress and monitor delivery times closely. Delayed or lost shipments can affect your supply chain and ruin your reputation with customers. You want to stay proactive by utilizing shipment tracking tools provided by carriers and Amazon's Seller Central platform. This will help you address any delivery issues promptly to minimize the impact it has on your business.

  1. Not being updated with Amazon’s shipping policies

You want to regularly review and adhere to Amazon's shipping policies to avoid transferring shipments to the wrong warehouse or sending damaged and prohibited products. This includes staying informed about any changes in Amazon’s restock limits and managing your inventory effectively to avoid stockouts or excess inventory. 

  1. No contingency plan

Even with careful planning, unforeseen circumstances such as turbulent weather, carrier delays, or inventory shortages can disrupt your FBA operations. Having backup plans in place helps reduce risk. Stay in open communication with suppliers, carriers, and Amazon support channels to address any issues promptly and explore alternative solutions when necessary.

Final thoughts 

The shipping process to Amazon fulfillment centers can get a bit confusing and sometimes time-consuming. However, with proper inventory management, packaging, and planning, you can avoid long processing times, get your inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers just in time, boost your sales, and grow revenue with Amazon. 

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