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Shipping to Amazon FBA: How to Avoid Longer Processing Times

Alyssa Prevost
Feb 1, 2022 5:55:59 PM

As an Amazon FBA seller, you know that time is of the essence. The quicker Amazon processes your products in their fulfillment centers, the quicker they can sell and ship out to customers. 

As we’ve seen throughout the last few years of the pandemic, Amazon processing times have fluctuated, and receiving times are slower than normal. For many sellers, this has caused FBA shipments to appear in receiving status for quite some time, which not only affects sales and stock levels, but impacts your inventory forecasting and FBA inventory send-in dates.

We know firsthand how frustrating it is to see shipments that are still in a receiving status. The SupplyKick team has broken down why this happens and what brands leveraging FBA can do about it—including a few best practices to avoid delays with Amazon in the future.

Amazon FBA Inventory Forecasting

   

Why do FBA shipments get stuck in receiving status?

If you’re using FBA as your Amazon fulfillment solution, you may notice that certain shipments appear in “receiving” status for longer (or much longer) than expected. This may mean one of two things:

  1. the Amazon FC (fulfillment center) you’re shipping into is backed up,
  2. or the inventory has been lost altogether.

Generally, Q4 is a consistently slow quarter for receiving times due to the busy holiday shopping season, but at any time throughout the year, an Amazon FC can become inundated and experience delays. Throw in a global supply chain crisis, and ongoing FBA storage restrictions, and delays may happen more often than usual.

  

Does processing differ between Parcel and LTL shipments?

For any shipment method, outliers can occur and shipments may take longer to receive by Amazon at any time. However, we’ve found that our parcel shipments are typically received and processed a lot faster than LTL shipments—nearly three times faster.

Average FBA Processing Times

Here are the average FBA processing days SupplyKick sees based on shipping method:

  • Parcel: 5 Days
    Parcel refers to individual packages that are moving through a small parcel carrier such as FedEx, UPS, or USPS.
  • LTL: 14 Days
    LTL (less-than-truckload) refers to a palletized shipment that takes up less than the full space in a trailer.

With that said, while the process is out of your hands (literally and figuratively) once you ship to Amazon, creating smaller shipments may help your transit and receiving times. If you’re shipping LTL and experiencing issues or delays, it may be a good idea to switch over to parcel shipments for a short time —as long as your shipment meets Amazon’s parcel requirements and you can absorb the potential additional shipping costs—to speed up the stock-in process.

Amazon FBA 2022 Holiday Calendar: Important inventory send-in dates for FBA sellers

  

Packaging best practices to avoid FBA delays

Proper packaging is the best way to avoid any hiccups in Amazon’s receiving process. Small oversights here can lead to significant delays. If your shipment has been marked as received but hasn’t been stowed, chances are it’s being looked into by an Amazon employee—and your product will take longer to hit the shelves.

While your shipment method is the biggest key to processing times, you should also follow these best practices to keep the fulfillment process as smooth as possible:

  • Boxes should match Amazon size requirements. 
    Always, always follow Amazon’s box dimension and weight criteria. More on Amazon’s general shipping requirements here, and view their specific requirements on Parcel and LTL.
  • The shipping label should be the only barcode on your shipping box.
    If there’s more than one barcode, Amazon may not know which one to scan. If you’re reusing a box that’s in great condition that has an old barcode on it, crossing it out will let FC employees know not to scan that one.
  • The shipping label shouldn’t be on a seam or corner.
    The safest place for a shipping label is on a side panel or on top of one of the box flaps.
  • Use foam, air pillows, and other easy to deal with packing materials.
    Using packing peanuts or shredded paper will make it harder for Amazon employees to unpack and get your product stocked. Keeping it simple is always the best bet.
  • Don’t tape boxes together.
    If something you’re selling has multiple components, it’s probably large. Even though it may seem fine to ship two boxes, each individual product in your portfolio can only have one SKU. You’ll need to put those two (or more) boxes into one box. Don’t worry! Amazon uses pallets as large as 8 feet long in their AMXL warehouses, so whether you’re selling a desk or a dresser set you’ll be covered.

  

For more info on all things Amazon fulfillment, take a look at this guide made by Amazon for sellers like you. Speaking of guides, our 2022 FBA calendar lists the most important consumer shopping dates and holidays this year so you can stay on top of trends and hone your shipping strategy.

Need help with Amazon fulfillment, inventory forecasting, or other FBA strategies? Connect with our team.