7 things to look for in an FBA prep partner

By Tom Wicky | June 19, 2023
7 things to look for in an FBA prep partner

This is a guest post by Tom Wicky, the CEO and co-founder of MyFBAPrep, the largest worldwide 3PL eCommerce warehouse network. It works to solve the logistics hurdles that eCommerce businesses face and help them expand their growth.

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As an experienced eCommerce professional, you know well the importance of efficient and effective FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) prep services for streamlining your logistics. Selecting the right FBA prep service is crucial to maintain smooth fulfillment processes.

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However, there are a few key elements that’ll help narrow down the “right” provider for your business. In this article, we’ll guide you through those factors to find an FBA prep service that aligns with your business requirements and goals.

The Value of an FBA Prep Service in ECommerce

FBA prep services play a vital role in ensuring your products meet Amazon’s strict requirements before they’re sent to fulfillment centers. They handle crucial tasks such as labeling, packaging, bundling, and inspecting items to ensure compliance with FBA regulations.

By outsourcing FBA prep to a specialized company, you can optimize your operations and save time to focus on core business activities.

7 Things to Look for When Choosing Your FBA Prep Partner

Now, let’s delve into the factors that’ll help you select the ideal FBA prep service and keep your logistics operations running smoothly.

1. Fast turnaround

Delays in FBA preparation can result in inventory shortages, missed sales opportunities, and dissatisfied customers. That’s why one of the most important characteristics to look for in an FBA prep service is fast turnaround time.

This speed is essential to:

  • Minimize delays in the fulfillment process and meet customer expectations
  • Ensure your products are processed, prepped, and ready for shipment in a timely manner
  • Maintain a steady flow of inventory, reduce storage costs, and meet Amazon’s strict deadlines for delivering products to their fulfillment centers

Fast processing time enables you to respond quickly to changes in demand, promotions, or seasonal fluctuations, ensuring your inventory is prepared and available when needed.

An FBA prep service that can rapidly ready your products enables you to handle large volumes while complying with order fulfillment regulations. Their streamlined processing moves your items swiftly through the prep stages, which reduces the risk of bottlenecks and delays. As a result, your business can garner more positive reviews, higher customer satisfaction, and increased sales.

2. Convenient locations near suppliers

Look for an FBA prep service near your ports or supply sources to reduce transit times, save on shipping costs, and support faster turnaround times. Partnering with a provider close to your suppliers enables efficient coordination, seamless logistics, and streamlined communication between all parties in the supply chain. This strategic positioning serves to:

  • Shorten the distance your products need to travel
  • Minimize the risk of shipping-related damages and delays
  • Ensure a steady and timely supply of products for prep and fulfillment

3. Required certifications and expertise

Incorrectly packaged goods can wreak havoc on your business operations by interrupting your supply chain and resulting in fines or account suspensions. That’s why you need an FBA prep service with the certifications, experience, and expertise your business requires.

This entails verifying the provider holds any certifications relevant to your products, such as flammable material or items that require refrigeration. These certifications guarantee compliance with legal and safety regulations, which protects your business from potential liabilities and penalties.

FBA-specialized 3PLs, meanwhile, offer rich insights into the program’s constantly fluctuating policies and requirements to help you stay up-to-date and compliant. In turn, you maintain a healthy account status, avoid disruptions to your operations, and protect your reputation as a reliable seller on Amazon.

4. Ability to scale

Any FBA prep partner you choose must be able to support your growth, whether you are scaling up or preparing for a quiet season.
The last thing you want is to see a boom in orders, have the inventory from your manufacturers, and then run into delays getting units ready for FBA. Those delays mean missing out on opportunities, from sales to the buy box (you are less likely to be awarded the buy box without enough inventory to meet expected demand).

On the flip side, you want a partner that will allow you to use as much or as little of their network as you need. That means during the quiet months, you stay flexible and don’t stretch your resources too thin for just a few sales.

5. Attention to detail

The small details have a big impact on your customer experience, and that includes your packaging. A great FBA prep service has a keen eye for ensuring every product creates excitement while maintaining compliance with preparatory guidelines. That includes a clear understanding of how to label products with necessary barcodes, product identifiers, expiration dates, and other required information.

By following Amazon’s guidelines precisely, you avoid restocking delays due to rejected or flagged items, which contributes to a smooth and efficient prep process.

6. Compliance with FBA standards

FBA’s requirements for labeling, packaging, product condition, and other prep tasks can be complex and subject to frequent changes. Keeping up appropriate dunnage, labeling, etc., as well as fluctuating regulations can be time-consuming — and costly, if you fail to comply with them.

However, an FBA prep service can provide guidance and support to keep your products in line with these rules and avoid penalty fees. They keep up with the program’s requirements and will inform you of any changes so you can protect your account. They’ll also share best practices and insights to optimize your prep process, such as packaging techniques, inventory management strategies, or labeling efficiency. Their expertise and industry know-how helps you stay ahead of the competition and adapt to changing market dynamics.

7. Technology-savvy operations

Finally, you want an FBA prep partner that can integrate with your current tech stack to ensure seamless inventory tracking and management. If your prep partner also handles fulfillment on other channels, you also want them to use software that pulls and updates your orders against inventory, adding shipping status, tracking numbers, and other relevant information.

For example, at MyFBAPrep, we use Preptopia™, the industry’s first FBA-prep dedicated SaaS that integrates directly with Amazon Seller Central to ensure seamless prep and delivery into the FBA network.

Wrapping Up — Find an FBA Prep Partner That Will Scale With Your Brand

Selecting the right FBA prep service is a critical decision for experienced eCommerce professionals looking to optimize their FBA operations. Look for a provider with fast turnaround times, convenient locations, required certifications, attention to detail, and proven FBA expertise. By considering these factors in your search, you’ll find a service that aligns with your business goals and ensures seamless fulfillment.

An FBA prep service offers value beyond basic prep tasks as well. Their guidance, best practices, and industry insights can optimize your business operations to drive efficiency and foster long-term success on Amazon. Leverage the benefits of a skilled and reliable FBA provider to keep your business running smoothly.

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