A Guide to Using an Amazon Prep Center for your Business
April 10, 2023November 8th, 2023
On this page
In order to use the FBA service, merchants have to meet some pretty strict requirements. They must prepare items for sale according to these requirements and then ship them to Amazon. The goods must be ready to be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon at any time. This can have unforeseen consequences in many cases, but in principle it is reasonable and feasible. Managing the delivery of goods to Amazon's warehouses is very time-consuming and expensive. An adequate solution to avoid uncontrollable costs, when trying to achieve the smooth flowing of sales on Amazon, is using a prep center such as the one offered by Fulfillment Box.
Here we would like to explain what exactly an Amazon prep center is and why it is a good idea to outsource inventory preparation. We also offer some good suggestions on how to determine the appropriate FBA prep center for your ecommerce business. If you still don't know what FBA is and how merchants can benefit from it, also read our previous article.
1. What is an Amazon Prep Center?
In general, a merchant has two options to prepare his goods for FBA: He can either do it himself or take the help of an external prep center. In a prep center, goods destined for FBA commerce are first delivered to the prep center warehouse. There, they are inspected, prepared according to Amazon guidelines, and wait to be shipped to the Amazon warehouse as needed. The prep center handles all inventory preparation as well as labeling and packaging. The prep center's services range from simple inspection and preparation of merchandise to custom handling, which includes repacking merchandise and processing incoming returns. In this case, the returns are forwarded directly to the Prep Center's warehouses, where they are prepared and inspected in a cost-effective manner. The merchandise is then returned to Amazon in perfect condition for resale.
The prep center can be used to store inventory to keep costs at a reasonable level. Alternatively, a retailer can even direct all of its inventory there if its supplier does not prepare the goods. This way, the retailer doesn't even have to worry about inventory. By using a prep center, retailers gain extra time that they don't waste on logistics, but can focus on their key competencies and grow their business.
2. Why use an Amazon Prep Center?
Here we've summarized the top reasons why it's better to use a prep center for your business:
2.1. Saves time and resources
It can be very difficult to comply with strict standards for the preparation of goods. Inaccuracies and errors can lead to delays and penalties. Preparing goods for FBA is very time-consuming, especially for business owners who do it themselves. FBA prep centers help retailers become more efficient by saving time and providing funds for developing other revenue streams.
2.2. No warehouse required
Managing large quantities of items is one of the biggest drawbacks for those running an e-commerce business. This is especially true for sellers who run their own shipping operations from their headquarters. If you run retail arbitrage, your headquarters is probably a mess, crammed with goods waiting to be prepared and shipped to Amazon. However, an FBA prep center gives you storage space that you may not have at your headquarters. A prep center eliminates the need to drop off goods at the merchant's location. A prep center ships the goods to Amazon, and the merchant only needs to visit the contract location to verify the quality of the goods.
2.3. Ensured Fast Processing
Most FBA prep centers can prepare goods for sale on Amazon very quickly - in only about 24 to 28 hours. For someone who works alone and has a large amount of goods, it takes a very long time to prepare items for FBA. Prep centers can easily solve this problem with their fast preparations and help merchants increase their sales in less time.
2.4. Increased Profit
Experienced remanufacturers are experts and can remanufacture more goods in significantly less time. These experts enable merchants to serve additional customers via FBA by reducing the time required for shipping and increasing production. Delegating merchandise preparation to an FBA prep center can be seen as a profitable advantage. Of course, there are operating costs associated with this option. However, regardless of the size of the business, working with a preparation specialist will ensure that you get the most out of Amazon's offering.
2.5. Quality Contro
Errors can occur during the packaging process. This increases the likelihood that goods will be returned and damage the retailer's reputation. As the prep centers carry out all the steps in the goods preparation process professionally, they can check each item closely and thus ensure high quality.