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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.

2.6. Handling the strict Amazon Rules

Amazon has very strict guidelines for the packaging of goods. First and foremost, a scannable barcode is an absolute must for all goods. A warning is also required, informing about the expected size of the item in relation to the actual size of the packaging. The packaging itself must have the correct dimensions and be made of suitable material. There is also a so-called 3-meter drop test that the packaging must pass. The FBA prep centers are able to prepare the goods from start to finish according to all these packaging standards.

2.7. Offering Professional Competence

FBA prep centers have professionals on their teams who have the experience and expertise to properly prepare goods. Their goal is to ensure that your goods are assembled correctly and to reduce the error rate.

3. How to choose an Amazon FBA Prep service?

Now that we have introduced you to the benefits of the FBA prep center, let's talk about important details to look for when searching for a prep center.

3.1. Location

The location of a prep center should be chosen strategically. A prep center near a loading bay, for example, saves time, significantly reduces transport costs and supports the smooth running of the company. This means that if a problem arises, the prep center can quickly remedy the situation by sending an employee to the loading docks. Retail arbitrage providers, on the other hand, should choose a prep center close to their headquarters. This way, they can deliver the goods themselves, which significantly reduces transportation costs.

Choosing a prep center near Amazon's fulfillment center only seems like a good idea at first glance. But even if a retailer has signed up for Amazon's inventory placement service, Amazon can and may change the location for each shipment.

3.2. Fees

When looking for an FBA prep center, fees are understandably the biggest issue for most merchants. FBA prep centers have different fee structures. So be sure to compare prices and find out what kind of services are included in the price. Some centers charge by the hour, some charge by the unit, and some charge a flat rate. Packing materials are sometimes charged extra. So it's important to find out what's included in the preparation from the start to avoid unpleasant surprises. You should also find out if there is a minimum quantity of items that must be delivered to the prep center at the same time.

3.3. Processing time

An important aspect to consider when looking for an FBA prep center is the speed of inventory reprocessing. Most refurbishing centers are honest about this and offer a 24 or 48 hour guarantee. Getting your refurbished goods to Amazon is an absolutely critical step, and the faster it goes, the faster the goods will sell.

3.4. Size of storage facility

Retailers working with wholesale goods transported on pallets need a storage area that can accommodate these pallets and has a loading zone. Since each warehouse has its own minimum equipment requirements and maximum capacity, it is necessary to determine the volume of shipments.

3.5. Warehouse climate conditions

Another important point to ask a potential prep center is whether the receiving and storage areas have artificial temperature and humidity control. This is a critical factor, especially for selling perishables like food. No retailer wants to lose their merchandise just because it wasn't stored in the right environment. This is not only true for fresh produce. Suitable climatic conditions are also important for deliveries to countries with hot or changeable weather. If not stored properly, goods can be damaged or affected by moisture.

3.6. Inspections of wares

When looking for an FBA prep center, it is important to inquire whether quality control of the goods is offered in addition to the usual labeling and packaging. While this by no means replaces the inspections at the manufacturer's facility, it can serve as a supplement. Manufacturers do not control shipments very strictly. They are aware that it costs them money and reduces their profit if the goods are rejected because of poor quality. Therefore, control by the prep center becomes even more important.

3.7. Security

Last but not least, make sure that the FBA prep center has adequate security measures in place to protect the goods from theft or damage.


Preparing your goods for FBA is an important aspect of trading on Amazon. Delegating this task to an FBA preparation center can save you precious time and valuable resources. Choosing the right FBA prep center is a guarantee that your goods will be prepared correctly and in accordance with Amazon regulations, reducing the likelihood of negative feedback and unwanted returns. Once you have decided on a prep center, check aspects such as cost, location, prep time, climate, quality checks and security. By choosing a suitable FBA prep center, you can simplify the process of preparing your goods and make more profit.