Beginners Guide to Sending Pallets to Amazon
Thursday 9th May 2024 | View all Blogs

Getting your stock into Amazon can seem like an absolute minefield when you’re just getting started with FBA.

Not only are there complex processes to consider, but there’s also a lot of lingo to get used to along the way, and without the right guidance, it can make for a very confusing experience!

But we’re here to make it a lot more straightforward for you.

This is your end to end guide to using seller central, with top tips to make sure you never have to face rejection or returned loads as you grow your Amazon brand from a small startup to a booming business.

Choosing Between Pallets and Parcels

Now, you may be thinking, “why pallets when I could just send parcels?”

That’s where volume comes in.

If you’re only expecting to sell a few units a week, then parcels will absolutely be the most cost-effective option for your business.

But if order volumes are getting bigger by the week, or even by the day, then you might want to consider shipping larger quantities to Amazon to ensure your customers never see that dreaded ‘out of stock’ status.

Put simply, the more you ship, the more you save.

For example, shipping ten 25kg parcels might cost between £10-15 each. However, if you were to place those ten 25kg parcels on a pallet, the cost could drop to around £5 per unit.

Plus, by consolidating multiple parcels onto a pallet or two you minimise logistical headaches at the same time as cutting costs!

But it’s not just about the savings, it’s about safety too...

Unlike parcels, which are handled individually and can be hastily placed into vans - potentially leading to damage - pallets are less likely to be lost or damaged due to their size and the careful handling they receive.

Although pallet tracking might not be as detailed as it is for parcels, you still receive reliable and accurate tracking updates.

And you’ll get a dedicated, UK-based support team ready to assist you with any queries.

Overall, the benefits of shipping pallets are:

  • Cost Efficiency: Fewer regular inventory top-ups translate into lower delivery costs per unit.
  • Reliability and Safety: Pallets provide a secure and dependable method for shipping large volumes.
  • Supportive Service: Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated support team available throughout your pallets’ journey.

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Getting Your Pallets to Amazon

To arrange your pallet delivery to Amazon, first, you’ll need to know where you need to send your goods to.

To find out which fulfilment centre your goods are destined for, you’ll need to access your Seller Central account.

Once logged in, navigate to the Manage Inventory section to find the product you need to replenish. From there, use the edit button next to your product to select ‘Send/Replenish Inventory’ from the dropdown menu.

Once you've entered your inventory and product details in Steps 1 and 1b, Step 2 will guide you through confirming your shipping details. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • 1. Select the desired date for your pallet pickup.
  • 2. Click on the 'Less Than Truckload (LTL)' shipping option.
  • 3. Choose 'PalletOnline' from the carrier dropdown menu.

After selecting LTL, you should see the 'Ship to' address come up, pointing you to the fulfilment centre where your goods need to go.

You can then navigate to our Amazon page to arrange your shipment, using the fulfilment centre reference as the destination, and we will handle booking in with Amazon so you never have to worry about late fees, or unnecessary admin tasks; this is something that only partnered carriers are able to offer.

Thanks to our status as part of the Inbound Preferred Carrier Programme (IPCP), we are uniquely positioned to assist you with any open cases you may have with Amazon when we're handling your deliveries. We also have direct access to dedicated teams inside Amazon, which enables us to swiftly address and resolve any issues for you quickly.

Importing and Exporting

If you’re looking to get your product into a European, or other overseas Amazon Fulfilment Centre, then you’ll need the help of a freight forwarder.

A freight forwarder will work closely with you to get your goods overseas in the most effective and efficient way possible, and will handle:

  • Export Haulage: Transporting goods from your location to the forwarder’s warehouse.
  • Export Customs Clearance: Managing the paperwork needed to comply with export regulations.
  • Origin Handling: Unloading, inspecting, and validating your cargo against its documentation.
  • Import Customs Clearance: Preparing and submitting necessary documents to customs officials in the destination country, ensuring your goods are cleared for entry.
  • Destination Handling: Transferring the cargo from the customs warehouse to the freight forwarder’s local facility.
  • Import Haulage: Delivering your goods from the freight forwarder’s warehouse to the Amazon fulfilment centre.

Navigating international shipping can be complex, but for a freight forwarder, it’s just another day at the office. They specialise in removing the hassle and stress from international logistics, ensuring your products travel from point A to B smoothly, without delays, fines, or the risk of confiscation.

Should any unexpected issues arise—like adverse weather, port strikes, or necessary reroutes—freight forwarders are seasoned professionals equipped to handle these challenges efficiently, minimising any potential disruptions to your supply chain.

Pallets vs Parcels

Although we touched on the benefits of sending pallets over parcels earlier, it’s important to highlight the other side too.

After all, if you’re just getting started, it’s more than likely that you’ll be testing the waters by sending parcels. But as you begin to get regular orders, it will be much more cost effective to top up your inventory by the pallet.

Our general recommendation is if you’re sending more than 120 kgs to a single location, then a pallet will be your most cost-effective choice. Anything under this will probably be cheaper to send as parcels.

  • Speed - Pallet shipments are more likely to experience unforeseen delays at collection and delivery points (unless you’re using a service which is partnered with Amazon, like PalletOnline). Parcels, on the other hand, generally don't experience this issue as much because they're generally smaller and take less time than pallets to load and unload.
  • Tracking - Although parcels are typically considered the easiest to track, tracking pallets has become increasingly easier over the years, thanks to advanced technologies and pallet networks such as Palletline. Pretty much every major haulage service has a tracking system, including us!
  • Safety - As pallets are secured more than parcels, they're generally a lot safer and are less prone to damage than parcels. Many parcels are often seen dented or even ripped on arrival! Now that is every haulier's nightmare!
  • Cost - As pallets are heavier and larger than parcels, they're generally more expensive, but pallets can work out much cheaper than parcel delivery if you're looking to ship multiple items to a single location.
Understanding Amazon’s Pallet Requirements

Amazon sends a staggering 7.7 billion packages per year to locations all around the globe! That’s a lot of stock to monitor across 175 global fulfilment centres…

Managing that amount of stock requires strict and meticulously developed processes, rules and regulations to keep the quality standard high.

Every consignment, boxed or palletised, goes through a thorough inspection. Here’s a quick checklist of things you’ll need to consider when shipping your pallets to Amazon:

The pallet base itself must be:

  1. A heat-treated wooden block pallet, accessible by forks on all 4 sides
  2. A UK Standard pallet, sized 1.0m (W) x 1.2m (L) x 15cm (H)
  3. GMA Grade A or B (structurally safe)

Your stacked pallet must be:

  1. No taller than 1.8m
  2. Under 500 kg in weight, and each item must weigh less than 25kg
  3. Labelled correctly

Following these guidelines ensures your products move quickly and safely through Amazon's system, are handled safely, and stored correctly, making for a smooth and successful delivery.

Read our full guide for complying with Amazon's rules and regulations here.

Decoding Amazon FBA Terminology

Getting started with Amazon FBA might seem daunting at first with its unique set of terms and acronyms, but fear not! Whether you're just getting started or you want to deepen your expertise, understanding these terms could make managing your Amaozn business much smoother.

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number): Every product on Amazon has a unique ASIN; a 10-digit alphanumeric code, used to identify exactly which item it is. When you list a product, you’ll either assign an existing ASIN or create a new one for a brand-new product.

SKU (Stock Keeping Unit): SKUs are unique codes that a seller assigns to each product for tracking inventory, which helps to differentiate between items for inventory management purposes. SKUs tend to follow a primary-secondary format if there are any product variants, e.g. a white t-shirt in a size large could have an SKU of TEE-W-L.

LTL (Less Than Truckload): LTL is a shipping option ideal for when you have more than a parcel's worth but less than a full truckload. It’s perfect for sending pallets to Amazon fulfilment centres efficiently, without needing to fill an entire truck.

PL (Private Label): This refers to products that are manufactured by one company, but branded and sold under another company or brand’s name. Many Amazon sellers use private labelling.

IPCP (Inbound Preferred Carrier Program): Being part of the IPCP means your carrier meets Amazon's high standards for delivering inventory. This affiliation can streamline your restocking process, making it more efficient and reliable.

FNSKU (Fulfilment Network Stock Keeping Unit): Put simply, this is a SKU that Amazon assign, network-wide, for your products. It ensures that when a customer orders from you, the exact product from your inventory is what gets shipped.

BOL (Bill of Lading): The BOL is an essential document between a shipper and a carrier. It outlines the specifics of the cargo, helping you track shipments and manage the movement of your goods efficiently.

IPI (Inventory Performance Index): This is a metric that Amazon uses to measure the health of your inventory. A high IPI score indicates efficient inventory management and can lead to more storage space in Amazon’s fulfilment centres, while a low score might restrict your storage options.

MCF (Multi-Channel Fulfilment): This is a service provided by Amazon that allows sellers to use Amazon's vast fulfilment network to ship products sold on platforms other than Amazon. This service is great for sellers looking to streamline their operations and leverage Amazon's shipping and handling prowess across different sales channels.

Gated Categories: Amazon has certain categories that are 'gated,' meaning sellers must receive pre-approval before listing products in these categories. This is to ensure that products meet specific standards for quality and authenticity, providing a better shopping experience for customers. Categories include automotive products, cosmetics, supplements, jewellery, and many more.