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7 Best FBA Prep Services for Amazon Sellers in 2020

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) can simplify your life a great deal with Amazon taking the reins on many steps in the fulfillment process. But just because you’re handing off most of the work to them, you’re not totally free of tasks.

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The next time you’re prepping your inventory for FBA, think about using one of the best FBA prep services for Amazon sellers hand-picked to make life easier for yourself.

1. Shapiro

Shapiro’s slogan is simple and straight to the point: “We Deliver. Problem Solved.” And they do so by asking as little of you as possible, with detailed information on their site and a customer service team ready to walk you through any questions you might have.

Amazon can get quite technical in their requirements sometimes, so Shapiro has Amazon links on their page that tell you what you need to know before getting started — even before getting a quote for their services. And if you need help with currency exchange or VAT issues, they can advise you on that, too.

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2. McKenzie Services

Locally and family-owned, McKenzie Services was started by Jim McKenzie Smith in 2004 and has since grown to include 16 employees and 21,265 square feet of storage space. But with all the growth, they’ve kept things really simple for users. All you have to do is create an account, ship your items to them with unique address identifiers, wait for the UPS/FBA labels to be sent to your Seller Central account, and let them handle the rest.

Prices are reasonable and include a list of services to help you out with just about everything you can think of.

3. eFulfillment Service

Another family-owned company, eFulfillment Service was by John Lindberg in 2001 and has been kept in the family since then. They pride themselves on flexibility, friendliness and top-notch quality, as well as keeping abreast on technological advancements by retaining an in-house IT team.

If you need further proof that this company has its act together, it’s recognized by organizations like the Better Business Bureau (A+ rating), Inc. 5000 list (last two out of three years) and Multichannel Merchant (Top 3PL Provider).

4. FBA Inspection

If you’re googling FBA prep services on your own, some of them might only take care with the exterior of the product. But FBA Inspection offers services for both. Their General Processing & Handling service takes care of the packaging exterior, while their Detailed Product Inspection goes in deeper by opening the package to actually inspect the contents and/or verifying the contents inside.

They’re also really upfront about what’s included in their prep service, with things like import tax management, 24-hour video surveillance, theft/fire/flood insurance, volume discounts, professional photography and more part of what they do.

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5. FBA Express

When speed is one of your top priorities, check out FBA Express for one of the fastest operating times. Their services are set so that you get only what you need, nothing extra or superfluous, so you can save both time and money.

You can sign up for the monthly FBA plan at $375/month (with individual fees for various services, like bubble wrap, package inspection, sticker removal, etc.) or opt for the Pay As You Go plan at $99/biannually (with individual fees for prep service, additional boxes and kitting). Or, if you’re a high-volume seller, check out their FBA Express plan.

6. Minatus

For UK-based sellers, Minatus is the FBA prep service you’ll want to be bookmarking. They’ll take care you of every step of the way, starting with inspecting your packages when they arrive (to protect you from potential Amazon penalties) to bagging, wrapping, labelling, kitting and sending your items off to the FBA centre.

Their prices are listed right on their website so you can get a decent idea of what to budget for. But they’ll also give you a quote based on your complete profile so there are no surprises, and have customer support available by phone and email if you have more questions.

7. FBA Ops

China is rapidly becoming the world leader in all things commerce, and FBA Ops is a shining example of that. They have an array of services to help you get your products from your place to Amazon, including sourcing, procuring and inspection.

Plus, as a neat gesture of faith during the pandemic, they’re waiving their fees on all COVID-19 products like surgical masks, medical gloves, PPE and more.

Final Thoughts

Although they cost money, using a top-quality FBA prep service can help you save money in the long run by ensuring your products get sent to an Amazon fulfillment centre in requirement-ready condition (instead of facing Amazon penalties and having to start the process over again). And you know what else can help you earn more money?

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Amazon Tests Video Calls in Seller Verification

Amazon is piloting video conference calls in its seller verification process to screen third-party merchants seeking to sell on its marketplace. The company initially began live, in-person verification measures earlier in 2020, but recently pivoted to video screening due to social distancing mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Over the last few years, Amazon’s marketplace has seen a growing number of bad actors, or “black hat” consultants, including counterfeiters, algorithm hackers, and listing hijackers, who use illegitimate tactics to manipulate the system on Amazon and cheat their way to the top.

The company in recent months has fallen under scrutiny for its limited oversight of products listed by third-party sellers, many of which are based in China. A 2019 analysis by the Wall Street Journal found over 4,000 items listed on Amazon that have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled, or are banned by federal regulators.

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Amazon’s new live screening effort is one of several measures the company employs throughout the seller verification process to minimize fraud on its platform. To vet the sellers, Amazon’s internal team coordinates a video call and takes steps to confirm that the seller’s ID matches the person on the call and in the documentation provided with the seller application.

The pilot video conference initiative is now operating in a number of markets, including the U.S., the U.K., China, and Japan. To date, more than 1,000 sellers have attempted to register an account through the pilot program, according to TechCrunch.

The problem of fraudulent behavior on Amazon returned to the limelight amid the COVID-19 crisis, during which countless third-party sellers and product listings were found to be tripling or quadrupling their prices on essential items or citing unsupported health claims about their products’ ability to combat the coronavirus.

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In March, the company said it had suspended more than 3,900 U.S. seller accounts, removed more than 530,000 products from its platform over price-gouging, and had taken down “millions” of items that made unsupported claims about their ability to protect and fight against COVID-19.

In addition to video conferencing, Amazon also uses proprietary machine-learning algorithms to vet sellers before they are approved to sell on the marketplace. According to Amazon, the system analyzes hundreds of data points to identify potential risks, such as whether the seller is related to another account that was previously removed from the marketplace for fraudulent behavior. Amazon said these processes prevented 2.5 million accounts from listing items on the platform in 2019.

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The Top Amazon News Stories in May 2020

News On Monday, Amazon announced that they will be waiving the storage fees that were scheduled to be charged on 15 May. They are doing this as removal orders have been delayed due to prioritising essential shipments.News

This is good to see and should provide a small break for sellers who were going to be subject to these fees.

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Coronavirus: You might think Amazon profits are soaring right now. You’d be wrong: Sky News reports that Amazon has said it could record its first loss in five years despite a hike in revenue as it spends at least $4bn (£3.2bn) in response to the coronavirus outbreak. While other traditional shops have been forced to shut because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the online retailing giant recruited an extra 175,000 workers to cope with a surge in orders during the pandemic. In the current financial quarter, which has witnessed coronavirus lockdowns around the world, Amazon said it could see a 28% increase in revenue to $81bn (£65bn). Continue reading…

US lawmakers demand Jeff Bezos testify over Amazon’s ‘possibly criminally false’ statements: Julia Carrie Wong at The Guardian reports that a bipartisan group of House lawmakers investigating Amazon for possible antitrust violations have demanded that Jeff Bezos testify before Congress to address statements by the company that “appear to be misleading, and possibly criminally false or perjurious. Although we expect that you will testify on a voluntary basis, we reserve the right to resort to a compulsory process if necessary,” seven leaders of the House judiciary committee, including the chair Jerry Nadler, wrote in a letter to the Amazon CEO on Friday. Continue reading…

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Amazon unit’s vice-president resigns over whistleblower firings: Patricia Nilsson at the Financial Times reports that a senior Amazon software engineer has resigned in protest over the company’s dismissal of whistleblowers who brought attention to safety concerns among its warehouse workers. Tim Bray, a vice-president at Amazon Web Services, the retailer’s cloud computing division, said on Monday that he had stepped down from his role as vice-president and distinguished engineer after having “escalated [concerns] through the proper channels and by the book”. “I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19,” he said in a blog post. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Continue reading…

Amazon encourages sellers to help supply medical institutions with vital PPE: Lauren Fruncillo at Tamebay reports that Amazon has announced they are working with European governments and health agencies in response to COVID-19 in order to supply hospitals, medical institutions and government organisations with personal protection equipment (PPE) and other key health and safety products. The news comes shortly after eBay announced that they were creating NHS Portal to supply PPE across the UK with DHSC. It’s great to see these companies working together to help ease the pressures on healthcare services. Continue reading…