In this article, I will be showing you how to create a batch in InventoryLab, how to set up your printer for FNSKU labels and how to handle split shipments.
The first step you will have to take is to sign up for InventoryLab (non-affiliate). It currently costs $69/month.
I find it to be an indispensable tool, especially if you are trying to scale up because it will help you create shipments much faster, streamline your processes and have access to business reports.
I use the profit and loss statement and track my expenses through InventoryLab.
This makes filing taxes a breeze, because I can hand my accountant my profit and loss statement after I’ve added all my expenses and that’s all I need.
InventoryLab pulls in your sales data, Amazon Lending loans payments and all the other important numbers directly from your Amazon Seller account.
All you have to do is add in your expenses in Accounting -> Other Expenses.
You can also add recurring expenses for subscriptions such as SellerAmp, Keepa and Bqool.
Your Amazon selling subscription will automatically be incorporated into the numbers Amazon pulls in so there’s no need to worry about adding that.
That being said, this software makes creating shipments so quick and easy.
It helps you stay organized by tracking your buy costs.
This is how they can also show you how profitable your business really is.
InventoryLab also prints out FNSKU labels in a different fashion than when you use Send To Amazon.
When you use Send To Amazon, you will be adding products to your inventory, selecting which ones you want to add to your batch, and then you label them all at once you finish your batch creation.
In InventoryLab, you must have 30334 labels and a thermal printer, because the way it works is that the software utilizes a driver called IL Print, which automatically prints FNSKU labels after you add items to your batch.
These are the exact labels I use, and they work flawlessly with IL. They are the perfect size to easily cover UPC manufacturer’s barcodes, unlike other sizes that I have tried.
Like I mentioned in Part 2, this printer is the one I recommend over Rollo printers.
It has more features and costs a fraction of the price.
If you want to create the most efficient setup, get two printers.
One for FNSKU labels and one for 4×6 shipping labels.
While you could use the same printer for both kinds of labels, you will have to remove the feed of labels, realign the printer head and end up wasting valuable time and labels in the process.
When you have two printers, as well as two of these cheap label holders I recommend, you will not have to touch the labels at all. Simply set it up once and print as many labels as you need.
With InventoryLab, you scan a product in, set your buy cost and sales price, press add to batch and then the labels you need will come out.
Let me show you how to set this up.
You want to go to List & Prep and then click on the button that says “Print Settings”
Make sure the two settings I circled in the picture below are on.
The first will ensure that product labels will be printed directly after you add an item to your batch.
You can also turn this off if you need to at any time, if you already have labels on your products.
If you need more labels, you can always easily print more as well.
Next, make sure the “Include Expiration Date” setting is on.
This is important if you ever carry goods that expire such as grocery and health/beauty.
Even if you have this enabled, it will only include an expiration if you input one, so I leave this on all the time.
After you have done that, click on “Set Up Your Printer”.
Click on “Try IL Print”.
Download IL Print, then press Next.
You’ll want to select your printer (you will have to set it up via system preferences if it doesn’t show up here) and then select your label size.
Like I mentioned earlier, 30334 is the size I use.
Once you complete the setup, you can print a test label to see if it comes out properly.
Now that we’ve set up Inventory Lab and it’s ready to go, let’s walk through the process.
It’s quite simple and is much easier than using Send To Amazon.
That being said, I recommend you learn how to use Send To Amazon so you can troubleshoot in case there is an issue with Inventory Lab or you mess something up.
The process is as follows:
- Scan UPC, enter ASIN, or type product name into search bar
- Enter your quantity, item cost, supplier, sales price and press add to batch
- Review batch and submit request shipment plans from AMZ
- Create shipments & enter box contents, or decline if split shipments
- Migrate into Send To Amazon & input box contents
- Generate UPS Shipping label
- Bring to UPS store or schedule pickup
1. Scan UPC, enter ASIN, or type product name into search bar
Use the search bar to add a product to your inventory. Unlike creating shipments with Send To Amazon, you won’t have to manually add products to your inventory one by one through Amazon.
When you add products to your Inventory Lab batch, it will automatically create FBA listings for your products on your behalf.
You can search by product UPC (the barcode), ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), or the product name.
I recommend you get a wireless barcode scanner like this Nadamoo wireless that I’ve used and highly recommend.
It’s great to be able to walk over to your inventory and scan it as opposed to bringing everything over to your computer, especially if you are growing and shipping out a larger quantity of items.
I’ve since upgraded to an even better scanner, which is the Zebra Symbol DS2278-SR.
This is a wireless charger, but when you put it on the dock, it enters hands-free mode while simultaneously charging the scanner.
It’s been a game-changer for productivity, but do not buy this if you’re short on funds. That money would better be spent on inventory for your business.
The Nadamoo works great and I wouldn’t have upgraded if I hadn’t lost the receiver and didn’t get a free $125 gift card as a sign-up bonus for the Amex Business Prime Credit Card.
That being said, this scanner is incredible and I have no regrets getting it.
It’s extremely durable, allows me to rapidly scan in hands-free mode and the receiver is virtually impossible to accidentally lose.
I’ve seen them use this at the Nike Outlet, which is how I found out about it and decided to purchase it for my storage unit.
It might be worth an upgrade for the tax write-off, if you are looking to maximize efficiency and if you want to invest in hardware that will last for years to come.
Scan your item or enter the ASIN into the search bar.
Once you see the item you want to add, press select.
2. Enter your quantity, item cost, supplier, sales price and press add to batch
Focus on the areas where I’ve drawn arrows to.
Enter your quantity, how much you paid for the item and where you got it.
Then choose a selling price.
I recommend you set it a bit higher than the buy box and reprice it later.
Prices on AMZ change on an hourly basis and you don’t want to be selling it for cheaper than you have to.
If an expiration date is required (grocery/beauty), Inventory Lab will tell you.
In that case, make sure that you enter your expiration date in the field under Supplier.
You will have to press the eye icon to turn it on and off.
Make sure that the eye is turned off if you are shipping goods without an expiration date.
Sometimes, I forget to turn it back off after shipping out grocery items and accidentally print expiration dates on my shoe labels.
It’s a waste of labels and time.
You can always print more labels after adding an item to your batch by clicking on the 3 horizontal line button next to the item’s title and pressing print label.
3. Review batch and submit request shipment plans from AMZ
Once you finished adding all your products to your batch and labeling them all, the next step is to review our batch and request shipment plans from Amazon.
One everything looks good, press “Review Batch” in the bottom right corner.
It will show you where Inventory Lab expects your items to go. That being said, sometimes Inventory Lab thinks a split will happen but Amazon doesn’t split it.
Press Submit and then it will bring up the following popup window.
Make sure “Request proposed FBA shipment plans from Amazon” is checked and press Sync.
4. Create shipments & enter box contents, or decline if split shipments
You will be brought to this page.
As you can see, there are three shipments.
Do not click on the “Create” button unless there is only 1 destination here.
As you can see, there are three destinations, which is a split, so I will try to manually submit it so a split does not occur.
If there is only one shipment, all you need to do is click on “Create”, transmit boxes, enter your box dimensions and weight, and submit it.
Below is an example of a shipment that did not get a split, and you can simply press transmit boxes.
It will ask you if you want to complete the shipment in Stratify (default) or finish it in Amazon.
I recommend you finish your shipments in Send To Amazon.
Once everything is submitted, you go to Amazon Seller Central -> Inventory -> Shipments and your newly created shipment will show up there.
It will say working.
Convert it to Send To Amazon.
All you have to do now is click on on the shipment and skip ahead to the end of this article, where I show how to print out UPS shipping labels.
Now back to the original scenario with the splits.
In the case of the example with 3 destinations, and in many situations, we will have to decline all shipments and return to list and prep.
I do this so I can download the shipment plans and manually upload them to Send To Amazon.
9 times out of 10, when you this, the issue of split shipments will disappear.
Return to the Review Batch screen and submit it again.
This time, make sure “Request proposed FBA shipment plans from Amazon” is deselected.
Then press sync.
5. Migrate into Send To Amazon & input box contents
Click on Export in the top right corner and then select “Send to Amazon Step1”.
This will close your shipment in Inventory Lab and download your entire shipment so you can upload the file to Send To Amazon.
Save the file to your computer. You can name it something unique to differentiate it if you send out a lot of shipments to avoid confusion.
Save the file.
Go to Inventory -> Shipments.
Click on the Send to Amazon link under Shipments in the menu.
Press Start new
Click on “Upload completed file”. Select the file you downloaded earlier and upload it.
Click on “Show SKUS with errors”.
You can bulk select your listings to set prep category and set prep and label owner. Click on the check box that I’ve pointed to in the picture below to select all the items on this page. Note, if you are sending a lot of items, you may have to do this page by page until there are no more errors.
The next step is to set your prep category.
Press save and then close. If it says “Prep and label owner updates failed” ignore it.
Press pack individual units.
This will bring you to the next step, which is packing individual units into boxes.
If everything fits into one box, simply press everything will fit into one box, weigh the box and measure it. No box contents will be required.
That being said, more often than not, multiple boxes will be needed. That will require you to submit box contents so Amazon knows which boxes contain which units.
Alternatively, you can do what I do sometimes, which is weighing out a bunch of items to see if it’s 50 pounds and creating a shipment that won’t require multiple boxes, and then creating an entirely new shipment for each box. This can allow you to avoid having to create box content. That being said, there’s no guarantee that you won’t get an unavoidable split doing this. From my experience, larger shipments with higher quantities tend to get less splits.
Once you confirm multiple boxes will be needed, click confirm.
This will bring you to the next section.
You will need to specify how you will be providing box contents.
There are a few methods.
I use the web form if it’s a simple and easy shipment where the products are easily identifiable.
If I’m shipping out clothes or shoes, I tend to use Excel now because it’s difficult to identify which product is which. With the Excel spreadsheet, I can use Command-F (Control-F on PC) to look up my FNSKUS in the process of filling out my box contents.
That being said, in this example, I will be showing you how to use the web form.
Keep in mind that there is a maximum of 10 boxes that you can enter box contents for with the web form. Any more than that and you will be required to use Excel spreadsheets.
Enter how many boxes you expect your shipment to require then press “Open web form”. The exact number of boxes isn’t important because you can add or subtract them later.
This will bring you to this page. As you can see, it shows you all the products in your shipment as well as how many units are boxed. You will need to indicate where each unit is going.
This can be a bit tricky and requires practice to master.
Your goal is to require as few boxes as possible and to fit as many products as you can in each box.
You will have to play Tetris with your items to fit them in the best way.
You may have to move certain items to a different box so they can fit better.
Make sure you stay organized and don’t mess this up.
As you can see, in the picture below I’ve entered the box contents and I’m ready to confirm my packing information.
Scroll down to the bottom and enter your box weight and dimensions.
You want to use the perfect size box for your items. Make sure it’s not too big and there’s not a lot of empty space in the box because then you will be overpaying for shipping. Many times I will cut down boxes to make them more compact.
Also make sure that your items are safely packed and have adequate packing material in the box so they don’t move around. UPS workers will be stacking these boxes and throwing them around so make sure you pack it well.
Once you finish submitting your information in the web form, press confirm and continue.
Now the hardest part is complete.
6. Generate UPS Shipping label
Select the date you will ship out your product. Make sure you choose a date you can actually ship it out, because Amazon needs this to be accurate. It’s better to ship it a day earlier than a day late. Don’t be a lazy, tardy asshole.
Use UPS (Amazon partnered carrier) because it will be the cheapest.
You can expect to pay $10-15 for 50 pounds of products.
You won’t find these discounted rates elsewhere.
Press accept charges and confirm shipment.
Now all you have to do is print out your labels using your thermal printer.
The format is 4×6 inches.
7. Bring to UPS store or schedule pickup
Now you’re all done.
Two labels will come out.
The 4×6 shipping label (UPS) and another 4×6 label (FBA label).
Put them both on the same side.
All you need to do now is bring it to the UPS store or schedule a pickup.
You can use Pirate Ship to schedule UPS pickups for only $4.