Listing

Box Level Contents – the Spreadsheet Method

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know it’s not a secret that I have an unhealthy obsession with spreadsheets.  They can be used to analyze all sorts of data, design cool charts, and list and track your inventory on Amazon.  And as of today, they can now be used to help you quickly and easily provide Box Level Contents to Amazon for your FBA shipments.  Read on to learn more.

Starting on November 1st, Amazon is requiring all FBA shipments to include a detailed inventory of which products are in each individual box.  This change will help Amazon check in your inventory more efficiently.  As a bonus, it will boost Amazon’s bottom line by allowing them to charge delinquent sellers 15 cents per item if you fail to provide these Box Level Contents with your shipment.  Ouch.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to avoid this new per-item fee:

  • Send in one box at a time – If you limit your shipments to a single box at a time, you don’t need to provide Box Level Contents at all.  Problem solved!  This is the simplest solution, although it may not be a good fit for everyone, depending on your preferred workflow.
  • Provide Box Level Contents at the time of listing – If you use InventoryLab, they have implemented a workaround so you can build your Box Level Contents files while you are listing your items.  This process appears to be quite clunky based on their user guide, and of course you have to be an InventoryLab user already or sign up now to use this service, at $49 per month.
  • Use a third party software – Companies such as BoxT ($24/month) or Wizard-Industries ($20-$75/month) will help you build shipments quickly, but come with monthly fees as well.
  • Use Amazon’s web form – You can provide your own Box Level Contents files directly through the Manage FBA Shipments page in Seller Central, but it will add several minutes to your overall workflow.  Stephen Smotherman from fulltimefba.com wrote a detailed blog post that explains how to use these forms.  The web form is shown below, and if you’re willing to hunt and peck (or use control+F) you can build your own shipping manifest one item at a time.
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  • (My preferred option) Use custom spreadsheets to speed up the process – Obviously I love spreadsheets, so I built one that speeds up this process and doesn’t come with a monthly price tag.  Once you’ve labeled your items, you can simply scan each FBA label as you pack it into a box, and it will take care of building the Box Level Contents forms for you.  It’s a fairly intelligent spreadsheet as well.  For example:
  • If you sell groceries, it includes a field for you to enter the expiration dates.
  • If you accidentally scan an item that doesn’t belong in the shipment, it will alert you of that fact.
  • If you accidentally scan the same item twice, it will point out that you have multiple quantities in that box so you can update the sheet appropriately.
  • It only requires three steps to use it – import your data from Amazon with a few clicks, scan your inventory as you build your shipment, and then export your data and submit it on Seller Central.

Here’s a snapshot of the Box Level Contents Spreadsheet:

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