How to use box content for Amazon FBA

Box Content

How Box Content Works

Box content was created by Amazon to streamline the way inventory moves through their distribution network. This helps Amazon to know exactly where every product is even before it is organized at their fulfillment warehouse. Products become available for sale sooner and get to the customer faster.


The One Box Method

If you are shipping a small number of books and get a shipment where all books are going to one warehouse in one box, you are not required to submit box content information. It’s not always possible because Amazon often splits shipments. The reason you don’t have to submit box content information in a single box shipment is simply that Amazon knows exactly everything that is in the box. It is only when shipping multiple boxes that providing box content information becomes necessary.

How to do a One Box Shipment (In Theory)

Sometimes you can “force” a one box shipment. The theory about how this works requires the following.

  • Fill a small box 16x12x12 with books until it is full or weighs 45-48 lbs.
  • Remove the books from the box and proceed with normal processing (clean, grade, list, label).
  • Select those books in Inventory Management, and create a shipment plan. (We keep track of those books by setting an indicator price to remember which books to add to the shipment. For example, all the books that fit into the one box are priced at $500. Then in Inventory Management you can select all the books priced $500 and create a new shipment for only those books.

This approach should mean you will process and ship about 25-40 books or so at a time. The theory is that Amazon may be organizing the way they route shipments by weight or cubic feet. This has worked in the past for us but it is not a guarantee. There is always the possibility Amazon can split the shipment. We will continue to test these methods and let you know our findings.

Using Box Content with Scanlister to Check your Work

Providing box content can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Amazon Seller Central provides a Web form, Excel or TSV file for you to enter box content information. This method requires you to enter every individual unit into cells on a spreadsheet. This is extremely time-consuming, and not surprisingly an intimidating process for new sellers. There are people who will completely avoid sending large shipments to avoid this.

For this reason, we are using Scanlister to track box content information. Scanlister is a listing software that includes a box content utility. This has been a significant time saver for our business. They way it works is, you simply enter the shipment ID into Scanlister, you select the box number, then you scan the contents of the box. As you scan you will see the image of the book onscreen. This helps to verify it is the correct book for the shipment (not a cover mismatch or mislabeling error). The beauty of this approach is that it will also help to identify if a book is not meant to be in the shipment. So if you have multiple shipping plans and all the books are together, you can use the box content process to separate the books. Scanlister will tell you whether or not a book belongs in the current shipment. During this process, if we see a book that does not belong in the shipment, we’ll take that book, put it to the side, and scan the book later for the next shipment.

After all box content scanning is complete, you can simply export the file (we use TSV format) and upload it to Amazon. Amazon will scan the file to look for errors. The error check will tell you if there is something missing in your shipment.

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This information was last updated, January 2020. Subscribe to our lastest updates.

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