screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-24-22-pm

Box Level Contents – the Spreadsheet Method

| 21 Comments

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-2-46-46-pm

  • (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:To see it in action, check out this video:

 

This spreadsheet is available for purchase below, for a one-time charge of $25.  If you’re an AccelerList customer, email me at thebookflipper @ gmail . com and I’ll hook you up with a free copy!

21 Comments

  1. What type of scanner is needed
    Can you use amazon seller app
    ?

  2. can I ship one box per day w/0 contents list. I live across from ups so its easy.
    what would happen if 2 boxes that I shipped on different days arrived on same
    day at fulfillment?

    also here’s a sourcing tip. have sourced about 750 books in last week for 10 cents
    each. My state has 2 government surplus sales centers. great books, including
    literature and textbooks. Most states have these. check out.

    thanks caleb for all you do.

    • Hey Ed – you should be able to ship 10 boxes in the same day, as long as they are 10 different batches/shipments.

      Thanks for the tip on government surplus sales centers!

  3. Hello,
    I wanted to ask a couple questions before purchasing your spreadsheet.
    1. How many items does the spreadsheet go unto in one box – ( example – can I place 200 cd in one box column) ?
    2. Is it possible for us to download the spread sheet on two laptops – both in the same house – same amazon account. My husband and I are trying to figure out the the best process for us and we would need this on two operate laptops in our house.
    Thank you
    Amide & Garry

    • Howdy! I now offer two versions of the spreadsheet, both are included if you purchase it: 1 accommodates up to 300 items per box and up to 20 boxes, the other accommodates up to 300 items per box and up to 100 boxes. You can use the spreadsheets on as many computers as you’d like.

  4. Hi Caleb,

    Can you please tell me if this spreadsheet will allow sellers to work on boxing up prior to completing the shipment?

    Say we have a shipment with 500 books in it, could we start boxing up the books while inputting FNSKUs to the spreadsheet and then add more items to the shipment until we reach a full pallet? Meaning, is it possible to refresh the spreadsheet with the shipment ID after more items are added or can it only be entered prior to any boxing?

    We are shipping LTL with 2,000 books minimum per shipment and it’d be nice to work on boxing the books prior to completing the shipment so we don’t have to stack the entire shipment before we box up.

    Thanks!

    • Yes, absolutely! You can scan FNSKU labels as you add them to boxes, and then when you’ve completed a pallet you can enter the number of boxes within Seller Central, export the .txt file that Amazon gives you, and enter it into the Import tab on the spreadsheet and it’ll run perfectly from there. Thanks for asking!

  5. Caleb, bought the program. I dont have Excel but rather Open Office calc and it doesnt seem to open your spreadsheet correctly. Do you know if it will work with Open Ofc or possibly Google docs?

    Thanks

  6. Just to clarify. You’re first entering each item you’re sending as a listing, pricing it, and adding it to your FBA inventory list, then you’re creating your shipments…

    …then you’re running through this process in your video on each shipment, correct?

  7. I love your blog and all the solid information that you share in it.

    Just wanted to point out that the link to AccelerList on this page is straight to the website – that is, it doesn’t include your referral link. I had never heard of AccelerList before this page and am considering getting it. It made me wonder if you were a partial owner of the company or what.

    Found it elsewhere on your site as well (http://thebookflipper.com/track/) and found that link did have your referrer information. Just a heads up!

    • Hey Aaron – thanks for reaching out! I am indeed an angel investor in the fellas over at AccelerList, hence no need for referral links moving forward. They are still in a beta mode and squashing bugs, but are getting closer to getting a fully functional piece of software into the market. Keep an eye on them!

  8. Hi Caleb –

    I have 3 boxes already packed … you mean I have to take everything out of the boxes and scan them into the Spreadsheet?

    I do see – (Download SKU list) on my “Work On Shipment” page. Can I use this to scan in the SKU?

    Is it 15 cents per item if I send it in without the Content List?
    If I have to take them all out, I might just go on and pay Amazon to do that.

    So, in moving forward I would have to scan into the spreadsheet as I list and pack.

  9. Can I use this with UPC as books are only a small part of the items I send in. I don’t have FNSKU or isbn to scan. Is there a way to get it to use UPC.

  10. Hey, Caleb

    I recently found your blog and it has been a great asset to this small business my wife and I are doing. My question is – when we are getting ready to ship our books to the amazon warehouse, is it necessary to print and label SKU’s for each book, even when an original barcode is available? We are making the change over to FBA from MF after reading through your blog and are just curious if it is necessary, or just easier/simpler to tag books that already have barcodes.

    Thank you in advance!

    We are really looking forward to the enhanced freedom and increase in sales making the switch over to FBA!

    • Yes, always use your own labels. You can only commingle new inventory, not used books. And if there are claims of fake books out there, you could be liable. It’s best to put your own labels on the books.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.