Packing and labeling an inbound transfer

After you submit an inbound transfer, ship the items to the fulfillment center.

If someone else will be packing and shipping your inbound transfer, then you can print this guide or download it as a PDF file to send to your supplier or logistics partner.

Packing and labeling overview

Here’s an overview of what an inbound transfer looks like for the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

How best to package your products, such that variants are separated into their own boxes

Labeling and packaging your inbound transfer helps the fulfillment center receive it with more accuracy. Inbound transfers that don't arrive packed and labeled as expected can cause delays or additional charges on your bill. Follow the guidelines below:

  • Each individual unit must have a barcode attached.
  • Each variant is packed in their own inner cases or master cartons. Don’t mix variants.
  • Each master carton or pallet must have an inbound transfer label attached.
  • Each inner case or master carton containing inventory must have a product label attached to show which variant is inside.

Step 1: Download product and inbound transfer labels

Go to your inbound transfer within the Shopify Fulfillment app. In the Labels section, download the product labels and inbound transfer label from your submitted transfer.

A product label is created for each product variant in your inbound transfer. Product labels are used to identify which variants are in which inner cases and master cartons. Each product label contains the SKU and barcode for the variant.

One inbound transfer label is created for each inbound transfer. Inbound transfer labels are used to identify which inbound transfer your master cartons or pallets belong to. The inbound transfer label shows the inbound transfer origin, the inbound transfer destination, and the receiving ID. The receiving ID, or ASN, is a unique number that provides details about the inbound transfer when it’s scanned by the fulfillment center upon receiving the shipment.

Step 2: Attach barcodes to individual units

Before you pack your products, make sure you label each unit with its SKU and barcode.

If your units aren’t already labeled, then you can use the Shopify Retail Barcode Labels app or print and attach the corresponding product label from your inbound transfer to each unit. You can also contact the Fulfillment Success team to see if the fulfillment center can attach barcodes for an additional fee.

A product with a barcode being placed in a box

Step 3: Pack identical products together in inner cases or master cartons

Don't mix variants when packing your units. If you’re shipping multiple variants, then make sure that they’re separated within your shipment. Pack master cartons with either a single type of variant, or with inner cases (such as polybags or smaller boxes) that each have a label and contain a single type of variant.

Variants must be separated when packaged

If your variants are packed in inner cases, then pack your inner cases in master cartons. If possible, don’t mix inner cases of different variants in the same master carton.

If you need to have inner cases of different variants within a master carton, then put a product label for each variant on the outside of the master carton along with the transfer label. This helps the warehouse to identify the products before opening the box.

Some inbound transfers might require multiple master cartons. You can use pallets to ship multiple master cartons. If possible, don’t mix master cartons of different variants on the same pallet.

Step 4: Print and attach product labels to inner cases and master cartons

Print the product labels and attach them to their corresponding inner cases and master cartons to identify which variants they contain.

If a master carton contains inner cases of different variants, then attach product labels for each different variant.

Where product labels should be attached

Step 5: Print and attach inbound transfer labels to master cartons and pallets

Print the inbound transfer labels and attach them to the outside of each master carton or pallet to identify which inbound transfer they belong to.

If you're using pallets, then make sure the inbound transfer label is accessible and protected by the pallet shrink wrap. Consider attaching two inbound transfer labels to pallets in case one falls off in transit.

Where inbound transfer labels should be attached

Step 6: Ship the inbound transfer and add tracking

Choose a shipping service to send your inbound transfer to the fulfillment center. Add the tracking number from your carrier to the submitted inbound transfer in the Shopify Fulfillment Network app. This lets the fulfillment center know when your inbound transfer will arrive.

If your supplier is sending the inbound transfer directly to the fulfillment center, then contact them for the tracking number.

For more information, refer to Adding tracking information

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