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. Make sure that you meet the following guidelines:

  • 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.
  • Each pallet must have a product label for each variant taped to the outside of the pallet.

Step 1: Download product and inbound transfer labels

If the inbound transfer contains a product, then you can download product labels. After you submit an inbound transfer and it's in a Submitted state, then you can download product labels and inbound transfer labels.

Steps:

  1. Go to your inbound transfer within the Shopify Fulfillment app.
  2. Click Download Labels.
  3. Select a label size that's compatible with your printer.
  4. Download the labels.

The labels can take a few minutes to download after the inbound transfer is created.

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 that you follow the SFN requirements for barcode labels when you label each unit with its SKU and barcode. Any shipment that arrives at a SFN fulfillment center without appropriate barcode labels will cost you unexpected preparation service fees.

You can barcode your products in one of the following ways:

  • If the manufacturer's barcode labels follow the SFN requirements, then you can use their barcodes.
  • If you want to use custom barcodes, or if the manufacturer's barcode labels don't follow the SFN requirements, then you can print your barcodes and apply them yourself. You can print labels by using Retail Barcode Labels app or SFN inbound transfers.
  • If you want SFN to barcode your units, then you can contact your Fulfillment Merchant Manager to request barcode labelling for an additional fee. If you don't have a Fulfillment Merchant Manager, then you can contact the SFN Support team by email, or you can create a special project.

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. If you use pallets, then the product labels and transfer labels need to be stuck to the outside of the pallet, as well as on the master carton.

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 you're transferring any pallets, then a product label for each variant needs to be stuck on each pallet as well.

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 or freight shipper 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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