Small Parcel packing and labeling guidelines for Shopify Fulfillment Network

When you send inventory to Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) using Small Parcel shipping, all products must be packed into boxes that meet SFN's packing and labeling guidelines.

To avoid errors, delays, and non-compliance fees when SFN receives your products, follow these guidelines for packing and labeling your Small Parcel shipments:

  • Separate product variants into their own inner cases, such as boxes or bags.
  • Use padding materials to protect products from damage during shipping.
  • Attach a product label to each inner case and box.
  • Attach a transfer label to each box.

SFN packing guidelines for boxes

Before you pack your products, review your shipping carrier’s guidelines about box dimensions and oversized boxes to ensure that your box meets their standards. Using an oversized box might result in special handling charges.

Use sturdy cardboard boxes that are strong enough to hold the weight of your products. Don’t use boxes that are wet, damaged, or have old labels attached.

The following sections provide guidance about how to organize and pack your products.

Separate your product variants

Organizing your products when you pack them for shipping helps SFN to receive your products quickly. Whenever possible, only pack one product variant per box. For example, if you're shipping a sweater that has 3 different sizes, then pack each sweater size into a separate box.

If you can’t avoid packing product variants together in the same box, then separate each product variant into its own inner case, such as a small box or clear bag. Attach product labels to each inner case, and then close them before shipping.

If your product variants aren't separated when SFN receives your shipment, then you're charged a non-compliance fee for the extra time that's required to process your shipment. Order fulfillment can be delayed by 10 business days for non-compliant shipments.

Protect your products from damage during shipping

When you pack products to ship to SFN, you need to protect your products from damage during shipping. SFN staff take every precaution to make sure that your products aren't damaged during receiving. However, gentle handling by your shipping carrier isn't guaranteed. Damaged products can be expensive to replace and many damage claims are denied.

To help protect products from damage, follow these guidelines:

  • Place at least 2 inches (5 cm) of padding materials between your products and the walls of each box. Padding materials can include the following:
    • bubble wrap
    • large industrial paper
    • foam
    • air pillows
  • Fill in empty spaces so that products don’t move around during shipping.
  • Avoid shipping boxes that are heavier than 50 lbs (22 kg). Heavy boxes are more likely to be damaged if they’re dropped.
  • To close boxes, use reinforced shipping tape that is at least 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Apply multiple layers of tape across each seam. Remember to securely tape the bottom of each box.

To support any insurance claims in case of damage during shipping, you can take photos of your padding materials before you close each box.

SFN label placement guidelines

After you download your product labels or transfer labels, ensure that your inner cases and boxes are labeled accurately. The following sections provide guidance about how to label your shipment correctly.

Attach product labels to inner cases and boxes

Product labels are used to identify which products are packed inside an inner case or box. To ensure that SFN receives your products quickly and accurately, follow these guidelines:

  • Attach a product label to each inner case.
  • For boxes that contain a single product, attach the product label to the outside of the box.
  • For boxes that contain multiple product variants, attach a label for each product variant to the outside of the box.

Attach transfer labels to boxes

Each shipment must have a transfer label to identify which inbound transfer the boxes belongs to. Attach a transfer label to the outside of each box that you send to SFN.

If the transfer label is missing when SFN receives your shipment, then you're charged a non-compliance fee for the extra time that's required to process your products. Order fulfillment can be delayed by 10 business days for non-compliant inbound transfers.

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