Newb question on Barcodes (UPC, FNSKU, Shipping label)


Hi guys.

I’m preparing a PL product, manufacturing in China and plans to sell on Amazon US.
As I understand, there are 3 bar codes (UPC, FNSKU, Shipping label) but please correct me if I’m wrong.

My questions is, where should those bar codes be positioned?
1 product will be shipped in 1 shipping box. I plan to ship 500-900 individual boxes.
I’m not sure where UPC and FNSKU bar codes should be positioned.

I understand I need to put 2 shipping labels on the box itself.

Should FNSKU also be on the shipping box? or on the product itself inside the box?
Where does UPC bar codes go?

Greatly appreciate your help.



Upc and fnsku barcodes belong per product and should be on each product box


Thank you DP.
Do I have to use carton boxes? Can I just send indivisual boxes?
In such case, where would I put the shipping label?

Thanks in advance!


If you used FNSKU, they should be sticked on each of the 500-900 indiviudal boxes you ship to Amazon. Cover other labels in order not to confuse FBA staff.


Just to add, be sure you are covering the UPC barcode with the FNSKU sticker, or strike through the UPC barcode so it won’t be scanned by accident.

When you print your shipping box label, 2 will print for each box. Those are the 2 labels to put on the outside of the shipping box.


To clarify the difference between a UPC and an FNSKU for the purposes of FBA -

A UPC is a ‘universal product code’ which identifies the unique product being sold.

An FNSKU is an Amazon specific code and stands for Fulfillment Center Stock Keeping Unit. It identifies a unique product owned by a specific seller in Amazon’s warehouses.

Consider that 2 sellers want to sell the identical product through FBA. ‘Neat-Seller’ stores his inventory in a clean, climate controlled warehouse prior to sending it to FBA. ‘Sloppy-Seller’ stores his inventory in a run-down garage where rain leaks inside and bugs and rodents can get in.

Both sellers’ products would have the same UPC code because they’re the same product, but if you were Neat-Seller, you wouldn’t want your FBA inventory mixed in with Sloppy-Seller’s inventory - you’d want to be sure that your customers got one of your exact products when they ordered. The FNSKU identifies your specific pieces of the product in the FBA warehouses, Sloppy-Seller’s pieces of the product would have a different FNSKU.

When you first create the catalog page for your product, you will need a UPC code to identify it. Once the listing is created, and you proceed to ship the product to FBA, your individual items need one single code visible on each retail unit’s box for the warehouses workers to sort and store them properly. That would be either the UPC code (if you want your products to be mixed in with every other seller’s inventory of the same product - ‘comingling’ in FBA terms), OR the FNSKU code, if you want your products kept separate.

If your manufacturer is going to print the UPC on your packaging (you may want this if selling on other venues besides Amazon, or in retail shops) then the FNSKU needs to be applied over the UPC on each individual item so that only the FNSKU is visible once the items arrive at Amazon’s warehouses.

If you are going to sell the item strictly through FBA, you could have just the FNSKU printed on the package, although you would still need a UPC assigned to the product (but not necessarily printed on each item) to create the listing in the Amazon catalog in the first place.

Bottom line - each individual retail selling unit needs to have one code visible on its packaging and Amazon scans this code to track where inventory is within its warehouses. That code can be either the UPC (if comingling) or an FNSKU. To prevent problems - don’t send any retail units without this code, or with more than one visible code.


Awesome explanation @racingroxstore. You rock!


Thank you so much for your answer.
I do understand better now, but the problem is that I’m the manufacturer and the product package(retail unit box) = carton for me. So I either have to put shipping label or FNSKU on the box.

I do plan to send it via full container (FCL) so if shipping label is not necessary on each box (maybe a single shipping label for the whole container) then I can put the FNSKU on the box. If not, I’m not sure how to put both shipping label and FNSKU on the products.


but the problem is that I’m the manufacturer and the product package(retail unit box) = carton for me

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re saying. Each individual “sellable unit” (something a customer can purchase) needs to have an identifying number on it (UPC or FNSKU) for tracking through the FBA warehouses.

Otherwise, how would Amazon be able to track them? Once your shipment is delivered to FBA, they may move individual units around to different warehouses all over the country and each sellable unit needs to be able to be tracked through its bar code.

The FNSKU does not need to go on the outside of the shipping box anywhere, it only needs to be applied to the individual selling units.

All you need to put on the outside of the box is the shipping label.

As an example -
If you were selling bottles of aspirin, each single bottle would need a label on it. You might ship 200 bottles in one box to Amazon, but every single bottle needs its own FNSKU label. You’d need 200 FNSKU labels and 1 shipping label for the shipping box.

Smaller sellers often print sheets of labels with the FNSKU information on them (Amazon gives you this option when you prepare the FBA shipment) and stick them onto the bottles themselves, but if you’re having the product manufactured, it would seem easier to have the FNSKU information printed right onto the product.

I’ve never done that myself, so others who have their product manufactured overseas might be able to give you better guidance on that part.


Thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it.
I do understand the function of FNSKU.

My problem is that there is no product packaging and the shipping/carton is actually the only box packaging. I can’t put both FNSKU and Shipping label on the box.

Like you mentioned, if I can get away with only UPC barcode on the box, then problem solved.
I’m still in communication with Sellersupport, so we’ll see how it unfolds.

Again, thanks.


My problem is that there is no product packaging and the shipping/carton is actually the only box packaging.

What exactly does this mean? You aren’t allowed to send a bunch of loose stuff into FBA - there are rules about how each piece of merchandise needs to be ‘prepped’ so it can be stored, handled, and transported safely at FBA. They’ll refuse anything that isn’t properly prepped.

What kind of item are you selling? You don’t have to reveal the exact product, just give us a general idea of what kind of item would not have any packaging?

As some examples (and it’s been a long time since I’ve done FBA, so someone else might need to edit my answers)

  • A pair of socks would need to be poly-bagged and an FNSKU sticker applied to the outside of the bag
  • A single pencil would still require an FNSKU sticker on it
  • A hair ribbon would also require an FNSKU sticker on it, and probably also need to be poly-bagged (see FBA requirements for small items)

if I can get away with only UPC barcode on the box

You can NOT get away with applying a single sticker - either a UPC or an FNSKU - to the outside of a box that contains multiple sellable units, if that’s what you’re hoping for. Each individual sellable unit MUST have a code (either UPC or FNSKU) on the individual unit. No way around that, and if you are planning to ship a bunch of unlabeled products into FBA, you’re opening yourself up for a world of trouble.


I talked with Amazon support and it seems there is no other way.

My product is on a boarderline standard and oversize, so only 1 product per 1 box.
That box is the carton for me. Only 1 product.

After talking to support, I’d have to buy a bigger box and put my product carton into it, so I can put shipping label on the bigger box and FNSKU on the smaller box. I was exactly trying to avoid this.


That is correct–you will need an outside carton holding your individually boxed products.
Could the individually boxed products be shipped together on a pallet? Perhaps that would avoid all the bigger boxes (outside cartons)? Is that a viable option?
I don’t know how this works (or how many would need to be shipped at a time to make it worthwhile), having never done it. But I know there are sellers who do this.


Hi mlm, thanks for your feedback.

Yes, I can put individual boxes on a pallet. Does this avoid the bigger box? (meaning can I put a shipping label per pallet?)

It’s so hard to get right help on Amazon seller platform.
It’s not flexible at all.


As I said, I have no experience with pallets. But I would think you could possibly ship the individual boxes, depending on the product, how it’s packaged, etc. I just don’t know for sure. In any case, the individual boxes would need to be very sturdy and the items inside cushioned very well. Keep in mind that anything you ship is going to get very rough treatment.
Here are some links to info about packaging, shipping to fba–I would search help for absolutely everything you can possibly find. You definitely want to get it right the first time:

Hopefully someone with experience will chime in with more specific info on this. I only do small shipments of polybagged items.

Good luck!