New Amazon sellers don't need many supplies to get their FBA businesses up and running. If you've got a smartphone, a printer, and poly bags, you're already off to a gr eat start.
Yep, I just included poly bags at the same level as having a phone! That's because self-sealing poly bags are probably our most used supplies for Amazon FBA.
Whether we're creating bundles, prepping baby items, or packing up liquids, we rarely create a FBA shipment without using an assortment of poly bags.
I recommend that all new sellers buy poly bags before creating their first shipment. That way you won't ever find yourself stranded and waiting on an order of supplies to arrive.
And if you're thinking that you'll just avoid buying items that require poly bags, know that you'll be missing out on a huge percentage of profitable products.
Before you place your first or next supplies order, here's everything you need to know about poly bags for Amazon FBA sellers.
Why Amazon FBA Sellers Need Poly Bags
Amazon requires poly bags for certain types of products. Once you're working on your shipping plan, Amazon will let you know if there's any prep (such as poly bagging) required for your ASINs. If you list in Inventory Lab, you'll see the prep requirements as you list each item so that you can prep as you go.
As a general rule, Amazon says that poly bagging may be required to:
- Prevent leaks or spills from damaging other items in the shipment
- Protect items from dust or dirt
- Prevent loose items from being separated (like with a bundle or multi-pack)
In addition to this general guidance, Amazon also has specific prep categories including baby products, apparel/fabrics, and small items. You can click the screenshot below to read Amazon's requirements in Seller Central.
Even if prep is not required, there are still times when I might choose to poly bag an item just to protect it from warehouse wear and tear. It's always a good idea to put yourself in the customer's shoes and think about how you'd want your item to arrive.
Amazon's Poly Bag Requirements
Amazon also has certain requirements for the actual poly bags. If your poly bags don't meet these requirements, then you might be charged a prep fee for Amazon to re-bag your items.
Poly bags must meet the following requirements:
- Poly bags with a 5″ opening or larger (measured flat) must have a suffocation warning, either printed on the bag or attached as a label.
- Example label text: “Warning: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages, or playpens. This bag is not a toy.”
- The warning should be printed or placed in a prominent location and in a legible font size
- The thickness of the bag must be at least 1.5 mil
- Poly bag must be transparent (clear)
- The poly bag must have a barcode or FNSKU (Amazon seller label) that is scannable through the bag OR have the label on the outside of the bag
- Poly bags must be completely sealed
- The poly bag must not extend more than 3″ past the dimensions of the product
Our Favorite Poly Bags
Now that we know all the rules, it's easy to pick out the right poly bags for FBA sellers. I highly recommend starting with an assortment of sizes until you learn which sizes you use most often in your business.
Don't try to save money by only getting a big size and thinking that you can just put your small items in those. Then you'll be violating the last Amazon prep rule (poly bag must not protrude by more than 3″). You definitely don't want unnecessarily large bags getting snagged and torn on Amazon conveyor belts.
Here's one of my favorite sets by Uline (a pack of 400) that checks all the boxes:
- 1.5mil thickness
- Suffocation warning printed directly on the bag
- 4 different common sizes: 6×9, 8×10, 9×12, 11×14 (100 of each size)
Bubblefast also makes a 400-pack of the same sizes.
Bubblefast and Uline are my two favorite brands for polybags, so you can price shop or see which brand is your favorite.
You might find poly bags at local office stores but without the suffocation warning printed on. I avoid those and stick with the ones from Amazon whenever possible.
If you get those “blank” ones then you'll have to print off your own suffocation warning stickers (or buy them) which is a waste of time and labels.
Self-Sealing vs Impulse Sealer
When I first got started on Amazon, I was actually using an impulse sealer to seal my poly bags instead of buying self-sealing bags. Self-sealing poly bags were a little harder to come by back then.
If you read this blog post about packaging bundles and multi-packs, you'll see us using both self-sealing bags and an impulse sealer.
The main reason that we prefer the self-sealing bags over using the impulse sealer is just the time and space that the impulse sealer takes. We can very quickly close up the self-sealing bags and move on to the next item. We fold the bag down to the size of the item and are done.
Now, I'm not saying this is a huge time saver – it's probably a matter of seconds. But when we are making 100 multi-packs at a time, it just feels easier!
Self-Sealing Poly Bags vs Ziploc Bags
A lot of sellers tell me they want to skip poly bags and use Ziploc style bags as a “cheap alternative.” Here's some food for thought:
A 40-count package of One-Gallon size bags (10.5×9) costs $4.38 from Wal-Mart. That's about $0.11/bag. With a ziplock, you have to tape it down to size if it doesn't fit the item perfectly. You also need to add a suffocation warning sticker.
So let's take a look at the Uline and Bubblefast 400-packs above. Prices on Amazon change all the time (which, as a seller, you probably already know!), but the Bubblefast sells for an average of $50 and the Uline pack sells for around $30.
Even the more expensive $50 set works out to just over $0.12/bag, which is barely more than the Ziploc bags. The Uline bags (at their current price) would be cheaper.
Don't forget that the poly bags on Amazon come in a variety of sizes and are ready-to-use with the suffocation warnings. Plus, I happen to think that they look more professional to your buyer.
Poly Bags for Oversized Items
Eventually you'll find a great item to sell that doesn't fit in a standard poly bag. I should note that you can get poly bags much larger than the ones in the 400-pack sets above.
For Q4 and even Back To School season, I like to keep some bigger sizes on hand for toys and backpacks. Here are some of the larger sizes that you can get on Amazon:
If you only need a few of these larger sizes or if you find an item too big for these bigger sizes, there are still some options.
Some sellers use clear plastic trash bags for oversized FBA inventory. You can also look for gift bag wrap at a store like Michael's. For both of those, make sure the bags meet all of Amazon's requirements!
Another option is to use two large poly bags taped together around the item. This might not be the most polished look but it can work in a pinch. We Amazon sellers do what we have to do 🙂
Sometimes I will just pass on an item if it's too big to poly bag without tons of extra work.
I hope this has helped you make sense of all of the options for poly bags for Amazon FBA sellers. At the end of the day, I like to keep it simple with self-sealing poly bags that already meet the Amazon specifications.
If you have any questions about poly bagging your FBA items, you can ask away in the comments section below 🙂