Amazon Packaging Requirements, FNSKU vs UPC bar Codes

In this video post learn the difference between Amazon FNSKU barcodes and UPC codes and when to correctly use each

Hi, my name name is Mark Adams and welcome to the  Podcast. This is podcast where I invite you into my office, and we talk about private label selling for Amazon sellers. Pull up a chair, let’s get started.

Hi everybody and welcome to today’s episode. Today we’re going to talk about packaging requirements for the Amazon seller. There seems to be a lot of confusion in what really you need to have on your packaging, whether it be UPC codes, whether it be FNSKU things, all the other types of alphabet soup that are out there.

Let’s go in and let’s discuss this. Before we do, again, I want to thank everybody who’s watching on YouTube, or whether you’re listening on iTunes, or you’re reading or watching this content on my blog. Thank you very, very much for being here.

The first thing you want to think about in your packaging requirements are the codes and numbers that are required for Amazon to sell your product. One of the things that you’re going to need to get started and set up is a UPC code. You can get your UPC code, just Google UPC codes.

Anywhere on the internet, you can them from a variety of places. Typically they’re very, very inexpensive. You’ll find UPC codes anywhere from a few dozen for five dollars, ten, fifteen dollars for five or ten, still a nominal cost.

UPC  codeWhat you’re going to need is you’re going to need that UPC code. When you’re setting your item up you’re going to take that 12 or 13 digit UPC code, if it’s 12 and it asks you for 13 by the way, just put a zero at the beginning, then that will make it 13. Enter that when you’re creating your item.

That’s the only place you’ll need a UPC code if you plan on selling your item on Amazon. If you plan on selling it in addition to Amazon, in other places, you’ll need the UPC code on there, but we’ll talk about that in just a second. You set your item up with your UPC code. That’s a one time thing to set your item.

Then what you’ll need is something called the FNSKU number, and SKU stands for stock keeping unit, which is basically this is Amazon’s number, Amazon’s barcode. Literally what the process is, is when you’re setting your item up you’ll going on your Amazon dashboard, and it will print, you’ll see where this is very easy to get into, and you’ll see an FNSKU number.

FBA-Label-DiagramThat will print 30 to a sheet. Literally what you do is you download that as a PDF, and you e-mail that to your supplier, and ask them to attach that code to each and every one of your product items.

That can be put on with a sticker, that can be printed on the packaging itself, however that is, or you could print it out with your own printer, and put it on the products you sell if you have a death wish, and want to do all those crazy things and work for yourself. Ideally, you’ll have your supplier do it.

If your supplier won’t do it for whatever reason, and I haven’t had one who wouldn’t, you can always have Amazon put it on. They charge twenty cents per items to apply that barcode for you.

I think you’ll find your supplier might charge you a nominal amount, but it won’t be twenty cents an item in most cases. If you have it printed as part of your ongoing packaging it won’t be anything.

One of the things to realize going forward is that if you choose to take this item and sell it outside of Amazon, you probably will need the UPC code on the packaging.

Again, by the time you get to that stage you can make different arrangements, and maybe you take and put the UPC code as a sticker, put that on the package. If you have a UPC code on your package already, and all that you want to do is sell it on Amazon, what you’ll do is you need to instruct your supplier to cover the UPC code with that FNSKU number.

That’s really all that’s involved in doing that, because the only number that really matters, or code number that matters to Amazon, is the FNSKU number.

I know there’s a lot of confusion on that, on what to put on your packaging, what not. I just wanted to do a short video, audio if you will, podcast, on what to do, and how to go through that.

As far as some of the specifics to find the FNSKU, you just go in on dashboard under inventory, and click on a few buttons, and you’ll see it. Since this is got audio, hard to walk you through, but it’s not hard to find.

Again, send it to your supplier in a PDF, easy peasy, everything’s done, you’re on your way to doing that. Just wanted to go over that today, some simple packaging requirements on how to get your items to Amazon, and up and running very easily.

Thanks for reading, thanks for listening, wherever you are, talk soon.


Already an Amazon Seller?  Interested in a little help, maybe validation of your product and market or need some marketing direction?  Then take a look at my 1 on 1 coaching.  I accept a limited number of people into my coaching program.  Click here to learn more

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Mark Scott Adams is a serial entrepreneur who has started, built and sold six businesses.  He has sold millions of dollars of physical products on and offline over the last two decades.  He is currently a speaker, author and successful Amazon Seller.  To take his free amazon sellers training click here.   To Get his free product checklist list click here


  • Kerstin

    June 8, 2016

    Hi Mark,
    Thank you so much for sharing all this valuable information! Very appreciated! Do you know if it legitimite to incorporate the FNSKU in the packaging box design itself and then wrap the packaging box in a polybag? Or does it need to be placed on the very surface of the item?

    • Mark Adams

      June 9, 2016

      Its needs to be on the surface so they can scan it

    • Kerstin

      June 9, 2016

      Thank you for the reply! May I ask another question concerning the packaging?
      Do you know if pre-shipping inspection services open polybag wrapped paper boxes so they can inspect the items inside (because then items need to be sealed again)? Or how that would work?

  • Maria

    May 15, 2016


    I don’t know if you can help me but my this post will also help others about UPC and FNSKU. I have been selling in for 3 years using their FBA program. I always asked for (FBA) Labels but recently I asked my supplier for 2 products to stick the UPC Labels, thus, Merchant Labels when I sent inventories to FBA USA. UPC Labels is not dependent on Amazon Fulfillment Network if I would send them to FBA Canada or to any marketplace like for example.

    Thus, my advice for new amazon sellers is to let their suppliers stick the label using UPC, instead of FNSKU. FNSKU is dependent on the Amazon Fulfillment Network. FNSKU cannot be the same if you send your inventories to a different amazon country. For example, if your label has FNSKU that is generated in FBA USA, this label cannot be used in FBA Canada, you have to remove the FNSKU generated by FBA USA and replace it with another label with FNSKU generated by FBA Canada. That is what FBA Seller Support told me and that is what is happening to me at this time.

    Mark, do you know how to edit FNSKU in Manage Inventory so they would match in the label generated by FBA?

    That is my dilemma because when I sent inventories to FBA USA, I paid amazon to label each unit, now, I have to pay to remove the labels (because the inventories are now stored in another fulfillment center outside of amazon because the inventories were slow moving) then pay again for another label that has FNSKU of If there is no other way, I could ask the fulfillment center to remove and replace with UPC, but if I could edit the FNSKU of FBA CA to match with FNSKU of FBA USA would be good to save cost.

    Hoping for your reply.


    • Mark Adams

      May 17, 2016

      Hi Maria:

      Wouldn’t One solution be to have the manufacturer label the inventory for each country and then send it directly to each amazon country???

  • Alice Shapiro

    April 3, 2016

    Hi Mark, this explained much, thank you! However, I have a different question if you would be so kind. I make one-of-a-kind art on Amazon Handmade which doesn’t require UPC’s and I’ll probably only ship 10 items at a time. From your post I believe you indicated I can save the pdf and have UPS print the FNSKUs on 30 up labels plus the box label, correct? Does the box label also have a pdf? Is that it? Do you recommend anything else for my type of shipment?

    • Mark Adams

      April 3, 2016

      You could create the PDF inside of the amazon product dashboard. You could then print out on label paper then apply the code to each item since you are the manufacturer.

  • Amy

    March 25, 2016

    Thank you so much for this! It answers a question I’ve been puzzling over perfectly!

  • Gabe

    January 19, 2016

    Hi Mark,
    Great website! I am wondering if I can have my designer design both my SKU and FNSKU into the packaging?

    If no, why not?

    Keep up the great work!

    • Mark Adams

      January 19, 2016

      Yes, that would be the ideal way to do things however you only need the fnsku

  • Gabe

    January 19, 2016

    Hi Mark…in order to save time & money over the long run, can I have my designer place both a SKU and FNSKU onto my packaging?

    If not, why not?


  • Johnny

    October 15, 2015

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the video, it’s cleared up a lot of confusion.

    One thing I’d like to ask is am I allowed to directly print the FNSKU code onto the packaging? I’m getting Packaging done and at the moment have no plans to sell outside Amazon.

    I understand I’ll need to purchase a UPC code for the product and listing it in Seller central under the product. But instead of getting the FNSKU code printed and added as stickers can I make it part of the packaging? It won’t be covering up a UPC code, because as I understand it only be required on the package. SO can I just ask my illustrator to add the FNSKU as part of the overall package design.

    I assume that at a later date I did want to sell outside amazon. I’d either a) get a UPC sticker to affix atop of the FNSKU or b, change the packaging and replace the FNSKU with aUPC code.

    • Mark Adams

      October 15, 2015

      Hi Johnny: Yes to all…Sounds like you’ve got it figured out! Good luck!

  • Dave

    September 18, 2015

    Thanks for this Mark, very well explained

    • Mark Adams

      September 18, 2015

      thanks Dave…good luck

  • Justin

    September 3, 2015

    Thank you for the info! If you are only going to print the fnsku on the carton because you’re not going to sell outside of amazon, why do you need a upc? Can you just generate an fnsku through amazon, and design it into the packaging for your supplier to pring and send to amazon?
    Thank you!

    • Mark Adams

      September 3, 2015


      The UPC is used to set the item up in Amazons system. This is the only place you will need a UPC for amazon. Yes your supplier can apply or print the FNSKU to your packaging.