Packing and labeling

When sending an order you should also include any labels or numbers that you wish to have printed on the gift-box, product, or export cartons. Your supplier should be asking you (once you place your order) about the labeling requirements. These are examples:

Specific marking and labeling is used to facilitate the following issues:

  • Meet legal shipping regulations
  • Ensure proper handling
  • Conceal the identity of the contents
  • Help receivers identify shipments and forwarding requirements
  • Insure compliance with environmental and safety standards

You as the buyer need to specify (with the help of the supplier) which export marks should appear on your cargo for easy identification. Products can require many markings for shipment. For example, exporters need to put the following markings on cartons to be shipped:

  • Shipper’s mark
  • Country of origin (CHINA)
  • Weight (in pounds and in kilograms)
  • Number of packages and size of cases (in inches and centimeters)
  • Handling marks (international pictorial symbols)
  • Safety markings such as “This Side Up” (in English and in the language of the country of destination)
  • Port of entry
  • Product description (a short description is sufficient and should be in the language of the destination country)


Export carton markings usually look like this:

The export carton marks should clearly be stated on your PO (order form) and from the supplier’s side on his packing list or invoice. It could look like this:

Markings should appear on three faces of the cargo, preferably on the top and on the two ends or the two sides.

Customs regulations regarding freight labeling are strictly enforced. For example, many countries require that the country of origin be clearly labeled

on each imported package. Most freight forwarders and export packing specialists can supply the necessary information regarding specific regulations.

Example of labels on gift boxes depending on where you sell:

Labels on products:

Some products require labels on the product itself with basic information. These are called rating labels. In textiles for example it’s the little tag that’s in the back. Again, your supplier should have examples or give you these labels:

Here is what a typical rating label looks like:

We provide simple labels and formats in this course.

If you are unsure about the required labeling speak with your supplier at the forwarding/logistics company. They usually know what goes where.

6 replies
  1. Isaac
    Isaac says:

    Hi Manuel,
    You didn’t mention anything about barcodes on the product or package, how to get the barcode? What data should contain the barcode?
    Also looking forward to read the Amazon FBA course.


    • Manuel
      Manuel says:

      Hey Isaac,

      This post is based on general rules of labelling when importing, not particularly for FBA labelling.
      Here is a guideline for Barcodes:

      You will need two numbers (barcodes) on your Amazon product:
      • First is the UPC (Universal Product Code), this is the number represented as a barcode on all the products you see in retail
      • The second is the FSKU this is a number Amazon assigns your product.
      • You may want your UPC printed on your product package. Amazon has
      certain specifications you must follow. Click here.
      • If you cannot print your UPC on the packaging you can print off a FSKU, which is a kind of UPC Amazon assigns your product. You can print these off as labels and apply them to each piece of your product. Amazon has a label service so that your manufacturer or you do not have to apply them. The price is 20 cent per piece.
      • In order to avoid this charge as it may add up when your inventory orders become large, you will need to get your UPC printed on each product package, so you can send it in as stickerless-commingled. This requires your brand be registered (see below ***). All you need is a barcode graphic on your product box. Please make sure you match Amazon’s specifications.
      You Can Purchase a Barcode/UPC from:
      a. They will also provide you with a certificate and barcode graphic to apply to your product
      This site only gives a barcode image; you must print out labels or create them digitally.

      ***I highly suggest sending in your product as stickerless-commingled otherwise you or your manufacturer will have to apply the stickers manually to each product. In order to do this you have to register your brand, click here to learn more. ***
      Sometimes a manufacturer may apply FSKU labels to your product, just ask while still in negotiation.

      Labeled Inventory
      • Cover all original barcodes on the boxes you are shipping your inventory (FBA program)
      • All labels must be removable by customer, label title must match unit
      • Label cannot go around corner, barcode must be scannable (laser

      Acceptable: Foam, Air pillows, full sheets of paper, bubble wrap *Liquids must be double sealed
      *Plush units, enclosed poly bag
      Shipping Labels
      How Amazon shipping label should appear:
      Attn: FBA program
      1850 Mercer Drive Lexington, KY 40511 USA
      Shipping Tips
      *For U.S. delivery use FedEx for large shipments, use FedEx Ground
      *For international shipping:
      a. Cheaper to ship to just one place
      b. Then use FedEx Ground to ship to Amazon’s warehouses
      c. Ship at one spot in the US then distribute amongst the warehouses d. Account for U.S. Customs payment

      Hope this helps,

  2. Isaac
    Isaac says:

    Hey Manuel,

    Thanks for the answer, I shouldn’t mention about amazon FBA on this post, my bad. But at the same time glad I did, I got some valuable info very help full. My question was when sourcing from China.


  3. Jul
    Jul says:

    Hi Manuel,

    What are the country of origin marking requirements for air-shipped products that are sent unpackaged?

    Here is the use case: The product items and boxes are all sent in the shipment, each product will be composed of N small items, and I would be taking care of the packing once the shipment arrives.
    The reasoning behind doing it this way is to save some handling fees, place insert cards, and personally do some more product inspection before sending to FBA.

    So, I am wondering where the “made in China” label(s) should go:
    1) Would it be enough (for customs) to ask the manufacturer to place the labels on the empty boxes?
    2) Actually, each box is small and will be poly bagged, and I would rather put any labels on stickers applied on the bag. Would it be sufficient to ask the manufacturer to stick a “made in China” label on the bag? (again, bags will be empty in the shipment)
    3) Given that the product is composed of N small items, should I ask the manufacturer to also label each item? (if not required by customs, I would rather Not do this!)
    4) If the answer for 2) is yes, would shipping the products packaged (and labeled) avoid having to label the single items?

    Sorry it took that much to explain. Thanks in advance for your help!


    • Manuel
      Manuel says:

      Hi Julien,

      Glad to hear from you again :)
      The “Made in China” sticker needs to be in at first sight for the end-consumer technically so you need to have it on the sales packaging. It is also ok to have it on the bags but I recommend to have it on the empty boxes already because the poly bag will be thrown away. No need to have each single unit labeled by the factory.

      Hope this helps

      • Jul
        Jul says:

        Thank you Manuel for your fast reply, as always.
        Hehe, since last time, I’ve been making my way through my first PL (currently in production) and things took indeed longer than what I was hoping. I’ve been also reading a lot about all the steps in the process and that’s how I saw that shipments can get stuck in customs because of country of origin labeling failures, and I wanted to avoid that by all means. I hope the stickers on the sales packaging will be sufficient. I sent a note to my manufacturer.
        Thank you again!


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