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This article applies to selling in: Canada

Using FBA virtual tracking

Virtual tracking allows Amazon to fulfil orders using identical products from different suppliers. Doing so enables us to process a customer order more efficiently and expedite delivery from the fulfilment centre that is closest to the buyer.

Virtual tracking traces the source of products throughout the fulfilment process. Identical items from different suppliers are not physically stored together in a fulfilment centre.

Virtual tracking relies on the manufacturer barcode that is already on each unit, such as the UPC or EAN, instead of the Amazon barcode sticker.

Benefits of virtual tracking

Using virtual tracking can help to do the following:

  • Save you the cost of creating and applying unique barcodes for each unit
  • Improve customer service by delivering items to buyers faster, using a more distributed fulfilment network
  • Minimize fees by lowering fulfilment costs
  • Reduce carbon emissions and packaging waste

Example

Suppose a customer in Florida orders a product, and only two units are available. One unit is in a fulfilment centre in California, and one unit is in a fulfilment centre in New York. The seller who owns the California unit is the one who makes the sale.

To provide faster delivery for the buyer, we will send the unit from the closer fulfilment centre in New York. We will credit the money to the seller who made the sale, and credit the unit back to the seller who did not make the sale by virtually transferring ownership of the identical unit in California.

Product eligibility

For a product to qualify for virtual tracking, it must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be in new condition
  • Have a single, scannable UPC, EAN, or ISBN barcode matching a single ASIN in the Amazon catalogue
  • Not be an FBA restricted product or a dangerous good
  • Not be an expiration-dated product
  • Not be a consumable or topical product (such as grocery items, skin creams, cosmetics, or soaps)
  • Not be a media product (such as books, CDs, VHS tapes, or DVDs)
  • Not be a product related to children or infants (such as toys or baby clothes)

Amazon updates product eligibility from time to time to ensure that we provide the best service for customers and sellers. If your product is not eligible for virtual tracking, an Amazon barcode is required in place of the manufacturer barcode.

If products that are not eligible for virtual tracking are sent to fulfilment centres with only the manufacturer barcode, Amazon may charge an unplanned-service fee for applying an Amazon barcode.

If your product doesn’t meet the virtual-tracking eligibility requirements, you may be able to get an exemption to use the manufacturer barcode by applying with Amazon Brand Registry and enrolling your ASIN in the program. Non-brand-registered sellers would be required to apply Amazon barcodes for the ineligible product.

Important: For a product to be eligible for virtual tracking, it must have a scannable product identifier. To learn more, go to Product UPCs and GTINs. If you don’t have a valid UPC on your product, you can apply for a GS1 standard UPC barcode. You can print barcodes directly on the product packaging and avoid additional labelling.

Changing your barcode preferences

You can change your preference at any time (section A). You also can change your barcode preference for new FBA offers that you create (section B).

A. Change the barcode preference for your account

In your Fulfilment by Amazon settings, you can enable or disable virtual tracking with the manufacturer barcode.

  • Enable manufacturer barcode: If you choose this as your preference, all eligible offers that you create thereafter will have the default option to be sent in with the manufacturer barcode and participate in virtual tracking.
  • Disable manufacturer barcode: If you choose this as your preference, all the offers that you create thereafter will display the Amazon barcode as the default option and require you to place an additional label on individual units. Units labelled with Amazon barcode will not participate in virtual tracking.

To change your account barcode preference:

  1. Go to Fulfilment by Amazon settings.
  2. Scroll down to FBA product barcode preference and click Edit.
  3. Enable or disable Manufacturer barcode.

It will take about 24 hours for the new preference to take effect, and it will apply only to new offers. You cannot change the barcode preference for existing offers or for shipments that have already been created.

To use the new barcode preference, you must create a new offer or change the barcode setting for each existing offer, and then it will be in effect for new shipments.

B. Change the barcode preference for your new offers

When you create a new offer, you may have the option to select your barcode preference. For all new offers that are eligible for virtual tracking, you will have the option to use either the manufacturer barcode or an Amazon barcode. If your new offer is not eligible for virtual tracking, only the Amazon barcode option will be available.

If you choose to send the eligible inventory with the manufacturer barcode, you won’t be prompted to place additional labels on each individual unit. To learn more, go to Create a new listing that uses virtual tracking.

Note: When you change a listing from Fulfilled by Merchant to Fulfilled by Amazon, you will also be able to select your barcode preference.

Opt out of virtual tracking

If you don’t want to participate in virtual tracking any longer, you can change your preferences to use an Amazon barcode by following the instructions above. You would then be required to print Amazon barcodes from your seller account and apply them on the products yourself, or have Amazon print and apply them for a per-item fee. For more information, go to FBA Label Service.

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