The avalanche of inventory handled at Amazon Fulfillment Centers can be mind-boggling. As a seller, you might take a look inside these warehouses to understand the process of fulfillment. This process is driven digitally using barcodes, so these are critical to proper fulfillment.
Barcode labels are used to categorize and place items by both human workers and robots. Never ship an item OR a shipping box with more than one barcode showing, for this will cause confusion and delays. Beyond the robots, human warehouse workers also carry hand barcode scanners and use them constantly. That code is the very foundation of the entire fulfillment system, making the bar codes you create and place on your inventory a critical piece of the process.
“Amazon’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens and could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic Pools.” Source: Business Insider
See this video about the use of advanced robots at Amazon Fulfillment Centers.
Some sellers do choose the option of shipping inventory without barcode labels, and pay amazon to do this service. While that may certainly be tempting to avoid that step, consider this… When products are shipped in this way, they are considered ‘comingled’ inventory. So your item may be placed in a bin with same items shipped from other sellers. But what if they are not exactly the same? For example, maybe all are labeled as ‘new’ condition, yet another seller fudged on that and sent one in shabby condition. This can result in negative feedback. Even worse, some media items have turned out to be not original, counterfeit. BIG trouble there.
So even if the process of labeling with bar codes can be time-consuming and tedious, considering that these codes are the very foundation of making the wheels turn at Amazon warehouses, they deserve close attention.