This article applies to selling in: Australia

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. This happens regardless of which seller actually receives a customer’s order.

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.

Used by default for eligible products, 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.

Virtual tracking is sometimes referred to as “commingling” and the inventory that uses it as “stickerless inventory”.

Products that cannot use virtual tracking

Not all inventory is eligible for tracking with the manufacturer barcode. Amazon will, at its sole discretion, determine which products meet the eligibility requirements for using manufacturer barcodes. Products that do not qualify for virtual tracking must have Amazon barcodes to be received at Amazon fulfilment centres.

The following products cannot use virtual tracking:

  • DVD
  • Software category
  • Video games (except devices and controllers)
  • Computers*~
  • Toy and Games
  • Baby
  • Watches
  • Jewellery
  • Clothing & Accessories
  • Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
  • Beauty
  • Food & Beverage
  • Drugstore
  • Pet Supplies
  • Electronics*
  • Camera*
  • Medical devices^

* Certain product types within these categories may be eligible for virtual tracking. Confirm eligibility details on the Shipment creation page.

~ Any of the memory products in the Computer category are not eligible for tracking with the manufacturer barcode and need an Amazon barcode. This includes original inkjet printer ink cartridges, compatible inkjet printer ink cartridges, original projection lamps, compatible projection lamps, memory products including USB, memory cards, SD cards, mini/micro SD cards, memory sticks, CF/XD cards, memory card readers, built-in memory, and other memory devices.

^ Medical devices are not eligible for tracking with manufacturer barcodes regardless of categories due to legal compliance requirements. If Amazon detects that any medical devices are shipped or stored using virtual tracking, Amazon will immediately change the status of the inventory to unsellable. For more information, go to Medical devices and accessories.

Parallel import products

Parallel import products in the categories in the table below, bulk products (white box, simplified package), and OEM products (off-brands) also need to have an Amazon barcode. Amazon cannot receive your product if no Amazon barcode is attached for these types of products:

  • Electronics
  • Office Products
  • Musical Instruments
  • Home & Garden
  • Major Appliances
  • Computers
  • Toys
  • Baby & Maternity
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Tools & Home Improvement
  • Automotive & Powersports

Benefits of virtual tracking

Using virtual tracking can help:

  • Save sellers the cost of creating and applying unique barcodes for each unit
  • Improve customer service by shipping items to customers faster, using a more distributed fulfilment network
  • Minimise fees to sellers by lowering fulfilment costs

Example

Suppose a customer in Canberra orders a product, and only two units are available. One unit is in a fulfilment centre in Melbourne and one unit is in a fulfilment centre in Sydney. The seller who owns the Melbourne 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 Sydney. 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 Melbourne.

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)

Important: For a product to be eligible for virtual tracking, it must have a scannable product identifier. To learn more, go to Listing requirements: Product IDs (GTINs). If you don’t have a valid UPC on your product, you can apply for a GS1 standard UPC barcode for Australia or New Zealand. You can print barcodes directly on the product packaging and avoid additional labelling.
Note: If the manufacturer barcode matches more than one ASIN, an Amazon barcode is required or you will have to contact Seller Support to determine how to resolve the barcode conflict issue.

Changing your barcode preferences

The default account-level setting is for the manufacturer barcode, but 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

There are two options under barcode preference:

  • 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.
  • Amazon 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 an 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. Select Manufacturer barcode or Amazon barcode, then click Update.

It will take about 24 hours for the new preference to take effect, and it will only apply 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.

Note: After you’ve updated the barcode preference for your account, the change will only apply for future offers. The barcode preference remains unchanged for your existing listings and inventory already stored in fulfilment centres.
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