How To Stow at Amazon

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Whether you’re a new employee at an Amazon fulfillment center or a seasoned veteran looking to refine your stowing skills, understanding the process of stowing at Amazon is crucial. This in-depth guide will walk you through everything you need to know about stowing at Amazon, from the basic steps to advanced strategies.


Stowing at Amazon involves scanning incoming items with a handheld scanner, finding a suitable storage location, ensuring there is enough space, placing the item securely, and scanning the storage location to update the inventory system. Essential skills include physical fitness, organizational skills, attention to detail, communication skills, teamwork, time management, basic math, and problem-solving. Overcome challenges with training, ergonomic solutions, balancing speed and accuracy, and automation.

What is Stowing at Amazon?

At Amazon, the term “stow” refers to the process of storing incoming inventory into appropriate storage locations for future retrieval. Stow associates at Amazon facilities are responsible for receiving inbound stock, placing it into storage locations such as pods or racks, and scanning the items to enter them into the inventory system.

Amazon’s stowing process is unique compared to traditional retail stores. Instead of storing items based on categories, Amazon uses a counterintuitive method of stowing items randomly in yellow, tiered “pods” that contain bins full of unrelated items. This approach, combined with computer tracking, makes it easier for associates to quickly pick and pack a wide variety of products.

The Step-By-Step Stowing Process

  1. Scan the item: Use a handheld scanner to scan the barcode of the item you are stowing. This will provide information about the item and help determine the appropriate storage location.
  2. Find a suitable storage location: Based on the item’s information, find a suitable bin or drawer in the storage area.
  3. Check for available space: Ensure there is enough space for the item without causing overages or shortages in the bin.
  4. Place the item: Carefully place the item in the storage location, making sure it is secure and does not obstruct other items.
  5. Scan the storage location: After placing the item, scan the barcode of the storage location to update the inventory system with the item’s new location.
  6. Repeat the process: Continue scanning and stowing items until all inbound stock has been placed in appropriate storage locations.

Essential Skills for Stowing at Amazon

Several skills and qualifications are crucial for stowing at Amazon. These include physical fitness, excellent customer service skills, strong organizational skills, attention to detail, excellent verbal and written communication skills, strong interpersonal and teamwork skills, good time management skills, basic math skills, and problem-solving skills.

Overcoming Challenges in Stowing

Stowing at Amazon can be challenging, with high stowing rate expectations, the physically demanding nature of the work, and the risk of injury. However, with proper training and support, ergonomic solutions, a focus on balancing speed and accuracy, and the potential for automation and robotics, these challenges can be addressed.

Best Practices for Stowing at Amazon

Successful stowing at Amazon requires a focus on quality, organization, clear space, effective use of tools, good health, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, stress management, and learning from others.

In conclusion, stowing is a critical component of Amazon’s operations. Understanding the stowing process, possessing the necessary skills, and following best practices can help you become a successful stower at Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of items can be stowed at Amazon?

Almost any type of product that Amazon sells can be stowed, including books, electronics, household goods, clothing, and more. The key is to ensure that the item is properly scanned and placed in an appropriate storage location.

How does Amazon’s unique stowing process contribute to its efficiency?

Amazon’s unique stowing process, which involves storing items randomly instead of categorically, combined with computer tracking, allows for quicker retrieval of products. This is because pickers are more likely to find a product in the nearest bin rather than having to go to a specific section for each product category.

What does the term “overages or shortages in the bin” mean in the stowing process?

“Overages” refers to a situation where there are too many items in a bin, causing it to be overfilled. “Shortages,” on the other hand, refers to a situation where a bin is not fully utilized and has too much empty space. Both situations can lead to inefficiencies in the stowing process.

What are some physical demands of the stowing job at Amazon?

Stowing at Amazon can be physically demanding as it often involves lifting heavy items, bending, reaching, and standing for long periods. This is why physical fitness is one of the essential skills needed for the job.

What does “potential for automation and robotics” mean in the context of stowing at Amazon?

Amazon is continually exploring and implementing technology solutions to improve efficiency and reduce the physical demands of its operations. This includes the use of automated systems and robots to assist with tasks such as stowing, which can help relieve some of the physical strain on workers.

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