Amazon launched their frustration free packaging program in 2008. It ties in customer satisfaction with their environmental initiative. Common product packaging can be excessive, making it difficult to open and causing frustration. This packaging is also often non-recyclable with no other uses, so it ends up in landfills. Amazon aimed to solve both problems with frustration free packaging.
About Amazon Certified Frustration Free Packaging
Amazon coordinates product packaging with manufacturers to ensure that products are not excessively wrapped, and that they use recyclable packaging materials. There is no difference in the contents when using frustration free packaging. The original manufacturer’s packaging is simply designed to be environmentally friendly and easier to open, not needing any additional Amazon packaging to keep it safe during transport.
It’s made of 100% curbside recyclable packaging materials and is just the right size for its contents. Waste is therefore minimized. In 2017 alone, the program reduced packaging waste by 16% at Amazon, and saved 305 million shipping boxes. From 2008 to 2017, frustration free packaging has eliminated the need for 215,000 tons of packaging material. The program currently includes over 750,000 products.
It’s certified to minimize damage during shipping and handling. It has a protective design to reduce possible damage that is developed for each product through thorough testing at the Amazon Packaging Lab in Seattle and at various fulfillment centers all over the world.
It’s easier to open because standard packaging materials like hard plastic clamshells and wire ties are prohibited. This makes the unboxing experience much more pleasant for customers.
By eliminating unnecessary packaging, frustration free packaging also reduces costs all around. No repackaging or additional packaging is required to get products to their destinations in pristine condition.
Customers can choose frustration free packaging at checkout by selecting the “Ship in Amazon packaging” option. This option is the same one that customers choose when they want to hide the contents when sending gift items.
Joining the Frustration Free Packaging Program
Frustration free packaging is available to manufacturers, distributors and authorized sellers. If you want to get certified as a manufacturer, you need to coordinate with Amazon. The marketplace has strict guidelines for frustration free packaging and your products will have to be reviewed and tested. As a distributor or seller, you will need specific permission from the manufacturer to sell these ASINs. Then Amazon will review the documentation and the packaging of the items you are selling.
Here are the recommended steps:
1. Test your Packaging
Use the ISTA 6-Amazon.com test method before applying.
Fill out the form and confirm that you have followed all the packaging guidelines and will only sell new items. Upload the required documents, images (showing the seal and the barcode), and relevant online proof (links to authorized reseller web pages).
3. Get Certified
Wait for confirmation that Amazon is ready to receive your item for testing. Ship the item to the Amazon Packaging Certification Lab. You can also use an ISTA certified lab. Check that the lab results comply with Amazon’s packaging guidelines. If yes, you can launch your product on the FFP storefront.
Approval normally takes about two months initially. After the first product, you should have the process down and it should be easier and faster for succeeding products.
As a seller, you can also design your own frustration free packaging, provided that you follow Amazon’s guidelines. You must still, however, have the brand owner’s permission and make sure to coordinate with Amazon to facilitate your enrollment in the program.
Once you’re approved, your eligible products will get their own listings with the separate corresponding ASINs. This exclusivity gives your products an edge over the competition and the Buy Box. These listings will sport the frustration free packaging logo, which also helps increase conversions as customers recognize the option and prefer your product. Customer feedback is also positively impacted by the frustration free experience.
Amazon Packaging Certification
Frustration free packaging is not the only available packaging program on Amazon. Here’s how it’s organized and what the different programs mean:
Frustration Free Packaging
Certification is given based on four criteria: Easy-to-Open, Protective, Low Waste, and Cost Effective. This includes guidelines such as:
– markings indicating options for recycling or disposal of packaging materials and the product description, barcode, and regulatory markings
– no windows or cut-outs except handles
– no staples, bundling with straps or bands, wire ties, blister packs, plastic inserts, packaging peanuts, shredded paper, sealed clam shells or plastic ties except to manage cords
– at most 2 inches of packaging material around the product
– can sustain temperatures between -40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit
– passes rigorous lab testing in line with International Safety Transit Association (ISTA) 3A / 3B standards for Standard / Oversized items
– can be unpacked in less than 2 minutes
Three tiers further govern frustration free packaging based on the type of packaging materials used and the amount of preparation involved.
Tier 3 – Prep Free Packaging – product needs an Amazon overbox
Tier 2 – product is Shipping in Own Container (SIOC) – comes with protective vendor packaging that isn’t recyclable or easy to open and doubles up as a shipping box
Tier 1 – minimal product packaging that is curbside recyclable and easy to open.
E-commerce Ready Packaging
This refers to product packaging that can be shipped by courier in its original container (no windows or cutouts). It does not have a certification seal, however, because it does not meet the frustration free packaging criteria above.
2019 Requirements for Frustration Free Packaging
Whether you’re just getting started with frustration free packaging or you’re already enrolled, you need to take note that effective August 1, 2019, all items that are sold through Amazon that are larger than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or weighing more than 20 lbs must be designed and certified as ready-to-ship under Tier 1 or Tier 2 of the Frustration Free Packaging program.
If you get certified now and get your items received at Amazon fulfillment centers before July 31, 2019, you get a credit. Look out for the ASIN portfolio overview that Amazon will be sending out. It shows the current certification status for each product that is impacted by the program.