In an effort to reduce waste, Amazon announced they will be expanding their Frustrating-Free Packing Program requirements later this year.
As of August 1, 2019 all items larger than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or 20 lbs or more sold through Amazon must be designed and certified as ready-to-ship (Tier 1 – FFP or Tier 2 – SIOC) within their Frustration-Free Packaging programs.
Here’s the announcement from Amazon outlining the upcoming changes:
Packaging is a critical component of providing a great customer experience and an important part of our sustainability mission at Amazon. Ten years ago, we invented Frustration-Free Packaging to reduce waste, lower cost, and delight customers with easy-to-open, 100% recyclable packaging.
Since then, we’ve partnered with thousands of you to redesign your packaging as Frustration-Free, and we’ve received very positive feedback.
Our Frustration-Free Packaging program includes multiple sustainable packaging initiatives, such as moving small items from boxes to flexible mailers, optimizing our selection of boxes to better address product size and weight, launching fully recyclable mailers, and working with our global Vendor partners to develop ready-to-ship packaging.
Together these initiatives have eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials, and in 2017 alone, they saved the equivalent of 305 million shipping boxes.
We’re encouraged by these results, so we are now requiring that by August 1, 2019 all items larger than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or 20 lbs or more sold through Amazon be designed and certified as ready-to-ship (Tier 1 – FFP or Tier 2 – SIOC) within our Frustration-Free Packaging programs.
That means they’ll be right sized, protective against damage, ready-to-ship without the need for additional packaging, and ideally easy to open, and recyclable. This will reduce waste through the entire supply chain and ensure that customers have a great experience every time they receive and open a package.
What is Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging?
Frustration-Free Packaging is packaging that is made of 100% recyclable materials, easy to open, and designed to ship products in their original packaging, which eliminates the need for an additional shipping box.
According to Amazon, “Frustration-Free Packaging” was designed with the customer in mind, making it easier to liberate products from their packages while also reducing waste.
Today, Frustration-Free Packaging includes 750,000 products but in 2008, the program launched with only 19 of the “worst offenders” including products enclosed in hard plastic cases known as “clamshells” and secured with plastic-coated wire ties, which are commonly used in toy packaging.
One of the first brands to launch in Frustration-Free Packaging was Fisher-Price.
The example below highlights the improvements Fisher-Price made when they designed a Frustration-Free Packaging option for their product.
Today, brands from all verticals have joined the packing program including Degree Deodorant, Hills Dog Food, and Rubbermaid.
Why sellers should take action now
The good news is Amazon is currently offering an early adopter credit for all items certified before July 31, 2019 and received in their fulfillment network up until the launch date of August 1, 2019.
According to our experts, the potential for future chargebacks is another reason why brands should take action sooner rather than later:
“While it is admirable that Amazon is instituting environmentally friendly initiatives, both vendors and FBA merchants need to review the requirements to ensure their products are compliant on August 1, 2019. There has not been any mention of chargebacks that will be associated with this change however, based on history, you can assume there will be.”
– Eric Kauss, Manager, Vendor Operations – Amazon at CPC Strategy
If you haven’t received it already, Amazon will be sending out your ASIN portfolio overview, which will indicate the current certification status for each of your products impacted by this program.
Additional Amazon Packaging & Support:
If you have any questions about the program, the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network (APASS) is a third party group of experts available to help sellers design, test, and certify packaging with Amazon.
- Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging Program Certification Guidelines (PDF)
- Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network (APASS) (PDF)
There’s also a new information page for packaging with additional tools, videos, and case studies that demonstrate how to develop sustainable packaging for all online shopping.
For more information on Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Program, email [email protected]