Updated: Jan 30, 2019
On December 2018 Packaging World magazine edition, Anne Marie Mohan wrote about the newest move from Amazon. On September 18, 2018, Amazon notified thousands of its North American vendors by letter of a new incentive program designed to drive more sustainable packaging that reduces waste and damage and "delights" customers. The new program urges vendors to design their packaging to meet Amazon's Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) Program Certification Guidelines.
The new vendor packaging initiative is not a mandate; rather it presents vendors with an opportunity to rethink and redesign their packaging for e-commerce to reduce much of the packaging currently used. First and foremost, Amazon's goal is to improve the customer's experience. This includes minimizing the environmental impact of packaging, which entails reducing the amount of packaging, and lowering the cost of delivering goods to assist in maintaining low prices for customers.
Amazon's FFP Program is made up of three certification tiers. Tier 1 is Frustration-Free Packaging, comprising packaging that ships in its own vendor-supplied packaging with no overbox required, easy-to-open, and is made from 100% curbside-recyclable materials. Tier 2, Ships In Own Container (SIOC), has the same requirement as FFP, but does not necessarily need to be made from 100% curbside-recyclable materials. An example of a Tier 2 SIOC would be a highly fragile item, such as a television. Tier 3 is Prep-Free Packaging (PFP). This tier addresses the catalogue of items fulfilled by Amazon that are too small to qualify as shipping in their own container - the minimum dimension for SIOCis 9 x 6 x 0.375 in. Examples include a bottle of laundry detergent. Here, PFP certification means that no additional prep work, such as buddle wrap or bagging to prevent spills or leaks, is required. Products on this tier are shipped in a Amazon overbox.
To be certified for Tier 1 or 2, packages must pass the ISTA6 Amazon SIOC test-developed and vetted with the International Safe Transit Assn.-which involves free-fall drop testing and vibration testing intended to simulate the conditions an item is likely to be subjected to during normal distribution and carrier supply chain processes.
According to the Amazon's FFP Program Certification Guidelines (see pwgo.to/3862), vendors can achieve a number of benefits by redesigning their packaging for FFP. One is the opportunity to reduce costs by optimizing packaging. Another one is reduce inbound transportation costs - more units per pallet/truck/container.
What is Frustration-Free Packaging? Take a look the video below: