Packaging guidelines that improve the unboxing experience, such as Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) initiative, have been around for years. Up until recently, most e-retailers have treated these programs as recommendations. But Amazon turned some of their packaging guidelines into requirements, causing vendors to quickly find a solution while setting a packaging benchmark that may ripple throughout the e-commerce industry.
Ultimately, Amazon’s FFP program benefits all stakeholders by:
- Optimizing the unboxing experience by reducing excessive packaging and hard-to-remove security elements
- Reducing material, labor, warehousing and shipping costs
- Minimizing shipping defects and damages that lead to higher return rates and operational inefficiencies
- Improving sustainability by encouraging product designs that can efficiently ship in their own container
Many companies look to International Safe Transit Association 6 (ISTA6) testing as a quick fix to meet FFP requirements, but Veritiv’s Packaging Testing and Engineering experts say it will take more than that to comply fully and contain costs, as ISTA6 testing is only part of the equation. Brands may need to re-engineer their packaging to meet the requirements, so that sales channel costs aren’t negatively impacted.
Frustration-Free Packaging Program Tips
If your business sells through Amazon or you’re considering e-commerce channels in the future, keep these three tips in mind to adapt your packaging to meet the FFP requirements and gain a competitive advantage.
- Check which ASIN-numbered packages must be tested.
Your company may have multiple SKUs with different Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) that share the exact same packaging structures. In most situations, only one ASIN will need to be tested, and the results will carry over to other ASIN numbers with the same packaging. This means the testing and qualification process could be simpler than expected.
- Work with a packaging partner in the APASS Network that has multiple capabilities.
When you’re ready to test, look for a packaging partner who is a member of the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier (APASS) Network, a select group of companies that received guidance on how to meet Amazon’s standards. Better yet, work with an APASS member that offers design and engineering in case your packaging requires modifications to comply with FFP requirements. As an APASS member with design, testing and distribution resources, Veritiv is uniquely positioned to help our customers find the right solutions and execute in a way that balances cost and performance targets.
- Plan for scaling.
While today’s needs are top of mind, consider how your packaging will scale as demand changes and your e-commerce business grows. A packaging partner with a national footprint can help consistently deploy your new strategy across your entire enterprise.
Ultimately, the goal is to minimize the time you spend testing or developing certified FFP packages—and these steps can help your company adapt and stay ahead of the curve.