E-sellers capture new incentives in Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging program
In 2008, Amazon introduced its Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) program to encourage manufacturers to reduce packaging waste, develop sustainable alternatives and provide a better packaging experience for customers.
Originally, FFP incentivized businesses to ship products in easy-to-open, 100%-recyclable packaging without needing additional Amazon boxes.
In 2019, Amazon combined incentives for participating with penalties for noncompliance. Since late 2019, packages fulfilled by Amazon larger than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or heavier than 20 pounds required certification. Sellers who didn’t meet FFP requirements were subject to a $1.99-per-unit chargeback.
While FFP compliance has had its challenges, Amazon reported significant sustainability wins and a huge reduction in the weight of outbound packaging.
Expanded eligibility and incentives
In 2021, Amazon announced incentives to attract new certifications and motivate vendors with existing certifications to optimize packaging further with these package types qualified for incentives:
- Sortable packages greater than 80 cubic inches in volume or between 5–20 lbs. in weight with dimensions of 18” x 14” x 8” or less
- Non-sortable packages between 20–50 lbs. in weight or at least one dimension that exceeds the 18” x 14” x 8” thresholds, less than 18,000 cubic inches in volume and less than 108” in length
To earn additional incentives, already-certified FFP vendors can:
- Prepare products to ship without additional packaging by passing ISTA 6-Amazon testing and receiving a Ship in Own Container certification;
- Re-engineer packaging to reduce the overall size; or
- Ensure packaging is fully recyclable and easy to open
For each certified unit shipped Oct. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2022, vendors can receive $0.08–$6.49, depending on the extent of improvements made. The $1.99-per-unit chargeback remains for Amazon Standard Identification Numbers that don’t meet FFP requirements, but fines won’t extend to other ASINs at this time.
How to comply and earn FFP program incentives
Measure the package length, width and height of the ASINs. If the packaging is irregular, consider using the smallest possible rectangular container to hold the product. If the product ships in its own packaging, measure the package’s outer dimensions. If you develop custom packaging or ship products to Amazon without primary packaging, measure the product’s overall dimensions in a natural resting position without compressing it.
Test for certification to avoid penalties and qualify for incentives. Packages must pass performance tests based on the certification level you choose: Tier 1/Frustration-Free Packaging, Tier 2/Ships in Own Container or Tier 3/Prep-Free Packaging. If a package doesn’t pass testing, you’ll need to make improvements and re-test. Common changes may include replacing materials that are not curbside-recyclable and reducing package size by minimizing the materials inside.
Once packaging meets a certification tier, improve the design further or create new packaging to meet the next highest certification level. Sortable ASINs can’t increase in overall size, but non-sortable ASINs can increase by 10% if it allows the product to ship in its own container. The more you reduce package size, the more you earn.
Need help with FFP testing and optimization? Contact Veritiv.