Frustration-Free: the way to be
Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging program is not only affecting Amazon sellers, but also other e-commerce and retail brands. All sellers whose Amazon-fulfilled packages are larger than 18" x 14" x 8" or heavier than 20 lbs. must meet certification guidelines or face steep chargebacks of $1.99 per unit. Brands such as leading toymaker Hasbro are certifying their packages to reduce waste, costs and damage, while making them easier for consumers to open.
By switching to Frustration-Free Packaging for their popular Baby Alive toy, Hasbro:
- Decreased the amount of material used by over 5%.
- Reduced package size by more than half.
- Removed the traditional plastic clamshell and ties so consumers can open the toy in less than two minutes.1
THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS
To achieve these results, Hasbro followed the five steps to certification.
- Determine which items need to be certified
- Send product samples to an approved testing facility
- Run 3-5 tests, depending on the product type
- Improve packages that fail
- Test and improve again until the package passes
Toni Szwilski, Business Development Manager of Design and Testing with Veritiv, says this process is fast and simple for most brands. However, it can be exponentially more complicated for those with an extensive inventory, fragile products or test failures. Szwilski explains this is why it’s helpful to work with a partner in the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier (APASS) Network who has multiple capabilities.
“A partner like Veritiv is in the APASS Network and can provide everything you need to satisfy Amazon’s requirements, from testing, to design services if the current design fails, to material sourcing for new and improved packages,” Szwilski describes. “That way, you can save time trying to figure out what to do next and finding vendors to do it.”
THE AMAZON EFFECT: FRUSTRATION-FREE MAY BE THE NEW NORMAL
In addition to Amazon sellers, other e-commerce and retail brands are also feeling the downstream effects of the program. “E-Commerce will soon represent 20% of retail sales, and Amazon accounts for 50% of e-commerce distribution, 2 ” says Szwilski. “It’s becoming an Amazon world. Other retailers are looking at what Amazon is doing and thinking about how they can reduce the handling for their supply chain, too.”
Consequently, Szwilski believes Frustration-Free likely isn’t an isolated instance, but rather, the new norm. To stay ahead of the curve, he recommends sellers across distribution channels take steps to improve the costs, customer satisfaction and sustainability of their packaging.
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1 The Amazon blog: Judge a toy by its box (2018). https://blog.aboutamazon.com/sustainability/judge-a-toy-by-its-box
2 eMarketer: Amazon Now Has Nearly 50% of US Ecommerce Market (2018). https://www.emarketer.com/content/amazon-now-has-nearly-50-of-us-ecommer...