Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP)

Amazon launched its Frustration-Free Packaging (”FFP”) initiative in 2008 to accomplish several goals.

First, the program is designed to reduce Amazon packaging waste by right-sizing packaging and removing the need for additional packaging from Amazon. Another objective was reduced damage and returns by requiring lab-tested protective designs. Third, the program requires 100% curbside recyclable materials. Lastly, the packages must be easy to open.

Package can no longer have plastic clamshells or wire ties. Amazon partnered with ISTA to create the ISTA 6 certification that uses ISTA test types to address specific issues within the amazon distribution channel. 

The FFP program initially targeted toys and has since grown to include hundreds of categories.  The ultimate goal is that every product will meet these guidelines. Frustration free packaging meaning, the certification level, is considered Tier 1 in Amazon’s packaging certification tiers.

What is frustration free packaging from Amazon? A Frustration-Free Packaging product is basically a product that meets the Ships In Own Container (“SIOC”) requirements, plus several additional requirements.

An Amazon FFP product falls into the same classification typing as Amazon SIOC packaging (Types A through G) and is subjected to the same testing and needs to meet the same standards. However, in addition to those requirements, FFP meaning that packages must also be easy to open (within 120 seconds). Also, the entire package must be curbside recyclable. This means no EPS is allowed in the package and poly bags (HDPE or LDPE) may only be used for small parts containment or abrasion resistance/dust protection. All of these tests will be done with ISTA 6 amazon testing by an APASS network and ISTA certified lab. 

Wire ties are allowed only for cord management. Packaging peanuts, shredded paper, welded clamshells, blister packs, etc. are prohibited. There is also a box utilization score that must be met. The calculation is volume of the product divided by the volume of the packaging. The box utilization score must be greater than 30% for fragile or 50% for non-fragile items.

In addition to the changes already mentioned, Amazon is also changing the form of packaging used for a lot of products. For instance, the company is requiring smaller items no longer be sent in boxes, but rather be sent in flexible mailers. This has significantly reduced the overall packaging size and weight.

Receiving Amazon Frustration Free Packaging certification provides several benefits including the reduction or removal of Amazon Prep Chargebacks, reduced packaging costs, reduced inbound transportation costs, additional site marketing and free vine enrollment.

When does a product need re-certified to the Amazon-Frustration-Free-Packaging process? The good news is that as long as the materials and components are not changed, re-certification is not needed. However, vendors may need to make changes. The most common changes that require amazon frustration free packaging program re-certification include a change in the package size (for instance from three units to four), the addition or removal of components, a change in the sealing method and design or material changes to the shipper, primary package or protective material used.

The impact of the Frustration Free Package amazon program has been remarkable. Fischer Price was an early adapter and provided a case study of the impact. On one particular toy, the number of packaging components was reduced from 19 to one. The package volume was reduced from 8,736 inches cubed to 1,063 inches cubed. The air shipped volume was reduced from 6,683 inches cubed to 42 inches cubed. Amazon globally claims that the FFP packages initiative and amazon standard packaging saved the equivalent of 305 million shipping boxes in 2017 alone.

The test program and test sequence of the amazon frustration free packaging guidelines program will depend on the products dimensions and weight. For some Amazon ISTA tests, a package may undergo inclined impact testing, vibration testing, drop testing, and other transit testing. Amazon frustration free packaging guidelines were written in partnership with the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). For more information on what package standard your product would need to comply to, please visit our Amazon Package Test Type Calculator.

Are you ready to enjoy the benefits of certifying your product as having Frustration-Free Packaging? Partner with Keystone Package Testing, an APASS Lab, to receive accredited Amazon packaging certification. Our expert team will walk you through the Amazon FFP process and provide you with a detailed and affordable quote. Let’s get started!