Amazon’s Frustration Free Packaging program: Obligation or opportunity?
Although Amazon launched its Frustration Free Packaging program in 2008, penalties for non-compliance only went into effect this year. And while meeting the new packaging standards has been causing headaches for some companies, many manufacturers and suppliers are now reaping the benefits of packaging efficiency.
Manufacturers are better managing packaging supplies and shipping costs because parcels are smaller and lighter in weight. Customers are more satisfied because packages are easier to open and don’t generate as much waste. Retail brands now can tout their eco-friendly shipping practices, and they can delight customers and improve branding with sharp, innovative protective packaging designs.
For Amazon, eliminating packaging waste isn’t just about increased profitability and concern for the environment; it’s about customer satisfaction. Consumers routinely call out the company on social media for hard-to-open packages and for using superfluous packaging materials with the hashtags #wraprage and #amazonpackaging. In addition, with Amazon moving to one-day shipping for standard Prime members, it needs to make order fulfillment as efficient as possible, and that requires packages to be tight.
Right sizing is right for business
The new rules call for packaging to be right sized and for eliminating excessive packaging materials in order to reduce the environmental impact of ecommerce, speed up order fulfillment and decrease the amount (and cost) of space the average package takes up on delivery trucks. Amazon reaps the benefit of reducing the amount of handling required within their facilities, which increases the number of shipments through the distribution network.
Although companies that fail to meet Amazon’s more-stringent standards face a $1.99 surcharge per item, those who see them as an opportunity to innovate are beginning to see results. Here are just a few of the manufacturers and suppliers that have met Amazon’s new standards with alacrity and are better off for it:
- Philips Norelco OneBlade said it has reduced the volume of its packaging for razors by 80 percent and is now using nine packaging components, down from 13.
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition said it reduced the packaging volume of its Science Diet premium dog food by 34 percent and eliminated 82 percent of the wasted space in its packaging.
- Newell Brands said it now uses only two packaging components to ship its Rubbermaid FreshWorks products—compared to a previously used amount of seven components.
- Nerf reduced the packaging components for its CycloneShock Blaster toy by 58 percent, decreasing packaging volume by 68 percent.
The fast track to Frustration Free
For manufacturers and shippers struggling to meet Amazon’s new packaging requirements, there’s plenty of help available. Pregis is among the companies in the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier (APASS) network, formed to help vendors comply with Frustration Free Packaging standards.
For shippers, the expanded Frustration Free Packaging standards have meant some pain, but with lower shipping costs and more satisfied customers, there’s still plenty of opportunity for gain.
Though all of the companies on the APASS list have received guidance from Amazon, Pregis offers customers unparalleled support, with customized protective packaging solutions and consulting services. The experienced packaging engineers at Pregis ensure that parcels are lean and light but are still able to withstand the perils of transit, including vibration, compression and impact from drops. In addition to being focused on recommending a package design that ships damage free, the Pregis team works with companies to deliver a positive unboxing experience, memorable branding and packaging that is environmentally sound.
Shippers can avoid costly Amazon surcharges for noncompliance and can ship items with confidence, knowing that their Pregis-approved packaging solutions are up to the task.