Amazon's Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) regulation crackdown: Will it affect you?

It’s Amazon’s ten-year anniversary since introducing packaging regulations, called FFP (Frustration Free Packaging), to their marketplace. To celebrate this, Amazon has decided to enforce stricter guidelines for packaging which violating will result in new charges.

Amazon will begin to administer a $1.99/£1.50 chargeback on each unit sold and shipped by them if the package is larger than 18”x14”x8” and/or weighs 20 pounds or more. These chargebacks will be enforced in the US on the 1st August whereas the UK will have an extra 2 months to ensure their packaging fits the policy (1st October). 

So, what is FFP and what are the different tiers?

FFP stands for Frustration Free Packaging and fits under Amazon’s Tier 1 guideline whereas Amazon’s Tier 2 category is named SIOC and is short for Shipped In Own Container. These Tiers will not be charged if they abide by Amazon’s FFP specifications as they will require no additional preparation from Amazon. Tier 3 or Prep Free Packaging (PFP) will now be charged because Amazon will still have to provide an overbox for shipping as these products cannot be distributed on their own due to their size. Vendors who use dropshipping will not be affected by the charges.

FFP Tiers
Amazon's Certification Tiers

The 4 requirements of Frustration Free Packaging

  • It must be easy to open (All contents can be removed from the package within 120 seconds)
  • Contents must be protected from damage throughout the entire distribution process
  • Packaging must be made as recyclable as possible (Tier 1 must be 100% recyclable)
  • The product must be ready to ship to the customer with as little waste possible.
These requirements are to help with criticism Amazon has received over its environmental impact by reducing waste and improving the customer experience.

In 2017, Amazon reduced packaging waste by 16% and used 305 million less delivery boxes through Frustration-Free Packaging products.

How can I prevent my products being charged?

To prevent Amazon charging you for ASINs that follow FFP Packaging guidelines, you can submit them to Amazon International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) 6 tests at companies that are part of the APASS programme. These tests will check how your packaging compensates with distribution circumstances such as free-fall drop damage and vibration. Once passed you can then verify your product for FFP certification via Vendor Central. This must be done for each form of packaging used by your Parent ASINs. With the deadline fast approaching it is most likely that companies that are part of the APASS programme will be extremely busy so it is best to apply for ISTA testing as soon as possible.

66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging

How can I get Amazon to certify my FFP packaging?

To certify your FFP designs, you must go to your Vendor Central account. From there follow these instructions:

  1. Select Support & Contact Us
  2. Choose your business group
  3. Click on Amazon Packaging Certification support
  4. Submit the ASINs enrolment form and a completed ISTA6 test report for each Parent ASIN

Once Amazon has certified you for FFP compliance the product buy box will claim that the item is “in certified frustration-Free Packaging”.

Amazon’s goal is that every item they receive falls into one of the FFP program certification tiers. It will not affect ASINs in Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh or any Hazmat products such as batteries or hair sprays. Vendors should have already received an email from Amazon a year ago providing details on which of their ASINs the new FFP regulations will affect. It will be interesting to see if Amazon decides to enforce similar regulations with 3P sellers in the future.

FFP Table