Aug 06,2019

Amazon Packaging Requirement Q&A

As most of you may already know, Amazon make a big move on their mission to eliminate waste for packaging. Starting by 2019, any items selling to amazon that is not certified with Amazon by July 31, 2019 will be subject to penalty fee. We created a Q&A below to help you quickly understand what the restrictions are look like and how we can help you on it.

How is frustration free packaging different than traditional packaging?

Frustration free packaging offers a minimal, protective and functional packaging. The packaging should be qualified as:

  • “Easy to open” which will require a minimal packaging that will allow all the items to be taken out of the box within 120seconds.
  • 100% Recyclable, which aims reducing the waste and environmental footprint.
  • Protective packaging which requires the packaging to be tested within a lab.

How can I get qualified for Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging Program?

There are certain requirements to be qualified for AFFP and every item should fall into the 3 certification tiers.

  • Tier 1 (Frustration Free Packaging)
  • Tier 2 (Ships In Own Container)
  • Tier 3 (Pre Free Packaging)

    What are the differences between the Tiers?

    Tier 1(FFP) and Tier 2(SIOC) ship products in their own Vendor-supplied packages without additional shipping boxes to improve the sustainability of packaging across Amazon’s supply chain. To be qualified for Tier 1 and Tier 2, the packaging has to be bigger than a certain size (9” x 6 x 0.375”) If the dimensions are smaller than that, the packaging fall under Tier 3, which will require additional over boxing by Amazon. Zenpack can help you to reduce packaging costs and improve efficiencies aiming to meet the certificate requirements in design the process.

What is an ISTA testing?

ISTA stands for International Safe Transit Association. It is a simulation protocol consisting of tests designed to challenge the capability of the package and product to withstand transport hazards. ISTA tests involves free-fall drop testing and vibration testing intended to simulate the conditions that an item is likely to be subjected to during normal distribution and carrier supply chain processes. It is very important to maintain the integrity of items during transport and ensure that products arrive undamaged to customers.

What is the benefit of an ISTA testing?

  • Product to market time reduction
  • Confidence in product launch
  • Reduction in damage and product loss
  • Balanced distribution costs
  • Customer satisfaction contributing to increased market share

What is the minimum acceptable packaging dimension to be accepted by Amazon?

The minimum acceptable packaging dimensions for Tier 1 and Tier 2 is 9” x 6 x 0.375”. Any product packaging with dimensions smaller than those listed above can only qualify for Tier 3.

Are there any limitations for printing?

“Package markings and labeling must clearly indicate contents and communicate any unique handling instructions. All certified packages must also follow the labeling and carton marking requirements as outlined in the Vendor Shipment Prep and Transportation Manual available within the Vendor Central Resource Centers.”

Is there any difference between the benefits of Tier 1 and Tier 2?

For Tier 1 there are more requirements to meet such as easy opening and 100% recyclability. They both require ISTA testing and should be designed to reduce the waste.

What if my packaging does not qualified for any of the 3 Tiers?

Any ASIN that is not certified with Amazon by July 31, 2019 will be subject to a $1.99 chargeback on each unit received by Amazon’s fulfillment network.

Is there any limitation on the material to be used for the packaging?

Tier 1 requires recyclable materials. Packaging must be made of 100% curbside recyclable materials. Acceptable materials include: corrugated and other paper-based materials, and/or plastic components marked with SPI codes 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE), and 5 (PP). In the U.S., packaging must be in compliance with the FTC’s Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, (; Section 260.12). For the EU, please refer to the legislation on European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste. These are meant as examples only, and Vendors are responsible for complying with all applicable laws. Additionally, printing and/or treatments must not affect the recyclability of the package.

  • Plastic films or bags are only allowed in situations where the product requires abrasion and dust protection, or small parts containment. Only plastic film printed with SPI codes 2 (HDPE) and 4 (LDPE) are acceptable.
  • Twist ties are allowed to manage cord organization only, and cannot be used to secure the product to its packaging.
  • Silica gel bags are allowed.
  • Flexible films or bags that provide barrier properties and maintain product quality or freshness are allowed.

What is the packaging certification process?

What are the benefits of certification?

“Frustration-Free Packaging provides the optimal e-commerce packaging experience through the implementation of the following tenets: Easy-to-Open, Protective, Low Waste, and Cost Effective. When these tenets are achieved, customers gain a positive out-of-box experience with less packaging for disposal, while program participants (Vendors, Sellers, Distributors, and Manufacturers) potentially realize reduced waste and lower costs across their respective supply chains”.

How Zenpack can help me to develop the packaging that qualified for Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging Program?

With a strong design team including packaging engineers and designers based in U.S. and China, we can help design packaging for you with AFFP qualifications that will reduce costs and improve efficiency while considering the environmental impacts.

With ISTA certified testing labs, we can help you perform ISTA test to confirm the integrity and performance of the packaging. After the test, we can generate report for submitting to Amazon for approval.

*Courtesy by Amazon.

ZENPACK TEAM / 11.19.2018
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