E-commerce has certainly revolutionized the way we shop. And among all the successful brands and retailers in the online world, Amazon has found the greatest success, capturing a majority of the market and changing the way online stores do business. As this market share continues to expand, it’s becoming more and more of a necessity for brands to sell to customers through Amazon.
Thankfully, the Amazon marketplace isn’t a free-for-all. Sellers must now abide by Amazon’s policies—a combination of the Frustration-Free Packaging Program and the Amazon APASS network. Developed by paying attention to how online shopping and physical delivery are changing, Amazon’s policies dictate how packaging must be handled by online businesses.
Let’s explore these policies and see if your business and its products are ready to be certified.
What’s the Frustration-Free Packaging Program?
It’s a set of packaging regulations that detail the expectations surrounding packaging design and testing.
Amazon wants to increase customer satisfaction by reducing defective product delivery and decreasing environmental impact. The Frustration-Free Packaging Program works to accomplish this by having vendors and packaging experts focus on using the right types and sizes of packaging.
The consequences of not following these guidelines can include fines, suspensions, and even removal from Amazon’s marketplace.
What’s Amazon APASS?
APASS stands for the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network. We know, the acronym isn’t exactly perfect. However, the organizations in the network are great at designing, testing and even supplying the packaging required to get businesses and their products certified.
APASS members also vary in their capabilities. Some specialize in testing, while others excel at packaging design. Some even combine the expertise of different departments and can do both.
As certified experts in the specifics of Amazon’s packaging regulations, APASS members can answer any questions you may have about your packaging. These companies do more than just test and design packaging, they can provide support for all your Amazon packaging needs.
For more information about the APASS network, check out our “What is Amazon APASS?” post.
How do you know if APASS applies to you?
- Are your items durable goods, soft goods, or consumables?
- Do you sell through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)?
- Do your packages measure over 18x14x8”, under 9x6x.375”, or weigh 20 lbs. or more?
- Are your products sold and shipped in the United States or Canada?
If you said yes to these questions, then you need to get your business and its products certified.
How do you know if you’re APASS ready?
Run through this next set of qualifying questions:
Do you know which tier (FFP, SIOC, or PFP) your products fall into?
Each tier has its own requirements and advantages. Products larger than 18x14x8” can fit into both the Frustration-Free Packaging tier as well as the Ships-In-Own-Container tier.
For products smaller than 9x6x.375”, they fit into the Prep-Free Packaging tier.
Do you meet the listed requirements?
Products in the Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) tier must be easy to open, involve minimal packaging that is curbside recyclable, have no additional prep required and pass ISTA-6 SIOC testing.
Products in the Ships-In Own-Container (SIOC) tier must have no additional prep required and pass ISTA-6 SIOC testing.
Products in the Prep Free Packaging Tier must be shipped with an Amazon Overbox and pass ISTA-6 Overbox testing.
In short, every package shipped through Amazon must, above all, protect its contents during delivery.
If you’re unsure about specific proportions, materials or requirements, be sure to contact an Amazon APASS partner who has the appropriate services to help you.
Have your products been checked, tested, and certified?
After you’ve designed packaging in line with your tier, and you’ve had it tested and approved, simply submit your paperwork to Amazon and you’re good to go.
Key tips for items being shipped through Amazon
- Creating a memorable unboxing experience doesn’t stop just because you’re using Fulfillment by Amazon. Think about what kind of custom packaging you’d like to use. It can be as simple as a front lock mailer and wrapping your product in custom tissue paper.
- Form factor certification rules allow multiple variations or sizes of a product to be certified with just one test. Talk to your APASS partner about your full product line. Together, you can determine what products can be certified as secondary ASINs before testing happens.
How do you get the help you need?
Once your packaging is designed and your business is certified, it’s essential that you find the right place to supply the protective packaging you need. The Packaging Company has a huge variety of quality stock packaging and custom packaging that’s perfect for your Amazon storefront and its products.
Need help finding an Amazon APASS partner? Get in touch with us. We know a guy.