A Guide to Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP)
Selling on Amazon brings a whole host of opportunities to businesses of all sizes. You can reach new consumers and sell your products all across the globe, but Amazon does have some regulations and guidelines that you must be adhering to in order to reap these benefits. The Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) Programme was launched by Amazon back in 2008 and has undergone various adaptations over the years, but is still very relevant today.
Over the last six years, Amazon has reduced the packaging weight per shipment by 36% and cut out one million tonnes of packaging through these programmes. It isn’t just Amazon that is focused on reducing packaging, but consumers too. Today, customers are prioritising businesses which are making sustainable choices and packaging plays a huge role in their buying decisions.
At Smurfit Kappa, we are experts in Amazon’s FFP and have been creating parcels for the programme for many years. If you are looking to have your packaging certified for FFP, then read on for our complete guide.
What is Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Programme?
Frustration-Free Packaging, or FFP, is a set of packaging guidelines created by Amazon which their sellers must meet. The aim of the programme is to reduce over-packing, improve the consumer experience and enhance sustainability. The FFP Programme is made up of three certification tiers which all products will fall into. These are:
- Tier One – Frustration-Free Packaging: Packaging will be considered Tier One if it is 100% kerbside recyclable, easy to open and uses minimal packaging. Tier One products also won’t need any prep by Amazon for shipping and do not require an overbox. Having your products approved as Tier One is the most beneficial option for your business. You can generate incentive payments from each sale and will receive information on your product listing about your great packaging initiatives, encouraging consumers to choose you over competitors.
- Tier Two – Ships in Own Container: Also referred to as SIOC, Tier Two products can be shipped in their own packaging with no need for an Amazon overbox or prep from Amazon.
- Tier Three – Prep-Free Packaging: The final tier is Prep-Free Packaging, or PFP, and these products will require an Amazon overbox for shipping. All products within Tier Three are subject to chargeback by Amazon. When your products are Tier Three, you will need to be prepared to take on the additional costs involved.
What are the Requirements for Frustration-Free Packaging?
The majority of Amazon sellers are aiming to have products certified as Frustration-Free Packaging thanks to the many business benefits that come with it. FFP is not only great for your consumers but also for your business, as there is no need to worry about chargebacks to Amazon for shipping costs and you can benefit from FFP incentives. For packaging to be certified Tier One FFP, it must meet all of these Frustration-Free Packaging requirements:
- Shape: Rectangular with six faces
- Size: Minimum dimensions for a product is 6” x 4” x 0.375”
- Weight: The maximum weight accepted is 23kg
- No Damage: Minimal damage or defect rates, validated using ISTA 6 compliance testing
- Reduce Waste: Reduce packaging waste by having a satisfactory product-to-packaging ratio
- Recyclable: Made from materials which are 100% recyclable on the kerbside, such as paper-based packaging
- Easy to Open: Amazon’s FFP classifies packaging as ‘easy to open’ if all contents can be removed in under 120 seconds, with minimal use of scissors
How to Get Your Packaging FFP Certified by Amazon?
At Smurfit Kappa, we are experts in Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) and our team fully understands the certification process and requirements. We can assist with every stage of certification and have broken the process down into three clear stages:
1. Parcel Design
This first stage is all about what you are selling and how you are packaging your products. Your products will each have an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) and this is how they will become FFP certified. Consider your existing packaging and how you can redesign it to be more eCommerce-friendly and with FFP in mind. Avoid perforations and holes in the parcel and use paper-based materials.
When we are designing for FFP certification, we create a prototype so we can validate if it will pass before moving to the next stage. We also recommend avoiding certification for each ASIN in order to reduce form completions.
2. Test and Certify
Once your parcel design is ready to go, testing is the next phase of the process. At this stage, we will consider the needs of your customers as well as any reasons why Amazon might fail your packaging. If any issues arise, we will be sure to address them before going for certification.
Amazon allows businesses to self-certify and this is something the Smurfit Kappa team can help with. For non-fragile items, we can complete self-certification at any of our local plants. For fragile items, we can use our ISTA certified labs in Northampton, UK and Hoogeveen in the Netherlands.
After working with Smurfit Kappa to create your Frustration-Free Packaging solution, you are ready to enrol your items for Tier One FFP. This is the final stage and it should only be completed when you are ready to start shipping to Amazon Fulfilment Centres with your new packaging. Enrolling before this could leave you having to complete the entire certification process again.
If you are ready to start using Frustration-Free Packaging and take advantage of the many benefits Amazon has to offer, then Smurfit Kappa is here to help. We can help you unlock excellent cost savings, meet consumer demand and reach your sustainability goals with our innovative packaging solutions. To discuss your FFP requirements in detail, speak to one of our experts who will guide you through the process.