Amazon will soon begin charging a fee to vendors that do not meet Frustration-Free packaging requirements. Amazon is hoping to reduce cost and waste associated with excess packaging, including the extra time and space it requires to move through Amazon warehouses, fulfillment channels, and shipping partners.
In October 2018, vendors were notified by Amazon that their item packaging would need to become Frustration-Free Certified by August 1, 2019. The items affected are those with package dimensions greater than 18” x 14” x 8” or a weight greater than 20 lbs. Amazon have extended the deadline to September 3, 2019.
“Since June 1, 2019, we have seen an incredible number of packaging lab submissions. To ensure that all ASINs submitted prior to August 1, 2019, are able to be certified as FFP or SIOC eligible, we are extending the launch of the FFP/SIOC chargeback until September 3, 2019,” Amazon communicated via Vendor Central last week.
Vendor Society reported on the initial email communication and gave details relevant to vendors who may have received an ASIN list directly from Amazon with affected products. All ASINs within the specified package weight and dimensions, must have their packaging certified. Failure to certify the packaging after the new September deadline will result in the vendor receiving a $1.99 chargeback on each unit Amazon receives.
As an incentive to meet their original deadline, Amazon offered vendors and early adopter credit of $1 per unit received. To be eligible for the credit, the items must have been certified and received by Amazon from September 17, 2018 through July 31, 2019. This incentive is now over and vendors should work to make relevant ASINs compliant as soon as possible to avoid charges.
How to get certified
Vendors will need to arrange for an ISTA certified package testing lab to test and certify products. After testing and approval, a lab report will be given to the vendor. This can be shared with Amazon. For more details on the testing process and how to find a third party to manage this click here. Submit your packaging certification through Vendor Central by going to Contact Us > Amazon Packaging Certification.
Amazon has specified a number of categories that are excluded from this requirement:
- ASINs that have any Hazmat classifications (e.g. ASINs that include Lithium Ion batteries); and
- ASINs in Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh, or media; and
- ASINs with its longest side less than 9″ or its shortest side less than 0.375″ or its median side less than 6″. These are the minimum dimensions required to certify as Tier 1 – FFP or Tier 2 – SIOC; and
- ASINs that are at least eight months old (i.e. more than eight months from the date the ASIN was set up) and have shipped to Amazon less than 250 units in the trailing twelve months; and
- ASINs that are packaged for shipment to Amazon (ex. master carton) in an orientation that nests or interlocks (ex. trash cans stacked together) the individual selling units to maximize freight cube efficiency.
More efficient, fewer costs
While these changes pose a headache for vendors and brands, the trade-off is worth it. Efficient packaging means lower shipping costs for vendors and for Amazon. For help navigating packaging compliance for your account, contact Vendor Society.