For most consumers, the extra packaging on items received often seems wasteful and can be a bit cumbersome to dispose of. For this reason, Amazon put in place the Frustration-free Packaging program back in 2008. The aim was to lower costs, reduce waste, and improve customer experience through the introduction of easy-to-open, fully recyclable packaging. In 2019 Amazon’s SIOC program is getting a new look, but first some history.
The program was originally split into three general tiers; Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1.
- Tier 3 deals with Prep-free packaging; here, the package still needs an additional box before shipping but reduces the preparation required by Amazon.
- Tier 2 is ‘Ships in Own Container’ packaging where the package’s design makes it possible for it to be shipped to the customer in the same packaging it arrived at Amazon in.
- Tier 1 packaging meets the requirements of Tier 2, but the Frustration-free element ensures minimal packaging materials making it easy for the consumer to open.
The program has expanded to include 750,000 products, reduces 244,000 tons of materials used for packaging, and saved 305 million shipping boxes in 2017 alone. But Amazon still feels they can do more and with the introduction of the new packaging measures, they are doing more.
Amazon SIOC Changes Coming Soon
From August 1, 2019, moving forward, every item larger than 18″x14″x8″ sold through Amazon must have a design certified as ready-to-ship Tier 1 – FFP or Tier 2- SIOC. This means that the packaging must be right-sized; ensure damage protection, ready-to-ship without additional packaging needed, recyclable, and easy to open.
To gain this certification, packages must pass Amazon’s tests that are geared at simulating the conditions a package faces while in the distribution process.
These tests include; ISTA 6-Over Boxing, which tests the package’s ability to withstand environments that could cause damage; forces, motions, and various conditions of transportation. ISTA 6-SIOC Type A, B, C, D, E, F; with each type dealing with packaging of different weight categories.
Type A meant for packaging weighing less than fifty pounds, Type B for those that weighing above fifty but are not more than a hundred pounds, and Type C meant for packaging whose weight is more than a hundred pounds.
To aid with the transition costs, Amazon is offering early adopter credit, available until the deadline. Failure to comply with the requirements by then will see suppliers incur chargeback costs of $1.99 for every package that does not meet the new standards.
Incentives to be SIOC Compliant
Aside from the chargeback costs; there are more reasons for you to comply with the new requirements. Being a company that not only focuses on customer experience but waste reduction as well, Amazon’s new requirements are set to see a further boost in both endeavors.
The packaging waste reduction is estimated to result in a higher sustainable reputation, especially among Millennials, with 85% of them viewing it essential for companies to put programs in place that are geared towards conserving the environment. These efforts can connect a brand to a cause larger than the product they sell.
Although the redesigning of packaging to attain Amazon’s new requirements would incur initial costs, the requirements will reduce the number of packaging materials needed, which will lower packaging costs in the long run.
This not only helps your brand but Amazon as well since the weight and size reductions would also lower the shipping costs they incur.
It is no longer about having the package arrive at a customer’s home undamaged; the unboxing process also adds to the overall customer experience. Added to the fact that many customers share some of these experiences on social media, it could boost your brand’s impression amongst a wider audience, and increase repeat purchases.
The redesign focuses on eliminating cumbersome, messy, or complicated packaging which boosts customer experience and leaves a strong, lasting impression in the process.
To learn more about the intricacies of selling on Amazon, receive guidance or help designing SIOC ready packaging, or to get your packaging certified, contact Longtail today, we’re happy to help!
Learn more about Pack Size and the benefits of correctly packaging your products.