What Is “Frustration-Free Packaging,” Or FFP?
Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging, otherwise known as FFP, is Amazon’s alternative to standard packaging that emphasizes “easy to open” and “good for the environment” themes.
It has been our experience that frustration-free packaging has been most beneficial for online-based eCommerce stores.
Why Is This The Case?
Frustration-free offers a balance between product safety during shipping and an easy to unbox experience.
This type of packaging intends to deliver a satisfactory experience that leaves the customer with a positive image of your brand.
The goal is to remind the customer of how easy it was to deal with you.
If you are a more prominent brand looking to cut down on shipping costs and cardboard/plastic materials, this service might be perfect for you. The caveat exists where customers may feel a sense of “cheapness” when opening your product, as it does not have any official packaging.
Standard packaging just looks more official, no way around that for now.
Minimal packaging is used when shipping with FFP
Most customers will mention their experience with frustration-free packaging because of the simplicity of the “box opening” phase. This is done with minimal use of tape and shell-related packaging that many stores use.
Oftentimes, the customer will not have to touch a knife or pair of scissors when unboxing the product. As mentioned earlier, this leaves the customer with an “ease of access” feeling that ends up linking your product with a positive experience.
Is Frustration-Free Packaging Exclusive To Amazon?
Simply put, no.
Several other companies, such as toymaker Fisher-Price, offer their own version of FFP. While other companies may offer the service, Amazon certainly has the largest selection of products provided with frustration-free packaging.
Does My Product Meet The Requirements For Frustration-Free Packaging With Amazon?
This is an interesting question, considering not all products are covered under frustration-free packaging vs standard, where everything is covered. Your product has to be within a certain size in order to qualify for FFP. All of the requirements are listed here.
Another interesting tidbit about how you can learn more regarding FFP and if your product qualifies is by looking at your “ASIN portfolio overview,” which can be found in your seller app.
Let’s talk about some of what Amazon looks for when certifying products for a frustration-free service/program.
- Needs to be able to be unpacked in 2 minutes or less.
- Packaging around actual products cannot exceed 2 inches.
- All regulatory markings must still be included on the box; this now indicates that the box is safe to recycle.
- Handles are allowed, but no holes/cutouts.
- Packing peanuts, plastic inserts, and wire ties are all definite no-go’s
- Packaging must withstand temperatures of -40 through 140 degrees Fahrenheit while not breaking down.
These guidelines may seem hard to meet, but Amazon consultants have created in-depth guides and recommendations on making packaging accommodations that allow for these requirements.
Does Frustration-Free Packaging Increase My Store Traffic?
Yes, once you have items approved for a frustration-free program, they will be assigned a separate ASIN number or “Amazon Standard Identification Number.”
This means your store listings will have the FFP logo right on the page, leading some customers to prefer you over the next store that does not offer the option.
Amazon also has several different locations on its website that allow customers to “shop frustration-free.”
In our opinion, this can act as a “buy button” in its own right. A customer who wants a specific product but only with frustration-free packaging is much more likely to go with you over a competitor that does not offer the option.
Does Amazon Have Size Requirements For Frustration-Free Packaging?
Yes, these requirements were updated in mid-2019 and set forth a rule that would require all products exceeding 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or 20 lbs to be shipped with a frustration-free packaging program. If you and your product do not meet the requirements, you could be charged a 2 dollar fee.
Amazon is also rather forward about offering product evaluations to determine the most efficient way to participate in frustration-free packaging programs.
By partnering up with the International Safe Transit Association, or ISTA, Amazon is able to determine the most efficient and effective way to protect your product while still providing the customer with the “ease of access” feeling that FFP aims to do.
How Does Frustration-Free Packaging Fit Into Amazon’s “Green Initiative”?
If your brand places heavy emphasis on being “green” or producing “low emissions,” you should almost definitely be shipping with a frustration-free packaging program.
With these programs, Amazon claims to have cut down around 33% of its total packaging weight, eliminating around 1 million tons of packaging material.
One case study provided by Amazon in specific is the “Hasbro” company.
Amazon and Hasbro claim to have used the FFP programs to eliminate around 50% of their total packaging, which heavily reduced the size of the total shipments.
Pros Of Frustration-Free Packaging:
As mentioned earlier, Amazon claims to have used the FFP program to eliminate a massive amount of waste from its system.
- Lower Shipping Costs On Stores/Manufacturers
As you could probably imagine, having less cardboard and plastic included in your shipments would lower the costs. “How significant would this be for you?” Is the question worth asking.
- Ease Of Access Consumer Experience
This packaging format will likely give the customer lower levels of frustration/aggravation when receiving your product. This can generate returning customers who only buy from you because they love the simplicity of the unboxing experience.
Cons Of Frustration-Free Packaging:
One complaint we have seen on Amazon forums several times is the sense of cheapness customers may feel when opening the product. This seems rare as most customers understand the service they are ordering when they select the FFP option.
When something comes wrapped in a thin layer of plastic and a box with little labeling, this can leave customers missing the “aesthetics” of the unboxing experience. I know that sounds insane, but in the online shipping industry, beauty sells.
As someone who sympathizes with the hoops you have to jump through when dealing with Amazon’s various systems, I understand the process of having your product certified for an FFP program may seem daunting.
The certification steps may not seem worth the “hurry up and wait” process you often go through with Amazon. The good news is that some products are pre-approved if you have been previously selling with Amazon.
Potential For Product Damage
There isn’t a way to get around this for now, but it seems likely that the chance of your product arriving damaged would be higher in this thinner, ease of access packaging.
Amazon claims that frustration-free packaging is just as safe as standard packaging, which is reassuring if you are still unsure about offering FFP.