E-commerce giant, Amazon, introduced Frustration-Free Packaging to the online shopping industry in 2008. This initiative was started as an innovative solution to the growing concern about the environmental inefficiency of product packaging and to help relieve customers of wrap rage.

If you hate wrestling your items out of their impractical packages using unsafely sharp objects, if you would like to be better informed about your online purchasing options, or if you’re simply curious, read on to know more about frustration-free packaging on Amazon—what it is, what it does, how it compares to shipping your items via standard packaging, and whether or not it’s worth it.

What is the Frustration-Free Packaging on Amazon?

For those of you who are reading about this for the first time, or for those of you who have seen that little button that says ‘frustration-free packaging’ whenever you’re about to check out an item but never quite knew what it meant, you might be asking: what does frustration-free packaging mean? 

What makes a package frustration-free?

A frustration-free package is easy to open.

No more box cutters or knives. No more struggling to rip apart elaborate casing and facing the risk of paper cuts and wounds. With items shipped in frustration-free packaging, customers can unwrap their packages within seconds. Then, with an easy pull of a tab or simply taking out the item enclosed inside, they’ll be able to use their item as soon as possible, without all the… well, frustration.

A frustration-free package keeps an item secure.

Frustration-free packaging was designed specifically for the e-commerce industry. Items shipped using frustration-free packaging have all undergone lab testing, making the items inside as safe as they would be in their standard packaging.

A frustration-free package is good for the environment.

Made with a more efficient packaging design and constructed using much fewer packaging materials, a frustration-free package is an ally to help customers fight wrap rage and a friend to the environment. In addition, it is composed of 100% recyclable materials.

It eliminates the use of an additional shipping box by removing the regular casing around it and maximizing the use of only one shipping box, all while keeping the item just as secure as it would have been had it been shipped in its regular casing and yet another, bigger shipping box. By implementing this innovative packaging program, Amazon could avoid using 360 million shipping boxes.

Frustration-free packaging also does not use Styrofoam or plastic; this method, in 2013 alone, frustration-free packaging allowed Amazon to eliminate nearly 24.7 million pounds of excess packaging material.

Combining all of these factors and components, a frustration-free package ultimately reduces waste in the supply chain.

Frustration-Free Packaging vs. Standard Packaging

Before Amazon’s frustration-free packaging, items purchased online could only be shipped through standard packaging. Unfortunately, standard packaging uses excess packaging materials, such as extra shipping boxes, plastic wrapping, and clamshells, making them bad for the environment, hard to open, and inducing packaging rage among customers. Usually welded shut inside elaborate plastic cases, also known as plastic clamshells, or chained to a cardboard box with unforgiving wire ties, any item purchased online was a headache to open. So it was a big problem that Amazon wanted to address using its new packaging program.

Frustration-free packaging is an easier, cheaper, and more environment-friendly alternative to standard packaging. Using exclusively recyclable packaging materials (no Styrofoam and plastic!), getting your items shipped via frustration-free packaging frees you from the stress and the struggle of trying to tear through your package with a hacksaw but also allows you to help the environment in your little way. What’s more is that frustration-free packages are smaller in size and much lighter in weight, which means that they ultimately use less fossil fuel to deliver.

Get ahead of your competitors

Frustration-Free Packaging Program

Amazon’s packaging program is quite strict in terms of upholding packaging quality and item safety, and understandably so; only authorized brands and resellers that have undergone the application process for frustration-free packaging and whose products have all been reviewed by Amazon can have their items marked as available for shipping via certified frustration-free packaging.

Sellers that want to become authorized for frustration-free packaging must submit the following:

  • Authorized reseller documentation in the form of a website URL
  • An authorization letter and other details that can help Amazon identify them on the authorized dealer page
  • Pictures of frustration-free packaging inventory – one picture showing the top and/or front of the package, which should show the seal, and another picture showing the identifier barcode of the product.

To further proceed and apply to sell a restricted frustration-free packaging ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), sellers must complete the following steps:

  1. Secure the information stated above.
  2. Fulfill an online enrollment form, which can be found on their website. A guide to filling out the online enrollment form for sellers is listed below. From the Amazon catalog, select the product for which you want authorization to sell.
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  4. Submit the two pictures, as stated before.
  5. Submit authorized reseller documentation. The request and documents will be evaluated after submission.

In addition, Amazon has a few reminders for vendors who wish to make their items eligible for frustration-free packaging.

  • The packaging must be sealed properly, with no holes or windows. It must be able to secure the item from the beginning of the shipping process until it reaches the customer.
  • A bar code, description, and regulatory markings must be assigned to the packaging to ensure cost efficiency.
  • The packaging must be easy to open; the name ‘frustration-free packaging’ means the item must be able to be removed from the package in under 120 seconds. The package must also not have plastic wires, inserts, or clamshell casings.
  • Packaging materials used must be 100% recyclable and marked as so. The shipper is responsible for safely fitting the product in the packaging and allowing only 2 inches of packaging material to surround the product.

These measures may seem like a lot, but frustration-free packaging was created with the customer in mind. These requirements and precautions protect against unauthorized sellers and resellers and largely prevent them from profiting off of products that are unreliable or aren’t theirs to distribute legally.

With the packaging program in place, unauthorized sellers cannot sell products without the original manufacturer’s approval. They would have to create entirely new listings with absolutely no product reviews and no sales history, which will make it very difficult to achieve successful sales because product reviews and sales history are major contributors to a seller’s success on Amazon, as customers largely rely on pictures of a product and other customers’ reviews about a product as a basis of whether or not they will purchase it.

Is Frustration-Free Packaging Worth It?

Yes. Availing of frustration-free packaging (usually cheaper than standard packaging!) has been proven repeatedly to be worth the effort of launching the initiative in the first place. From being available to 19 products, the frustration-free packaging option has grown to include well over 250,000 products on Amazon’s enormous catalog.

These numbers aren’t entirely surprising, as frustration-free packaging is convenient for customers and benefits the environment. So it is no wonder that the frustration-free packaging option has become one of the first things that Amazon customers look for when making a purchase.

The creation of this packaging program has not only boosted customer satisfaction and sales but has also improved product Amazon reviews and feedback from sellers.

Amazon says it best here, but the biggest benefits of Amazon’s packaging programs are:

  • Additional merchandising and promotions for participating products.
  • Potentially lower costs by reducing packaging materials, transportation, labor, and waste in your supply chain.
  • Free certification. Amazon does not charge anything for the certification evaluation; you only need to provide samples of the products that you want to be reviewed.
  • Quick approval. Receive an initial evaluation within a few days. The entire process typically takes no more than a couple of weeks.

By far, your most profitable benefit is that convenient packaging makes the buying experience better. If customers are happier with their purchase, it will help your seller feedback and product reviews. The more positive reviews and the better your seller feedback, the better you will sell on Amazon.

Frustration-free packaging is a great way to prevent “wrap rage” from your customers. Happier customers mean positive seller feedback and product reviews. More positive product reviews and seller feedback will greatly increase your chance of winning the Buy Box. So by using Frustration-Free Packaging, Small & Light, or any of the other programs for sellers, you help the environment, your customers, and yourself! Everybody wins.

Don’t Leave Product Reviews in the Background

Undoubtedly, improving your product and customer service greatly impacts your sales; however, don’t forget to always provide your customers an opportunity to submit product reviews and seller feedback.

If you don’t know where to start, sign up for SageMailer’s free 30-day trial so that you can automate sending emails to a customer who purchases your products and ask them for reviews and feedback on their purchasing experience.