How to Avoid Amazon Fees with Compliant Packaging

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If you want to succeed in the eCommerce industry, chances are you’re going to end up on Amazon. However, choosing to sell on Amazon isn’t as simple as taking good pictures of your products and putting them up on Amazon’s marketplace. You have to make sure that your product’s packaging meets Amazon’s shipping requirements, unless you want to incur hefty fees and risk not being able to ship your products to the customer. 

Packing simply can’t be an afterthought. Your packaging needs to be both attractive to the customer, and Amazon-friendly in order for you to sell your products online and build a thriving eCommerce business.  

With the recent 18% bump in eCommerce sales due to the COVID-1pandemic, now’s the best time to optimize your packaging for the growing online marketplace and direct-to-consumer shipping. To help ensure your success, the packaging experts at Mold-Rite will walk you through what it takes to get your product’s packaging ready for Amazon.  

Amazon’s Packaging Requirements 

As the worldwide leader in eCommerce sales, Amazon has taken the initiative to focus on sustainable packaging with three main goals: 

  • To delight the customer 
  • To eliminate and reduce waste  
  • To ensure products arrive intact and free of damage  

With these goals in mind, Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Program covers the full gamut of packaging design, testing, and certifications 

Design  

Amazon believes in designing packaging by focusing on the needs and desires of the customer, then working backward to come up with the best design. This means reimaging your product’s packaging for the online marketplace.   

Since volume and weight can easily drive up shipping costs, you’ll want to remove things like hanging tabs and product windows that only make sense for brick-and-mortar stores. By keeping everything as small and tight as possible, you’ll be able to lower your shipping costs while simultaneously ensuring that your product doesn’t rattle around and become damaged in the box during shipment.  

Reducing waste also makes your packing “greener” and more sustainable, which is both a good PR move and better for the long-term viability of your product. Many customers are willing to pay more for a sustainable option, and it’s great to associate your brand with the “green” badge of honor.  

Here are the main design aspects of your packaging that you should focus on: 

  • Waste reduction, so no Amazon overbox 
  • Recyclable packaging, for increased sustainability 
  • Easy to open designs, for an optimal customer experience 
  • Protective and durable packaging design/materials, requiring no prep from Amazon 

Any additional packaging materials or prep that Amazon has to provide will cause you to incur extra charges, which can quickly add up over time. Don’t undercut your profits with packaging that’s just “good enough” – make sure that your packaging is fully ready and that all Amazon needs to do is get it where it needs to go. 

Testing and Certifications 

Before you worry about getting your packaging certified by Amazon, you have to pass a physical performance test. Partnering with the International Safe Transit Association, Amazon will put your packaging through a comprehensive test that accurately simulates its entire journey to the customer from Amazon’s fulfillment network.  

Common package failure modes that Amazon has identified include: 

  • Needs tape or not securely sealed
  • Dangerous/excessive protrusions 
  • Box deformations 
  • Carton rupture 
  • Product damage  
  • Non-uniform shape or not six-sided   

Before trying to put your products up on Amazon, it’s best to look through these fail states and make sure that your packaging doesn’t have any of these inherent issues.  

It’s also a good idea to use a quality liner if your product has any liquids. By using an induction liner, you can ensure that your product arrives without any leaks. In case you expect your package to be shipped under harsh conditions such as extreme heat, humidity, or improper handling, you’ll want to invest in a vented liner. Vented liners have a few key advantages over regular liners, including: 

  • Less packaging distortions 
  • Reduced costly modifications   
  • No required fluorination treatment
  • Easier quality control 

All of these benefits will help your product avoid the common issues with Amazon’s physical performance test.  

Once your product has passed Amazon’s test, it will fall into one of three certificationsTier 1 (FFP), Tier 2 (SIOC): Ready to ship, and Tier 3: Prep-Free Packaging. The higher the tier, the less work Amazon needs to do, and the more money you’ll be able to keep in your pocket.  

Fortunately, by following Amazon’s guidelines, you won’t just be able to pass through the eCommerce gatekeeper – you’ll be creating a better experience for your customer as well. That means increased customer satisfaction, fewer returns and refunds, and returning customers that will buy your products in the future.  

It really is a win-win if you do it right. Here’s our quick checklist of what to focus on to make sure that your packaging is a success: 

  1. Smaller, Fitted Packaging 
  2. Use a Better Liner 
  3. Make Your Packaging Easy to Open 
  4. Showcase Your Brand 
  5. Avoid Extra Amazon Charges  
  6. Get Creative with Tape 
  7. Go Green 

Better Packaging with Mold-Rite 

Here at Mold-Rite Plastics, we know how important it is to get your packaging right. By using the best materials and processing strategies, including induction seals and vented liners, we help provide superior packaging solutions to our clients no matter where they’re selling their products.  Mold-Rite is a member of APASS – the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network. This certification provides us with the resources to help you design and supply packaging that meets Amazon’s packaging certifications.

 

Contact us today to learn more about how Mold-Rite can help you create your next great package. 

Posted by Aimee Weber

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