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Amazon’s packaging guidelines


Start 9 Test laboratory 9 Amazon’s packaging guidelines

Have questions about Amazon FFP, SIOC and PFP? We have the answers directly from AMAZON in Seattle!

For online retailers, all the information surrounding ISTA-6 packaging tests is worth its weight in gold and provides a real competitive advantage. We know this and sent our lab managers Johanna Lipski and Philipp Gasch directly to AMAZON in Seattle. There, they were given a demonstration of the ISTA-6 tests and learned first-hand what the shipping giant places the greatest value on.

That’s because the ISTA-6 packaging tests include globally applicable requirements for shipping packaging. These guidelines were developed in cooperation with the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). They evaluate the safety, functionality, environmental and user-friendliness of a package. This ensures that the contents of shipping packages are protected along the entire AMAZON supply chain. Perhaps, individually, even more important is the following goal: to give the end customer, when the package reaches him, a positive unpacking experience, made possible by AMAZON’s own certified “frust-free packaging”.

Frustrated Free Packaging (FFP), SIOC, Over-Boxing, etc.

In addition to the basic criteria of “frust-free packaging,” the Seattle training focused on two ISTA test sequences:

  • the Amazon SIOC transportation simulations for products that can be shipped directly in their own packaging (Ships In Own Container)
  • the Over Boxing test program for products that require additional repackaging (Over Box)

Important background information was highlighted:

  • Criteria Amazon uses to define each package size and type per testing program
  • Considerations by which the minimum sizes for test samples were arrived at

For non-certified packages, the company charges compensation payments since October 2019. They apply to all packages larger than 45.5 x 34 x 26.5 cm. To avoid this, Amazon merchants must first have typical samples tested according to ISTA 6 and then register them with Amazon for certification. Even sellers who only use Amazon Marketplace must use standardized packaging or pay compensation. Amazon uses ISTA-certified labs for testing. These labs are listed in the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network (APASS). Manufacturers and retailers who want to have their packages and shipping packaging certified for Amazon can hire the BFSV Packaging Institute to perform ISTA 6 testing. We have been listed in APASS since July 2019.

We test all three levels of certification from Amazon

As an ISTA-certified laboratory, we perform the associated test series and create Amazon standard reports of types A to H or Overbox. The seller submits these to Amazon Vendor Central to start the actual certification process.

For level 3, product packaging is tested that is shipped together with others in an Amazon outer packaging (over-boxing). For this, the original packaging should survive the supply chain intact so that Amazon does not have to make any additional preparations (PFP: Prep-Free Packaging).

Level 2 packages can be shipped in original packaging (Ships In Own Container: SIOC). However, for environmental reasons, package features that serve solely marketing purposes should be avoided. Rather, SIOC packaging should be able to withstand everyday transport, handling and storage stresses.

Tests for level 1 confirm that it is “Frustration-Free Packaging” (FFP). This rating is given to packaging that is easy to open, uses materials sparingly and is recyclable.

More information and a direct contact can be found at ISTA-testing-programs.