The Whole Package: Standard versus Frustration-Free Packaging

The Whole Package: Standard versus Frustration-Free Packaging

Online shopping has increased significantly in the last year. Marketing your products on Amazon is one way to capitalize on this growth.

Have you thought about optimizing your Amazon packaging? Frustration free packaging benefits you and your customers.

Find out more about frustration free packaging and how to get certified. You’ll be ready to make the switch.

What Is Frustration Free Packaging?

Your first question is probably what is frustration free packaging? Amazon vendors can apply for frustration-free packaging certification. This certifies that their packaging meets several key criteria.

Packaging should be easy to open and environmentally friendly. It must still fully protect the item inside.

Easy to Open

The customer should be able to open a frustration free package easily. Amazon sets 120 seconds as the maximum amount of time it should take to get the item out of the package.

The packaging can’t include plastic wires, inserts, or clamshell casings.


An Amazon frustration free package meets several environmental standards. Packages use packing materials that are fully curbside recyclable.

The packaging reduces waste. It should be just the right size for the item inside.

Protects the Product

Frustration free packaging must still fully protect the item. Packaging must pass a physical performance test to ensure that customers receive their items in good condition.

Three Tiers of Packaging Certification

Frustration free packaging is one of three packaging certifications that Amazon offers. It has the most criteria that sellers must meet.

Tier 3: Prep Free

Tier 3 is the most basic level. Prep free packaging (PFP) certifies that an item can safely ship in an Amazon overbox.

Prep free packaging means that items are pre-packed. They can go from the warehouse to a box or mailer with little to no additional packaging material. Prep free packaging can reduce fulfillment time as well as packaging costs.

Tier 2: Ship in Own Container

Tier 2 products ship in the same container they’re stored in. Ship in Own Container (SIOC) items don’t need an Amazon overbox.

This type of packaging significantly reduces your fulfillment time and the total amount of packaging you need. Amazon will be offering monetary incentives for vendors who develop SIOC packaging starting October 1, 2021.

Tier 1: Frustration Free

Frustration free packaging is the highest level of certification. It does more than just reduce the amount of packaging. Consumers get the additional benefits of recyclable materials and a package that’s easy to open.

The vendor incentive for frustration free packaging will be more than for SIOC packaging.

Standard Packaging vs Frustration Free Packaging

Frustration free packages are designed to eliminate the “wrap rage” that people often feel when opening things they buy online.

Standard packages usually have a lot of packaging. Much of this packing material is plastic. Items are buried in plastic cases, shrinkwrapped in plastic film, and tied with wire ties.

Opening a standard package requires scissors or box cutters. It takes time and effort. Once the package is open, the customer has a large pile of packing boxes and material to throw away.

Opening an Amazon frustration free package is much simpler. It’s a better experience for the customer. The customer can unbox their purchase and dispose of the packaging easily.

How to Get Frustration Free Packaging Certification

The process to get frustration free packaging certification has several steps. First, you need to measure the dimensions of your product in its current packaging. If your product ships to Amazon without packaging, measure its dimensions in a natural position without compression.

Second, you need to optimize your packaging design. The product should be able to ship in its own container. Packaging needs to meet the criteria of frustration free packaging.

These criteria include:

  • Rectangular cartons, padded mailers, or rigid envelopes
  • Dimensions of at least 6″x4″x0.375″
  • Adequate sealing
  • Printing and labeling that clearly communicates contents and any handling instructions
  • 100% curbside recyclable materials
  • Easy to open

A packaging design service can help you with designing for certification.

Next, your packaging must pass a physical performance test. If the product isn’t fragile, you can do the test yourself.

If the product is fragile, you have to use an ISTA-6A test. The Amazon packaging lab or a third-party lab will perform this testing for you.

When your packaging passes the test, you can upload your certification to Vendor Central.

Incentives for Certification

Amazon will be expanding its frustration free packaging vendor incentive program starting October 1, 2021. The largest sortable ASINs will now be eligible. More incentives for non-sortable ASINs will also be available.

You get a larger incentive payment the more you reduce the size of your packaging. The incentive program will be open until December 31, 2022.

Benefits of Frustration Free Packaging

Frustration free packaging is clearly a benefit for customers. They have an easier unboxing experience. They can conveniently recycle the packaging.

Making the transition to frustration free packages benefits vendors as well. You may be eligible for Amazon’s incentive program. You can eliminate prep charges and chargebacks.

In addition, you can save money on packaging. You may have fewer items broken during shipping because your packaging has passed Amazon’s testing. Some customers seek out frustration free packaging, which can boost sales.

Having a more environmentally-friendly product can also improve your reputation with customers and stakeholders.

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Make the Switch to Frustration Free Packaging

Frustration free packaging has many benefits for customers and vendors.

Customers have a better experience. Vendors can save money and see their products ship faster. Less waste is better for the environment, which helps everyone.

The certification process for frustration-free packages is straightforward. It will take some effort and creativity, but you’ll quickly see the rewards.

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