Amazon pre-empts packaging complaints

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Amazon pre-empts packaging complaints

By Mike Troy - 11/22/2017

Amazon is touting its “frustration-free” packaging and overall sustainability ahead of a holiday season that will see millions of cardboard boxes with its signature logo piled at curbsides for trash collection.

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Amazon highlighted the 10th anniversary of its introduction of frustration-free packaging, waste reduction and customer satisfaction initiative that essentially means many products ship in their own packaging rather than additional shipping boxes. When products do require a shipping box, Amazon has worked to right size packaging to avoid shipping air and to also avoid increased shipping rates cause by carriers such as UPS and FedEX shifting to pricing based on a package’s dimensions.

Since launching in November 2008 with 19 items, Amazon’s packaging programs have grown to include both Frustration-Free Packaging and “Ships in Own Container.” In 2017, Amazon said it has delivered 120 million shipments with packaging that is certified Frustration-Free or Ships in Own Container. To date, Amazon’s sustainable packaging innovations have eliminated 181,000 tons of packaging material and avoided 307 million shipping boxes – enough boxes to fill more than 550,000 semi-trucks.

“A decade ago we set out to invent packaging that is easy for customers to open, eliminates waste, and ensures products arrive undamaged on our customers’ doorsteps,” said Kim Houchens, Director of Customer Packaging Experience at Amazon. “Our certified packaging programs, including Frustration-Free Packaging, have delighted tens of millions of customers around the globe – and we’re adding new products to these programs every day.”

One of the biggest challenges in e-commerce packaging is designing it to be as compact as possible while ensuring that products arrive fully intact. Amazon works with manufacturers worldwide, helping them re-think and re-build their packaging, reducing waste throughout the supply chain while ensuring products are delivered to the customer undamaged.

Amazon said it works closely with suppliers to test products in its Seattle packaging lab and at fulfillment centers worldwide. The company identifies specific steps that manufacturers can take to improve their packaging and some manufacturers work directly with Amazon engineers to create new packaging that can be tested the same day. Only products that successfully pass a rigorous testing program are certified as part of Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Program.

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