Smithers Pira expert offers insight on Amazon’s new vendor packaging incentive initiative

This fall, Amazon announced a new Vendor Packaging Incentive Initiative for packages over a certain size.

The new initiative requires all packaging that meet certain criteria to be certified through Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Certification as Tier 1: Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) or Tier 2: Ships In Own Container (SIOC). For a refresher on Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging tiers, read this article.

The announcement means two things:

  1. All packages with dimensions greater than 18”x14”x8” and/or heavier than twenty pounds that currently ship in their own containers must achieve certification.
  2. All products with dimensions greater than 18”x14”x8” and/or heavier than twenty pounds that currently ship in an Amazon overbox must now ship in their own containers and achieve certification.

“Suppose a vendor’s product ships from the manufacturer to Amazon’s warehouse in a pack of five,” explains Michael Kuebler, Technical Director, Smithers Pira. “Up until now, Amazon would then repackage the individual product in an Amazon Smile Box, sometimes with additional items, and ship it. Now the product will have to arrive at the warehouse in its own individual packaging, ready to be labeled and shipped.”

This initiative is one of many steps Amazon is taking to improve sustainability. Because every Amazon order is different, it’s virtually impossible to stock appropriately sized boxes for every shipment. By requiring appropriately sized packaging for every item, Amazon can cut down on superfluous packaging material and improve its sustainability practices.

“It’s a big change, and we know this is a very new step for a lot of Amazon vendors,” said Kuebler. “It’s unfamiliar territory. Thankfully, my team has years of experience, and we take a consultative approach, so we can walk them through the process and make it as easy as possible.”

To speak with an expert about package testing and technical support, contact Tim Rice at