Please review the information below and circulate within your organization as appropriate:
Prep Chargebacks and Packaging for E-Commerce
Beginning September 30, 2012, Amazon will require that you prepare your products for e-commerce prior to shipping them to our fulfillment centers. If products are not properly prepared, we will charge for prep activities, which include bagging, bubble-wrapping, barcode stickering, overboxing, stuffing, and taping, that we do on your behalf.
The fulfillment model for e-commerce differs markedly from the traditional retail model. In a traditional shopping experience, customers take products off the shelf and transport their packages home, taking responsibility for damage that might occur after checkout. In the e-commerce channel, packages must be delivered to customer doorsteps safely and without damage.
Many products received by Amazon are not packaged adequately for e-commerce fulfillment. As a result, it has been necessary for Amazon to perform prep work on these products, at our expense, to ensure that they reach customers without damage. Our prep work includes repackaging for the following reasons:
- Protect fragile products (e.g., bubble wrap for glass items)
- Contain potential spillage (e.g., bagging bottles of liquids)
- Shield from dust (e.g., bagging plush toys)
- Safeguard customers and our warehouse associates (e.g., bubble wrapping and/or boxing sharp products, like knives)
Product suppliers need to address the specific needs of e-commerce fulfillment and package their products accordingly. To help you make your products ready for e-commerce, the following options are available:
- Amazon's Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) - This program works with you to develop e-commerce packaging that is right-sized, transit-ready, and capable of maintaining brand integrity. Our FFP team offers resources for package design and provides design feedback for vendors who participate in the program. We will also perform transit testing, merchandise certified products in the FFP store, and if a packaging change is made, the product qualifies for a VINE review, all FREE of charge. You can use this packaging for all of your e-commerce sales as a great option for customer-friendly packaging. We believe that this is the best option for you. To begin the FFP process, log in to your Vendor Central account, and click Items > Frustration-Free Packaging > Learn more.
- Do It Yourself Prep - Follow the prep guidelines in the "Amazon Product Restrictions and Special Packing Instructions" to prep your own products. This option allows you to control the quality and cost of prepping your products. Vendor-prepped items will not be FFP certified, and they will be placed inside another Amazon box for shipping to customers. This option requires additional wasteful packaging, which may reduce brand visibility on packaging during delivery to customers. If you need prep materials, a web search on keywords such as "industrial supply bubble wrap" will return a list of materials suppliers across North America.
- Amazon Prep Chargeback Service - Currently, we are not charging for the prep work that we provide; however, effective September 30, 2012, we will begin charging vendors who have not addressed their product packaging via the options listed above. With this option, Amazon will prepare your products for e-commerce as before, but issue prep chargebacks (viewable in Vendor Central) for the service. For more information, see the chargeback fees table and prep chargebacks FAQs in "Amazon Product Restrictions and Special Packing Instructions."