Online shopping is huge. The ability to find something online and have it sent to your home has created a consumer revolution unlike anything seen before. But the sharp increase in this kind of business creates its own challenges: packing a product takes time, shipping damage is always a risk, and the unboxing experience can be a frustrating one.

Wanting to reduce these challenges, one of the world’s biggest online stores is taking steps to streamline their packaging and shipping policies. Their intention is to make things easier for their employees, their vendors and their customers.

You may have heard of them: they’re named Amazon, and they’ve created something call APASS.

BTW—Amazon uses lots of acronyms to describe its many services. Here’s 10 Amazon acronyms that’ll help you get APASS-ready.

What is APASS?

It stands for Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier Network. Under their Frustration Free Packaging Program, Amazon has developed guidelines for ways to pack products and customer orders that reduce packing times, packaging waste, risk of damage, and difficult unboxing experiences.

APASS is a network of Amazon-certified businesses that can help Amazon vendors and sellers ensure their packaging strategy meets these new guidelines. Depending on what they sell and how they decide to package it, a vendor’s products can potentially qualify for one of three APASS tiers.

  • Tier 1: Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP)
  • Tier 2: Ships-In-Own-Container (SIOC)
  • Tier 3: Prep-Free Packaging (PFP)

Attaining one of these tiers means a vendor, which has an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), has successfully adopted Amazon’s Frustration Free Packaging Program guidelines.

Who or what is affected by APASS?

  • Durable goods, soft goods and consumables
  • Items sold through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
  • Packages measuring larger than 18x14x8” or weighing 20 lbs. or more
  • Products sold and shipped in the United States and Canada

The purpose of the Frustration Free Packaging Program and APASS is to reduce how often damaged or defective items are delivered to customers.

What is Frustration-Free Packaging?

Packaging Requirements of Tier 1 – FPP

  • Curbside recyclable materials
  • Quick and easy to open
  • Minimal packaging used
  • Ships without an Amazon overbox
  • ISTA-6 SIOC tested and approved
  • Low damage/defect rates
  • No prep required by Amazon

Vendor Benefits of Tier 1 – FPP

  • Reduced packaging costs
  • Reduced Amazon prep chargebacks
  • Reduced transportation costs

What is Ships-In-Own-Container?

Packaging Requirements of Tier 2 – SIOC

  • Ships without an Amazon overbox
  • ISTA-6 SIOC tested and approved
  • Low damage/defect rates
  • No prep required by Amazon

Vendor Benefits of Tier 2 – SIOC

  • Reduced packaging costs
  • Reduced Amazon prep chargebacks
  • Reduced transportation costs

What is Prep-Free Packaging?

Packaging Requirements of Tier 3 – PFP

  • Ships with an Amazon overbox
  • ISTA-6 overbox tested and approved
  • Low damage/defect rates
  • No prep required by Amazon

Vendor Benefits of Tier 3 – PFP

  • Reduced Amazon prep chargebacks

How do you comply with the FFP Program and APASS?

That can be a complicated question, and the answer is dictated by what you sell, how you pack it, and how Amazon views the best way to ship such an item. If your business lists multiple products through Amazon, each of varying sizes or delivery requirements, this is a larger scale project that should be undertaken by a certified member of APASS.

That was a lot of acronyms, wasn’t it? Don’t forget our blog of 10 Amazon acronyms that’ll help you make sure your business and its packaging is APASS-ready.

The Packaging Company is an online provider of both stock and custom packaging options for businesses of all types. We’re in the fortunate position to know of APASS members who have both the certifications and the testing equipment to help you find the packaging solutions that will make your packaging strategy Amazon-compliant. Please reach out to us, we’d be happy to help you get the process started.

One of the takeaways of the Frustration Free Packaging Program and APASS is that smart packaging choices are essential for the success of your business. Using quality packaging supplies in the right ways (and the right amounts) will protect your products, respect your budget and build your brand.