Is F.F.P. all it’s cracked up to be?
When Amazon rolled out its Certified Frustration-Free Packaging service in 2008, it was all the rage. Yet 7 years down the line, some customers still complain of Russian nesting doll fatigue; they expect one box, and end up with several, occasionally larger than the original. Is F.F.P. simply the forerunner of the newly launched FBA Repackaging Service?
Read on to find out what became of this ‘wrap rage’ solution.
Back in 2008, Amazon enthusiastically announced a more convenient and eco-friendly alternative to its conventional packaging service. Frustration-free packaging was meant as an alternative to standard manufacturer packaging, which is not always entirely recyclable, and is designed for in-store sale rather than e-commerce logistics.
FFP was a breath of fresh air. It was designed for opening with your bare hands, and it made wire ties, clamshell casings, plastic bindings, Styrofoam, ridiculous amounts of cellophane tape, and box filling obsolete. Orders were shipped off in certified FFP packaging straight from the manufacturer, saving both Amazon and the customer time.
Understandably, manufacturers were initially reluctant to hand over the large chunk of their marketing which was covered by box branding. Amazon’s logo appears on all boxes alongside the manufacturer’s, though the Certified FFP stamp is optional. Still, by 2013, over 200,000 of their products were sold this way, according to a letter from CEO Jeff Bezos.
It seems that FFP has reached a standstill 7 years down the line. The product range has decreased to just under 170,000 on Amazon.com, but the program has extended to the UK, where there is a growing concern for the inaccessibility of standard packaging for aging people.
There are certain requirements to fulfill before a manufacturer can start selling FFP products, and not all product categories are eligible. Amazon provides certain guidelines and design tips, and packaging must undergo industry-standard vibration and drop tests before approval.
Oddly, FFP may be more confusing to customers than FBA sellers. New items sold by Amazon and FBA sellers alike are said to be delivered in ‘easy-to-open’ packaging, and they’re listed on a single page.
On the other hand, used, returned items, sold by its ‘warehousedeals’ department only, are featured on their very own page, with a corresponding FFP tab. In the words of a great Russian writer: ‘Oy!’. Luckily, the UK platform is more consistent in its branding.
While the service saves most customers a great deal of time and even money, it’s still not unheard of for FFP to take up more space or to take longer to unpack than the original boxes. As for FBA sellers, the fact that FFP boxes aren’t all that different from those lackluster ones used by Amazon’s free repackaging service can be a bit of a deal breaker.