The following post is written by Duline Theogene, the Content Marketing Manager over at our agency partner AMZ Advisers.
One of the greatest advantages of being Brand Registered on Amazon is that you can provide your Prime customers with a variety of premium shipping options and packaging programs to help increase your sales and build brand loyalty.
Amazon is widely known for its customer-focused logistics, and the company has invested billions of dollars in state-of-the-art technology in its warehouses to keep up with the fast-growing demands of customers.
Similarly, the success of Amazon sellers is dependent on their ability to not only live up to the expectations of a discount-obsessed market, but also this high demand for immediacy getting the product to consumers’ doorsteps.
To help, we have put together a run-down of the best cost-effective shipping strategies and packaging options Amazon sellers around the world use to keep their customers satisfied.
Amazon Premium Shipping Options
Aside from allowing customers to track their orders, these fast, premium shipping options enable you to improve the customer experience by communicating a clear delivery day. However, these programs are only available to sellers that demonstrate outstanding shipping and selling performance.
In the US, premium shipping includes the following programs, that each have their own set of requirements for sellers:
- Same-Day Delivery – This delivery option is available ONLY in the following cities: L.A., San Diego, Miami, Chicago, and New York, and you must be able to ship within 60 minutes of receiving the order and provide your customers with a valid tracking number.
- One-Day Delivery – You must maintain a cancellation rate of less than 1.5% and an order count of 10 or more over the course of 30 days across all premium shipping options to be eligible for this program. You can keep track of your One-Day shipping performance metrics on the Customer Satisfaction page in the Premium Shipping Eligibility tool.
- Two-Day Shipping – You must be able to ship your products on or before the Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) for at least 92% of your orders on a 30-day basis. The Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) will be two or three business days after the day the order was submitted.
To participate in these programs, you must have sold on Amazon for more than 90 days, have a Valid Tracking Rate of 99%, and On-Time Delivery Score of 97% – or more – and a Cancellation rate of less than 0.5%.
The Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) Certification Program
The Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging Program (Tier 1) aims – among other things – to eliminate waste and regulate packaging to ensure products arrive undamaged. Amazon created this program back in 2008, intending to not only reduce waste but delight customers with easy-to-open, 100% recyclable packaging.
Last year, in a launch announcement for their FFP Vendor Incentive Program, Amazon specified that over the course of 10 years, this initiative has eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials and, in 2017 alone, saved the equivalent of 305 million shipping boxes.
This reduction in waste helps both the bottom line along with the environment, and Amazon is working on its packaging guidelines to create awareness on the issue and to encourage manufacturers worldwide to create sustainable packaging.
This certification is given to a piece of packaging based on four criteria:
- Easy to open,
- Low waste, and
- Cost effective
Three tiers govern this program, based on the type of packaging materials used and the amount of preparation involved:
Tier 1 – FFP – minimal product packaging that is curbside recyclable and easy to open
Tier 2 – product is Shipped in Own Container (SIOC) – comes with protective vendor packaging that isn’t recyclable or easy to open, and doubles as a shipping box
Tier 3 – Prep Free Packaging – no prep required by Amazon, ships in an Amazon overbox, minimal damage/defect rates
Remember, more consumers than ever take values into account when making their purchase decisions. Customers, and Amazon, appreciate if your packaging materials are recyclable.
Amazon FFP ‘Ships in Own Container (SIOC)’ Certification
This packaging option, considered Tier 2 in Amazon’s packaging certification tiers, ensures that a product can survive normal transportation hazards. This means that there’s no extra packaging, materials or preparation required to ship it, just a label.
The standards for this certification are based on the following criteria:
- Width, and
On September 3rd, 2019, Amazon began requiring certain packages to be ISTA 6 certified and shipped in their own containers:
“Any FBA package larger than 18″ x 14″ x 8″ or 20 lbs. or more, must be designed and certified as ready-to-ship (Tier 1 – FFP or Tier 2 – SIOC) within their Frustration-Free Packaging programs.”
After this deadline, Amazon will charge those who are not in compliance a $1.99 per-unit penalty.
Read the Amazon Packaging Certification Guidelines to ensure your products abide by Amazon requirements, and avoid unnecessary chargebacks.
Additional read: Amazon Packaging Chargebacks: Avoiding and Handling them Smoothly
The Amazon FBA Small & Light Program
This free, 3-5 business day shipping program allows you to compete with big brands by selling low-cost products while ensuring a high degree of customer service. Some of the greatest advantages of using this fulfillment program are:
- Low fees – the minimum long-term storage fee is $0.25 per unit
- Promos – you can create new offers for your products, or enroll existing SKUs
- Customer trust – this program is backed by the A-to-Z Guarantee
- Reduced costs – you can improve your performance metrics and save on fulfillment costs on qualified items, allowing you to pass the savings on to your customers
- Global exposure – you can access global markets with international fulfillment:
Just keep in mind that only ASINs with sales of 25 units or more – in the trailing four weeks – are eligible for this program.
What products are eligible for the FBA Small & Light Program?
- 10 oz or less
- 16 x 9 x 4 inches or less
- $7 or less
- Fast-moving ASINs
This program uses a standardized packaging weight of 0.7 oz for every package.
The delivery experience is one of the most critical aspects of a purchase. Make sure you provide your customers with the best service possible to maintain your seller performance, build your brand loyalty, and prevent not-so-pleasant customer feedback. Good rules of thumb are:
- Choosing a shipping method that provides tracking and delivery confirmation for high-value merchandise
- Not shipping either before or after the ship window
- Keeping clear shipping records with shipping dates, method, tracking, receipt, and photo evidence of labels and other requirements for six months after the order date
Most importantly, use the shipping and fulfillment program that makes sense for your business capabilities, bearing in mind that your customers’ needs should always be your number-one priority.