Amazon expanding program in which items ship without added packaging

Amazon expanding program in which items ship without added packaging

September 27, 2023

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Dive Brief:

  • An Amazon program in which items ship without any added packaging will be available in 2024 for all third-party sellers using the company’s fulfillment services, officials announced at Amazon’s annual seller conference earlier this month.
  • Through the Ships in Product Packaging program, Amazon can help sellers redesign products’ packaging so they can be delivered to customers in their own branded container only. The company is working with select sellers on the pilot version of this program, known as Ship in Own Container, this year.
  • “We heard from our selling partners that joined the pilot this year that this is a really exciting opportunity and will help them remain profitable and sustainable, and we’re looking forward to continuing that next year,” said Rachel Montenegro, senior program manager of sustainable packaging, in a session at Amazon Accelerate.

Dive Insight:

The lack of additional packaging provides several perks for sellers, according to Amazon. These include cost savings — products certified for the program can be eligible for lower Fulfillment by Amazon fees — and environmental benefits.

“By using more compact packaging, sellers can potentially reduce transportation costs and carbon emissions by using less packaging material and taking up less space on trucks, which means fewer trips,” Amazon said Sept. 14.

Montenegro brought up Philips’ OneBlade razor as a successful example of a product shipped without added packaging, after Philips redesigned the packaging to use only curbside recyclable materials.

“It resulted in 30% less packaging components and a reduction in packaging volume by 80%,” Montenegro said. “So now, by being redesigned, it’s easier to open, there’s less material to dispose of and it’s a better experience.”

In 2022, Amazon shipped 11% of items globally without any added packaging by the company. Customers are notified at checkout if an item is slated to ship this way, but they also have the option to add packaging at no extra cost, Montenegro said.

Products certified for the program in 2023 and shipped into North America or the European Union are eligible for Fulfillment by Amazon discounts. The discount rate is based on the product’s size and weight.

“The average seller discount per unit for oversize-tier products was $2.06 per unit shipped to customers, and for standard size [it] was 31 cents per unit,” Montenegro said. “We’ve paid out over $2 million in seller discounts this year alone.”

Exclusions include items containing lithium batteries and products with “problematic elements” like hang tabs or shrink wrap, according to Montenegro.

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