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Enhancing FBA Success With Custom Packaging

In 2021, more than 600,000 U.S. Amazon sellers participated in the platform’s FBA program. With the surge of businesses leveraging the Amazon marketplace, it’s more crucial than ever to differentiate your brand and offerings, and that includes your FBA efforts.

Countless products vie for a customer’s attention, giving rise to a new emphasis on packaging in eCommerce. It’s no longer solely about protecting the contents inside — your packaging must also craft a memorable unboxing experience, tell your brand story, and leave a lasting impression.

But when selling through programs like Amazon FBA, you have to strike a delicate balance; while custom packaging offers an avenue to distinguish your brand, adhering to FBA’s stringent requirements is of utmost importance.

We’ll dive into the art and science of how to merge compelling custom packaging with Amazon’s FBA guidelines so your products stand out and meet the platform’s standards. Keep reading to explore how to make your brand personality pop while playing by the rules.

The value of FBA custom packaging

Custom packaging is an extension of your brand. Standard packaging can get the job done, but it’s impersonal, so buyers are less likely to remember your name.

On the other hand, custom packaging tells a story about who you are as a business and sets you apart from competitors. It’s a chance to make a lasting impression through unique colors, logos, and designs.

A richer customer experience

Companies like Apple, Glossier, and Allbirds have become synonymous with unique unboxing experiences, which directly enhance their customer loyalty. They also earn free word-of-mouth marketing through unboxing videos.

The unboxing experience has exploded into a social media phenomenon, with thousands of videos shared daily; on YouTube, more than 90,000 people search “unboxing” each month.

This exposure unlocks an additional marketing opportunity for businesses. Well-crafted packaging can elicit excitement, anticipation, and satisfaction — all of which are directed at your brand.

Protection and durability

While branding is essential, the primary purpose of packaging is to protect. Custom packaging can be tailored to fit your items perfectly, ensuring they’re safe during transit. This reduces the chances of returns due to damage, thereby saving costs and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Amazon’s packaging requirements

Although strict, the packaging requirements set by Amazon’s FBA service are designed to keep products safe, secure, and in sellable condition.

MyFBAPrep offers guidance on Amazon’s regulations, ensuring your custom packaging also adheres to Amazon’s standards.

Standard boxes with six sides

Every product shipped via Amazon FBA should be enclosed in a six-sided box. This structure offers stability and prevents items from being compressed or damaged easily. Additionally, the six-sided form is universally recognized, making it easier for handling and stacking during shipping and storage.

Corrugated boxes with a minimum of an ECT-32 (edge crush test)

Corrugated boxes, commonly known as cardboard boxes, are a staple in shipping. Their fluted inner layer provides added strength. However, not all corrugated boxes are made equal.

An ECT-32 rating ensures the box can withstand pressures without collapsing. It’s crucial for protecting the contents inside, especially during transit, when boxes may be stacked or experience varying degrees of external pressure.

The drop test

Imagine a package accidentally falls off a shelf or is dropped during handling. The drop test simulates these incidents to ensure the product inside remains undamaged. Packages are dropped from various heights and orientations to cover as much potential mishandling as possible.

Meeting this standard means that, even if a mishap occurs, the product is less likely to be affected, ensuring customer satisfaction and reducing potential return costs.

Approved sizes for packaging

Size matters, especially when it comes to warehousing and shipping. Oversized or irregularly shaped packages can lead to inefficient storage and increased shipping costs.

By adhering to Amazon’s size guidelines, sellers not only optimize their storage costs but also ensure their products can be quickly processed and shipped. These guidelines aid in forecasting logistical needs as well.

Consequences of failing to follow these guidelines

The repercussions of non-compliance can be wide ranging and include:

  • Extra costs: Amazon may charge sellers for repackaging products that don’t meet standards.
  • Delays: Non-compliant packages might face processing delays, leading to longer delivery times and unhappy customers.
  • Shipment rejection: In extreme cases, products might be returned to the seller or even discarded.
  • Storage fees: Products not in standard-sized packaging can incur higher long-term storage fees.

By understanding and following Amazon’s requirements, sellers can avoid these pitfalls and ensure a smooth FBA experience.

Merging FBA requirements with customization

Maintaining your brand’s unique identity and adhering to Amazon’s FBA guidelines can often seem daunting. However, with some creativity and thorough knowledge of the rules, sellers can craft a memorable unboxing experience while abiding by FBA regulations.

Avoid conflicting branding

A brand’s essence manifests in its packaging and so must never be compromised. At the same time, Amazon’s standards are there to maintain a consistent, efficient, and safe fulfillment process.

Scrutinize every element, from the type of ink used to the placement of logos. For instance, Amazon’s guidelines on barcodes dictate that they must be easily scannable. If your custom packaging obscures or interferes with these codes, it can lead to processing hiccups.

Branding tips and tricks

Print brand stories or details inside the box

While the exterior usually has to remain compliant with labels and barcodes, the interior of a box is a blank canvas ripe with branding possibilities.

Printing stories of how the brand was founded, consumer testimonials, or even interactive challenges and puzzles can transform the unboxing into an engaging event. This special touch offers buyers a memorable experience with your brand while ensuring all critical FBA external labels remain undisturbed.

Use custom tape or stickers

When executed correctly, branded tape or stickers can serve as an extension of a brand’s identity. For example, a custom tape featuring the brand’s colors and logo can replace regular tape.

However, brands must ensure that such tape adheres well and doesn’t compromise the package’s security. Stickers, too, can add a personalized touch but should be placed so they don’t obscure any essential information or barcodes.

Invest in custom inserts

Beyond mere aesthetics, custom inserts play a crucial role in product safety. Tailor-made inserts ensure products remain immobile during transit, drastically reducing the chances of damage occurring.

You can take this a step further by integrating your branding into these inserts. Whether it’s through color schemes, engraved logos, or even short messages, inserts can serve as both a protective layer and a continuation of the brand experience.

Note: Be sure to follow Amazon regulations when it comes to custom inserts. Importantly, don’t incentivize positive reviews or encourage diversion from Amazon’s selling process.

Customized void fill

Choosing the right void fill can significantly enhance the unboxing experience. Instead of traditional materials, consider sustainable or branded options. Materials like cornstarch peanuts or recycled paper shreds protect the product as well as showcase your brand’s environmental commitment.

Look into innovative fillers, like seed-infused paper, that the customer can plant, which introduces an interactive aspect to the packaging. You can even infuse brand colors, logos, or messaging onto the void fill. This additional touch enhances brand recall and adds an element of surprise for the customer.

Environmental concerns and packaging

While packaging’s primary purpose is to protect and present a product, it’s increasingly becoming a statement of a brand’s values, especially concerning environmental responsibility.

Beyond convenience, eCommerce has evolved to encompass conscientious choices, sustainability, and addressing growing environmental concerns head-on.

Grow consumer awareness about sustainability

Modern consumers are more informed and discerning than ever before. The ease of information dissemination through social media and digital platforms has led to a widespread awareness of global environmental challenges. Issues like climate change, deforestation, and ocean pollution dominate discussions, and consumers increasingly expect brands to play their part in finding solutions.

This heightened awareness has given rise to a preference for sustainable packaging, with one study finding that 74% of consumers are willing to pay more for it. Brands that recognize and act upon this shift align with consumer values and contribute to a global cause.

Ensure your custom packaging is eco-friendly

Merging the requirements of Amazon’s FBA with environmentally friendly practices can seem challenging, but it’s crucial for forward-thinking brands.

The onus is on sellers to ensure their packaging materials aren’t harmful to the environment while still adhering to FBA’s strict guidelines.

This often requires research and collaboration with packaging suppliers to find materials that are both robust enough for shipping and biodegradable or recyclable. The result is packaging that offers the best of both worlds — functional efficiency and a reduced ecological footprint.

Below are some recommendations for alternative packaging that are both FBA-compliant and green:

  • Recycled cardboard: Recycled cardboard offers strength and durability. It’s widely accepted in FBA centers and is easily recyclable, making it an ideal choice for eco-conscious brands.
  • Soy-based inks: Traditional petroleum-based inks can be harmful to the environment. Soy-based inks, on the other hand, are sustainable and offer vibrant print quality. They’re biodegradable and make it easier to recycle paper and cardboard.
  • Cornstarch packaging: Derived from renewable resources, cornstarch-based materials are compostable and serve as an excellent alternative to traditional plastic fillers.
  • Reusable designs: Crafting packaging that consumers can reuse is a win-win; not only does it reduce waste, but it also provides added value to the consumer. Brands can innovate with designs that transform packaging into usable items, like storage boxes or decorative pieces.
  • Minimalistic packaging: Embracing a “less is more” approach reduces material waste. Use just enough packaging to ensure product safety while eliminating unnecessary layers to reduce your environmental impact significantly.
  • Educate and inform: Include messaging about the sustainable aspects of your packaging to boost your brand image. Educating customers on how to recycle or compost the packaging further drives the green initiative.

The trajectory of consumer preference is clear — sustainability is now the standard. Integrating green practices into your packaging strategies is good for the planet and also essential for business success.

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, brands that prioritize sustainability will lead the pack.

Partnering with MyFBAPrep for streamlined custom packaging and FBA prep

With the combination of unique, custom packaging and MyFBAPrep’s efficient services, sellers receive a robust solution tailored to their needs.

Here’s how this collaboration can amplify your brand presence on Amazon.

1. Ship your items and monitor Preptopia

When you choose to work with MyFBAPrep, your first step is to ship your items directly to our facilities. As soon as your products arrive, they’re inventoried and meticulously inspected to ensure they haven’t suffered any damage during transit.

You’ll be notified once your items are received and if any discrepancies are found. With the Preptopia FBA Prep Tracker, you can monitor your items in real time.

2. Prep goods according to your unique specifications

The FBA prep process begins immediately upon arrival of your goods at our warehouses. We prep each item diligently in accordance with Amazon’s stringent requirements.

If your items need polybags, they’re each placed in one and individually labeled. For clients integrating custom packaging into their FBA strategy, MyFBAPrep excels at ensuring these unique packaging designs enhance brand recognition and conform to Amazon’s regulations.

3. Create shipping plan

Once your items are prepped and ready, the next phase is initiating the shipping plan.

With our expertise in Amazon’s systems, MyFBAPrep verifies your inventory is correctly updated in Seller Central. We generate shipping labels tailored to an Amazon Fulfillment Center to facilitate a smooth transition. And, with the Preptopia FBA Prep Tracker, you gain a bird’s-eye view of your inventory’s progress and enjoy peace of mind.

4. Ship to Amazon

The final step in the process is shipping your prepped inventory to an Amazon Fulfillment Center. You’re not bound to a specific center; you can choose a dedicated one that aligns with your distribution strategy.

As your order departs the MyFBAPrep warehouse and heads to Amazon, you’ll receive notifications updating you on its status. You’ll also be alerted once the order is fully processed and closed out so you can bask in the satisfaction of successfully journeying through the FBA prep process, with little effort on your part.

MyFBAPrep equips you with a comprehensive solution, from ensuring products are FBA ready to incorporating custom packaging elements that resonate with your brand identity. It’s a partnership that offers both efficiency and a platform to shine in the vast Amazon marketplace.

Wrapping up — Create a memorable unboxing experience with custom packaging

In the competitive Amazon FBA marketplace, custom packaging is paramount for brand differentiation. It both protects products and creates a memorable unboxing experience and tells your brand story.

However, it’s imperative to balance unique packaging with Amazon FBA’s strict requirements. Successful packaging integrates brand aesthetics with FBA’s standards, including six-sided box structures and the ECT-32 rating for durability. Custom elements like branded tape, internal brand stories, and innovative fillers can elevate the unboxing experience while adhering to these guidelines.

Further, with rising consumer awareness of environmental concerns, sustainable packaging is not only commendable but essential. Brands are encouraged to use recycled materials, soy-based inks, and minimalistic designs that align with both FBA rules and eco-friendly practices.

Partnering with a service like MyFBAPrep guarantees the smooth integration of custom packaging while meeting Amazon’s requirements, thus streamlining the FBA prep process from product receipt to shipment into Amazon’s fulfillment centers. To learn more about custom packing with MyFBAPrep, request a demo.