Getting Up to Speed with Amazon’s Industry-Changing Guidelines

Posted in News
Last Updated: Last updated Jul 16, 2021

In the first three months of 2021 alone, U.S. customers spent $196.7 billion on retail ecommerce sales. As customers continue to spend online, many companies have felt pressure to align with the latest trends in ecommerce

As one of the largest fulfillment partners in the nation with over 150 million Prime subscribers, Amazon’s guidelines are setting the standard for sustainable and efficient ecommerce packaging, changing the way we think about logistics.

The Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier (APASS) Network catalogues companies who provide testing, design and supplier services for vendors that meet Amazon’s standards. As an Amazon APASS certified partner, Coastal Container experts can make Amazon’s shipping guidelines work to your advantage and keep you at the forefront of the industry.

How APASS Works

With multiple tiers of certification, Amazon’s standards can be intimidating. Amazon’s system breaks certification down into three main categories:

  1. Frustration-Free Packaging places the end user and the environment at the forefront, as materials must be curbside-recyclable, easy for customers to open, meet safety requirements and have minimal packaging.
  2. Ships in Own Container includes all above requirements plus no overboxing.
  3. Prep-Free Packaging: Uses an overbox, but does not require additional steps for Amazon workers.

Each of these methods reduce waste, increase sustainability and push the industry to think about how packaging might affect customer experience and the global environment—not to mention that Amazon chargebacks for noncompliance with APASS standards can greatly impact your bottom line.


Amazon’s APASS standards make processes as easy as possible for package recipients, while simultaneously reducing plastic airbag or cardboard usage. APASS standards require packages to fit within certain size specifications, oftentimes removing the need for an overbox with additional airbags to protect the contents.

By using Frustration-Free Packaging or Ships in Own Container standards, Coastal customers will reap the benefits of using only what is needed, saving additional waste from the trash can or recycling bin. All materials must also be curbside recyclable to meet Amazon’s standards, so you can rest easy that what you do use will be used again. Additionally, using smaller packages whenever possible reduces the amount of room needed on a pallet and therefore the amount of trucks needed to ship these products. Reducing shipping space reduces your overall impact with fewer harmful emissions from transportation.

Cost Savings

Without the consistency of APASS certification, you may find that each distributor might use a different packing standard for the same product. This inconsistency can make business planning difficult as one distributor may ship the item in its original packaging but another distributor might add an overbox and a few airbags to fill the empty space. These additional materials add up quickly, especially as your order quantity increases. On top of these additional costs, Amazon penalizes these inconsistencies, with chargebacks for Amazon staff prep work or overboxing.

Cutting unnecessary materials keeps your efforts sustainable, recyclable and cost-effective. Shipping with Fulfillment by Amazon also means that extraneous marketing packaging such as full-color box printing, cellophane windows or oversized boxes become irrelevant. When customers have already made the purchase without concern for the box, it is easy to focus more on protecting the product and sustaining the environment with your logistical decisions.

Shameless Plug

As one of only a handful of packaging experts on that Amazon APASS certified list in West Michigan, Coastal Container takes pride in the level of service we can provide for Fulfillment by Amazon vendors.

To provide the highest quality service to our customers, our team traveled to Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle to learn with a cohort of other vendors, including nationally recognized brands and other Amazon vendors selling anything from birdhouses to printers. 

APASS certified in March 2020, our team can help make sense of Amazon’s standards and reduce your environmental impact while reducing costs. These reductions align well with our existing priorities to sustain our people, planet and prosperity.

Not sure where to start with Amazon’s guidelines? We’re here to help with your design and fulfillment needs and keep you up to date with the latest gold standards. 

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