SGS Helps Manufacturers Create Better Consumer Product Packaging

SGS, the world’s
leading testing and certification service provider, offers a range of solutions
to help online retailers ensure their products
arrive intact and undamaged while minimizing
packaging costs, environmental impact and avoiding chargebacks and fees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant increase in online sales.
One survey has recorded an 80% increase in the number of people now buying 50%
or more of their shopping online. It is believed this trend will continue.
While COVID-19 is not responsible for the move to online retailing it has
amplified it and it has become the preferred choice for many consumers.

The key to success for online retailers is robust packaging that allows
the product to arrive at its destination in the same condition as they would if
the consumer went to the store. At the same time, consumers are also keen to
see companies address environmental concerns by reducing the amount of
packaging their products arrive in.

In 2019, the global online supplier Amazon delivered around 3.5 billion
packages. Each package will go through several process stages on its journey,
meaning the potential for damage to the product is significant if the packaging
does not perform correctly.

Amazon launched its Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) Certification in
2008, most recently updated in February 2020. This requires all packaging going
through Amazon distribution channels to meet certain standards. Put simply,
packaging must be:

  • Right-sized
  • Easy to open
  • Made of recyclable
    packaging materials
  • Capable of
    protecting the product during transit

The goal for Amazon is that a product can be transported through their
supply chain without requiring additional packaging. To push this further, on
September 19, 2019, they made it clear that any incoming inventory arriving at their
fulfilment centers had to go through a Packaging Performance Test. If a large
product is not certified to at least its Ships in Own Container (SIOC)
standard, or Tier 2, each unit will be liable to a chargeback fee of USD 1.99.

There are exemptions – hazmat products, fresh pantry products, smaller
products, and lower volume products that were listed at least eight months
before the product was given its Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN).

To help online retailers and distributors, the International Safe
Transit Association (ISTA) has established standardized transit packaging tests
that fall into two types:

  • Performance tests –
    pass/fail assessment used to determine the viability of a packaged product
    to survive normal shipment
  • Development tests –
    compare relative performance between two or more packaging designs

There are six different levels of performance testing, from 1-Series
tests – non-simulation integrity performance tests – to 6-series, which tests
the ability of packaging to meet the performance requirements of an individual
company. For example, ISTA 6-Amazon has been developed to test a package’s
ability to conform to the company’s performance requirements. Testing can be
undertaken against one or more of three tiers:

  • Tier 1 –
    Frustration-free Packaging (FFP)
  • Tier 2 – Ships in
    its Own Container (SIOC)
  • Tier 3 – Prep-free
    Packaging (PFP)

Chargeback fees will be enforced on large product packaging that does
not conform at least to Tier 2.

It should be noted poor packaging can also result in:

  • Lost business
  • Tarnished
  • Costly damage to
  • Delays

As more and more retailers move online, businesses are advised to ensure
their packaging conforms to the right standards. Businesses that successfully
adapt to industry and consumer requirements will find their reputation’s
enhanced and their costs reduced.

SGS ISTA Certification

SGS provides a comprehensive range of packaging services to help
manufacturers and suppliers ensure their products are effectively protected
during distribution. Their service includes environmental (temperature
extremes, UV etc.), shock, vibration, compression, impact, moisture, and
forklift and clamping testing to ensure packaging is robust enough to protect
the product during transportation. In addition, they also provide testing
against ISTA standards, including ISTA 6-Amazon, and can help guide customers
through the Amazon FFP certification process. Learn more about SGS ISTA Certification.

For more information, please contact:

John O’Connell

Global Packaging Director



LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection,
verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the
global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees,
SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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