Amazon.com has been working the last two years on growing its Frustration Free packaging option for products sold on their website. The program which by all accounts appears to be a success for Amazon and its customers offers consumers the option of buying products with minimal packaging.
Frustration Free packaging not only makes it easier to open products purchased (eliminating the use of dreaded plastic clamshell packaging) but also significantly reduces packaging waste. The program has been heralded by consumers and environmentalists alike for its positive impact.
A recent piece in the New York Times highlighted the fact some major companies who sell products on Amazon like Philips, Polaroid, Procter & Gamble, Logitech and others all offer products in Frustration Free packaging. Of course Amazon's own e-reader Kindle comes in Frustration Free packaging as well.
Recently Duracell introduced a 28 pack of AA batteries sold in a Frustration Free plain cardboard box - the response from Amazon consumers was amazingly positive.
The piece in the Times highlights the challenges faced by Amazon and product manufacturers in continuing to grow Frustration Free packaging. Of the millions of products currently sold on Amazon only about 600 are available in Frustration Free packaging.
Manufacturers who make products available in the Frustration Free packaging are faced with tough decisions regarding their packaging. Its expensive to offer products in multiple types of packaging so it would be beneficial to manufacturers if other online retailers were interested in the new packaging as well.
Interestingly product manufacturers who sell on Amazon are finding other large online retailers like Target and Walmart not overly enthusiastic about carrying products in the Frustration Free packaging. Each company pointed out to the Times that they have their own programs or methods for reducing waste.
The whole Frustration Free packaging issue drives at the heart of the problems with retail packaging today and the systems that are in place to produce the packaging. Most retailers have physical store front locations where they sell products to consumers in the traditional sense. Retailers in these situations prefer clear plastic packaging like clamshells because they are difficult to tamper with and allow the consumer to see the product on the shelves.
Consumers are in the middle. Most will say they despise the clamshell style packaging popular at big box retaiilers and discount clubs across the country. However most consider packaging just a part of the retail buying experience and something beyond their control.
We'll see how Frustration-Free packaging continues to develop. As more and more major product manufactuers continue to receive accolades from consumers you'll start to see this type of packaging expand.
READ MORE ABOUT AMAZON FRUSTRATION-FREE PACKAGING ON SISG
- Amazon Packaging Feedback Site 11/09
- Amazon Frustration Free Packaging Makes a Difference
- Amazon Frustation Free Packaging 11/08