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Ultimate Guide: Amazon Custom Product Packaging and Inserts

Not sure if you should customize your FBA packaging? Here's our take on it.

David Zaleski

October 3, 2021

When handling your Amazon FBA inventory, there are certain product packaging requirements that you need to meet before Amazon’s warehouse will process your product. These are the essentials - Amazon sellers must meet these requirements. You can read about them in detail here to get a refresher on exactly what your prep process should look like (assuming you are handling this yourself).

You don’t need to customize your product's packaging within this process. That being said - it definitely can’t hurt. Amazon’s requirements are essentially the minimum requirements they find necessary to avoid having your product damaged in the mail and to make the shipping process easiest for the fulfillment center. 

There are certainly safer, more environmentally friendly, better-branded options that can help you stick out to your customer. Here’s some things to consider.

Your First Impression Matters

Your packaging designs does make an impression on your customer. If you have generic, unbranded, bare minimum packaging...your customer may not notice (it’s fairly normal). However, if you have well branded, thoughtful  special packaging along with brand registry...your customer is likely to notice. They are more likely to think highly of your brand loyalty and consider buying from you in the future and continue repeat purchases. The thought you put into what your product comes in does make an impression on the buyer.

Understand What Your Customers Want

This is a piece of market research that will do you well as you develop your product. You want to know if your customers have expressed expectations regarding packaging for same product - and if they haven’t, you want to find out what thoughts they have. 

  • Visit competitor listings. Read reviews for any complaints about the packaging.
  • Consider your audience. Are they eco-friendly? Minimalist? Obsessed with the latest trends (hello eye-popping branding)? Consider this as you plan your packaging. 
  • Conduct research. Visit online forums to read conversations surrounding this topic, and even post your own questions on several social media pages. Use your social media community to gain feedback. Ask people!

These days, one of the most popular complaints about shipping packages is how environmentally “unfriendly” packaging is like using plastic bag or poly bag for packing for improved packaging. Consider finding more environmentally friendly ways to package that still meet FBA requirements. This will stick out!

GIF of small red creature popping out  of an Amazon box excitedly.
Source: Giphy

How Accessible is Your Product?

Amazon fulfillment centers are fast-paced environments that ship out thousands of products on a daily basis to direct customers. You can decrease the odds that your product will get shipped incorrectly, incompletely, or be damaged along the way by ensuring your packaging meets a few criteria.

  • Your package needs to be easy to grab quickly and securely. If your packaging is slippery, unsteady, or awkwardly shaped, it’s more likely to be dropped or missed.
  • All parts of your product need to be contained. If there are pieces of your product that you’re concerned about falling out or being left out - ensure your packaging neatly keeps all elements of your product together.
  • Is your barcode easily accessible? This is one of the most central requirements of FBA packaging. 
GIF of 3 warrehouse workers excitedly dancing around a shipping warehouse with open shipping boxes.
Source: Giphy

How Sturdy is Your Packaging?

We’ve all received packages that somehow got destroyed in the mail. This can happen even if your packaging meets Amazon’s requirements, and especially if you are trying to save by buying the cheapest boxes you can find. A few tips for customizing your packaging.

  • Exceeding requirements is never a bad idea. As long as you meet Amazon’s requirements, there’s of course nothing wrong with going beyond them.  
  • Splurge on heftier materials. Protecting your customer’s item is in your best interest. Sturdier boxes and stronger packaging means less damaged products.
  • Less returns, more profit. Spending the extra few cents per box to ensure your customer gets their product in one piece is worth it - you’ll deal with less returns, less complaints, and therefore enjoy more profits.

Don’t let this be you. 

A damaged, yellow box with the caption "THAT BOX GOT DAMAGE!"
Source: Giphy


Other Options For Packaging

The best-case scenario, of course, is that you don’t handle your packaging needs by yourself. The more time you spend boxing up shipments and placing labels, the less time you’re able to spend moving your business forward and expanding. 

Using Your Supplier 

Many times, your supplier will actually offer packaging options and ship products directly to an Amazon warehouse for you. This is a great option - the fewer steps along the way, the better.

However, there are a few things you want to make sure of before you use your supplier as your preparation service.

  • Does their default packaging meet FBA requirements? 
  • Do they test their packaging for safety?
  • Will they reimburse you if their packaging is not sufficient and results in damaged or lost goods?
  • What additional options do they offer for packaging? Do they have “green” packaging options?
  • Are they able to customize packaging for your brand?
  • Will they include additional printed elements (inserts, coupons, flyers, etc.) into your package?
  • Is their process beginning to end (AKA - are you still going to end up stuck with work after they prep)?

If your supplier is able to work with you on these fronts, you may want to run with this option. Amazon of course is able to handle prep and labeling services for you, but working directly with your supplier might be your best bet (if the cards line up!).

Using a Third Party

If your supplier will not provide package prep services for your inventory, and you want something that’s more easily customizable than Amazon’s services in this area, there are third party services that will do a great job with customizing your packages.

You’ll ship inventory to them, they’ll package it up according to your specifications and branding, and send it directly to the warehouse for you.

You want to find a third party who:

  • Has great reviews. Find someone you can trust, who has a history of providing FBA owners with quality packaging. You can visit Facebook groups and online forums filled with Amazon FBA sellers who would love to give you advice on which third parties do a good job with this.
  • Can include your branding. If you’re paying for a third party to prep your packages, make sure they can properly brand your product so it stands out.
  • Can include custom inserts. A great way to connect with your buyer is by including flyers, brand information, coupons, or other inserts within your package. Your third party prep provider should be able to do this.


Conclusion

Custom product packaging is certainly not necessary for your FBA inventory. However, it is helpful. Memorable packaging, branding, and inserts help your product to stand out from the traditionally packaged, generic products most people receive from Amazon. The best way to achieve this is by working directly with your supplier or a third party, so you don’t have to handle packing personally. Going the extra mile in your packaging makes an impact on your buyer - so we fully encourage custom packaging and personalized inserts where possible! 

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David Zaleski

David Zaleski is an entrepreneur, Amazon seller, and the founder of EcomHub. He's been operating in the eCommerce space since the age of 14 years old. At the age of 18, he started his own Amazon business with just $4,800 in start-up capital.

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