If you've ever received a gargantuan cardboard box with one tiny USB stick inside, you'll know that packaging can be very wasteful. In response to this issue, Amazon's Frustration-Free Packaging Program aimed to give customers "minimal, protective and functional packaging" to keep items safe without adding unnecessary waste packaging. The company hopes the program's new guidelines will both cut down on shipping costs and lessen the environmental impact of packaging.
If Amazon sellers don't stick to the packaging guidelines they could face a penalty, according to the Wall Street Journal. Packages which don't meet the new standards will be subject to a $1.99 surcharge that the seller must pay. Offering a carrot as well as a stick, Amazon will give $1 credit to sellers for each item that does meet the guidelines.
Brands have little power to influence Amazon's rules, and the company already has a reputation for treating its third-party sellers poorly. For sellers operating on already-thin margins, these new packaging rules could pose a challenge.