If you’re a supplier to one or multiple large retailers, you may be required to test specific product line packaging against various industry standards. Each retailer has slightly different recommendations and requirements, but in general, transit testing can assist any supplier with reducing damage and chargebacks when working through the retail supply chain. 

Many of the standards that retailers recommend involve a variety of standard distribution test methods including drop, conditioning, vibration, and compression testing. Choosing the right testing program depends not only on the specific retailer recommendations but also the products you’re selling and the supply chains that they will travel through. A few examples of large retailer recommendations or requirements are below for reference.

Walmart and Sam’s Club

In addition to several standard ISTA testing protocols, Walmart and Sam’s Club also recommend several ISTA 6-Series methods depending on the product and situation. Sam’s Club worked with ISTA to develop specific standards required for suppliers based on an extensive study of handling and global shipping methods.

Recommended methods include:

-    ISTA 3A - Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb. (70 kg) or Less
-    ISTA 3B - Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipments
-    ISTA 3E – Similar Packaged-Products in Unitized Loads for Truckload Shipment
-    ISTA 3F - Distribution Center to Retail Outlet Shipment 100 lb (45 kg)
-    ISTA 6-SAMSCLUB - Unitized Products for Shipment to Sam's Club
-    ISTA 6-FEDEX-A - Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb. (70 kg) or Less
-    ISTA 6-FEDEX-B - Parcel Delivery System Shipments Over 150 lb. (70 kg)


Due to the nature of the products and packaging units used at Costco retail warehouses and stores, there are a myriad of packaging design and structure requirements. Costco also suggests that packaging must be able to withstand high humidity conditions, multiple handling techniques, and withstand dynamic load shipments of over 500 miles, for example. From a testing perspective, it suggests that products  / shipping units be tested against:
-    ISTA 1A – Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
-    ISTA 1E – Integrity Testing for Unitized Loads

Home Depot

From lightbulbs, to lawn equipment, to bathroom fixtures and much more, home improvement chains like Home Depot have to consider a variety of packaging types and sizes. In addition to recommendations on the use of sustainable materials and reducing the use of other materials in packaging, Home Depot recommends the use of several ISTA packaging standards to validate that they can withstand the supply chain. 

For retail stores

-    ISTA 2 Series protocols – Partial Simulation Tests
-    ISTA 3 Series protocols – General Simulation Tests

For eCommerce

-    ISTA 3 Series standards – General Simulation Tests
-    ISTA 6 Amazon standards – Member Performance Tests

While these are a few examples, other retailers may suggest similar package testing requirements. Our team can work with you to develop the plan that both fits your packaging as well as your customer’s specific requirements.

Damage Investigations

Standard test methods have been developed and adjusted in an attempt to be a good measure for most shipping scenarios. However, standard test methods can never account for every package and every shipping scenario. Our experts have years of expertise in helping both retailers and suppliers to retailers uncover the root cause of damage in the field. 

By developing a tailored testing program, we can help you to not only find the cause of field damage, but to also provide possible solutions. Contact us today to get started. 

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