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Ecommerce packaging often refers to packaging that is used to ship products directly to customers. With the e-commerce industry growing due to Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns, which has enforced online buying and shopping and increased trend. This has led to a progression from retail stores transitioning to online stores to save on costs, shipping boxes are now becoming a vital part of the unboxing experience for most consumers. Packaging has become just as important as the product in delivering a first impression.
E-commerce currently makes up almost 9.5% of all retail purchases worldwide. This figure is estimated to double by 2025. With an increasing growth, it is imperative that sellers are able to leave a lasting impression in the minds of their customers. This is where packaging comes into play.
Packaging and infill can impact your bottom line in another way: returns. A well-packed order will arrive in perfect condition. E-Commerce packaging that cannot survive the delivery process will lead to damaged goods and disappointed customers. A package design can enhance your customer’s experience and improve your profitability. It is essential to understand your options so you can make the best choice for your business.
Many consumers have become more environmentally conscious and make some purchase decisions based on a company being eco-friendly. Choosing such options for your packaging has the potential to impact that first sale. They may also play a role in any follow-up purchases, either people enjoying your eco-friendly packaging.
Damage prevention is one of the key roles of packaging. Ninety percent of global consumers believe packaging plays an important role in ensuring product safety. Fifty-eight percent of Americans say that their relationship with an e-retailer would be impacted if they received a damaged product.15 A Stella Services study indicates that 7-10% of e-commerce packages arrive to consumers with some damage.
Packaging over the last decade within e-commerce has increased in most global markets and e-commerce growth rates show no signs of slowing down. Entertainment products such as music, books and video games are by far the most popular online purchases while online buying of groceries, for example, lags behind because most consumers still prefer the in-store shopping experience over the online one.
During the online checkout process, there are primarily two types of packaging offered: predefined standard packaging and, in some cases, a gift-wrapping alternative. However, some retailers are opting to take the branding experience a step further through the use of packaging options for online purchases.
Predefined packaging solution, consisting of a premium box sealed with a ribbon in which the product is wrapped in tissue paper; the premium box is then placed in a plain brown corrugated cardboard box for transportation. The premium box is designed to suit the demands of the target group. However, some customers may find this packaging extravagant and, therefore, a plain brown box without any unnecessary inner packaging is offered as an alternative.
Adoption of new packaging optimization tools, materials, and handling technologies will significantly boost efficiency and productivity. In addition, the broader adoption of IoT technologies at the parcel level will make packaging smarter and more connected. That in turn, will drive changes in the operation of supply chains and logistics processes. It will also deliver benefits in terms of better capacity utilization, sustainability, and customer experience.
Asia-Pacific countries are the largest consumers of packaging, accounting for 44% of the world total. That position reflects both the region’s large population, with its significant domestic markets, and its role as a manufacturing centre supplying the rest of the world. North America and Western Europe take second and third places, accounting for 23% and 19% respectively.
E-commerce retailers have encouraged the development of packaging designs that prioritize access with minimal effort. Amazon’s packaging certification guidelines are made in such a manner so as to promote the concept of ‘frustration-free packaging’, which requires packages to be easily accessible, recyclable, and designed to minimize waste. The company says that, since it began the program in 2008, its packaging guidelines have removed 180,000 tons of packaging, including 307 million boxes, from the supply chain.
The Market of E Commerce Packaging can be segmented into following categories for further analysis.
Packaging has been usually maintained outside of the ‘circular economy’ because plastic has a very linear pattern of use; it gets produced, used (often only once) and then disposed of. This is what makes its environmental impact so devastating. This is not only a matter of taste and trends; a sustainable approach to packaging is becoming increasingly regulated. Stakeholders, such as consumers, institutions, municipalities, and NGO’s, are pushing to develop a circular economy, examining sustainability throughout the packaging lifecycle, which has a significant impact on E-commerce.
The solution of sealed air based stealth wrap has been the newest technology wherein the solution involves avoidance common use of a box within a box. They utilize a thin film to conceal and protect the product which can be labelled with the proper shipment information and allows a large reduction of space and a significant reduction of material waste. The process of wrapping is almost 20 times faster so there is a cost reduction in productivity and labour.
Traditional packaging materials mainly include paper, plastic, glass, iron products, etc., while green packaging materials mainly refer to good performance or function, low pollution to ecological environment, easy degradation, easy recycling, high recycling efficiency or energy. Materials that are effectively recycled and do not cause harm to the human body. Whether the packaging is “green” or not, the key point is whether the packaging material is recyclable and degradable.
In recent years, many companies have made breakthroughs in packaging materials and developed degradable plastic, aluminium and other materials packaging. One tears to launch a green bag Nbag that is green and cost-effective. The biggest difference with traditional plastic bags is that the new products use biological materials, and 30% plant starch replaces some PE plastics, with a light corn flavour and lubricious touch: in terms of quality, its heat seal strength, right angle tear, puncture strength,
The tensile strength and other properties are significantly better than the national standard and toxic black bags; in terms of breakage rate, it is significantly lower than the ordinary courier bag at 6% to 11%. There has always been an over-packaging problem in e-commerce logistics. In order to prevent violent sorting in the process of logistics distribution, e-commerce parcels are often wrapped with a large amount of tape, which wastes materials and is difficult to unpack, which brings difficulties in recycling cartons.
Due to the lack of standard specifications, e-commerce parcels are often used. Packing boxes contain small items, often need to add fillers; many small appliances in the distribution often add a layer of e-commerce distribution packaging on the product packaging, bringing a lot of waste; due to plastic bags, cartons, foam fillings, etc. Reduced packaging is promising, product packaging and e-commerce packaging combined, using smart logistics technology, not only can achieve reduced packaging, but also can achieve product fidelity through packaging; promote electronic waybill, not only reduce paper waste, but also protect customer privacy.
In the recent year, there has been an extensive competition being noticed in the research and development of the required packaging improvisation to comply with the environmental standards and basic SOP of Packaging the commodity as required by categorisations.
In recent years, DHL Supply Chain and Accenture collaborated on a blockchain based serialization system to improve quality and compliance in healthcare supply-based E Commerce products. It immutably links shipment information by matching a product with its packaging, location, and condition.
Recognizing the importance of such connections, major brands are investing heavily in the details of packaging design and experience. Some are also using packaging to deliver additional value to their consumers, for example through the use of QR codes or NFC chips that unlock offers, information, or content on a user’s smartphone. New barcodes such as the one from Digi marc even makes those connecting moments seamlessly convenient by invisibly encoding information over the entire packaging surface.
Specific to regional packaging standards, the E-Commerce industry serving the grocery requirements in Europe are generally packed in paper or plastic bags while in China groceries are packed in cardboard or Styrofoam boxes. To protect fragile and perishable items, air fillers and additional protective packaging to keep foods chilled and fresh are used.
Sutherland Packaging has come up with a technology that helps companies to make the most of their ecommerce packaging. The company has developed a way to print directly onto large or small-scale corrugated units. This eliminates the need for lithographic label printing and saves costs and time in the process. It is also environmentally friendly since direct print on carton is fully recyclable, according to the company.
The key players of global retail e-commerce packaging market are
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