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How e-Commerce Could Reshape the Rigid Packaging Landscape

Posted on Jun 29, 2016 8:19:51 PM

Ecommerce could have a big impact on the plastics industry.

The way consumers buy things today is significantly different than it used to be. It’s not just the way buyers are shopping that is rapidly changing, but it is also the expectations with regards to how the items are packaged.

Meeting Consumer Demands

With physical stores growing at a considerably lower rate than e-commerce businesses, packaging demands have adjusted accordingly. In many cases, it is simply not enough to have just a brick and mortar business today, and therefore many businesses have adapted and created online stores as well.

Online grocery sales, for example, are growing at much higher rate than in-store grocery sales. Although the concept has been around for some time, the market has been growing rapidly in the past few years. In fact, Brick Meets Click, a grocery retail consultancy, predicts that by the year 2023, “online grocery spending will reach as high as 17%.”

Competitive Packaging

In order to stay competitive in today’s packaging market, today’s packagers must meet and exceed consumer demands and expectations. They must therefore consider the following when designing packaging for e-commerce products:

  • Durability & Flexibility
  • Presentation & Protection
  • Speed of Delivery
  • Size & Sustainability

Durability & Flexibility

With the ability to order just about anything online from just about anywhere in the world, today’s consumers naturally pay a lot more attention to how products arrive. Of course they expect their products to arrive well-preserved and to be presented in an aesthetically pleasing way.

A study performed by The Freedonia Group, “Protective Packaging,” indicates that, “demand for protective packaging in the U.S. will grow 4.9% per year to $6.8 billion by 2019.”  Flexible and protective items such as bubble wrap, protective mailers, air pillows, etc., are among the most popular due to their affordability and versatility.

Presentation & Protection

Because so much shopping is now done online, packaging must not only provide well-branded messaging and a simple means of presenting an item in the most effective way. It must also provide a durable means of transporting the item to the consumer, and it must account for any and all types of travel hazards that may occur.

Speed of Delivery

Among top concerns of consumers when ordering items online is the speed of delivery. However, if an item arrives on time, but in damaged packaging, then the speed of delivery becomes less important. Fast shipping is important, but not at the expense of product protection.

Size & Sustainability

Packaging that is sized according to the relative size of the product being shipped is often the best solution for consumer packaging. It saves money for both the retailer and the consumer, and decreases the risk of product damage during shipping.

In addition to packagers being conscious of the size of the packaging they design, sustainability is also a top concern for consumers. Because of this, packaging made from bio-based plastics continues to be a popular packaging method.

Flexible packaging options have become more popular than rigid packaging with consumers, especially in the case of food and produce delivery, which dominates the packaging market. Because consumers are driving packaging demands more so than retailers today, packaging solutions will need to follow suit in order to stay competitive.

To give your sales team a leg up in a market that continues to shift with technology and sustainability demands, be sure to check out our new ebook — The Quick Guide to Plastics for The Packaging Industry.

Topics: plastics

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