Packaging industry insights

Are you using too much packaging?

[fa icon="calendar"] Aug 31, 2017 3:41:39 PM / by Andrew Smedley


If you haven’t already come across the phenomenon of ‘unboxing’ chances are that sooner or later you will. What started out as information videos showing consumers what to expect when they unpacked their new purchase (usually a tech product) from its box has become a way for consumers to praise or disgrace online retailers.

Packaging materials - header image.jpg

While more and more online retailers are focusing efforts on creating unboxing experiences to enhance the purchasing experience, there are many who are still getting it wrong.

There are many factors that might contribute to a poor unboxing experience, such as the contents arriving broken, incomplete or just plain wrong. But an aspect that is getting increasing amounts of attention is the over use of packaging. A quick search on Twitter, using #toomuchpackaging reveals some interesting instances: 

An extreme example of this is a customer who received a 24-piece crockery set packed in 48 boxes – each piece was packed in two boxes, and still five pieces arrived broken. The customer responded by posting a photo of the piles of boxes on Twitter – where national news publications picked it up.


Tesco_packaging_mistake.jpg
As more and more purchases are made online, packaging will increasingly be put under the spotlight. Using more packaging than necessary carries the following implications that can damage your brand and/or your profits:

1. Disposal of packaging
The reality is that most people have a recycling bin that is collected once a fortnight. A consumer is not going to feel a sense of delight with their new purchase if they are left with the headache of wondering what to do with lots of packaging materials once they have unboxed their purchase.

2. Environmental issues
Using too much packaging or the wrong type of packaging also raises environmental concerns, for example void-filling boxes with products that aren’t biodegradable or cannot be recycled easily; even if packaging is environmentally-friendly, using too much of it is wasteful and can be interpreted as having a disregard of environmental issues.

3. Your bottom line
Using more packaging than is necessary will affect your profits in many ways, from the cost of packaging materials to warehouse storage and staff inefficiency.

If you haven’t reviewed your packaging materials or process for a while then now might be a good time, and will help to ensure you don’t make the kind of mistakes highlighted above. You might be surprised by the improvements you can make, not only to your customers’ experience and possible impact on the environment, but to your bottom line, too. Here are some ideas for you to explore:

1. Look for smarter ways to pack
For multiple product orders, you can reduce packaging by minimising the number of boxes used. Keep products separated using dividers that incorporate cushioning or opt for single unit packaging designs like retention packs; as well as being time-efficient, space-efficient and cost-efficient, it creates a better experience for the consumer, too.

Consider box sizes
Depending upon how many different products you need to pack, think about having a variety of box sizes available for your packers. By better matching the size of the packaging to the product to be packed, you can reduce both the amount of outer packaging and void-fill required.

Introduce an automated box-sizing machine
For busy packaging operations it may be worth investing in an automated box-sizing machine, such as I-Pack corrugated automated packaging system. Antalis customer, The Book People saved 50% in packaging materials and reduced their packaging storage by 100 pallets when they introduced I-Pack to their process - Read their success story.

Bespoke solutions
Tailoring your packaging to perfectly fit your product not only promotes less waste, but is also a more protective and efficient way to transport your goods.

So, before you too make the headlines for all the wrong reasons, consider whether you might be using too much packaging in your operations.

Why not take advantage of our free packaging assessment? One of our packaging specialists will review all aspects of your packaging operation and devise a personalised plan to make sure you have the optimum packaging solutions in place.


Get a free packaging assessment

Topics: Retail packaging, Protecting your brand, customer experience

Andrew Smedley

Written by Andrew Smedley

Comments

Our experts share what’s new in the world of packaging materials, design and technology.