August 19th, 2020
E-commerce packaging plays a vital role in your online business. On a basic level, the packaging protects your products throughout the shipping process. Here are some tips and tricks to save money, time, and the environment all while growing your brand and online business.
Why Develop Custom Packaging for Specific Products for Your Brand?
Every online business knows that customer acquisition is expensive. The last thing we want is negative customer experience. Building a custom package for each of your products serves you and your customers in the following ways:
Reduce Damages in Shipping: Develop a packaging line that serves your top-selling products. The last thing any retailer wants is to get a new customer, and then have them return their purchases because they arrived damaged. These situations snowball and inflate costs, as you have to pay for the fulfillment of the products, freight charges, product cost, the administrative and customer service resources spent on customer retention.
Promote Your Brand: Your shipping materials are an extension of your online or brick-and-mortar store. Let that reflect back in your branded packaging and use this as a tool to market your products and brand story.
Excessive Freight Charges: A lot of online brands and businesses absorb a portion of freight charges to support their customers and encourage them to buy. Poorly designed and bulky packaging results in higher freight costs because rates are decided by weight and dimensions. By building your packaging to suit your company, you save with every transaction.
Why choose SUSTAINABLE E-COMMERCE PACKAGING? The packaging lifecycle has various phases, from the extraction of raw materials to production, transportation, usage and end of the life cycle. Each phase in the cycle has an impact on the environment, whether it be waste to landfills or carbon. Eco-friendly packaging for both in-store and online offers solutions to reduce the overall carbon emissions of your business.
Isn’t Sustainable Packaging More Expensive? Packaging material costs aren’t the only contributing factor to packaging expenses. By taking a holistic approach to cost savings, your business will identify ways to improve the packaging process without compromising on quality.
Less is more
This one is pretty straightforward. By using the wrong size box or packaging, you:
- Risk damaging your product, as it will bump against the walls or can get crushed
- Need to use more filler material to protect your product, which creates more waste
- Pay more for shipping.
To avoid this, choose packaging with dimensions best suited to your product. That doesn’t necessarily mean opting for custom-made packaging, but do consider the size of the product you’re sending and choose the smallest box or mailer that the product can fit safely inside. Ensure your product fits nice and snug to avoid breakage or damage and, if you need a filler, use it in moderation.
Too much packaging or the wrong sized box and your customer might ask:
- Has this shop taken enough care packaging my product?
- Is all this packaging necessary?
- What can I recycle?
A huge cardboard box stuffed with useless paper doesn’t just cost more to send and create more waste, it can reflect badly on your brand. By using packaging with dimensions adapted to your product, you’ll communicate your values as a brand that cares about the environment, your products will be more secure, you’ll have fewer returns of broken products, and you’ll do good for the planet. All wins.
Filling the void
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to an industry’s impact is packaging materials and accessories. The cradle-to-cradle concept needs to consider the shipping of a product from the producer, through the retailer, and onto the consumer—a process that often involves significant quantities of expensive packaging materials. This has led to a wave of innovative new eco-friendly alternatives to traditional packaging materials. From recyclable plastics to biodegradable containers, there is seemingly no end to the options available to the environmentally-conscious business.
Biodegradable Packing Peanuts (Recycled Cork)
- Styrofoam has been a standard in loose-fill packaging for fragile or otherwise sensitive items, helping to prevent movement and cushion against shocks. For businesses looking for the closest thing to this packaging classic, biodegradable air peanuts are now available to replace them. These work in the same way as their Styrofoam brethren, but they do not linger for eternity polluting the environment.
Corrugated Bubble Wrap
- We are all familiar with bubble wrap packaging, that favourite of kids which helps to protect fragile items during shipping. However, it is not the eco-friendliest. The good news is that several alternatives to it exist! One alternative is a wrap made of up-cycled corrugated cardboard. Rather than disposing of or recycling post-consumer cardboard waste, it gets a chance at another life as a cushioning material! Small cuts are made in it to produce a concertina-type effect that protects against shocks just as bubble wrap does. The only downside is that you don’t get the satisfaction of popping the bubbles afterward!
Inflatable air pillows
- Inflatable air pillows are another great eco- and cost-effective alternative to Styrofoam or bubble wrap. Available in a variety of sizes, they are ideal for filling voids in boxes or providing cushioning around packed items. They are small bags, which can be inflated, and therefore, when used as packaging, consist primarily of air.
Whether we’re talking about primary packaging (the one surrounding the product), packaging intended for displaying on shop shelves or packaging used for shipping products, you can reduce waste by making the packaging reusable.
Use your creativity here – if you knit children’s jumpers, maybe you could design a paper bag that somehow turns into a clothes hanger, or perhaps you could design a shipping box that also works as a pen pot or vase for paper flowers? Or if you sell handmade skincare, bath and beauty products or hand-poured candles, could you encourage your customers to return their bottles and jars for a reduced-price refill? Be creative! For instance, Monday’s Child, a British clothing brand aimed at children, has designed a box that not only acts as a parcel but also as a toy.
Compostable packaging degrades under specific conditions of temperature, oxygen, humidity, the presence of microorganisms and, above all, suitable equipment. Depending on its composition, packaging can be composted:
- At home, in a compost bin (most often in the garden) with bio-waste, like kitchen and green waste
- An industrial composting plant, where temperatures reach 70° C
Compostable is always biodegradable, but the inverse isn’t always true. One thing is certain, like any packaging, compostable or biodegradable packaging shouldn’t be thrown in nature: it doesn’t degrade in the same way in all environments – and while waiting to deteriorate, it could have a negative impact on biodiversity. So if you choose to go with compostable packagings, like compostable mailer bags, be sure to include instructions so your customer knows what to do with it.
Optimizing efficient ways to ship
The shipping method you choose has a large effect on the environmental impact of sending that shipment. Even if you’re shipping individual packages, you can still reduce the impact.
- Choose ground shipping: In general, “slower” ground shipping is cleaner than other transport modes (such as Overnight Air).
- Analyze your shipping history: Analyzing your shipping history will likely reveal times when shipping ground would have got the package to its destination just as quickly as air. As a further benefit, not only is groundless environmentally harmful, it’s also usually cheaper.
- Use logistics technology: Logistics technology can enable you to make the best choice each time. Companies that make more sustainable shipping and packaging choices will reap a dual benefit: less impact on the environment — and less impact on their bottom line.
- Research your third-party shipper: Find out which suppliers are putting the environment first. The carbon emissions from shipping are on the rise, but the good news is there areThe good news is that the cargo shipping industry is trying to green up its act, and we can do our part by supporting businesses that are trying to lower their carbon footprint.
Tell your brand story
Your packaging can not only be a vehicle for your product delivery but for your brand message, as well.
- Promote your brand: Rather than waste an opportunity, have your custom packaging express your brand story. Your packaging is an extension of your online or brick and mortar store, make sure it reflects that.
- Align your brand with your customers: Consumers will be more likely to buy into a brand because of shared values. It pays to make those values self-evident. This is a great opportunity to communicate to your customer that being eco-friendly and sustainable is not only apart of your look, but it is an overall state of being!