In 2017, almost half of the world’s population is connected, or has access to the internet. Online purchasing accounts for roughly $1.3 trillion of the $22 trillion global retail market, and continues to rise by double digits each year, while traditional brick and mortar retailers and department stores have slumped.
Brands must now find new ways to stay connected with consumers. Traditionally, packaging was designed not only to protect the product during transport, but to capture the consumers’ attention as they navigated the store aisles amidst a sea of competing products. With the sudden rise in online shopping and e-commerce, the consumer is now attracted to the product through search engines, consumer reports, and product reviews. They make informed decisions, click to pay, and have the product delivered to their doorstep.
Typically, what is inside the shipping box is the same package that was created and designed to function on the store shelf. Sometimes it is packed with paper stuffed into the dead space of the shipping carton, sometimes it is secured with air pillows or bubble wrap, and sometimes it is just a box sliding around inside another box. Overall, the experience leaves something to be desired. More often than not, the consumers’ first and only thought is not of their satisfaction with the purchase, but to examine the product to see if it is undamaged.
Brands want to ensure that the loyalty of the consumer remains intact during the e-commerce distribution chain, and often struggle with changing their traditional packaging to accommodate the requirements that shipping can necessitate. The time is right for a change, and the most successful brands have begun to look at these challenges as new opportunities to create new and exciting consumer experiences.
We at the Metsä Board Packaging Analysis and Design team have found several opportunities to help our brand owner customers identify the optimal, light-weight materials for their packaging. In addition, we have innovated completely new packaging structures that stand up to the requirements of shipping, while providing unique and satisfying consumer experiences that strengthen the value of the brand.
We are further reducing the weight of packaging and doing better with less, both through material optimisation, and by designing creative, structural reductions. Finally, we utilise the excellent print capability of our paperboards to facilitate the printing of our impactful graphics designed to promote the brand, while celebrating the consumer's online purchasing decision.
So, the consumer of tomorrow is already here today, purchasing products online. Let's not use yesterday's packaging, but together create a new consumer experience that will continue to develop your sales in the future.
Technical marketing & services director, Metsä Board Americas