June 2017 | Commentary | E_Commerce

Thinking Inside the Unbox

Tags: Retail, Packaging, E-commerce, Logistics, Supply Chain

Ken Chrisman, President, Product Care Division, Sealed Air Corporation, 800-648-9093

Consumers today judge businesses on many things beyond product performance. Unboxing, for example, is now part of a consumer's everyday experience. That means daily opportunities for your brand to make a positive impression.

Today, 68 percent of shoppers say they are more aware of packaging than they were five years ago, according to a Kantar Retail research study for Sealed Air. Are you using this opportunity to your advantage? Many businesses are not.

Empowered consumers expect to have their items ship fast and free. But that's not the only pressure on retailers. They're being compared on their corporate values, range of offerings, pricing on packaging appearance, and ease of returns. Nearly seven in 10 Americans say they are more conscious of packaging materials and design today than they were five years ago. Consumers are looking for turnkey purchases and packaging must follow suit.

Look Beyond the Checkout

When considering how consumers interact with your brand, it's vital to look beyond the shopping experience and into the packaging.

Consumers are more compelled to share their unboxing experiences—positive or negative—on social networks. The surprise and delight of a well-executed package can be as simple as adding customized branding and an easily re-sealable box, should the customer need to make a return or exchange.

Don't Let Your Packaging Go to Waste

Consumers are aware of the waste that ends up in their homes when items from the same order ship from multiple distribution points and thus arrive in ill-sized packages. They're even keener to know how to break down the package and dispose of it properly.

Furthermore, 77 percent of shippers responding to the Sealed Air survey say that packaging reflects a company's environmental values. If a brand's packaging doesn't reflect the company's sustainability values, customers will notice.

Companies must have an investment in ensuring that they optimize operational models for efficiency and packaging that is right-sized, easily returnable, and recyclable. By taking advantage of ship-from-store stations, companies can not only maximize efficiency, but also reduce waste and damage.

By taking these steps, shippers will use less space inside of a box, add more protective packaging materials, and properly navigate higher shipping costs stemming from the dim weight pricing models major carriers have implemented over the past two years. Retailers will also reap the benefits of more sustainable shipping practices.

Packaging for Positive Perception

With nearly one in five purchases made online, your brand's impact on your customers goes far beyond the product itself. It extends to the packaging.

Some 76 percent of shoppers responding to the Sealed Air survey say that packaging positively affects how they perceive the retailer. The unboxing experience is a prime opportunity to bring a special moment to life and leave a positive impression on consumers.

Challenge yourself to go beyond a great product and deliver an outstanding brand experience for your customers when they open your package for the first time.