Shopping online – it’s a way of life. Today you can order just about anything online, from anywhere, and have it delivered to your door, often in a very short time span. This has also changed the world of logistics.
The right packaging helps companies expand online sales and boost customer loyalty
From its beginnings in the mid-1990s, the e-commerce industry has boomed and spread around the world. In 2017, an estimated 1.66 billion people worldwide purchased goods online totalling around USD 2.3 trillion in value. By 2021 e- commerce sales are projected to reach around USD 4.9 trillion worldwide.1
“Alongside this strong growth in sales, packaging for e-commerce shipments has evolved considerably in recent years, offering more options for e-retailers and greater convenience for consumers. Consumers also increasingly prefer packaging that is sustainable,” states Sara Sizer, Communication and Marketing Director, Mondi Group.
Packaging links online retailers and consumers
Whether you buy something online from a major retailer or a small business, the packaging conveys numerous messages: Has the item arrived safely? Does the packaging make a positive connection to the brand image? Is it easy to open? Can it be reused or recycled?
All of these factors and more are why packaging creates an important link between the e-commerce merchant and the consumer. A positive experience can boost brand loyalty and lead to more orders. Furthermore, online orders increase when the return process is easy and convenient for the end-consumer.2
Competition grows as retailers jump online
Armand Schoonbrood, COO of Mondi Corrugated Packaging, says, “E-commerce is taking up a larger share of the retail market. The expectations of our customers are altering simultaneously, which is why we need to understand our customers such as the needs of end- consumers. While corrugated boxes are still a mainstay, they have become far more functional and sophisticated. Therefore, we offer customised solutions made-to-fit to our customers’ individual needs.”
As e-commerce continues to expand, the competition inevitably gets tougher. Established e-commerce retailers – as well as ‘bricks-and-mortar’ companies seeking to expand by selling their goods online and even start-up companies – simply cannot afford not to optimise their e-commerce packaging. For this, Mondi is the ideal partner.
Optimal packaging for efficient fulfilment
So what makes for successful e-commerce packaging? In addition to adequate product protection and a good end user experience, efficiency factors are critical to the seller’s success. We work closely with our customers to determine what type and size of packaging will make their fulfilment process most efficient.
E-commerce shipments may vary a lot in size, even for one merchant. Schoonbrood says: “The versatility of corrugated material offers almost limitless possibilities. We help businesses choose the minimum number of packaging sizes that will give them the greatest flexibility. We also optimise packaging sizes to avoid wasteful over packaging.”
Less packaging and lightweight, even flexible, materials such as our paper MailerBAG result in lighter weight shipments – a significant cost-saving opportunity for many e-commerce retailers.
Speed of filling can also make a difference to a busy ecommerce business. For online wine merchants, we developed Mondi Vino Box® Sprint, which can safely ship up to six wine bottles separated by dividers. No additional assembly is needed for this pre-glued, one- piece box with integrated pop-up divider: it simply pops up from a flat pack, instantly ready to fill.
“Our customers benefit from easy handling in their logistic centres, likewise we provide their end consumers with a smooth and effortless online shopping experience when receiving their order,” states Schoonbrood.
E-commerce is taking up a larger share of the retail market. The expectations of our customers are altering simultaneously, which is why we need to understand our customers such as the needs of end- consumers. While corrugated boxes are still a mainstay, they have become far more functional and sophisticated. Therefore, we offer customised solutions made-to-fit to our customers’ individual needs.
More online shopping means more returns
As shopping online increasingly becomes a regular habit around the world, the volume of items returned naturally increases, requiring more effective logistics.
Germany for example, where fashion clothing, consumer media and electronics are the most popular online purchases, is known for a high rate of returns - up to 50 percent, according to some reports.3
To simplify the return process, we offer packaging solutions that can be reused to return items making returns quick and easy while at the same time reducing packaging waste.
Our Re(use) corrugated boxes and MailerBAG, for which a patent is pending, are both designed to simplify handling when people need to return goods they have purchased online.
They can simply reuse the same packaging without needing any other packaging material or even tape: the original packaging is ready to go in an instant. This convenience factor, which contributes to a frustration-free user experience, is highly valued by consumers and thus an attractive feature for our e-commerce customers.
At Mondi we focus on reducing material and energy consumption. In ten years we’ve reduced the weight of corrugated boxes by 9 per cent and paper bags by 13 per cent, compared with an industry average of 4 per cent, while increasing strength and functionality.
Adding an emotional touch
Plain brown boxes are no longer the only option for e-commerce packaging. In a competitive market, brands can and should use their packaging to convey distinctive messages such as their brand image, luxury or sustainability.
Our e-commerce solutions such as MailerBAG offer the chance of premium printing, with a great variety of colours and sophisticated graphic designs. Various colourful designs can be printed on a MailerBAG at a lower cost than printing on plastic mailers.
Corrugated boxes can be designed with premium prints on the inside of the box, not only supporting brand awareness and a pleasant opening but also avoiding theft when shipping valuables or premium goods.
Naturally, we aim for our packaging solutions to be as recyclable as possible. Recyclable paper mailers such as our MailerBAG, made of sack kraft paper, are a good alternative to non-recyclable plastic mailer bags.
The right choice for sustainable growth
Online shopping is here to stay. That means more packaging -- but preferably the right packaging that is lightweight, reusable and/or recyclable. Georg Kasperkovitz, CEO of Mondi Consumer Packaging, pointed out in a recent article for Raconteur magazine, “At Mondi we focus on reducing material and energy consumption. In ten years we’ve reduced the weight of corrugated boxes by 9 per cent and paper bags by 13 per cent, compared with an industry average of 4 per cent, while increasing strength and functionality.”
As more companies move into the e-commerce space, the demand for packaging will grow. Mondi can support them in making the right choice of packaging that not only is strong and sustainable, but can help them expand sales, build loyalty and increase the efficiency of their e-commerce business.
1 Statista 2018: https://www.statista.com/statistics/379046/worldwide-retail-e-commerce-sales/
2 Invespcro 2018: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/ecommerce-product-return-rate-statistics/