The Online Packaging Challenge

by Todd McDonald on July 10, 2013

Whether you have just bought a new chew toy for Fido, a birthday gift for your nephew, or even a new pair of shoes for yourself, once you click that “Submit Order” button, there is often great anticipation in awaiting the arrival of your package on your doorstep.

With online shopping, what happens when you bring that box inside, carefully open it, and pull out your treasures is a critical part of your shopping experience – and one that can be greatly influenced by packaging.

As Elizabeth Holmes so eloquently put it in her 2011 Wall Street Journal article, “Boxing Up Shopping’s Magic Moment,” “Unlike in stores, shoppers on the Web need to be wowed twice, first when they are browsing around the site and again when the purchase lands on their doorstep.”

While product protection during deliver is clearly an essential factor of a successful online retail shopping experience, there are many others to consider – from the functional benefits of the secondary packaging (such as ease of opening) to the role of packaging in combating illegitimate products to the how packaging can enhance the presentation of the product itself.

Put another way, primary and secondary packaging need to work together to help products survive the perils of shipment while also helping to please and delight consumers when they arrive.

While there are many challenges this can present, one in particular was highlighted in Eric DesRoberts’ recent Packaging Digest article “Is Online Shopping Changing the Face of Packaging?” – the fact that for shipments that require secondary packaging, there may be a tendency to “over-package as a result of unique online shopping baskets” – a problem for both a sustainability and a customer satisfaction perspective. (No one wants to get a box of collar stays shipped in a box better suited for a basketball!)

DesRoberts goes on the describe how Staples and Packsize are currently working together to address this concern with their “Smart-size” packaging efforts to produce on-demand custom-fit delivery boxes.

At TEQ, we believe a similar concept can be applied to trays for medical packaging, which is why we are developing a stock size tray program that will help our medical customers better match tray sizes with products, without a great deal of additional cost. By working with our partners to identify and create existing tooling for the most common sizes required for medical packaging we will be able to offer our customers trays that are sized for their specific products, but also reduce the lead times, costs and hassle often associated with developing custom tooling.

What about you? Can the solutions being developed to meet the challenges of online packaging be extended to your business?

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