There are many signs that packaging is struggling to meet society’s changing needs. A quick search for the hashtag #amazonpackaging throws up many more dissatisfied customers than happy ones!
Packaging has become the thing we love to hate, particularly when it's single-use plastic. The recent DHL 'Rethinking Packaging' Report identifies three major trends testing packaging design:
1. The rise of e-commerce and direct-to-consumer delivery
2. The growing need for packaging convenience and a delightful customer experience
3. Pressure to improve sustainability, reduce waste, and eliminate pollution from packaging material
It's important to remember that packaging, especially for eCommerce, plays a vital role. The same report contains a fascinating statistic; "In eCommerce, parcels are handled up to 20 times more than traditional retail" driving the need for "more robust and protective packaging".
If sustainability means compromising on packaging performance and results in damage to a parcel's contents (and therefore creates waste), very quickly any 'eco' benefits are eroded. Case in point, Patagonia who conducted an internal trial to evaluate whether or not they could eliminate polybags from their supply chain. Their testing showed that without them, 30 percent of goods were "damaged beyond the point of being sellable". compostable poly bags and can deliver them to your production facilities.
Monocle Magazine's 2020 Forecast issue asks some great questions too. Like, "Can companies still communicate their brand’s values while being more sustainable?" We say, "Hell yes"! In fact, moving to more sustainable packaging is one of the key ways to communicate that your brand walks its talk.
In fact, customised, branded packaging is not nearly as important to consumers as many brands believe. According to a 2019 global study by eCommerce engine, BigCommerce, consumers are fairly indifferent to branded packaging with 47% (Gen Z) to 61% (Seniors) of those surveyed saying that "branded packaging doesn't add or detract from my purchasing experience". An additional 14-33% went as far as to say that they would actually prefer unbranded packaging!
The other benefit to using more generic packaging is of course that the contents are less identifiable and therefore less likely to prove attractive to thieves.
Of course there are tradeoffs, but we're working hard to minimise them by providing eco-friendly packaging with a low carbon footprint that does the job as well as its plastic counterparts (if not Better ;) AND reinforces your brand values at the same time.