The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The time when most consumers are earnestly focused on fulfilling the wishes and desires of those they love the most. During the holiday season, e-commerce and order fulfillment become more important than ever, as the delivery of an item can make or break holiday experiences. In a recent survey conducted by Sealed Air, the importance and implications of the online shopping and delivery experience were brought to light.
The rise of e-commerce is presenting an array of new challenges and opportunities for elevating the customer experience during online ordering. Eighty-seven percent of Americans purchased items online last year. Those consumers are increasingly holding retailers to higher standards regarding the quality of each purchase and the role that packaging plays in ensuring products meet consumer expectations.
For example, 66% of Americans believe the packaging of their shipment shows how much the retailer cares about the customer and their order. Almost 50% think packaging represents the value of the shipment and 34% of customers think the type and amount of packaging materials used represent the retailer’s environmental policies and commitments.
In addition to what packaging represents to the consumer, how it protects the shipment is critical. More than a quarter of Americans have received a broken or damaged product from an online order and 59% believe both the retailer and package carrier are responsible for the damage. Regardless of reason, retailers pay a heavy price for damaged merchandise. Fifty-eight percent of Americans say their perception of the retailer is affected based on a damaged or broken order. Almost 40% would consider a competitor before purchasing from the retailer again and 20% say they’ll never use that retailer again.
If the findings of this survey tell us anything, it’s that packaging’s role is crucial, to the shipper, the consumer and the environment. Without proper packaging, your gift won’t arrive in the condition you expect, and you’ll likely have to purchase more packaging to return it to the merchant. Product returns mean more trucks on the road for that second trip back to the manufacturer. Justice Design Group, a manufacturer of custom light fixtures, quickly realized the importance of packaging for their products. Given the challenges of shipping its unique custom made lighting fixtures, Justice Design Group found that effective packaging that reduces breakage and therefore unnecessary returns, rebuilding and reshipping, is among its most valuable assets. Working with Sealed Air, Justice Design Group was able to transition to PakNatural Loose Fill and is thrilled with the sustainability results to date. “Sealed Air’s PakNatural™ Loose Fill is an affordable, sustainable material that can help keep our costs down by maintaining low claims rates and reducing the weight of our shipments. And the fact that the product is environmentally sustainable is increasingly important to many of the architects and designers we work with,” said, Brandon Levin, president of Justice Design Group and grandson to the company’s founder.
Going beyond the customer experience and product presentation and protection, Sealed Air is also making it more efficient and economical for merchants and brands to ship their products. Speaking recently with Fox Business News, Sealed Air Product Care President Ken Chrisman explained the opportunity presented by recent rate hikes in the industry. “We’re still in the stone age of e-commerce. Customers still use one type of package to ship. Now we’re matching items to packaging,” Chrisman said. “We’re still in the very early stages of modernizing e-commerce fulfillment, and we’re seeing great receptivity to speeding up fulfillment or reducing packaging.” Sealed Air’s e-Cube box sizing system, which sizes packaging to match its contents, is just one of many innovations the company offers to help optimize both shipping and storage space for manufacturers and shippers alike.
This holiday season, as consumers and merchants face the last rush to the finish line, take a moment to notice the packaging your gift arrived in. Perhaps it’s one of the new innovations created to bring a smile to your recipient’s face and reduce the impact on the environment at the same time.