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Rising E-Commerce Demand and Rising Packaging Waste – What Can Marketing Leaders Do?

By Zachary Weinberg | March 25, 2020 | 0 Comments


E-commerce Demand is Surging

How many different websites have you started shopping on that you never purchased from before? 1, 2, 7, 10, more? How many more boxes have been delivered to your house or apartment this week? 1, 2, 7, 10, more? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us around the country to change our shopping habits and it’s no surprise that e-commerce and online grocery are surging as a result. According to How the COVID-19 Coronavirus Has Changed the B2C Marketing Approach in China and What Western Brands Can Learn “Chinese netizens spent 20% more time online in February 2020 than January” and we are already experiencing a similar trend here in the US.

Intelligent Packaging Design Can Reduce Costs

As home deliveries continue to grow, the proliferation of packaging waste will grow in lock-step. Marketing leaders often have limited ability to drive packaging optimization, despite the impact on margins and shipping costs.

So, as a marketing leader, what should you do?

One recommendation is for marketing leaders to partner with supply chain and packaging leaders to find efficiencies in packaging and shipping costs through the implementation of intelligent packaging design, while maintaining brand standards (see How Packaging Can Positively Impact Digital Commerce Outcomes). From a cost-savings perspective, intelligent packaging design is the optimization of the size of packaging, as well as the ratios of the outer package and inner components. Optimizing the density of product-to-package ratio will save costs in both small parcel and full pallet shipments (see “Leading Companies Focus on Packaging to Meet Consumer Demands, Address CSR and Optimize Costs”) as more product will be able to be shipped at one time.

According to The Packaging School (a licensed postsecondary institution that is the exclusive licensee of a professional packaging curriculum at Clemson University), four inputs are necessary to create a more optimized shipment:

  1. Product sizing — Dimensions of your product
  2. Ship case or carton design — Tray or carton used to ship the product
  3. Pallet configuration — Pallet patterns to help with shipping costs and optimal structure
  4. Container or truck optimization — Optimizing the way to palletize homogeneous products and planning floor spacing on trucks to help minimize cost

As marketing leaders continue to work more closely and directly with their wholesale customers, the implementation of intelligent packaging design can help deliver incremental savings. This reduction in the cost of goods ultimately allows for digital practitioners to spend more on effective marketing and selling the products on retailer websites.

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