Challenges in online retail pick and pack process

Published 26 April 2018
How does online retail differ from traditional retail when it comes to packaging? In this article we look into the online retail process, which the easy, fast and convenient way of shopping for today’s people with a hectic lifestyle. E-tailers are however often struggling with packaging.
Clothes, electronics, interior design and even food are popular online buying products nowadays, and we can get them delivered straight to our homes. This puts greater demands on e-tailers compared to owners of physical stores, including that packaging becomes more important. As many e-tailers are startups going from practically nothing to large volumes in a very short time period, packaging is typically not their priority and often they use just off-the-shelve boxes.

Packaging function

Many e-tailers still often use different materials (paperboard, plastic, tape etc.) in their packaging, which is an issue for consumers. Our study shows that consumers find different packaging materials hard to recycle and it strikes with their environmentally conscious mindset. It is also common that packaging gets damaged in the opening so that it can’t be used for return, which causes frustration.

Packaging design

When we asked the e-tailers about design, they mentioned a concern about packaging that doesn’t reflect the item inside, especially when sending expensive items in cheap bags. Consumers are pointing to the same issue as 50 % of them say that packaging indicated lower quality than the ordered product. It is not making the right impression about the product and brand.

User friendly is the key

Importance of e-tail packaging is growing as the cost of packaging becomes significant and interaction with consumers is becoming a key competitive advantage. E-tailers are increasingly starting to realize how important good packaging is to make consumers happy and ensure continued business growth. Packaging affects consumer perceptions of both product and brand. E-tailers must no longer ignore packaging but listen to consumers’ opinions to improve their business with the help of proper packaging.

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