Ecommerce Packaging in the Digital Age

ecommerce packaging QR code scan feature

With the opportunity for so much online revenue at stake, it’s critical to delight consumers with optimized ecommerce packaging that delivers products without damage. Packaging enhancements need to go beyond functionality, using materials that can be reused or recycled. This is good for the business and the environment, and increasingly attractive to consumers.

Retail is a 24/7, always-on industry, with fashion and beauty commanding a large part of the ecommerce market. The popularity of social media and user-generated content have made them powerful tools, providing a platform for discovery, customer engagement and brand building. This is especially true in fashion and personal care, where styling tips and personalized suggestions encourage product trial.

Read on to discover how ecommerce packaging not only addresses consumer preferences and builds brand loyalty, but also takes advantage of technology platforms that attract and connect with consumers.

Packaging Innovation

The digital age has spurred innovation in ecommerce packaging, with businesses exploring new materials, designs and technologies. The focus is on optimizing for efficiency, sustainability and customer experience. This can include lightweight materials that reduce shipping costs, packaging designs that minimize waste, curbside recyclability and innovative solutions that improve product protection.

Consistency in packaging also is important because it helps ensure that products arrive safely and in good condition, in the right-sized package. It also helps to build customer trust.

Personalized Experiences with Connected Packaging

Ecommerce packaging is not just about functionality but is also a branding and marketing tool, creating a memorable, differentiated image. This can include unique designs that mimic the retail experience and creative concepts that reinforce the brand identity. With all the advancements in digital printing, it’s easier and more affordable to include personalized content with each package.

Smart solutions incorporate technology to enhance the functionality and convenience of ecommerce packaging. This includes scannable codes to share brand or product content, interactive experiences, coupons, recipes, videos and complementary recommendations.

You can cross-sell or upsell, encouraging repeat purchases and building a strong, long-lasting connection with the consumer. In addition, you can tap into the popularity of beauty and fashion influencers, incorporating links to their product recommendations or styling suggestions.

Unique tracking codes also provide added security when combined with cloud computing technology, ensuring the product is authentic and eliminating fraud before it becomes a problem.

Returns Made Easier with Proper Packaging

Shoppers are more dependent on easy returns, often buy multiple items online and keeping one, a practice known as “bracketing.” How easy or difficult retailers make the return process can determine whether these relationships will succeed or fail.

One of the best ways to ensure customer confidence is the ease in which the delivery method can also become the return method. Most ecommerce shoppers seek reusable packaging that can quickly be resealed and returned. Tear strips and self-adhesive closures greatly aid in the return process. Providing clear, concise return policy information is another effective way to exceed consumer expectations.

Packaging that easily integrates reverse logistics not only helps with retention but minimizes shipping costs, eliminates complexity and streamlines operations.

Enhanced Packaging for Subscription Services

Subscription-based ecommerce services in beauty and fashion are becoming popular among consumers looking for convenience and time savings. It also provides brands with a way to keep consumers coming back for more, while providing dependable recurring revenue. This makes it even more important to ensure a good delivery experience every time.

Packaging for subscription services can include custom inserts, high-quality materials, fun and engaging graphics or messaging and personalized notes, encouraging interest in purchasing additional products or services.

Packaging Automation

Automation technologies in ecommerce packaging improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. Solutions such as automated packing machines and systems optimize processes, reduce labor costs and improve packaging consistency.

These technologies also reduce waste and lower costs by using the right amount of materials for each package, optimizing box sizes, and reducing void fill.

Sustainable Packaging

Ecommerce businesses are increasingly adopting sustainable packaging practices as interest in it grows. This includes preventing damage, using eco-friendly materials, reducing package weight and optimizing dimensions to lower shipping costs and emissions.

Many consumers now prioritize eco-friendly packaging. Companies are responding by using recycled or recyclable materials, biodegradable or compostable packaging and reducing excessive packaging. Being mindful of sustainable packaging is critical for a brand’s reputation, as just one negative customer experience shared socially can have lasting repercussions.

New digital packaging technologies also enable brands to tell their sustainability story and provide information on reusing or recycling packing materials simply by scanning a QR code.

Overall, consumers are expecting more from packages. Using advanced printing and packaging technologies, you can meet customer expectations with products that arrive intact, address sustainability concerns and include personalized content.

Investing in digital packaging lets you stay ahead of the pack by maximizing supply chain efficiency, elevating your brand with a more innovative, personalized opening experience.

Tiffani Burt is Executive Director of Sustainability, Graphics and Smart Packaging at See (formerly Sealed Air Corp.)