Global e-commerce is still booming – and this has a definite knock-on effect on packaging demand and production. In 2018, the European packaging market was worth 195 billion dollars. A figure that experts estimate will grow to 214 billion dollars as early as 2023.
Alongside this, we can see a clear trend towards customers becoming more environmentally and quality conscious. Expectations of the products, packaging, and the quality of the overall shopping experience are higher than ever, creating both great challenges and commercial opportunities for your webshop and brand.
Take a look at this article, in which we focus on how you can optimise the shopping experience with environmentally friendly packaging solutions – throughout the entire customer journey. This may well be the key to your personal e-commerce success.
Increasing demand for environmentally sound and user-friendly quality packaging
The European e-commerce market is evolving rapidly, with concrete figures provided by PostNord in their 2019 report:
- 286 million European consumers shopped online
- 235 billion is spent online according to European consumers’ own estimates
- 217 million European consumers shop online abroad.
The numbers speak for themselves: Consumers are doing more and more online shopping, and competition is extremely high. Therefore, to differentiate themselves and achieve sales success, retailers must constantly innovate and adapt – not least when it comes to packaging.
More specifically, this means adapting to the stricter demands of discerning consumers in terms of packaging performance and values, including:
- Environmental friendliness
- Look and feel.
As such, consumers expect environmentally friendly shopping options, supply and product security, as well as a high-end purchasing and unboxing experience. And there is huge potential to be found in meeting these expectations – both on your webshop and with physical package delivery.
Environmentally-friendly packaging provides an overall experience that influences the purchasing decision
Today, packaging is a long way from being limited to just wrapping material. It is an integral part of a wider overall experience, which has a direct impact on your sales and brand. A March 2019 study conducted by GlobalWebIndex among UK and US consumers found that:
- 42 % consider sustainable product materials to be important in relation to their everyday purchases.
- 60 % are likely to switch from their current brand to a more environmentally friendly alternative
- 64 % consider recyclability as the most important packaging feature.
The trend is further supported by a general rise in the number of consumers willing to pay more for sustainable products. From 2011 to 2018, this number has risen from 49 % to as much as 57 %.
Interest in sustainable products is growing over time. % of global internet users who say they would pay more for sustainable/eco-friendly products. GlobalWebIndex (2019): Sustainable Packaging Unwrapped.
In other words, you can take advantage of environmentally friendly packaging to influence the brand preferences and purchasing decisions of consumers. And we’re not just talking about the initial awareness phase, but throughout the entire customer journey – from the first webshop visit to receiving the package.
How? Let’s take a closer look.
10 tips to optimise the purchasing experience – from webshop to end-user
Environmentally friendly, durable, user-friendly packaging of a good quality with aesthetic appeal doesn’t come for free and undeniably requires a degree of investment. On the other hand, it’s often an excellent investment that is both cost-effective and pays for itself (many times over) in the longer term.
With proper management, a packaging solution can create a positive ripple effect, spreading across every stage of the customer journey. This effect ideally results in returning customers and additional sales.
Unfortunately, there is no single definitive recipe for success. Nevertheless, we’ve put together a number of great tips to help you get started.
Here you go!
- Think of sustainable packaging materials that are easy for consumers to dispose of or recycle.
- Invest in high-quality packaging that ensures great durability, wear-resistance and robustness to avoid product damage during transport.
- Communicate your brand clearly on the packaging through print, colours, logos and the like.
- Use secondary packaging for product protection, with the primary packaging serving as a “showcase” for your branding. The look and feel of the package should make the recipient feel that they are receiving a beautifully wrapped gift.
- Highlight your environmentally friendly profile on the packaging, where appropriate, for example with the use of environmental certifications.
- Make your visual brand identity consistent across your packaging, webshop and other platforms.
- Try to give your consumers an experience of being “in-store” when they are navigating your webshop.
- Think of simple and effective packaging designs that minimise the use of material and fillers, and that can be easily unpackaged.
- Try to give consumers something “extra”, unexpected, and memorable. This increases the likelihood of a repeat purchase.
- Always guarantee optimal customer service in the form of fast delivery and possibly free shipping and return policies.
With the above 10 tips for packaging development and management, you are ready to optimise your customer’s shopping experience; both on your webshop and during package delivery.
Good luck with the work ahead!
Smithers Pira og Packaging Europe (rapport, 2018) The European Packaging Competitive Landscape: https://www.smitherspira.com/news/2018/december/smithers-pira-launches-new-european-packaging-land
PostNord (2018): E-commerce in Europe 2019.
GlobalWebIndex (marts 2019) Sustainable Packaging Unwrapped: https://www.globalwebindex.com/reports/sustainable-packaging-unwrapped?hs_preview=zcRgVNdX-8786681062