These days, consumers are more concerned than ever about things like the environment and sustainability. As a result, product manufacturers and contract packaging companies are making bolder efforts to move toward sustainable packaging. Despite the fact that many experts claim you can’t have convenience and sustainability together in packaging, recent evidence suggests it’s not only possible, but it’s already happening.
E-commerce and Sustainability
Packaging is important in both retail and online businesses, but because of the amount of packaging required to safely deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps, much of the sustainable packaging movement is focused on e-commerce. Per the 2017 Consumer Trends Report, four in 10 Americans have things like groceries and cleaning supplies delivered to their homes, and nearly 20% of Americans have these items delivered directly to their doorsteps at least once each month. Because of this, the sheer amount of packaging required to protect deliveries is a top priority among those concerned about the environment, and manufacturers are taking steps to secure more sustainable packaging.
Is There a Disconnect between Sustainability and Online Shopping?
In the same 2017 Consumer Trends report, almost half of all Americans said that retailers do a poor job when it comes to choosing packaging that fits the product’s size, reduces packaging waste, or both. What’s more, 41% said they firmly believed that online stores need to use environmentally-friendly materials, whether sustainable, recyclable or otherwise, when it comes to delivery packaging. Although Amazon (and a handful of other major e-commerce leaders) have paved the way into sustainable packaging territory, others simply cannot justify sacrificing their fast and convenient shipping for sustainable packaging materials.
Things to Consider
Companies involved in e-commerce who want to satisfy their customers without sacrificing convenience need to think about two very important facets of their supply chain. The most important of these is delivery, but manufacturing plays a vital role, too. Things to consider include whether it is possible to obtain more sustainable packaging materials, whether there are alternatives that have not been identified, the best ways to achieve ideal packaging with sustainable alternatives, and how to determine whether packaging is actually sustainably produced.
Making the Switch
While it is true that sustainable packaging materials can be more difficult to source (and therefore costlier in the end), if companies can satisfy consumer demands by offering certifiably sustainable packaging, it is possible to overcome these additional costs through enhanced revenue and wider brand acceptance. Though you must offer a great product first and foremost, consumers also care about the materials used to package that material – and whether the packaging protects the product through the shipping and delivery processes.
Sustainable packaging may come at a price in terms of money, but because sustainability is such an important consideration these days, more and more manufacturers are striving to provide packaging options that offer the same convenience and functionality as traditional materials at roughly the same cost. Staying informed and learning more about available alternatives could help companies interested in making the switch do so in a way that satisfies both their budgets and their customers.
CTI is a leader in the contract packaging industry for contract packaging and fulfillment services, click here for a quote or call us at 847-968-4855