The sustainability of corrugated packaging combined with its design flexibility and functionality have led to significant growth and opportunities. JULIAN FREEMAN, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Rigid Containers, explains…
From instore retail ready solutions to sophisticated e-commerce packs for home delivery, corrugated packaging has never been more relevant. Its brand-building functionality and ability to be easily recycled, allied to clever design, are helping more and more companies promote, protect and enhance their products while also satisfying the requirements for packaging sustainability.
THE POWER OF GREAT DESIGN
Packaging design is a powerful force. It creates presence and enhances the customer experience, giving a product the opportunity to stand out in a busy retail environment. With research showing that 70% of purchases are influenced by the packaging, its significance is therefore highly influential, being the first thing that consumers notice about a product and creating the on-shelf presence that influences their purchasing decisions.
In this context, corrugated packaging has moved on from its historical ‘brown box’ image and, thanks to the amazing graphics and stand-out colours that can be achieved to create shout-out branding, been transformed into a vital part of the marketing mix. At the same time, it continues to play an essential role in the retail environment from a practical perspective, particularly thanks to its protection and functionality capabilities.
It is this combination of aesthetics and practicality that has allowed manufacturers to push the boundaries of traditional corrugated packaging and produce solutions that deliver for customers on many different levels. High-end finishes, which have become much more available and cost-effective for brands, and six colour printing create an attractive appearance and premium brand image. Subtle structural changes and tweaks can add value and definition to a corrugated pack ensuring that it both looks good on-shelf and delivers significant performance benefits on the customer’s packing lines.
Integrated design departments within corrugated suppliers have been fundamental to this change, combining creativity and technical expertise in the development of new pack solutions. Our own recently-introduced Innovation Series is an excellent example of what can be achieved, delivering valuable solutions for customers and retailers alike.
A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES
Corrugated packaging has also proved to be the ideal format to meet the exponential growth of the e-commerce sector. An eye-catching printed box is an increasing part of brand awareness within the home. As shopping online cuts out the instore purchasing experience, brands and retailers are able to use corrugated packaging to find new ways to the give customers the ‘wow factor’ on delivery.
This has been driven in part by the amount of social media commentary now being generated, such as the ‘unboxing’ phenomenon seen widely on various YouTube channels that involves excited consumers unwrapping and opening packages and capturing and uploading the experience.
Corrugated e-commerce packaging is able to interact with the customer at the point of use through its design. If the box is decoratively printed inside, for example using Rigid’s inside printed transit packaging concept, it can ‘talk’ to consumers when opened, supporting brand positioning through relevant messages and graphics. This also helps brand owners and e-commerce retailers to potentially compensate for any transit damage that can occur to the outside of the box during the transportation process, by focusing attention on the design and messaging within the packaging.
However, just as in more traditional retail markets, functionality is equally as important as graphical design for the e-commerce sector. Easy-opening and easy-return are also an integral part of the user experience, delivering benefits to consumers as they can both access the product quickly and then reuse it if required.
While the e-commerce sector has in the past been criticised for over-packaging products, the latest structurally-engineered corrugated packaging designs mean much of this over-packing is now being eliminated. And as the e-commerce market continues to grow, matching the packaging as an integral part of the product is even more pertinent and all part of an effective overall solution.
PLAYING ITS PART
The demand for sustainable packaging is leading many manufacturers to look at how corrugated packaging can play an integral part of their overall packaging strategies, particularly thanks to its 100% recyclability. It is clear that by working with a manufacturer and their design teams, corrugated packaging can be created to deliver reliable, high-impact and sustainable packaging solutions for a wide variety of goods. And it is these benefits that will ensure the demand for corrugated packaging continues to grow, providing the ideal solution for both traditional retail and e-commerce goods and products.