The packaging industry is always working alongside all the other industries, responding to their needs and, most importantly, trying to predict them. Over time, professional packaging companies have adapted their products and services in order to catch up with trends such as:
- Increased international trade
- Stricter standards for hygiene and safety
- Home deliveries
- Decentralizing in manufacturing, with production facilities migrating towards Asia.
However, the biggest challenge all the industries had to face came from the internet. Online shopping made it possible for people to order products from the other side of the planet. The possibilities of choice grew beyond imagination, and so did the workload for packaging, manufacturing, and shipping companies.
The Next Frontier: Groceries Ordered Online
Electronics, books, CDs, clothes, cosmetics and latest gadgets – these used to be the most frequent types of items ordered online. But now the landscape of ecommerce is changing. People have discovered how convenient it is to place items in a digital cart with a few clicks, pay online, and receive all the items at the doorstep.
Retailers have already adapted their business model, adding an online store section to their corporate websites. Customers can opt to walk into the nearest store to pick their orders, or wait for it to be delivered at home. However, from previous online shopping experiences, they have developed a set of expectations. One of them concerns free delivery.
Packaging Specialists Need to Solve a Complex Issue
Who covers the cost of packaging materials for grocery home deliveries? Some of these products need special packaging – such as frozen food and fresh vegetables and fruit. How do can brands reinforce the relationship with a customer, when all the products are delivered packed together in a nondescript returnable container?
These are all challenges for packaging specialists to deal with. How will they develop the pricing model to keep everyone happy? What will special returnable packaging materials for home deliveries look like? And how can this type of packaging promote various brands?
There Is Still Time to Adapt
These questions are still pending, and with no definite answer. The reason for this is that consumers are not exactly in a hurry to give up in-store shopping for groceries. While other types of products are ordered almost exclusively online, when it comes to groceries consumers still want to perform a visual and touch inspection before they place an item in the cart.
However, retailers are pushing hard towards a higher percentage of online grocery shopping. Most likely, they are planning to offset delivery costs by reducing in-store personnel, and even the overall retail sale surface. A Nielsen research for the US market indicated that at the present online sales for the grocery segment amount to maximum 4.3%. By 2025, retailers hope to raise this percentage to 20%.
The future is certainly heading towards the retail model where large hypermarkets are replaced by smaller distribution hubs, with orders being delivered at the clients’ homes or picked up by them. In both cases, the packaging industry needs to come up with a sustainable model of packaging material which satisfies the specific needs of this type of product storage and delivery.
Undoubtedly, Logistic Packaging specialists will join in the efforts with other logistics and packaging professionals to develop, improve and refine the products demanded by our clients from the retail and consumer goods industries.