Packaging Study Discovers Improvement Potential

In online retailing, packaging not only serves to protect the goods during shipping, but is also an essential part of the customer journey for brand manufacturers. The eCommerce Competence Center of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions has conducted an unboxing check to identify current packaging trends.

In the shop, products are sometimes elaborately staged to lure potential buyers. This is not so easy when buying online. This makes packaging all the more important. In a study published in July 2020, the eCommerce Competence Center of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions tracked down “Packaging trends in online retailing”.

For the unboxing check, 50 test orders were placed with online shops from the fashion and beauty industry and their packaging, accompanying customer communication on and in the package, and the returns process were analyzed.

Mostly “branded“

While fashion suppliers rely largely on the bag for mail order with 59 percent, the carton is the first choice in the beauty segment. According to the eCommerce experts, this is mainly due to the different product characteristics.

Of course, fragile goods have to be protected differently than textiles. “On the other hand, there is general agreement regarding branding,” says Franziska Kier, Senior Consultant at the eCommerce Competence Center and author of the study. “After all, the majority of companies brand their packaging with logos and slogans and let it shine in their corporate colors.”

Many companies also use the packaging to address customers directly, for example by placing social media icons or inviting them to download apps. Newcomers in particular are making increasing use of these communication tools.

Still potential for user-friendliness

According to the study, there is still much room for improvement in the user-friendliness of packaging solutions. Only 52 percent of the companies investigated rely on perforated packaging to make it easier for customers to open the carton.

The trend towards greater sustainability is also only partially noticeable in e-commerce packaging. “Although many companies are already using sustainable packaging materials and are communicating this clearly, only 15 percent of them allow the end customer to make a conscious decision against additional tissue paper, plastic or used cardboard,” says Kier.

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