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Cracking effort by Duo UK team #christmasjumperday 2016

On Friday the DuoUK team stuck on their silly sweats for #ChristmasJumperDay to help raise money for Save the Children.

The team showed off their fabulous festive knits in our very own #elfiebooth - what a festive looking bunch!

The total raised by the team was £117.20 which will go towards helping Save the Children continue their fantastic work.

If you would like to donate to Save the Children text JUMPER to 70050 to donate £2. Your support makes all the difference.

A cracking effort by the Duo team showing off their wonderful woollies in our elfie booth 

2016 Christmas jumper day


Get the kettle on, pour yourself a cuppa whilst we'll tell you how '#wediditfortheChristie'. The Christie really are Duo's cup of tea so to help them raise vital funds they need to fight cancer the Duo team had 'a cuppa for the Christie'.

Over two days Duo's star bakers sold and enjoyed homemade cakes, biscuits and hot chocolate reindeers!

Zoe Brimelow, Duo's Brand Director said,'The Christie is a great cause which makes a huge difference to the Manchester community. Many of our employees have had contact with the facility so we have high regard for the difference it makes in our local community.'

Cheers to the Duo team for their generosity, together we raised a fantastic £128.58.

The Christie Charity raises cash to fund projects which are outside the scope of the NHS. Their range of projects and initiatives focusses on 4 main areas, research, care and treatment, education and extra patient services.The Christie is the largest cancer centre in Europe and is treating more than 40,000 patients a year.


We Did It For The Christie

Ready, Steady, Pack

Essential tips to keep your fulfilment operation performing at its optimum during the Madness of Black Friday

Black Friday Madness


In 2015 the UK spent a phenomenal £1.1 billion online. This was a huge increase compared to 2014 spending of £810 million.*  Retail Week have predicted a soaring £5billion will be spent over the Black Friday weekend* which this year is on 25th November.

As shoppers get ready to splurge, we've compiled our top tips to help your fulfilment operation perform at its optimum before, during and after the Black Friday madness.

Pre-Black Friday

Accurate stock management of your outbound packaging items is vital to avoid having non, or the wrong packaging to ship your customer's orders. During the Black Friday sales, it is imperative that your customer service level remains consistent, orders are delivered on-time and presentation remains unchanged with other times of the year. Running out of a size or style of packaging item may reduce presentation of the outbound parcel and could incur additional costs per unit to ship.

Reviewing your projected order schedule in advance of Black Friday and ensuring your packaging stock levels correlate with expected volumes help to reduce the risk of any shortfalls and avoid disappointing customers. At Duo we offer a free stock management service to help manage this process for our customers. The stock management tool is an easy to use, clear way to track your packaging stock levels, usage projections and forward planned deliveries so you can rest assured that you always have the right packaging at the right time. Find out more about our free stock management service here or speak to your Account Manager today.

Black Friday Madness

With £5billion expected to be spent during the Black Friday Sales and previous years' predictions totally exceeded, we have a sure fire back up plan to keep your packers packing and customers happy. If sales outstrip all predictions Duo have a buy-now, next day delivery range of mailing bags specifically designed for online retailers. This range of mailing bags are made from 100% recycled polythene so as well as avoiding packing lines coming to a stop they are also stopping valuable waste polythene from a destiny in landfill.

From small individual items to large oversized uglies, this range has a size that will protect and perfectly present your product ready to ship.

DR Range

Request free sample pack of the range by emailing enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

Black Friday - the aftermath

Ideally customers would love all their Black Friday purchases but many shoppers go 'deal crazy' and impulse buy. In fact, in 2015, 1 in 3 customers returned the goods they purchased on Black Friday.*

Returns are an inevitable part of online shopping and such an important part of the customer experience. Avid online shoppers can spot a previously returned item and may even return an item on this basis so achieving consistent outbound items is key. Guarantee all outbound and returned products are consistently protected and presented using our range of clear, high clarity, retail returns bags. The size range has been created to pack and present retail garments from lingerie to oversized coats so they are all packed quickly and present the item ready for resale.

Free samples of the clear retail display bags are available, to order, simply email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk with your name and address.

Clear Retail Display

Source:Making sense of the online shopping day phenomenon Retail Week Whitepaper 13.10.2016




The Gift of Gift Wrapping

White & Red Ribbon , Stickers And Tissue Paper 2 

Gift wrapping serves two purposes; firstly, it helps your customers deliver a gorgeous gift to their recipient without having to take it home and wrap it themselves and secondly it gives you an opportunity to incorporate some of your own branding into the gift wrap to really build brand advocates.

To help you get started and inspire your seasonal packaging range, we've teamed up with Neelam Meetcha, the UK's most acclaimed creative paper and gift wrapping artist, to offer you some expert advice on how and why to consider incorporating gift wrapping in-store:

Tip 1

The choice of gift-wrapping makes a statement about the quality of the product inside so if you've got a higher priced item, consider using luxury materials and incorporate exquisite details such as branded stickers and ribbon. Great packaging creates excitement for both the buyer and the gift recipient - think of the packaging as part of the gift and every layer that the recipient unwraps is building the suspense for what's inside.

Tip 2

Stores that gift-wrap are seen as a one-stop gift service which is very important to time-stressed customers who will remember this service for other special occasions.

Tip 3

Time is of essence when stores are busy but there are really simple things you can do that add a bit of luxury without taking up too much time. For instance, a layer of tissue paper inside a luxury paper bag or closing the bag with a branded sticker are perfect for a quick, simple, and effective gift-wrap solution when the queues are long.

Tip 4

In-store gift wrapping also gives your staff an opportunity to speak with your customers during the wrapping process - this is a key part of building rapport with customers.

Tip 5

Finally, Neelam's top tip; create beautifully wrapped products and strategically place them around your store, this adds value to your customers shopping experience and increases sales, the customer has bought the service before they even reach the tills!

Our experts here at Duo UK can help you to select gift wrapping items to compliment the brand experience you want to create and suggest materials, prints and finishes that are within budget.

Most importantly though - our team are also on hand to advise on packaging that helps increase sales and repeat business as well as to advise on lead times and re-order points to avoid shortages and express shipping charges. 

Contact the Duo team today on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk 

For more infomation about Neelam and her gift wrap services visit: www.giftwrappingcourses.co.uk

Download this Gift Wrap Guide here

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

With peak holiday season, dare we say it...less than 3 months away,its time to start planning your in-store and online packaging requirements to take full advantage of peak trading. With spending habits becoming increasingly difficult to predict, we've pulled together a list of the key shopping dates so you can ensure your packaging stocks are ready to pack all of those orders.

Need some help planning your packaging usage forecast and delivery schedule? Duo understands that it is critical that you have the right packaging at the right time and our visual stock control tool allows you to track your stock levels of each product line and forward forecast your supply, contact Duo to find out how this tool can help your business.


Key Dates For Retailers In The Festive Season Image 

H&M's 'Conscious' effort keeps clothing in the loop and out of landfill

Last year 350,000 tonnes of used clothing ended up in landfill and a huge 95% could have been reworn or recycled. This is estimated to be worth £100 million of clothes going to landfill.

Global fashion giant H&M have launched their strategy 'Towards 100% Circularity' to create a better future for fashion. One strand towards achieving their vision is to extend a garments life and send zero waste to landfill. Fabric recycling is achievable using a closed loop recycling system and is arguably the best option for garments than can no longer can be used. H&M have successfully used 20% recycled fibres without the loss of quality or durability in their range 'Conscious'.

H&M Conscious Collection

What is Closed Loop Recycling?

Closed loop recycling is the process where waste is returned back to its original raw form and this recycled material is then used to make a new product.

This recycling process is used to recycle many different types of material from fabric to polythene packaging. At Duo we're committed to creating a future where it's easier than ever for companies to close the loop when it comes to their waste polythene packaging. To achieve our vision, we invested in a polythene closed loop recycling system. Demand for packaging made from recycled content is on the increase as companies are actively adopting a more sustainable business model, however, there is a still a shortage of waste polythene. We've made it easier than ever to reduce, reuse and recycle waste polythene by introducing a waste polythene collection service for our customers.

 Closed Loop Recycling Process Flow Diagram

 For more information about closed loop recycling please click here

Every year more than 2,500 tonnes, which is equivalent to 500 pallets of polythene scrap material, is recycled using Duo's closed loop recycling system. This results in 2,500 fewer tonnes of polythene waste going to landfill and less oil used for polyethylene production!

Thanks to polythene closed loop recycling it has been possible to produce 100% recycled content mailing bags - the perfect solution for companies looking for an economical, sustainable option for their ecommerce packaging requirements. The quality and performance of a recycled content products compared to 'new' used to questionable. However, thanks to advances in recycling capabilities and better quality scrap, recycled material can now be used for critical applications such as mailing bags and can also include an intricate print design.

H&M's commitment towards 100% circularity is proving to be a great success as in 2015 12,000 tonnes of fabric garments were collected in their stores and recycled saving them from a destiny in landfill - that's equivalent to more than 60 million t-shirts! H&M also produced 1.3 million garments which were made using closed loop material - that's an increase of over 300% more garments than in 2014.

We're committed to helping promote sustainable alternatives and reduce our own and our customers environmental impact. In 2015 we launched DuoGreen as a platform to celebrate new environmental innovations and to share ideas to help packaging users achieve their environmental goals.

Be inspired and learn how packaging can help you to achieve your environmental goals visit DuoGreen.

How can packaging help make a difference for the charity sector?

With over 165,000 charities registered in the UK and a typical monthly donation of £14 per month, engaging supporters with your cause is increasingly important to secure hearts, minds and well needed funds.  

Packaging plays an important role in a charities fundraising efforts, from retail store bags to take home purchases from a charity shop to collection sacks for at home donations and branded merchandise such as canvas bags which are sold to generate income.

Here at Duo we help charities to create packaging engaging designs that communicate their purpose, increase awareness and donations for the cause and this all comes free as part of the service. 

For all high street retail stores attracting footfall is extremely important. As well as offering customers a convenient way to carry their purchases home, branded store bags carried along the high street increase awareness of your store and can help to improve footfall. Choose from a wide range of styles including economical polythene carrier bags, luxury paper bags to re-usable bags for life. These bags are also a great give away at fundraising events too!

£140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of used clothing is estimated to go to landfill in the UK every year (source: wrap) and these valuable items could be saved and re-used to help raise vital funds for your charity. Highlight your demand for pre-used clothing and increase household donations by revitalising the design of your doorstep charity collection sacks. Read more about the range design options available here.

The use of packaging by charities is far from just bags. Events are a vital source of donations with charity bike rides, fun runs and extreme challenges a firm feature on a charity's event calendar. Packaging is well used to create a memorable event from promotional banners to stickers and even gift wrapping!

Duo are a proud supporter of the Charity Retail Association who are the UK's leading body for expertise and up-to-date information on issues affecting the charity retail sector. They have 379 members between them with over 8000 shops. They are the major source of expertise and up-to-date information on issues affecting the charity retail sector.

Need some inspiration for your packaging? UK charity Keep Britain Tidy challenged Duo to reduce the amount of virgin polythene used in the production of their litter sacks for 'The Big Tidy Up' event. Previously Keep Britain Tidy used over 7 metric tonnes of natural polythene material for every 100,000 waste sacks produced. Now thanks to Duo's closed-loop recycling process where scrap polythene is collected and reprocessed to form recycled pellets we were able to use 100% recycled polythene pellets to manufacture collection sacks. We delivered!

Read more and be inspired by how Keep Britain Tidy used their packaging to help more than one cause by using the power of packaging here.

National Apprenticeship Week 2016

National Apprenticeship Week 2016

My Digital Marketing Apprenticeship in Manufacturing

By Nikita Briggs

National Apprenticeship week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships, traineeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and also the wider economy. The theme for the week is 'Rise to the top!' This means focusing on progression and opportunity to show you how apprenticeships can make you rise to the top and gain skills whilst experience also.

Marketing is truly where my passion and enthusiasm is and I am fortunate that Zoe Brimelow the Brand Director at Duo UK gave me the opportunity to 'rise to the top' and become a Digital Marketing and Social Media Apprentice. For Duo UK digital marketing is an integral part of our strategy to increase brand awareness in new markets and promote our products and services. Digital Marketing and Social Media is changing every day and although at first some people may not see the connection with manufacturing, technology is very much at the heart of modern manufacturing.

I loved the idea of working in the manufacturing industry, and I have been well and truly inspired by everyone I've met and I truly believe it's a great and rewarding industry to work in. However, only 7% of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships are filled by women and I want to bring more awareness of the great apprenticeships and careers available for women in manufacturing and engineering.

What I love about my apprenticeship is that I am gaining skills on my course that I bring back an implement at work plus I am also learning more skills on the job. Apprenticeships enable businesses to grow their skill base which can result in increased profits, lower prices and better products. My apprenticeship is with The Juice Academy where I study a day every two weeks, this gives me the opportunity to network with other apprentice's and the academy staff are there for any advice I need. The academy also informs me of lots of events to attend to help my development, one of which was the North West Young Apprentice Ambassador Network Conference. The event was held at UK Fast and during the day we heard inspiring speeches from Olympic athletes, business leaders and apprentices about their achievements and received some invaluable advice. I am now a proud North West Young Apprenticeship Ambassador. To become a North West Young Apprenticeship Ambassador (NWYAA) you had to be passionate about apprenticeships and be keen to tell young people and employers about the benefits, also most importantly telling them about your own experience of becoming an Apprentice.

An unfortunate common view many people still have is that apprenticeships are second option and not as credible as other career paths. This is not true at all. Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles covering more than 170 industries, including manufacturing. As an apprentice you are rising to the top and becoming who you want to be, this is true of my experience and I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship as a way forward to achieving their career goals.

Retailers 'must embrace technology'

Insider Breakfast


Retailers that don't take an omni-channel approach and use modern technology face becoming obsolete, according to delegates at Insider's Changing the Face of Retail Breakfast.

The event at Manchester's Imperial War Museum North was attended by more than 130 people.

Gareth James is the chief executive of Chester-based Intilery and previously worked for MoneySupermarket. His new business uses technology to track customer journeys in real-time both online and offline at every touchpoint.

He said: "Retailers will now be able to fulfil the individual needs of every customers across any channel [online, call centre, in-store, in-app, email, social, etc] whilst being able to be competitive in the retail landscape.

"Customers now expect this level of service by default."

Ian Walker, managing director of Wigan-based 3P Logistics, which works with a number of retailers and has 4.5 million units in stock, added that third-party logistics was creating "virtual entrepreneurs" who never needed to touch the products.

He said: "We'll take goods in from overseas, we'll store them, process the orders and deliver them through the normal delivery network. We're processing about 2,000 consignments a day.

"We have to be regimental. We have a 99.7 per cent approval service level. We do that because we embrace technology. You can't afford negative feedback."

Matthew Williamson, a real estate partner and head of retail and leisure at Weightmans, said there was no denying the migration to online shopping had damaged town centres. He argued that the advent of things like next-day delivery had raised the ante in terms of supply chain requirements.

"Consumers are driving this," he said. "People aren't prepared to wait.

"Look at Amazon Prime Now - you can get your goods delivered within an hour. Just think of the infrastructure and the distribution network that needs to go into that service.

"You could say none of this is an issue if retailers and their logistics providers can charge for it but of course there needs to be a cost somewhere in the supply chain in order to service it."

Kerry Wright is the marketing director of Purple, which spotted a gap in the market for public Wi-Fi.

She said: "There are three parts to the product - access, getting people online, analytics - providing insightful reports back to the business about the data that's being collected, and action - ways for the business to take meaningful action from that data. We like to call Purple an 'intelligent spaces platform'.

"Examples of how technology has changed how people shop include omni-channel shopping [eg the rise of click-and-collect), the ability to price check or 'showrooming' changing pricing models, social influence on product [eg Instagram], mobile payments. What's starting to come next is digital engagement as opposed to human.

"But technology has also changed how retailers operate."

Robert Brigham, managing director of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports & the Snowboard Asylum, said online retail only accounted for 10 per cent of sales. He said: "It's still a very touchy feely market. We're trying to do more. Loyalty is a huge part of what we've got planned for the future.

"We're not doing 'spend = points' because that's Tesco but we're trying to be clever about it. That could include random acts of kindness. For example if you buy a Spider jacket that could cost £600 we might send you the matching Spider hat for free."

Asif Hamid is the chief executive of Birkenhead-based the Contact Company, which works for a variety of retailers and sees itself as part of the shopping journey.

He said: "We're the non-facing side of the brand. We work with the likes of River Island, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Argos and the Great Little Trading Co and we are an extension of their branded proposition.

"We're integrated. Retail is constantly changing because of technology."

Meanwhile, technology specialist UKFast provides the platform online for all kinds of companies to run websites, emails and applications that make their business work. Managing director Jonathan Bowers said that it works with a lot of retailers, with website speed being increasingly critical.

"One thing we discovered back in 2009, that still remains extremely relevant now, is that speed plays a huge role in relation to success on the internet," he explained.

"Nobody likes to queue so speed should be considered alongside conversion techniques, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click and email marketing as a crucial part of turning visitors into customers."

Zoe Brimelow (pictured) is the brand director of £25m-turnover company Duo UK, which manufactures three million plastic mailing bags a week and works with the likes of JD Williams, JD Sports, Tesco and ASOS.

She said: "Perception of postal packaging has changed, companies used to see this as nothing more than protection and opted for the lightest, most robust material that was functional and fast to pack outbound goods into.

"However, now design enhancements like carry handles, twin glue lines and engaging branding that captures the attention of passers-by as well as the shopper has transformed the mailing bag from a practical item to a marketing tool."

The breakfast was sponsored by 3P Logistics, UKFast and Weightmans.

As Featured in Insider Magazine

What do you get when you cross Social Media with Packaging?

Packaging that includes brand icons taps into the heart and minds of consumers. 

Social media and packaging may not seem in any way related but together they form a powerful marketing force that can really bring a brand to life! 

For brands, packaging is an important marketing tool to engage consumers and persuade them to buy a product.

Smart brands are using packaging concepts to increase online exposure, a great example being the use of hashtags on packaging to spread a social message. 

But the key to grasping the power of packaging and social media is to make the shopping experience personal to the customer in every way possible.

A great example of this is Coca-Cola's campaign #ShareACoke, where the company replaced its logo with first names. 

 Share A Coke

Coca-Cola's personalised packaging helped to make a personal connection with customers and certainly increased motivation to share on social media! 

Coca-Cola then went a step further to ensure everyone was included in the campaign, adding a feature on its website where customers could personalise their own bottle.

The campaign went down a storm on social media, especially on Twitter, with 235,000 tweets shared throughout the campaign, from 111,000 fans, using the #ShareACoke hashtag.

By using unique social media icons on branded packaging, businesses aren't just creating something to look good - they are selling and engaging people into the brand itself.

Social networks are used by 2 billion people worldwide and more than two thirds of the UK are active on social networks. This huge audience provides the perfect channel to promote a brands personality and values and connect with customers on a more personal level.

Packaging is a really versatile and powerful marketing tool. Packaging items such as mailing bags used for ecommerce deliveries and luxury paper bags used for retail store sales, can be printed with anything from bold designs to intricate images. With small print runs available, it is now possible to order specific packaging to coincide your social media campaigns. View our full range of packaging products that can be personalised for your brand.

This is also featured in The Juice Academy Blog

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