2nd Aug 2022
Packaging, especially that which is used during an eCommerce delivery, is one of the most consumer-facing parts of a supply chain. More packaging being present in the household has ignited a curiosity around the packaging materials that the brands and retailers use and their reason for this choice.
Earlier this year we explored this topic in our research report “The Recommerce Generation: How Gen Z will shape the future of packaging.” We discovered that 53% of Gen Z’s had taken notice of a brand’s on-pack messaging and over a third had made the conscious effect to read on-pack messaging.
Gen Z’s are actively interested in sustainability and there are many opportunities for brands and retailers to engage and get ahead of this eco-conscious generation. Duo Brand Director Zoe Brimelow explains how retailers and brands can tell their sustainability stories in a credible and engaging way.
Sustainability messaging must be quick and easy for Gen Z’s to understand. This involves avoiding cluttered on-pack messages and not blinding consumers with too much science. If Gen Zs can’t quickly comprehend what’s being communicated to them on pack, there’s a risk they’ll perceive claims as greenwashing. This can cause cynicism and prove a lost opportunity for a brand or retailer to amplify their eco credentials. If companies simplify sustainability messaging on-pack, they can harness the excitement of the unboxing moment to make their environmental values part of much wider online searches and conversations. Messages and claims which are succinct and meaningful are more likely to resonate as part of this.
Packaging that practices what it preaches
The design and functionality of packaging must echo the sustainability claims being made on-pack. Utilising sustainable and recyclable materials in the development of packaging is an important element of this, but there’s much more to it. Findings from the research show that 84% of Gen Zs re-use packaging, with this generation keen to maximise the purpose and resourcefulness of packaging.
Gen Z’s want online shopping to fit with their lifestyles and attitudes, meaning ecommerce packaging must be designed to be user-friendly. Suck as the addition of carry handles to suit a greener generation that’s more inclined to walk, cycle or use public transport. Easy-to-open and re-sealable packs to make it easier for consumers to use and reuse the same packaging, whether for returning items or other reasons.
These user-friendly design additions bring sustainability stories to life. Consumers can experience first-hand how resourcefulness is being demonstrated by the brand, with this enhancing the authenticity of green messages.
Making sustainability messages interactive
Including QR codes within the packaging design can help to keep on-pack messaging clean and simple, which drives engagement by providing Gen Zs with quick access to further information. Also, making packaging interactive provides brands and retailers with the opportunity to challenge traditional views – and misconceptions – about certain materials.
Plastic packaging has long been demonised and tends not to be considered ‘green,’ when in fact it can deliver enhanced carbon savings and environmental performance.
Plastic packaging can be less bulky than other materials, meaning it saves space and carbon emissions, something ASOS has communicated to their consumers. In a TikTok video, the brand told the story of why they use plastic mailing bags. They informed their customers that their packaging choice takes up less space in delivery vans than other materials, which means fewer vehicles on roads and that around four times less energy is required to produce plastic mailing bags when compared to equivalent paper alternatives.
This information is being communicated online and on social media, which our research shows are important sources of information for Gen Zs. Our research shows a fifth of Gen Zs utilise social media to educate themselves on packaging materials, whilst data from TikTok’s Creator Marketplace ranks ‘science and education in the top 20 hashtag categories.
By featuring succinct and surprising facts about plastic on-pack and via social media channels brands and retailers can be disruptive with their story telling. Such bold claims will appeal to the curiosity that exists around the environment to help better engage Gen Zs about your sustainability journey.
Download a copy of our report to find out more about how you can change your packaging to tell sustainable stories. Download for free here