• Shoppers want simple Sustainability

    17th Dec 2019

    The Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping spike is putting packaging into perspective for shoppers and creating demand for simple sustainability. Retailers should strive to deliver quick and clear eco messages when it comes to packaging.

    Packaging in perspective

    Rising ecommerce sales mean consumers are increasingly thinking more about packaging. Before they received goods direct to their doors, shoppers had less visibility of the outer tertiary packaging like boxes and mailbags, and the secondary packaging used to protect products during transit. Their main focus was the point of sale packaging which a product is sold in.

    Now, consumers are actively involved in the opening and disposal of both tertiary and secondary packaging. This has created both opportunities and challenges for retailers, inspiring innovation and change.

    Opportunity has been realised through capitalising on the ‘unboxing’ moment. Clever design of tertiary and secondary packaging can build anticipation. It brings theatre to opening a mailbag or box, with consumer excitement about receiving an item maximised and shared on social media. It’s great for promoting brand awareness and digital word of mouth. Previously, outer packaging was mainly functional. It is now as much of a marketing tool as the primary packaging.

    However, packaging can also prove challenging, especially during the busy Christmas trading period. This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday coincided with monthly pay days and meant people started their online Christmas shopping earlier. This results in shoppers receiving a high volume of deliveries in a short, concentrated period of time. They have multiple packaged goods and think harder about the materials used to deliver these. It’s at this point retailers need to simplify their sustainability messaging.

    More about the ‘how’

    Many retailers already know the importance of recyclable and renewable materials. Now it’s more a case of meeting consumer demand for the ‘what’ and ‘how’. They want to know exactly ‘what’ the packaging is made from and ‘how’ it is sustainable. It can seem pedantic, but it’s really important to note the difference at this point between ‘how’ and ‘why’. Consumers are already bamboozled by claims about ‘why’ something is sustainable – they want to quickly know ‘how’ it is actually better for the environment and reducing CO2.

    The ‘how’ needs to be explained succinctly and be easy to grasp. For example, we produce GreenPE mailing bags from a renewable and sustainable source, sugar cane. During the ethical growth of the sugar cane, it captures and stores CO2 from the atmosphere helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is chemically identical to regular plastic which means the mailing bags are recyclable in the same way. Plus it’s straight-forward to calculate how each kilogram of Green PE produced saves 2.85kg of CO2 when compared to the production of conventional fossil-based polyethylene.

    The simplicity of this sustainability messaging is proving a hit with retailers. We’ve sold over 4 million (4,095,000) GreenPE mailing bags during the past 10 weeks, as online retailers and logistics firms fulfil orders for the Black Friday and Christmas trading period. This is a 243% increase compared to the same period* last year and has saved the equivalent of around 2,400 tonnes of CO2.

    Evolution of ‘unboxing’

    The opening of an ecommerce delivery is no longer simply about great packaging design and aesthetics to deliver a memorable and shareable brand experience. It’s about enabling carbon conscious consumers to feel responsible and reassured their packaging is sustainable. This needs to be done quickly to ensure shoppers are satisfied they’ve made the right choice about their online purchase and can comfortably make repeat purchases from the same retailer.