Leading The Way With Packaging Innovation With Ribble Packaging

According to the Office of National Statistics, 82% of people in the UK shopped online in 2019 (a rise of 4% against 2018). That’s a lot of goods being shipped, and a lot of packaging being used. And, given how much of that packaging will have been too big for the goods being shipped, it’s a lot of waste and unnecessary cost.

When it comes to unnecessary packaging, waste and cost aren’t the only factors to consider. There is another side too: consumer opinion.  A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing found that 88% of people think their online shopping comes with too much packaging. And, a further 30% said too much packaging puts them off ordering with the same company again. 

Thankfully, for businesses who sell goods online, packaging innovation means tailor-made boxes, produced on demand are now an option available to retailers and manufacturers. A solution that, in the longer-term, can save them time and money while building a loyal customer base. 

What is on demand packaging?

On demand packaging is an innovative packaging solution that allows businesses to produce boxes to the exact size of the goods they’re shipping. State of the art machinery scans goods and cuts corrugated cardboard to the exact size needed. They’re a simple and effective solution to the problem of too much packaging. The results are less waste, less cost, higher levels of customer satisfaction and a smaller environmental footprint.

On demandPackaging innovation with

There are a number of on demand packaging solutions on the market and available in the UK, including:

CMC CartonWrap

CMC’s CartonWrap is an automated packaging system capable of producing 1,000 on demand boxes an hour. Each box fits the exact size and shape of the goods to be shipped. These are made in ‘real-time’ after an order is processed and ready for shipping. 

Businesses around the world use Carton Wrap. This includes Lakeland in the UK. However, the machine is primarily designed for larger enterprises that ship in high volumes. As a result, and due to its size, it doesn’t work as well for smaller businesses or those with limited warehouse space.

Neopost CVP-500

Neopost’s CVP-500 is a smaller machine, though possibly still not ideal for businesses with limited space due to its size. The machine is designed for mid-market businesses and makes up to 500 boxes an hour. Each fits the product it is shipping perfectly.  According to Neopost, the CVP-500 is equivalent to 15 packaging stations and saves businesses up to 20% on cardboard compared to traditional, standardised, packaging.

Ribble Right Size

Panotec’s machinery is available exclusively in the UK through Ribble, a Lancashire based packaging company who have been delivering innovative packaging solutions to its customers for 80 years. Right Size works seamlessly with Ribble’s fanfold cardboard, meaning it saves businesses 25% on cardboard and 100% on void fillers. It also means businesses have consistent access to high-quality materials and don’t have to worry about MOQs.

Unlike Neopost and CMC’s automated packaging machines, Right Size machinery is available in three sizes, meaning there is likely one that works for most businesses. Their smallest model, the Compak 1.4, for example, is only 1.4 metres wide and can produce 600 boxes an hour. There is also the Compak Evo, which produces 720 boxes per hour and the larger Next Mode model produces 840 boxes per hour.

The Benefits of On Demand Packaging

While there is an initial outlay to buying an on demand packaging system, something which may make businesses nervous, the short and long-term benefits make any investment well worthwhile. 

Speed

On demand packaging systems are fast, much faster than packaging by hand. As a result, businesses can be much more responsive to customer demand, fulfilling orders more quickly. It’s worth remembering that, as well as speed, companies should consider volume. As we’ve seen, different machinery can produce different numbers of boxes in an hour. 

It is important that businesses choose equipment that produces boxes at the rate they need them to. It is easy for businesses to over-estimate how many boxes they need. It is worth noting that Amazon’s new automated packaging system, for example, only produces 700 boxes an hour.

Accuracy

Systems like Right Size take the guesswork out of packaging. Businesses can be confident knowing that they will never order packaging that is too big or too small for the goods they want to ship. Plus, because systems produce labels at the same time as boxes, there is less chance of an order shipping to the wrong location. 

Flexibility

Not all products fit nicely into a standard box.  For example, Ribble work with Showcard who produce point of sale and large scale display posters. Both need specific packaging to ensure goods arrive at their destination in excellent condition. This isn’t always possible with ‘one size fits all’ boxes. It is possible with packaging innovation where businesses can size boxes to meet their specific needs.

Costs

Following the initial layout, on demand packaging machines can lead to huge costs savings, including:

Materials

Neopost estimates their CVP-500 saves 20% on conventional packaging. Right Size, meanwhile, can save a business 25% in corrugated cardboard, a significant saving. There is also less need for void filler. This is one of the most expensive parts of packaging because a) it costs money to buy and b) it costs money to transport. With void filler, businesses are basically paying to ship air. With systems such as Right Size, because it uses corrugated cardboard to protect goods, the need for void filler is completely eliminated.

Warehousing

Storing standardised boxes takes up space, resulting in warehouse costs that can be avoided by on demand packaging. An added benefit here is that the less packaging a business has to store, the more space they have to store goods (while not having to increase their square footage).

Errors

Goods picked and packed by hand are more likely to contain errors, leading to customers receive the wrong goods. When this happens, businesses sometimes take it as a loss, estimating it costs more to ship the products back that have the customer keep them. There is, however, a cost for then sending out the correct item. Packaging innovation reduces the risk of errors as it scans goods before packaging; some systems have digital displays that allow staff to match goods to orders. 

Damage

The chances of goods being damaged in transit increases when they are incorrectly packaged. This can be the result of boxes being the wrong size or insufficient void filler. Businesses then have to send replacement goods, which they have to pay for.

Transport

While the goods businesses ship determines their transport costs, most say shipping is their biggest outlay. In fact, some industry experts estimate transportation costs can run as high as 50%. Packaging innovation reduces the size of the packaging, meaning businesses can load more goods into their delivery vans. As a result, shipping goods requires fewer trucks and fewer journeys. This, in turn, reduces running costs and a company’s carbon footprint.

The Environmental Impact

Perhaps one of the most positive benefits of on demand packaging systems is that they reduce a business’s environmental impact.  This is becoming increasingly important to consumers. The Charted Institute of Marketing survey we mentioned earlier, for example, found:

  • 36% of people surveyed judge a company’s ethics based on their packaging
  • 17% had complained to a company because of excess packaging with their goods
  • 10% were less likely to place an online order because of the amount of packaging a company used
  • 25% were willing to pay more for sustainable packaging; this is something Ribble offer in all their packaging, 100% of which is recyclable.

With packaging innovation and on demand solutions, businesses can honestly tell their customers that they are reducing their:

  • Levels of waste
  • Carbon footprint
  • Use of plastic

At the same time, they are increasing the use of recyclable materials. This should have a positive impact on how they are seen and could increase sales.

Competitive Advantage

Finally, on demand packaging systems offer businesses a competitive edge. They are simple and inexpensive to run, increase productivity and reduce costs. And, because they are innovative and not widely used, they allow businesses to work in ways others in their market can’t. This is incredibly important when profit margins are tight, or markets are crowded. It provides a way for businesses to offer their customers a competitive price and a high level of service. Both of which should lead to increased sales and repeat orders.

Over time, because of the benefits that packaging innovation offers and customer demand for sustainable packaging, there is no doubt that on demand packaging will increase in popularity.  What better time, then, than now, to invest in a state-of-the-art product that could change the way you do business and your customers see you?

7 Signs You’re Ready To Talk To A Product Packaging Company

For any e-commerce business, one of the most crucial components for a product’s image and sales is its packaging design. How a product is displayed and presented to customers is vital for its success, and it is vital that your products are packaged in a way that makes them stand out from competitors. A product packaging company can help you to create packaging for your business that is not only eye-catching and encourages sales but is also economical and makes commercial sense. 

Whether you have never used a product packaging company before or have redesigned your packaging many times over the years, there are a few signals to look out for that may mean you’re ready for a packaging overhaul.

You’re Heading In A New Direction

One of the biggest and most obvious signs that you’re ready to talk to a product packaging company about a packaging redesign is if your business is taking a new direction. It is very common for an e-commerce business to start out as one thing, and then naturally shift into something different further down the line. This is just the natural progression of running a business and often means your original packaging no longer fits with your brand.

Packaging that once worked very well for your products could now be completely off pace and disconnected from where you see your business progressing to.

It’s Been More Than Five Years

Things change quickly in the packaging and design world, and if your existing packaging has been around for over five years, then it is probably time for a refresh. The chances are your product and team will have evolved slightly over the years, and it is only right that your packaging reflects these changes. 

A product packaging design company will be able to encompass any new business values into a new packaging design, with the aim to strategically position your products in a way that is relevant to your customers.

Your Packaging Is Costly

Some product packaging can be very expensive and often results in your products being more expensive to customers than perhaps they really need to be. Consumers want to pay for the product and not the box, it comes in, but when you choose custom packaging solutions, it can become pricey. 

Innovations such as on-demand packaging are available from a product packaging company such as Ribble Pack and help e-commerce businesses to manage their packaging spend. Boxes are produced as and when they are required reducing the need for ordering supplies well in advance and guessing how many boxes you will need. 

Your Competitors Have Changed

If you aim to position your products and brands as a leader in your industry, then it is vital that you are keeping an eye on what your competitors are up to. If your competitors have changed their strategy, or new competitors have emerged over the years, then a packaging redesign could be required to keep you ahead of the game. 

There Are Issues For Retailers

It is becoming increasingly popular for retailers to be demanding change when it comes to product packaging. With many products trying to stand out in a saturated market, it is a struggle for retailers to delight consumers within their aisles and online. 

Shops and the aisles within them have become increasingly fragmented, and a product packaging company can help your products to fit with what both retailers and consumers want to see. 

Your Packaging Is Wasteful

There is a rising focus all across the globe for companies and individuals to operate in a more economical and environmentally friendly manner. Excessive packaging often leads to a lot of waste, and conscious customers will often choose products with less packaging and more ethical processes. Choosing to use technology such as Automate will result in less waste as you only create the packaging you really need, as and when you need it.

Products Are Not Well Protected

The last thing you or your customers want is to get your product home, only to find it has become damaged in its packaging. When you have packaging that isn’t the exact size required for your products, it can lead to them being damaged in transit. If your existing packaging is not properly protecting your products, or you have to use a lot of additional packaging to fill box space, then it will not give a positive impression of your business. 

A product packaging company will be able to help you to get boxes and packaging solutions that are designed to perfectly fit every one of your products to prevent damage.

6 Stunning Bespoke Ecommerce Packaging Designs for Inspiration

When it comes to e-commerce, companies have become more inventive in recent years about the packaging they use. It’s no longer enough to send a product in a plain cardboard box. Instead, you need to think about your brand and the message you want to send when a box from your company arrives with your customer., creating bespoke ecommerce packaging is one way to do that.

Inspirational packaging design

Once you have your branding down, you can start designing your packaging.  Here are six inspirational packaging design ideas to get you started:

  • Colour

Colour is a powerful tool when it comes to sending a message about who your company is and what it stands for.  It allows you to catch your customer’s eye when the package arrives and helps ensure it stands out from the crowd.  Right now, blended colours are especially popular as are black and white designs, which can allow you to create intricate and intriguing designs that make people look twice.

An example of the use of black and white can be seen in the Allsorts packaging, which came out a couple of years ago and allowed the sweets to stand out against all the others on the shelf.

  • Minimalism

If you do go for black and white, one of the things to remember is to keep things simple.  Black and white packaging makes a statement, and you don’t want to confuse this by making it too busy.  Minimalistic packaging works well in lots of ways. It sends a message that your company is open and honest, for example, and that you don’t focus on style over substance, something more and more customers want to see right now.

With minimalism, because there isn’t anything to distract the eye, you need to think about the colour(s) you use, and the typography but function is important too.  There is no point in keeping the packaging design simple if the packaging itself isn’t fit for purpose. Beauty brands are experts at minimalist design and worth looking at for inspiration.

  • Typeface

Beauty products are good at typeface too.  They tend to keep it simple (space is often a premium) but use creative placement to add a twist to the design.  An example is Thomas Kosmala, who wrapped the typeface around their packaging rather than have it placed on just one side.  It’s an approach that can be used on any type of box, regardless of whether it is packing the product itself or being used for shipping.

  • Images

Images can also be used on product packaging or packaging used for shipping.  They can be as simple as your company logo or more involved. If you have the budget, speak to an illustrator to come up with something unique for your company.  Vintage imagery is particularly popular right now, and it’s definitely worth seeing if this will fit with your brand. Remember, it doesn’t have to be too literal, but it does need to be eye-catching.

  • Themes

Whether your use images or not, it’s essential to try and stick to a theme with your packaging. This links back to your brand and the need for consistency.  Use the same colour, or range of colours, in your packaging and the same typography.

If you do use images, remember, you don’t need them all to be the same, but they do need to have something in common in order to tie your look together.

  • Inclusivity

Recently, Lego began a pilot for braille bricks. A similar approach can work in packaging and designers have been working on this.  You could, for example, include braille text on your boxes or consider using fonts that are better for those with dyslexia to read.  

  • Quality and consistency

Once you decide on your design, you need to make sure it runs through all of your packaging from boxes to bags. The quality of your packaging matters too. This doesn’t mean you need to blow the bank, but it does mean buying the best packaging you can within your budget.

To make sure you get the best quality, look at ways you could save money on packaging. With Right Size, for example, you get good quality cardboard boxes at an affordable price because you only produce the boxes you need when you need them. You can also print directly to these boxes, meaning you can add a design without the added costs that other companies might charge.

Reduce Packaging With These Simple Fixes

If you operate an e-commerce business, packaging is something you can’t avoid but reducing packaging is becoming even more important .  Whether you’re sending your products onto suppliers or onto consumers, it has to be packaged in a way that keeps the goods inside safe and secure until they reach their final destination.   So can reducing packaging work?

The risk here is that, in an effort to make sure your product doesn’t get damaged in transit, you use too much packaging which can end up costing you money that you would much rather see going to your bottom line.

In manufacturing, Forbes magazine identified packaging as one of the three best ways to cut costs, and the same applies if your business is online.  How, though, do you reduce the amount of packaging you use? Here we look at some six simple fixes for reducing the packaging your business uses.

  • Review your packaging

Before you start to reduce your packaging, you need to know just how much you use.  Look back over the past three or six months and work out how much packaging you used – and how much you spent on it.  

Then, look at how much packaging you keep in reserve and whether any of it has been sitting there for more than a month; if it has, it probably means you don’t need it. Don’t forget to look at additional packaging material such as bubble wrap too.  

  • Decide on the packaging you need

Take a look at the goods you sell and decide what type of packaging is best when it comes to shipping. If you sell clothes, for example, mailing bags may be better than boxes and probably won’t need much, if any, additional packaging materials to keep them damage free.  

You might need to use additional packaging materials for fragile items, which will also most likely need to be shipped in cardboard boxes.  As well as the material, consider the size. If you ship smaller items, you won’t need big boxes; if you ship items in bulk, you will.

Finally, think about how you store goods in your warehouse. Do you use cardboard boxes for these that are then discarded? Can they be replaced with reusable plastic crates?  These not only reduce the packaging you use (internally) but reduce your costs (though there may be an additional initial outlay).

  • Only buy what you need

Once you know what packaging you need, work out how much stock you think you’ll be shipping and buy just enough to cover these sales. This way, you won’t be left having paid for packaging you don’t need, and you won’t be tempted to over-pack an item.  

Better yet, consider investing in a system such as Right Size that lets you customise your packaging to perfectly fit the items you’re shipping and create exactly the number of boxes you need at any given time.

  • Cut back on additional packaging

One of the best things about systems such as Ribble Right Size is that they allow you to cut down on additional packaging.  The same applies if you buy boxes that are as close in size to the products you want to ship. This is harder if you buy in bulk because you can end up with too many boxes that aren’t a good fit, meaning you’re much more likely to use boxes that are too big and fill up any empty space with bubble wrap or packaging peanuts.

  • Change your mindset

Using the right sized-packaging and reducing the amount of additional packaging material aren’t difficult changes to make but they could well mean you need to change the way you work.  The same applies to your employees too. So, while it might be quicker and easier to reach for the first available box when preparing an item for shipping, instead, you’ll need to look for the box that best fits the product.  

  • Reuse and recycle

Think about how you can reuse packaging too.  Can used packaging paper be shredded and used as packaging material, for example, or can boxes used by customers to return items be reused when you send out your next order?

By taking these simple steps, you’ll be able to not only reduce the amount of packaging you use but cut your operational costs (including warehouse space and transportation).  You’ll also be reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and your carbon footprint, both of which are good for not only the planet but your reputation.

Why You Need Custom Packaging for Your ecommerce Business

Over 75% of people in the UK bought goods or services online last year. This is a staggering figure considering the internet has only just turned twenty, but one that goes a long way to explaining how – in just two decades – we’ve become the world’s third largest ecommerce sector.

This means, however, that if you own an ecommerce business, you are working in a very crowded and increasingly competitive market, one that is constantly changing and requires you to change with it if you want to succeed.

So, whereas once upon a time, your customers were probably more than happy to receive their purchases in a plain brown box and surrounded by brown packaging paper, now they want something more.  Something, many of your competitors are probably already offering – custom packaging that turns ordering online from a simple transaction into an experience.

Packaging goes a long way to telling a customer who your company is and what you stand for.  It can show them you care about them, value their business and want them to buy from you again.   Or, it can show them you aren’t that bothered, that they are nothing more than a sale in a long line of sales and you wouldn’t miss them if they go.  Which is why custom packaging is so important and, if you don’t use it already, why you need to make it part of your plans for 2020.

How to make custom packaging work for your eCommerce business

If you want to make custom packaging work for your online business, you need to think about:

  1. Branding: While a plain brown box works just as well as one with a logo from a practical standpoint, it doesn’t help you get your name out there or stand out in a crowd.  Branding your boxes mean that not only does your customer know about you, everyone who comes into contact with your box sees your name and may well remember next time they go online.
  2. Messaging: Every company has a USP, something that sets them apart from their competitors.  The trick is getting this message across. With custom packaging, you can do this. Food companies, for example, might want people to know their food is always fresh, even if it’s being shipped, or that it’s locally sourced.
  3. Image: In competitive markets, the more you can do to stand out in the crowd, the better, especially if you are starting out or aren’t the biggest player in the field.  Your custom packaging can help you do just that. It presents a professional image, one that says you are serious about what you do and won’t let your customers down.
  4. Sustainability: Today’s consumer wants to buy from companies committed to reducing their environmental footprint.  Creating custom packaging from recycled/recyclable materials and limiting (or eliminating) the use of plastics tells them what happens to the planet matters to you as much as it does to them and is likely to lead to repeat business.   
  5. Sharing: Social media has become increasingly important to ecommerce businesses over the last few years, with people sharing what they like (and don’t) about products online.  If the people sharing have large enough followings, it can create a real boost for your business. And they are more likely to share if what arrives on their doorstep has custom packaging – though you need to make sure that packaging looks good on camera!

Protecting what’s on the inside

At the end of the day, what you put in your packaging will always matter more to the customer than the packaging, we know that.  Which is why it’s important to get your packaging right because customisation isn’t just about what’s on the outside, it’s about what’s on the inside, and that needs to arrive with your customer in perfect condition.  

Think about what you’re shipping and how your packaging can be used to protect its contents.  This will probably mean moving away from traditional packaging – standard sized boxes with lots of excess packaging materials to something that fits your products perfectly, keeping them safe until they reach their destination.  

If you aren’t sure how this might work, talk to packaging companies such as Ribble, who can talk you through the process and your options, or explore packaging solutions such as Right Size, which allow you to produce perfectly sized packaging for everything you need to ship.

Excess Packaging Is Ruining Your Customer Experience

When you run an eCommerce business, getting your products to your customers quickly is essential, as is making sure those customers get what they ordered, and that their goods aren’t damaged in transit.  

Which is why you might be tempted to use as much packaging as you can to make orders remain safe and secure until they reach their final destination.

Unfortunately, this can result in excess packaging which, rather than enhancing your customers’ experience, can actually ruin it.

How Does Excess Packaging Ruin the Customer Experience?

Last year, over 1.8 billion people bought products online, and, in the UK, we have seen a 50% increase in online sales compared to a decade ago.

Alongside the growth in online sales, there’s been an increase in customer expectations.  

Consumers are no longer happy to have a package arrive in a brown box full of bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts.

Instead, they want an experience from the moment their package arrives.  And, ideally, they want that experience to be environmentally friendly, which is where excess packaging can have a negative impact.  

Environmental Concerns

While customers want their products to be packaged well, so their goods aren’t damaged, they don’t want that packaging to be wasteful.  If the box is too large for the products your shipping, for example, you’ll need to use additional packaging materials to keep that product secure within the box.  

No matter the type of packaging and even if it’s recyclable, the impression excess packaging leaves your customer with is that your company is wasteful and doesn’t care about the environment.  Plus, having excess packaging can leave them frustrated because they then have to get rid of it, be that in a bin or by making a trip to the local recycling centre.

Make sure, therefore, that you source packaging that comes in a range of sizes that fit the products your selling.  Even better, look at options such as box on demand that allow you to customise the size of your packaging, reducing waste and – ultimately – helping improve your customer’s experience.

Ease of Opening

Excess packaging isn’t just about what you use to wrap the products in to keep them safe.  It’s about the products themselves and how they’re packaged. Not only does your packaging need to be the right size for the products inside, but it also needs to be easy to open.  Anything too complicated, and your customers won’t be happy.

Children’s toys are a perfect example of this; parents regularly complain about how long it takes to unwrap them.  Known as ‘wrap rage’, it’s something major retailers such as Hasbro are addressing with simpler packaging and is something you can do too to improve your customers experience by using only what is needed.  

Don’t use extra plastic wrapping, for example, and stay away from things like blister packs and anything else that adds to the time it takes to unpack a product.  Remember, though, this doesn’t mean that you should not use any packaging – you still want your goods to arrive undamaged after all – it just means only using as much as you need to make sure this happens.

Ways Packaging Can Improve the Customer Experience

Beyond reducing the amount of packaging, other ways you can improve a customer’s experience, include:

  1. Outer packaging:  When customers receive their order in packaging that looks good, it makes them feel special and excited about what’s inside. Use colour if you can to help build this excite and make sure your brand name is prominently displayed.  
  2. Quality: Goods are more likely to get damaged if your packaging isn’t up to scratch.  And, even if the goods are fine, receiving a box that is ripped or torn doesn’t make a good impression.  Make sure, therefore, you use good quality packaging, even if it costs a bit more. If you aren’t sure what type of packaging you need, companies such as Ribble can help you find what works for you.  
  3. Unboxing: There’s something special about ordering goods online and having the box arrive. It builds a sense of anticipation.  However, once the box is opened, customers want to see what they’ve ordered. This is why unboxing is so important. In fact, unboxing has been a bit of an internet craze for the past few years. Get your packaging right, and you could end up as an online sensation, reaching more customers and making focusing on the unboxing experience well worth it!
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