Ribble’s £3.5 million investment into their future

Recently we have successfully completed a £3.5 million investment project on time, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. The project, which included a warehouse extension and the installation of various state-of-the-art machinery, started in February and concluded in early September. The investment will allow us to expand our capacity and continue our growth in the future.

Over the past 5 years we have worked hard to create a position as the European market leader for the manufacture and supply of corrugated Fanfold, in addition to pioneering Right Size packaging solutions in the UK. We started this journey to success 8 years ago when we prototyped the very first Fanfold stacker developed by Universal Corrugated B.V. Using this highly automated and ground-breaking technology, we were able to ride the growing wave of the ‘on demand’ culture. It was our desire to continue as the market leaders in this rapidly developing and evolving market that lead to the decision to make this latest investment.

The investment consisted of 4 projects involving a multitude of contractors from all over Europe, all of whom came together with our own Ribble team to coordinate the installations. The teams worked seamlessly together in an environment made all the more challenging by the requirement to comply with our comprehensive Covid risk management plan.

Project 1 – The ‘Airbond’ System

The system, installed by JKSP Services, was an investment on the drying section of the conventional corrugator. It is designed to dry double walled board at higher running speeds, allowing us to increase the line speed of double wall from 170 metres per minute up to 220 metres per minute.

Project 2 – The Unifold

The largest part of the of the investment was The Unifold, the latest generation and fastest fully automated fanfold stacker in Europe. This machine was manufactured by Universal Corrugated B.V, shipped over from the Netherlands and installed and commissioned within a 2 week period. The upgrade will allow us to increase our running speed by 33% from 150 metres per minute to 200 metres per minute, with the capability for higher speeds in the future.

Project 3 – Dedicated Press Track

The press track, dedicated to The Unifold stacker, incorporates a state-of-the-art palletiser, turntable, pallet pusher and conveyorization. All of which will aid the manufacture and delivery of Fanfold to the various Right Size automated packaging systems available across the market.

Project 4 – Warehouse & Factory Extension

PLP Construction were contracted to build the warehouse extension which has increased our onsite storage capacity by 18,000 square feet. This significant increase will allow us to store on average an extra 1000 pallets and cope with the newly increased running speeds of the fanfold stacker.

Stephen Rector, the Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, praised his employees and the contractors involved stating “The work done on this project has been immense and the result is, in my opinion, fantastic. The Fanfold and Right Size packaging market has grown significantly over the past few years and show no signs of stopping. We therefore needed to evolve with the market to protect our hard-earned market leading position. This investment will ensure we do exactly that whilst also giving us the ability to strengthen our relationships and partnerships with the leading Right Size packaging machine manufacturers such as Panotec, Quadient and CMC.”

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?

The Manufacturer’s Guide To Packaging Paintings And Wall Art

Over the last ten years, the UK has experienced rapid growth in online sales. Clothes and household items aren’t all people are buying. Today, people are buying anything and everything online, including paintings and wall art. 

Some of the most difficult items to pack are paintings and wall art, especially if they are framed. Framed artwork and pictures don’t fit usual packing standards, meaning they need special care and attention when shipping. The frames themselves, for example, are often large yet flimsy. Glass covers a large percentage of paintings, and the artwork itself is at risk of damage from the wrong type of packaging or glass breaking.  

Here we look at how best to package paintings and wall art for shipping. First, though, we’ll look at what to avoid with painting packaging. 

What not to do when packaging paintings and wall art

When packaging paintings and wall art, it’s a good idea to avoid:

  • Using packing materials that can scratch glass or leave marks on the canvas. A perfect example of this is newspaper, which a lot of sites recommended using as additional packaging. Another is parchment paper, which can scratch glass. 
  • Using Styrofoam peanuts as additional packaging. While these might seem a good option, they can break down in transit, especially with heavier frames. These small pieces can lodge between the frame and glass. More environmentally-friendly options, such as corn starch peanuts, also breakdown under pressure. They can also turn to ‘glue’ with moisture, causing damage to paintings. 
  • Shipping loose canvases with their frame. It is much better to roll up the canvas and ship it separately. 

Packaging paintings correctly

While every painting and piece of artwork is different, these steps will help make sure they are packaged correctly.

  1. Place the painting on a flat surface when preparing it for shipping. The surface should be stable and bigger than the painting itself.
  2. Use masking tape to mark an X across any glass frame. This will help keep the glass in place during shipping. It also protects the artwork if the glass breaks in transit. 
  3. Use thick card as a cover where there isn’t a glass frame. The card or cardboard should cover the painting, not the frame. Alternatives to card and cardboard include foam or felt. Avoid bubble wrap touching the artwork directly as this could cause static, which can damage a painting. 
  4. Use bubble wrap to cover the painting and the frame. Use at least two layers, one horizontally and one vertically, which will keep the painting more secure in transit. Secure the bubble wrap with masking tape at the back of the painting, holding it in place. 
  5. Choose the right sized box for the frame being shipped. If it is too large, it could move in transit, damaging the painting. Use additional packaging such as brown paper If there is space once the frame is in the box to avoid it moving in transit.  
  6. For extra-large frames (those more than 30 inches high/wide) use a telescopic box. Telescopic boxes extend to fit the frame. Alternatively, use two boxes or use cardboard cut to the size of the frame. Make sure the cardboard is thick enough to protect the painting in transit.
  7. Once the frame is in the box, lift and move the package to see if it moves in transit. If it does, add additional packaging. 
  8. Seal the edges with packing tape. Use enough tape to make sure the seals won’t open during transit. 
  9. Mark the package FRAGILE. Place labels where they can be easily seen. If needed, use more than one.
  10. Choose the right shipping method. Ideally, this will be a courier, one who specialises in shipping artwork and who understands how to handle fragile packages. If the painting is expensive or an antique, make sure it is properly insured so that if it is damaged the business, and the customer, are protected. 

Packaging Sizes

Of all of these, getting the right size box is probably the most important step, yet the one most often ignored. There is a temptation for businesses to order boxes in bulk to cut costs and then try and make the frames fit. Using packaging that is too large for the frame, however, is putting the painting at risk, something that should be avoided at all costs. 

Fortunately, there are now lots of options available to ensure you have the right-sized boxes. You can ask a box manufacturer to deliver custom-sized boxes for your products. Alternatively, you can invest in a packaging machine, which will create a box to the right size of each individual product you plan to ship. 

 

Frame Packaging: Get Your Contents Safely to Your Customer

According to recent figures released by the UK government, over 50% of consumers shop online some or all the time. It’s a trend that looks set to continue. For online businesses, this is excellent news, as long as they can attract those consumers and then turn them into loyal customers. 

One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that the products they sell offer value for money. Another is to make sure that these goods arrive at their destination undamaged. For this to happen, a business needs to use the right packaging for their products, especially if those products are fragile. 

There are few things more fragile than frames, whether these contain a piece of art or have a future displaying treasured family photos. Depending on their size and construction, the frames themselves can be thin (making them easily breakable). Plus, the glass itself can shatter if not adequately protected. 

What, though, is the best way to package a frame? Here, we look at the frame packaging steps to take to make sure frames are packaged properly so that they arrive at their destination damage-free.

Supplies

The first thing any business needs to do is to make sure they have the right types of frame packaging for the items they want to ship. This means boxes that are the right size – they need to fit around the frames securely. It also means supplies to package up the frame itself. These include packaging tape, labels, recycled brown packing paper and other eco-friendly packaging options such as cardboard, paper, shredded paper or even popcorn. 

Using The Right Sized Box

While it might be tempting to try and save money by ordering boxes in bulk then making them fit the frame, this isn’t a good idea. Choosing a box that’s too big, for example, and filling it full of additional packaging such as Styrofoam peanuts, can see it shift in transit. As a result, it could end up damaged, meaning a refund or returned order. Furthermore, customers now prioritise green packaging solutions and do not want to see wasteful unrecyclable products such as Styrofoam

It is much better to find boxes that fit the frames, even if this means ordering smaller quantities. The good news here is that are box manufacturers who specialise in boxes designed for shipping frames. Alternatively, you can opt for a Box on Demand service which creates the right-sized box for every item you want to ship. You can also break down an existing box and resize it for the frame if specialist packaging isn’t available. 

Protecting Glass

Most frames include a glass sheet that protects the contents once it’s on the wall. To protect the glass until it’s ready for hanging, use masking tape to place an X across it. This can stop it from moving during shipping. Plus, if it does shatter, it stops it breaking into smaller pieces.

Protecting Artwork

Where artwork isn’t covered by glass it still needs protection from damage. The best way to do this is to use a wrap around the frame and over (but not touching) the art.  Commercial wrapping (often made from paper or plastic) is available for shipping purposes. It may be called pallet wrap. You can also find plastic-alternative wrapping that is usually made from corn starch if you want your packaging to be green.

Additional Packaging

It’s best to use the right size frame packaging. However, if the box isn’t an exact fit, you may need to provide extra protection. Use at least two layers of additional packaging. Wrap one layer around the frame lengthwise and one around the frame width-wise. This means it’s less likely to shift in transit. Something else worth thinking about are corner protectors, which should help hold the frame securely in place.

Check For Movement

Before sealing up the box, it’s a good idea to test the package for shipment. However, once a company has a process for frame packaging that works, this won’t be needed. Close the box and lift it, lay it flat and then turn it over. Then reopen the box to check whether there has been any movement. If there isn’t, it’s good to go. If there is, adjust the packaging to reduce the risk of damage to the frame. 

Final Packaging

Seal frame packaging securely before shipping it (the same as any other packaging). Make sure to close all seams, covering them with packing tape. It’s important to avoid any gaps or openings. Add a label that clearly shows the name and address of the recipient. Include any shipping instructions on the label.  Most important of these is marking the package FRAGILE. Use FRAGILE stickers (rather than writing the word) to look professional. Place them in key locations where they will be easily seen. 

Mirror Packaging: The Alternative For Mirror Manufacturers & Retailers

When it comes to packaging and transporting mirrors, the process has been relatively consistent for many years.

Typically, it begins with bubble wrap, polystyrene packing peanuts and a box with lots of parcel tape. However, customers are now demanding a new and improved packaging option. They are looking for one that is better for the environment, and that limits wastage.

So, what is the alternative for mirror packaging?

Why retailers should look for alternative mirror packaging

  • Eliminate waste

When you are shipping a variety of mirrors, the chances are you are using the same size box for as many products as possible. This means more space on the van when shipping which not only costs your business more but also means there are more vans on the road, causing more emissions. Using custom boxes for each mirror you ship eliminates waste, potentially saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint. 

  • Ease of recycling

90% of people say that they would recycle more if it were easier to do so. Consequently, there is a demand for greener packaging that is easy to recycle. If you are using plastic packaging or other materials that do not biodegrade or are not easy to recycle, then it is time to find alternative mirror packaging that customers can recycle. 

Using custom boxes made from recycled cardboard is an excellent solution as cardboard is readily recycled and is easy to reuse and repurpose into new packaging every time it is recycled. 

  • Improve customer perception

Consumers are looking for companies that offer eco-friendly options and packaging is an essential aspect of this. With unboxing now being a huge trend, you want to ensure your customers get the right impression of your brand from the second they receive your parcel. One of the best ways to make a good impression of your packaging is to keep it minimal, eco-friendly and easy to repurpose or recycle. Customers are short on time, and your packaging needs to be easy to process. 

  • Enhance the shipping process

Packaging items ready for shipping takes time, money and resources. Furthermore, packaging material takes up lots of space, and the process itself can be space consuming. If you want to make the packaging process more seamless and to keep it speedy, it may be time to think about alternative mirror packaging. Solutions such as Box On Demand can minimise the space needed for packaging and speed up the process too. 

  • Reduce breakages

If you find that many customers are returning items because they have been broken or damaged, then it is certainly time to rethink the packaging that you are using. Large boxes, even with void filler mean that there is a lot of space for your products to move, which increases the risk of damage. However, by choosing custom boxes that ensure your mirrors fit snugly inside means, there is less movement and hopefully fewer breakages. 

While you may have a higher initial outlay in changing your packaging, it may improve your bottom line in the long run. 

Custom boxes – the alternative for mirror packaging

While cardboard may have been around for centuries, it is still one of the easiest, cost-effective and greenest methods of packaging. Corrugated cardboard helps to provide padding as well, which can reduce breakages. If you use custom boxes, then you know the product and its box are the perfect fit. 

Consequently, you can reduce wastage, excess space, eliminate void fillers and keep your products as safe as possible during transit. What’s more, when the client receives your parcel in its custom box, it is easy for them to recycle the packaging too. 

You can make your custom boxes even green by avoiding bleached boxes and instead focus on using previously recycled card for your packaging. Many corrugated cardboard sellers will now offer a recycled option that can also be recycled again by your customers. This means the lifespan of the cardboard is hugely increased, with the ability to recycle it time and time again. 

If you have small areas of space that you need to fill, then biodegradable void filler of paper cushioning can be an excellent alternative for mirror packaging. While custom boxes may be enough, if you want added security that doesn’t use excess unrecyclable plastic, then these can be useful to have in stock in case there are rare cases where they are needed or perhaps need cushioning between multiple mirrors when you are posting more than one at a time in each box.

Custom Boxes: The Answer To Your Products Void Filler Problem

Shipping fragile items such as mirrors, furniture or glass is never easy. To make a profit, you need to ensure that your items reach the customer in one piece, with no damage. However, in the busy world of logistics, that is not always easy. 

In the past, the most effective way to ensure fragile items were transported safely was thanks to void filler such as foam packing peanuts. However, these days, less is more when it comes to packaging. Consumers are seeking out brands who are greener with their packaging by either using eco-friendly materials and minimising waste. So, if you’re looking to remove void filler from your packaging, but still want to keep your products protected, what should you do instead? The answer lies in custom boxes. 

Your void filler problem

As well as being wasteful and not environmentally friendly, void filler comes with numerous other issues. For a start, they are typically expensive to include in your packaging budget. Furthermore, void fillers are incredibly time-consuming, especially when you have multiple items to package and ship each day. 

Another issue with void filler is storage. You need an ample space to store void filler. This space can often be better used to store more goods, or you can use the space for other ventures for your business. 

You can read more about void filler problems in one of our previous blog posts here

Eco-friendly shipping

Studies suggest that by 2050, logistics emissions will account for 17% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the world. As a result, there is now more urgency to find ways to cut emissions in the logistics process, especially as e-commerce continues to rise.  Eco-friendly shipping not only needs to focus on reusable materials but reducing waste in the whole process; from space to fewer packaging materials. 

Keeping packages safe without void filler

The problem with void filler is that it is generally easy to use and can keep products relatively safe. This means it is hard to move away from, especially when there is a risk of eliminating void filler from your packaging. However, to reduce emissions and show off your green credentials to your client base, then removing void filler is essential. 

How to eliminate void filler with custom boxes

The reason void filler is used is because the box is too big for the item. However, you can eliminate this issue by using custom boxes. If you ship a lot of products, then you may think it is not feasible to order multiple boxes in custom sizes. However, by using a box on demand service, you can get the perfect size box for every item, as and when you need it. This means you reduce the amount of space you need for packaging storage too. 

Benefits of custom boxes

  • Decrease waste material

Firstly, it is wise to conduct some packaging test runs to determine how much packaging you actually need to keep your product safe. While you may have once used miles of bubble wrap to cover your wall art or mirror products, you may find that you only need one wrap to keep your product snug in the custom box and safe from any logistic mishaps. 

From there, you can eliminate the use of wasteful bubble wrap and use corrugated cardboard, that is easy to recycle or perhaps corn starch or mushroom packaging to keep your parcel safe while in transit. 

  • More space in lorries

By using a custom box, you only need to take up the exact amount of space you need. There is no excess to account for on the lorry. This means vehicles can pack more products on to each load, reducing the carbon emissions. 

  • Product safety

Custom boxes actually keep your products safer than standard-sized boxes. This is because there is less space for your product to move around in, which means your product is secure during transport. As a result of your products being safer, there is less risk of customers receiving damaged goods. As a result, your business reduces the cost of reverse logistics, returns and product write-offs. Consequently, this all helps to improve your product revenue. 

  • Improved customer feedback

Customers love the packaging that makes their life easier and limits its impact on the environment.  Custom boxes can improve the shopping experience by making reducing waste, making it easy to recycle and customers can know that the cardboard used in custom boxes is already recycled. This leaves the customer with a positive impression of your business and means they are more likely to return to your organisation and buy from you again. 

Boxes Are Affecting Your Transportation Cost in Logistics

When it comes to logistics, online companies generally spend more on the transport of goods than anything else; some industry experts estimate transportation costs in logistics can run as high as 50%.

This is especially true of ecommerce sites whose business model relies on being able to get their products to their customers as quickly as possible and who don’t have the benefit of bricks and mortar stores where people can ‘click and collect’ their purchases.

How packaging can reduce transportation costs in logistics

Packaging is incredibly important when it comes to shipping goods.  It needs to be strong, sturdy and able to protect what’s inside, making sure it reaches its destination in the same condition as it left your warehouse (and keeping your customer happy).  

Typically, this has meant online stores using standard-sized boxes and protecting the contents with additional packaging material such as bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts.  While this may go a long way to reducing the risk of goods being damaged in transit, it also goes a long way to increasing your transportation costs in logistics because you are basically paying to ship air.  

Every cubic inch of your packaging that doesn’t contain your product and contains packaging materials instead – or nothing at all – is costing you money.  You can save this money by reducing the size of the boxes you use for your packaging.

If you ship large quantities of goods and have your own delivery trucks, reducing the size of your packaging means you can get more boxes into each vehicle.  The more boxes you can get into a truck, the fewer journeys you need to make, and the less you end up spending on fuel.

If you use a courier service or Royal Mail to ship your goods, you will generally be charged by either size or weight.  Reducing the size of the packaging will, therefore, automatically save you money.

As reducing the size of your packaging also means a reduction in additional packaging material you’ll also save money if you are charged by weight; your packages will weigh less because they are not only smaller but contain less unnecessary packaging material.

How to protect your goods when you reduce your packaging

Many companies don’t use less packaging, even though they know if they can reduce their transportation costs in logistics because they are afraid their goods will end up getting damaged in transit. It isn’t necessarily the case, however, that this will happen.  In fact, if you use the right type of packaging, you could end up with a higher level of protection that you had when using traditional boxes.

A lot of traditional packaging boxes, for example, are what is known as a single wall, which isn’t that strong in reality.  Others use corrugated cardboard which is stronger but can still buckle or tear in transit if not handled correctly, which is why additional packaging materials are used.   For packaging to help reduce your transportation costs in logistics, you need to look at it in a different way.

Think, instead, of using bespoke packaging.  Look for companies who are able to make boxes that fit the items you are selling, including those that offer box on demand systems. These not only produce boxes that perfectly fit the goods you want to ship but do so only when you need them. This means you aren’t paying for packaging you don’t need or having to worry about where you need to store it.    

Other ways packaging can save you money

As well as saving you money on transportation costs in logistics, getting the size of your packaging right can also save you money when it comes to warehousing.  The less packaging you use, the more goods you can store in less space; as most warehouse costs are calculated in square footage, the less you use, the less it will cost.   

There are staffing efficiencies too – smaller boxes are easier to handle and often quicker to move by your warehouse teams.

Using systems such as box on demand can also save you money because they automate the process of producing boxes as and when needed.  Firstly, you don’t need to find space in your warehouse to store them, which will save you money as we’ve already seen.

In addition, you save time – and more money – because a machine puts them together rather than a person who can probably be better utilised somewhere else in your business.

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.

7 Ways To Make Your Packaging More Customer Friendly

Each year, the number of people shopping online increases.

In the UK, we have the third largest eCommerce sector in the world, accounting for over £500 billion annually in sales.

As a result, this means there is a need for online businesses to access a wide range of packaging options in order to ship their products.

For years, this need was filled with cardboard boxes produced to standard sizes, resulting in a need for additional – and often excessive – fillers such as bubble wrap.  Consumer trends, however, are changing, as are levels of environmental awareness, meaning traditional packaging methods are no longer acceptable.

Consequently, online businesses need to find more customer friendly packaging options. Here, we look at seven such customer-friendly packaging options:

  • Package Size

The internet is full of customers commenting on the fact that their products were shipped in boxes that were much too big for the items inside.  And, while seeing an Instagram post of someone sitting in a large box that was used to deliver a small bottle of shampoo can be funny, it’s actually quite frustrating for customers who are left having to get rid of the packaging.  

Today, technology such as Box on Demand means that your packaging can be made to fit the products themselves, something customers will no doubt appreciate – especially if that packaging can fit through a letterbox.

  • Pack Smartly

If customers order more than one item from you, think about how these can be packaged to reduce the amount of packaging you use and the risk of any damage.  Can items be stored inside each other, for example, or can you use softer products to cushion those that are more breakable?

  • Harmful Products

Most packaging is mass produced, meaning it may contain chemicals that can harm the environment or cause allergic reactions in humans. Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact chemicals can have and want products and packaging made from less harmful alternatives.

Look for customer friendly packaging options, therefore, that are made from these alternatives; you can buy plastic packaging made from corn starch, for example, or have boxes printed with soy ink, which is biodegradable.  

  • Environmental Impact

One of the main reasons’ customers don’t respond well to packaging that is too large for their order is the negative environmental impact they believe it has; even if the packaging can be recycled, today’s consumers are environmentally aware and will see this as wasteful.  

Beyond this, however, your customers will want to know how sustainable your packaging is and the easiest way to let them know is to tell them by having it printed on the packaging – if it’s made of recycled materials for example – they’ll appreciate not having to search your website to find the answers to their questions.  

  • Excess Packaging

Excess packaging isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s bad for the customer, especially if it means they have to spend more time than is necessary for unwrapping your products.  When it comes to customer friendly packaging, remember, anything beyond what you need to keep an order free from damage is probably too much and won’t be appreciated.

If anything, it is likely to lead to the customer getting frustrated as they try to pull off additional plastic wrapping or snip through plastic ties.

  • Branding

People tend to order more online during peak times such as Christmas, at which point they may well get overwhelmed by the number of plain brown boxes arriving on their doorstep.  If they’ve ordered gifts for different family members, this can lead to frustrations if they don’t know what is in each box. And, while you won’t want to give the game away by not using any packaging (as Amazon did the other year), having your brand name printed on your packaging can go some way to letting them know just what is inside the box.  

  • Information Sharing

Depending on the products you sell and ship, there may be care instructions you need to share with customers.  Making this clear and easy to find on a box or bag will go a long way to creating customer-friendly packaging, especially if it requires customers to do something as soon as their order arrives – storing it in a cool, dark, place, for example.  

Packaging can be used to share information on other products that might be of interest too, or to thank customers for their order, something which will definitely be appreciated.

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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