By Pierre Melion
E-commerce offers great customer convenience and satisfaction. But one of the biggest problems facing the shopping medium is the byproducts and waste produced, the majority deriving from packaging.
Rowena Perrot, general manager of the packaging company Boxtopia says: "The packaging your business produces is a vital part of your brand identity. Creating a nuisance byproduct from your product packaging can connote a wasteful perspective attached to your business."
It is essential that e-commerce companies seek to develop and act upon this area of the customer journey, to follow a more sustainable and ethical practice. Creating sustainable packaging can be rewarding for your organization and its profile, putting you a step ahead of industry packaging trends.
Creating more environmentally-friendly packaging can mean you incur higher operational costs. This is why it is important to scope out how you can run a more eco-friendly business, while being able to operate sustainably. Applying theory such as John Elkingston’s Triple Bottom Line model, will allow you to evaluate the social, economic and environmental factors to sustainable business practice. Reviewing your organization in this way highlights areas your business will need to develop to compensate for a potential increase in postage and packaging costs.
Packaging isn’t just a byproduct; it’s part of your brand identity! If your packaging is seen as environmentally wasteful, you may risk lowering your perceived company profile.Source more environmentally-friendly packaging materials. Depending on the industry you operate in, it’s worthwhile to consider what may be the most environmentally-friendly properties for your product packaging. It may not be the cheapest alternative, but you can still use it to your advantage.
By sourcing more sustainable materials, you can mention it as a unique selling proposition to show that you are an environmentally aware company. The cost can sometimes be a bit higher to source environmentally-friendlier packaging, but the returns can be valuable if it results in creating a greater company profile. With organizations leading to go more sustainable, why not take the plunge now and become a market role model?
The popcorn packaging concept by Diana Chirilas sees packaging as a means of allowing you to proportion your contents. This allows consumers to be less wasteful with the products they buy, with the ability to ration their popcorn. This relationship between the packaging and its contents enforces the idea of sustainability, which goes further than just using responsible packaging properties. This concept can be incorporated into your product packaging to enforce a less wasteful design. This packaging design approach reflects an ethical and sustainable company perspective, both through packaging properties and functionality.
Instant-light charcoal bags -- which can be used as kindling to light charcoal in a grill -- are another age old example of functional packaging. Again, this packaging holds a strong relationship with its contents. This multi-purpose design makes for an efficient use of a rather cumbersome product. Transportation waste is disposed of with the an easier means of product functionality. The concept behind this design sees for a sustainable and functional form of packaging that can be applied to the e-commerce sector.
An upcycling recommendation example could replicate that of Rosenbaum’s bottle wall project in Brazil. The project saw the design team creating a green wall using upcycled plastic bottles, just one of the upcycling ideas you can recommend your customers buying your products.
Image credit: Pixabay
Based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, Pierre is a digital marketing executive at Impression. He has knowledge within the e-commerce packaging sector, and his role includes improving e-commerce customer engagement strategies. You can reach out via Twitter (@impressiontalk) and Instagram (Impressiontalk)"