With packaging, every step of the way matters. From the first design concepts to the moment the customer finally opens the package and attains his products, everything has to go exactly as it is expected to.
There are several stages in the packaging life cycle, each with its own unique challenges, such as:
The purpose of this article is to highlight the separate stages and the vital questions companies and brands must ask themselves at each one of them.
Naturally, packaging materials are manufactured.
Right from the start, companies are required to consider the nature of their product, its design and shipping requirements in order to commission the most appropriate type of packaging. Each type of product requires their suitable packaging materials and these materials come at varying prices.
Points required to be considered:
- For Apparel: Both boxes and bags are an option, either plain or colorful
- For Electronics: these must be protected from mechanical damage and electrostatic discharge, in some cases the material is required to be waterproof
- For Fragile Goods: Packaging peanuts, bubble wrap or additional layers of packaging paper add extra protection
- For Liquids: Spilling and leakage must be avoided
All of these factors play an important role in the selection of the packaging material and they also influence the overall cost of the shipping process at large.
After the packaging material of choice is manufactured and ready to be used, the packaging needs to be assembled and eventually filled.
Depending on the nature of the goods shipped, this can come with a number of challenges.
In what way the product will be placed in the box is a vital question companies have to ask themselves at this point. If only a few items with standardized measurements are shipped, maybe one (packaging) size fits all.
For instance, if various sizes of products are sold or several items are shipped at once, then larger boxes are required, as is a specific amount of the appropriate padding material.
This affects whether the assembly and filling process can be automated or has to be done by hand. Many dedicated 3P and 4P fulfillment companies are very well equipped and have highly specialized machinery, which makes shipping a whole lot easier especially for smaller companies.
After all these technical questions have been answered, the product is finally ready to be shipped.
It is essential that the packaging keeps its integrity and protects the products at all times
Hence, yet another consideration that Companies also have to bear in mind is the transportation route, such as by land, sea, and or air which have their own particular requirements for packaging.
For example, some glues and packaging tapes might be negatively affected by dampness for instance.
Another important aspect of transportation is efficiency.
A well-thought-out packaging solution which reduces waste, is easier to handle and sort – all of which brings down costs.
Packaging also greatly affects customer experience. Aside from preventing the damage of goods, which obviously needs to be avoided at all costs, the packaging itself plays an integral role in customer relations. The parcel should be:
- of high quality
- easy to open