Must. Master. Digital.

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Packaging Design on October 02, 2014

If you produce consumer packaged goods, stop reading this right now and download this report: The digital future: A game plan for consumer packaged goods.

Shifts in e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile) will upend your day-to-day job more than anything has in the past; and reading these comprehensive insights might just help you advance or even save your packaging career.

Too alarmist? Maybe. Maybe not.

Here’s one of the main points (of many!) I gleaned from the report, which was produced by the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., IRI Global Analytics and Consulting, The Boston Consulting Group and Google (yes, the Google):

“CPG companies need to understand and, to the extent possible, shape the shifting retail landscape, because ultimately they will need to participate in new distribution models.”

Packaging must rise to the challenge of operating in an e-commerce environment because it’s growing in numbers and needs. My September 2013 article From pallet to parcel to pizza delivery guy considered how a shift in direct-to-consumer shipping might impact packaging designs and operations.

Now, I want to share new views from leaders in the know. In addition to this ground-breaking report, Denise LeFebvre, vp, global packaging and engineering technology at PepsiCo, also talked about the importance and urgency of e-commerce in her keynote at the 2014 Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit put on by Packaging Digest and its owner UBM Canon.

“E-commerce: It’s here. Do we have packs that make sense for the consumer to order?” LeFebvre said. “What is really the strategy to unlock that channel? Consumers don’t want to go to the store necessarily as much. Who’s got time? I’m shopping all the time remotely and so [are] a lot of people.”

She talked about the growth and trajectory of these channels—domestically and internationally, the latter of which is critical for global companies to master. “How are you getting through all those distribution channels with the right packaging at the right price point and the right fit for that consumer and that channel?” LeFebvre asked. “This is going to be a big challenge—for food and beverage in particular. Somehow we have to figure a way to unlock that.”

The PAC Packaging Consortium has some suggestions. In July 2014, the group published PAC NEXT Ecommerce Packaging Guidelines, which outlines five key criteria that e-commerce shippers for deliveries to the home should strive to meet.

It’s an exciting time in packaging. As the GMA/BCG/IRI/Google report notes: “CPG companies that want to win will start developing their own digital game plans now.”

Transformations are taking place in other areas of packaging, too. I urge you to read Creative Destruction and Industrial internet. Would love to hear what you think of all these disruptive ideas.

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