A busy month of traveling and conversations at various industry events got me thinking about some opportunities for packaging:
• Online shopping will continue to grow. Are your primary packages designed for direct home delivery? Can they survive the sometimes brutal small-parcel environment and still make a positive impression on consumers when they arrive? If they are built solely with the protection-in-numbers pallet-load supply chain in mind, you might be missing an chance to optimize primary and secondary packaging structures together.
I started thinking about that because of this big news—"Amazon gears up for private label"—from the folks at the Private Label Manufacturers Assn. They write: "How long will it be before Amazon becomes a factor in private label? Maybe not as long as you think. The giant online retailer has been running classified ads to hire a Director, Global Product Development, Private Brands." You can bet that, once Amazon begins to develop products, its packaging designers will consider the delivery method as they make their material and structural choices. For example...
• I stopped at Wendy's for lunch during a drive from my hometown Chicago to Cincinnati, where I was giving a presentation at the EPS Expo 2013. I love this fast-food chain and was happy to see that they improved the packaging to make the burger easier to eat in the car—there's a paperboard tray now that is easy to hold and collects any droppings. The next day, though, as I was making the return trip, I lamented that there was no easy way to eat one of their salads while I was driving.
It doesn't matter that the product itself isn't conducive to eating on the go. For a split second, I was thinking like a consumer and blamed the packaging for not meeting my wants. Portable packaging isn't anything new but there's still room for improvement.
Do you know all the ways consumers are using your products today and where? Is your package functional for all those occasions? You might find some insight into the need for über-functional packaging at www.theonehandedworld.blogspot.com.
• I brought up the idea of making a product/package easy to open/use with just one hand at a new online community sponsored by DuPont—www.medicalpackaginginnovation.com—with a comment on the 3/18/13 blog post titled "Can You Do It in the Dark?" Author Adele Graham-King relays a story about not giving her young daughter her inhaler during the night because she didn't want to turn on the light and possibly end up waking the whole house. She asks, "What makes a medical device so intuitive that we can use it anywhere at any time? How many [caregivers] don't medicate correctly due to inconvenience, technical difficulty, situation, or environment?"
Can we use your package in the dark or at the park? On a train or in the rain? Here, there or everywhere?