Not surprisingly, the top four ecommerce-packaging-related articles in 2018 on PackagingDigest.com all involve Amazon, the ecomm leader in most of the world. The company has been pretty active this year in working with the packaging industry on solutions that are optimized for Amazon’s fulfillment centers and for small-parcel shipping. Benefits of optimized packaging designs for ecommerce, according to the A to Z etailer, are:
• An improved consumer experience;
• Minimal negative impact on the environment;
• Lower “delivered” costs.
Auto-replenishment is the bomb in ecommerce! And Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service—which provides consumers unprecedented convenience for automatic product ordering—now interfaces directly with smart packages from Jabil Packaging Solutions. When products are running low, the “connected” containers sense that and trigger a new order from Amazon.
Shortly after Packaging Digest broke the news of Amazon’s new Frustration-Free Packaging Vendor Incentive Program (see #1 below), we reached out to six packaging experts to get their opinions. All had mostly positive things to say:
Brian Wagner, co-founder and principal, PTIS LLC: “This will likely be the ‘kickstart’ that many companies needed to truly design packaging for the ecommerce channel.”
Matt Dingee, co-founder and chief operating officer, OnPoint2020: “Brands will discover that there are many sustainability and business benefits beyond compliance.”
Nina Goodrich, director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and executive director, GreenBlue:“Amazon has shown that it is possible to approach packaging differently. It has redefined the ‘job that packaging is hired to do.’”
David Luttenberger, global packaging director, Mintel: “Amazon considers itself to be a sustainability company, not an ecommerce retailer or logistics/distribution company. Everything it does reflects that mindset, and its package testing protocol is just one facet of a multi-faceted plan to prove that day by day, package by package.”
Jonathan Quinn, chair of AMERIPEN Ecommerce Working Group and market development manager, Nova Chemicals: “While design incentivizes are a step in the right direction, there are other system challenges that need to be taken under consideration as we seek to incorporate sustainability into the design of a sustainable ecommerce packaging system.”
Bob Lilienfeld, principal, Robert Lilienfeld Consulting, and editor and publisher ofThe ULS (Use Less Stuff) Report: “Amazon has pushed its program closer to where the logical decision makers have influence: supply chain management.”
Packaging Digest wants to know what you think too. CLICK HERE to take our quick poll now.
Working with closure manufacturer Rieke Packaging, Amazon solved one of its trickiest problems: Preventing liquids—even those with minimal product viscosity—from leaking during distribution in the small-parcel environment, where packages could be oriented in any direction at any time in their journey.
Rieke’s new Ultimate-E (ecommerce) trigger sprayer hits on three critical criteria:
1. It eliminates leaks, rather than simply reduces or contains them.
2. It maintains customer convenience because there are no inner seals to remove, meaning the product arrives ready to use.
3. It allows consumers to remove the closure—to refill the bottle, for example.
In my opinion, our #1 ecommerce packaging article is the biggest news of the year because of its significance and potential for dramatic positive change in ecommerce packaging.
If you haven’t heard by now…
To help reduce packaging waste and improve efficiency of ecommerce shipping for its vendors, Amazon will require that select products being sold and fulfilled by Amazon arrive in its fulfillment centers in certified packaging under its Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) program. This means that the packaging does not require any shipping preparation or an overbox to be applied.
The incentive? For each stock-keeping unit (SKU) arriving in certified FFP by the 2019 deadlines—Aug. 1 for the U.S. and Canada, and Oct. 1 for six European Union countries—Amazon will give vendors a one-time credit of $1. After the compliance deadlines, every product not in certified Frustration-Free Packaging will be charged a $1.99 fee.
I agree with Wagner’s assessment above in #3. Can’t wait to see all the new, ecommerce-optimized packages you guys are working on now.
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