Many eCommerce stores seem to neglect the packaging of their products and deliveries, to a large extent because their main concerns lie in other areas (customer capture, social media, etc.) There is also a certain lack of innovation in logistical aspects, which we believe to be commoditized, but where there is plenty of potential for innovation. However, you should bear in mind that packaging is a crucial part of your customers’ perception of your brand or store, as it is the “vessel” in which the products sent will reach them, and so a sort of calling card.
In order to be inspired to innovate, it’s always a good idea to find what others are doing, so here are four packaging trends which we started to see in 2013, and which will probably become popular in 2014.
Green (environmentally friendly )packaging “green”
The green movement continues to grow, and we are increasingly aware of the impact which our activity has on the environment. So there are more and more customers concerned with these aspects, and as responsible businesspeople, you should also be aware of the impact of your business activity. The boxes and wrappings in which you send your products are a potential threat to the environment, particularly if you aren’t careful with certain aspects of them.
In 2014 we will continue to see more online stores that opt for more environmentally-friendly packages or wrappings, either because they are made from recycled materials or because they are biodegradable.
One of the main examples of this trends is also one of the few innovations that have taken place in this industry in recent years. Henry Wang and Chris Curro recently presented the “Rapid Packing Container”, a packaging concept which is meant to revolutionize the industry by reducing the amount of material required and speeding up packing and unpacking times, and because it is based on recyclable materials.
But this is not the online example: there are plenty more. This one is from The Clean Clothes Project, which uses 100% organic bags:
The Clean Clothes Project uses 100% organic brown bags
In Trendhunter you can find up to 27 different types of packaging that follow this trend.
This trend is close to the previous one, but is not quite as “purist” (from a green point of view). It consists in using packaging that can have a second life, that is to say, that can be later used for other purposes.
In 2013 we already saw some eCommerce stores that followed this approach, such as 5mimitos. 5mimitos has opted for two variations on this model. In this first one they have been able to successfully involve the community of 5mimitos buyers to provide designs for their boxes’ second lives. In their Pinterest profile you can find many examples of 5mimitos customers using the boxes for various purposes.
5mimitos opts for a second life for their boxes, involving their community of buyers so that they provide second-life designs for their boxes
5mimitos has also opted for second-life boxes from a different point of view. Some of their products, particularly presents for specific occasions, are sent in very high-quality boxes, with a beautiful design, conceived to have a second life and be used to store toys, clothes, or anything else.
The 5mimitos gift box has a second life in which it can be used to store toys, clothes, or anything else.
Some companies have taken this one step further. This is the case of Taste, which has designed its packaging so that it can be later used as flower pots. The idea is certainly wonderful.
Taste provides a really original packaging which can be later used as flower pots
Another trend which we expect to find in online store packaging is functional packaging. When we say functional, we mean two approaches, from the e-retailer’s point of view (better storage, multiple applications, etc.) and from the consumer’s point of view (solving a problem).
In addition to being functional, packaging can be personalized and made more fun, as in these examples:
Innovative and functional packaging, as it allows users to store and transport chips very easily without getting any stains.
Another example of functional packaging, in this case a burger. Very easy to store as it can be stretched, and very comfortable for consumers, as when the lid is removed, the packaging is opened and makes easy to hold the burger, replacing a plate.
Another interesting trend in the field of packaging for online stores is mixing concepts. One striking example which I came across thanks to Fotografía eCommerce is E-Mio, an interesting online store that sells baby clothes, mixing baby clothes with the concept of Japanese sushi.
Baby booties are arranged in the boxes as if they were sushi. Yummy!
An interesting way of “packaging” baby hats in glass pots. The result is certainly striking.
It’s also interesting that we are starting to see online store specializing in… packaging! One example is SelfPackaging, where you can find boxes and items to package your orders. In my view, what is most curious about SelfPackaging is that it’s a service conceived for online stores, which in turn is an online store itself. A very interesting turn.
I hope that these will inspire you and that in 2014 we will see some examples of packaging which are more interesting and different than those we are used to see.