July 8, 2020 Press reports

Arvato looks into the newest online shop packaging trends

Gütersloh – Packaging not only serves to protect goods during shipment, but also plays an essential part in the Customer Journey offered by the Brand. As physical goods presentation is not part of the process when buying online, packaging can be tailored to serve as the connection between the physical and digital shopping worlds. The goal is to simultaneously enhance Brand Image and validate the purchasing decision directly at unpacking. This is even more relevant to the Fashion and Beauty industries where highly emotional products are offered. Notwithstanding the functional aspects of image promotion and product protection, packaging cost cannot be ignored. In their Unboxing study, Arvato Supply Chain Solutions' eCommerce Competence Center identifies current packaging trends while delving into who and how online retailers are meeting Customer Satisfaction expectations in this dynamic and challenging area.

A total of 50 test orders were placed with online shops from the Fashion and Beauty industries, and the Unboxing study focussed on packaging, customer communication on and in the package, and the returns process. As it turns out, the two industries divulge significantly on their choice of packaging type: while Fashion relies heavily on bag shipping (59%), cardboard is the first choice for Beauty. This is not a question of price, but due primarily to the different product properties - liquids and fragile goods demand sturdier protection than textiles. "There is, however, consensus on the topic of Branding," explains Franziska Kier, Senior Consultant at the eCommerce Competence Center, and author of the study. “The majority of companies brand their packaging with logos and slogans and let their company colours shine through. Often the cardboard shippers used for Beauty appear completely inconspicuous from the outside, and only show their true beauty upon opening." Many companies use packaging to speak directly to their customers. The placement of social media icons or apps for download on materials is not uncommon - Newcomers in particular are taking advantage of this form of communication.

According to the study, another important aspect that cannot be neglected is the aspect of convenience in packaging solutions – and there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area for many companies. The packaging itself should offer added value for the customer - for example through easy opening, ability to reclose, or generating as little waste as possible to be disposed of. Only 52 percent of the companies surveyed use perforated packaging to make it easier for customers to open the box. The trend towards more sustainability has not reached any level of significance in e-commerce packaging. "Even though the topic of sustainability received more attention with the Fridays for Future movement, there is still a long way to go," explains Franziska Kier. "Although many companies already have moved to the use of sustainable packaging materials and communicate this clearly, only 15% of end-customers are offered the ability to consciously choose between additional tissue paper, plastic or previously used cartons.”

As Customer Experience certainly does not end with package delivery, it should also be important for online retailers to offer returns processes that are as simple and uncomplicated as possible. In addition to resealable packaging, the uncomplicated availability of a return label and free return options are also important. Fashion companies are the clear winners in this regard – two-thirds of the companies include the return label in the package, 95% bear the costs of the return. Using a different approach, Beauty companies impress with free product samples – often the customer has the opportunity to choose which ones. Additionally, Beauty regularly offers a number of value added services such as gift packaging; due to the fact that these services drive substantial costs in the logistics, they are rarely available for free.

In the study "Online Shop Packaging Trends", the eCommerce Competence Center from Arvato Supply Chain Solutions shows examples of creative packaging ideas from around the world, and provides insights on the influence of Marketplaces on this topic. A deeper look into Sustainability is also offered: the detailed calculations of C02 emissions for bag versus box shipping is thought provocative and clearly shows the complexity of this issue.

The complete study is available for download here: arva.to/unboxing


About Arvato Supply Chain Solutions:

Arvato Supply Chain Solutions is an innovative and international leading service provider in the field of supply chain management and e-commerce. Partners come together with industry specialists in the fields of Telecommunication, Hightech, Entertainment, Corporate Information Management, Healthcare, Consumer Products and Publisher. About 15,000 employees work together to provide practical and relevant solutions and services worldwide. Using the latest digital technology, Arvato develops, operates and optimizes complex global supply chains and e-commerce platforms, as the strategic growth partner for its customers. Arvato combines the know-how of its employees with the right technology and appropriate business processes to measurably increase the productivity and performance of its partners.

For more information, please visit www.arvato-supply-chain.com.

Arvato Supply Chain Solutions is part of Arvato, a leading international service provider. More than 70,000 employees in almost 40 countries develop and implement innovative solutions for business customers all over the world. These include SCM and IT solutions as well as financial and customer communication services, which are continuously developed with a focus on innovations in automation and data/analytics.

Globally renowned companies from a wide variety of industries – from telecommunications providers and energy providers to banks and insurance companies, e-commerce, IT and Internet providers – rely on Arvato’s portfolio of solutions.

Arvato is a division of Bertelsmann.

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