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Retailers still not getting packaging right


Retailers are still failing to properly package goods for delivery although things are improving on last year, according to the second annual survey from Macfarlane Packaging.
In a survey the company found that one in five packages (20%) were described by online shoppers as being essentially unfit for purpose as a result of being either too big (risking products getting damaged by moving around) or too small (risking the package breaking open). However this was a significant improvement on 2016 when the total was 30%.

The number of items arriving damaged also fell, down from 10% in 2016 to 7% in 2017. However, 21% of participants reported packages arriving either ripped, damp, dented or even opened.

Although retailers are still not getting the size of packaging quite right it appears the amount of packaging used inside packages (infill) is working better, with reports of excess packaging falling from 41% last year to only 15% in 2017.

However retailers are still letting themselves down when it comes to returns information. Macfarlane Packaging’s survey reveals that 30% of packages had no returns information although this compares to 55% last year.

Laurel Granville, marketing director at Macfarlane Packaging, said the survey showed encouraging signs that retailers were taking more notice of the importance of packaging but there was still more to do. “Britain’s online retailers have clearly listened to their customers and are increasingly harnessing the power of good packaging. We know from our customers and from recent research how important consumers view their unboxing experience and it’s great to see retailers responding in this way. By making their packaging fit for purpose, online retailers are taking big steps to improve the experience for their customers, reduce damages and, therefore, returns,” said Granville.

However when it comes to unboxing only 12% of those surveyed claimed to be truly delighted with their packaging experience whilst only 35% of customers described the packaging as “consistent” with the brand image of the retailer or supplier and 38% reported that their pack had no branding, either inside or outside.

“Although our survey reveals a commendable improvement from online retailers, it also lays bare the considerable scope that exists for the sector to capitalise on the potential for packaging to be a real differentiator for them,” said Granville. “In a competitive market, and as we approach the retail sector’s busiest time of the year, now is the time for retailers to go the extra mile and turn on the wow factor for their customers with packaging that brings the store experience into their homes.”

Image credit: Macfarlane Packaging

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