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Two-thirds of shoppers avoid retailers that send orders in oversized packaging, report finds


The upcoming DeliveryX Packaging 2023 report has found that for ecommerce shoppers sometimes bigger isn’t always better, with bulky parcels full of air more likely to do more harm than good.

The research, which is available to pre-register for now, reported that 67% of consumers would avoid shopping with an online retailer that sent orders in oversized packaging, with nearly a third (29%) feeling strongly about the issue.

Furthermore, almost as many (62%) would also avoid shopping with a etailer that used excess internal packaging material. Unsurprisingly, young conscious consumers led the way in demanding well-fitting parcels with 37% of those who strongly agree that oversized packaging would put them off buying were Millennials, 27% were Generation X, 19% Generation Z and 17% were Baby Boomers.

Customers are becoming more vocal about their packaging – overpackaging being a key example – and they are quick to call retailers out on social media for such waste. Reports suggest that since 2009 Amazon customers have submitted 33 million packaging-related comments, ratings, and photographs to the company.

Being wasteful is not an image retailers will want and cutting out excess packaging could be key to keeping up with conscious consumers.

Fit for a letterbox
Getting the right size of package could also help retailers deal with the challenge of delivering first time. This is an issue faced by many carriers, especially with ecommerce shoppers returning to work and a more active social lifestyle post-covid.

First time delivery is also important for the retailers as it is the brand that is damaged by this failed delivery – a third of UK consumers won’t shop with a retailer again if they have a negative delivery experience.

Furthermore, reports of parcel theft are on the rise. The UK recorded a 5% jump between 2021 and 2022 – costing an estimated £320m in missing goods. A “safe place” to leave parcels is becoming harder for carriers.

Some retailers have turned to PUDO (pick-up and drop-off) networks or click-and-collect options to ensure their products reach their customers first time, some have adapted their packaging to ensure every bit of space is utilised and it is slim enough to fit through a letterbox. From flowers to brownies, beauty products to whisky, etailers have transformed their products and packaging to safely and smoothly be delivered via a letterbox.

To ensure their subscription customers got their caffeine fix, Origin Coffee went to great lengths – their local B&Q – to work out how much they had to reduce their packaging by.

As part of a six months project, the team needed to change packaging originally designed for a wholesale business to fit through a letterbox. The previously “chunky” bag needed to become “taller and skinnier”.

“The size of a letterbox is a very hot topic”, explains Sam Connolly, senior ecommerce manager, Origin Coffee.

“How long is it, how tall is a letterbox? I even went to B&Q and measured some letterboxes and did some research. On average letterbox height is around 40mm. So I knew that our package couldn’t be any taller than 40mm if we wanted it to fit for a letterbox. And that was a game changer,” Connolly adds.

Not all retailers will go to their local hardware store to measure the size of letterboxes. But for D2C brands shipping gifts, consumables and that all important caffeine fix ensuring the packaging can get into a shoppers home first time is leading them to innovative packaging solutions.

This feature appears in the DeliveryX Packaging 2023 report, which can be pre-registered for now. On its release, readers can discover:

  • How the UK Top500 retailers are changing their packaging for the good of the planet
  • If returnable packaging be the future of a more circular offering?

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