Stuart Roberts, European Director of Marketing at Sealed Air a global manufacturer of innovative protective packaging solutions explains how online retailers can gain a competitive edge by undertaking Packaging Value Analysis (www.pvacalculator.com) and identifying the optimum way to protect their products and maximise customer satisfaction.
Verdict Research analysts predict that Christmas 2010 will see Internet sales reach record highs - accounting for 9.5% of all sales. However, while Internet sales are on the increase, securing sales online is an ongoing challenge due to the vast choice available to today's consumers - who are just a click away from purchasing their products elsewhere.
Gaining a new customer is a challenge. Even more of a challenge is building customer loyalty and driving repeat purchasing. Online retailers needs to offer a first class service from the moment the transaction has taken place until the product has been safely received by the customer to maximise customer satisfaction. This is where the role of protective packaging can help give online retailers an edge.
This Christmas, many must have presents such as fragile motion-sensor game consoles will travel thousands of miles from production hubs in the Far East to homes across Europe. During this time, incorporating pre and post-production, the product can be subjected to multiple stresses and strains during both handling and transportation. Damage can commonly occur throughout the distribution cycle including stacking, loading, unloading, and transportation by truck, ship and aeroplane.
Sealed Air works with a number of online retailers, helping them to identify the most cost effective solution which helps to maximise protection, while minimising packaging. The company has a series of Packaging Design Development Centres around the world and takes a very scientific approach to packaging protection. Within these centres, packaging solutions go through rigorous testing to identify the best design and material, including the latest plastic, paper and foam products to optimise packaging protection.
A product that is proving particularly popular with retailers transporting high value technology items is Sealed Air's Instapak Foam. The self-expanding foam cushioning, moulds around a component to offer the ultimate in protection while helping to minimise the overall box size. This can lead to reduced transportation costs as well as working towards packaging reduction targets. The latest addition to the Instapak family, the Instapak Complete system, has been developed with online retailers in mind. It produces Instapak continuous foam tubes in a wide variety of sizes, enabling it to be flexible enough to package a wide range of products.
However, a number of other packaging options are available and Sealed Air works with its customers to complete Packaging Value Analysis to identify which solution will deliver the maximum financial benefit. If a company is experiencing significant damage costs, then the introduction of a more premium or fit-for-purpose protective packaging solution will prove more cost effective in the long term as losses incurred via breakages and resulting redeliveries are significantly reduced.
Delivering products in top quality condition this Christmas could help online retailers to drive customer satisfaction and repeat sales throughout 2011.