Christmas time has gone and past; the event passing as quickly as it crept upon us. However, as we look to the new year, we believe it is important that businesses reflect on the previous year and learn from the lessons the festive season brought so that you can incorporate it into this year’s rush (it will creep up a lot quicker than you anticipate!).
When businesses think of Christmas, they may think of manufacturing products, marketing communications or even managing staffing during the busy period. Whilst these are all important and can often take precedence, taking the time to review your packaging on a regular basis will provide dividends. In the following feature, we take a look at why packaging should be at the forefront of your plans; from exploring customer expectations to providing you with tips on how to save money in this important, yet often disregarded, part of B2C business operations:
Customer Expectations of Packaging
In a study by Packaging Innovations, customers perceived an increased value, smell and/or taste of the products inside dependant on the quality of the packaging. Investigating the figures, 60% of test participants believed packaged perfume smelt nicer, whilst wine was recorded as tasting better by 53% of the participants in comparison to the identical product in lower-quality packaging. Additionally, 59% of respondents would be more likely to buy an inferior product if it came in high-quality packaging than a high-quality product that was wrapped in substandard packaging. Whilst it has been instilled in many of us to ‘never judge a book by its cover’, these results couldn’t be further from the fact; it is, therefore, vital that businesses get the right balance between packaging expenses and customer expectations when it comes to their packing solutions.
This thought must also extend to the transit packaging, which continually plays an important role in the customer experience. As more customers opt for shopping online, they lose out on experiencing the products and the brand’s designed retail journey first-hand, where each element connects to insinuate the brand’s unique qualities. Whilst branding on websites can appease this, the arrival of the product can be somewhat disappointing if the packaging does not match the expectations and anticipation by the customer.
Bespoke packaging designs and integrated messaging are easily achieved through the advancements in digital print technology and can enhance the customer experience. Not only will the packaging look better and be received better by the customer, but investing in these packaging solutions will actually reduce the amount of waste and save your business money from not having to store unnecessary void fill and delivery costs.
Planning and Reviewing Your Packaging
Through a regular, end-to-end review of packaging processes, annually or monthly depending on the nature of your business, you will begin to gain a better understanding of how and where your packaging can develop to meet customer expectations, be time efficient and cost-effective, as well as follow effective recycling and waste practices. Map out every stage your packaging goes through, from the minute it is picked within the warehouse to the moment it is in the customer’s hands (and how they can dispose of it). Below are some helpful tips for those looking to analyse their packaging processes:
Look at the storage of your packaging
Where you store the packaging materials can have a bearing on your operations and costs. Although seasonal peaks increase demand and discount purchases can make it difficult to find the best answer, there are still opportunities to save money for those who are willing to look for it.
Are you storing more packaging than the business needs? Whilst buying in bulk can help you save money in the short-term, it could be that you are spending money on its unnecessary storage.
The power of the right packaging and the right amount
A review of the packaging you are currently using against other solutions in the marketplace may produce some surprising cost-saving avenues. Additionally, reviewing the workflow and usage of your packaging may actually indicate that the business may be using too much packaging, too little or ill-equipped packaging which can all result in additional costs down the line.
Considering the delivery process
Any review of packaging should consider how the product goes from the business to the customer. The packaging plays an important role in protecting the goods from being damaged or lost during its transportation, so quality should be of the utmost importance. Also, considering the size and optimisation of your packaging will allow the space in vehicle fleets to be utilised more effectively- thus saving money on transportation or courier costs.
Hire review professionals
Specialists, such as the experts here at Expense Reduction Analysts, can help businesses create review structures and identify areas within the packaging process to save money. Our specialists work alongside clients to highlight areas for improvement, whether this is unit cost reductions, better buying habits, perfecting the supply chain or all three if required. An expert review of the specifications, methodology and practice utilised by your business can help to improve lead times, reduce damage and ultimately save money. Utilising their years of experience and industry know-how, the team at Expense Reduction Analysts can help you plan to avoid the seasonal rushes this year.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you evolve your packaging processes.
Article by: Iain Clements