- The rise of e-commerce is affecting packaging, too, as large items that used to be handled exclusively with forklifts and pallets, like treadmills, are now being delivered directly to consumers, Packaging Digest reports.
- No industry standard for packaging large items exists yet, but the industry must adapt by engaging in more package engineering and evaluation to update ISTA or ASTM test standards.
- Doubling or tripling drop protection, evaluating new methods for packaging protection, and developing custom SKUs per large-item or creating one-size-fits-all packaging methods are among the challenges facing packagers as last mile demands grow.
Packaging is integral to customer satisfaction: a recent survey by Dotcom Distribution shows consumers not only pay attention, but also reward good packaging with increased loyalty for the retailer.
The same likely applies for the retailer: a distributor who can deliver a large-item ready for shipping to a retailer will receive few complaints down the supply chain. After all, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and damaged goods reflect poorly on the retailer, distributor and packager alike.
The issue is so prevalent that UPS and FedEx both recently introduced a surcharge (effective almost immediately after the announcement) for large-item handling, reflecting both the challenges and increase scale of such orders. E-commerce no longer applies to parcel delivery, so packagers who recognize this trend and create clear procedures could claim a competitive advantage.