Consumer behavior and shopping habits have changed, while standardised mass produced products may have been attractive to consumers in the past it’s now a completely different story. More and more consumers are shopping online and are looking for unique products that are also uniquely packaged which has necessitated that businesses rethink their packaging strategies. Anja Roehrle from the packaging company, DS Smith shares some of her thoughts on packaging in an E-Commerce world.
The ongoing digitalisation and the associated changes in consumer shopping behaviour have a major impact on the design and construction of packaging. Mass-produced products lose their attractiveness. Brand manufacturers, retailers and logistics providers are adapting to the new challenges of online trading. They receive strong impetus from the packaging industry, which has a lot to offer when it comes to e-commerce packaging made of corrugated board with innovative solutions and state-of-the-art print technologies. 74.4 billion: this is the number of shipments that courier, express and parcel (CEP) services carried worldwide in 2017, according to the latest figures in the annual Pitney Bows Parcel Shipping Index. Roughly 17 percent more than in the previous year, this surge in parcel volume is being fuelled by the continuing boom in e-commerce. Already by 2020, it is expected to exceed 100 billion parcels in the thirteen industrial nations surveyed. In view of such volumes and growth rates, it becomes clear: packaging has long since emerged as a key component in the e-commerce logistics chain.
The Empty Space Economy
The report “The Empty Space Economy”, drawn up by Forbes Insights in collaboration with the international packaging specialist DS Smith, reveals that nearly every package shipped online contains empty space. 60 percent of executives surveyed felt that more than a quarter of what is sent to customers in transport packaging is in fact thin air. An enormous amount of extra material is used – both for the overbox and the filling material. Consumers are becoming more and more critical of this. Brand manufacturers and retailers are also increasingly addressing the issue of packaging optimisation. The reasons are obvious: lower material and logistics costs, less transport damage, more sustainability and an improved customer experience. The study is available for download from https://www.dssmith.com/EmptySpaceEnglish
Tailor-Made for Every Channel
The development of optimised e-commerce packaging solutions from corrugated board is by no means trivial. They pass through a completely different supply-cycle than goods that go into retail. There is often a lack of reliable data to provide information on the actual loads during transport. Online shipping places the highest demands on the packaging, as the goods are not only expected to arrive at the customer undamaged but also ideally to inspire the customer about the product and brand in such a way that they will share this positively on their social media channels.
DS Smith started early to deal with the peculiarities of the delivery cycle, the trends and insights around e-commerce. Today, in addition to its extensive know-how, the company has developed and offers a whole range of special e-commerce solutions and innovative technologies. These include the exclusive DISCSTM testing standard, which simulates the real loads within the so-called ‘last mile’ and, on the basis of the knowledge gained, allows the material and design of the packaging to be matched to the respective supply-cycle and its specific requirements. The innovative Made2fit packaging solution ensures, for example, that package sizes can be adjusted manually or fully automatically according to the volume of the products to be shipped. And this is possible in all three dimensions.
E-Commerce is Slimming Down
Innovations like these generate real added-value in the e-commerce supply-cycle. As online distribution becomes more and more important for the consumer goods industry, there are hardly any manufacturers who do not need special e-commerce packaging for their products in order to optimise their processes. Single-item shipments lead to new challenges in fulfilment. To streamline processes, packaging specialists like DS Smith came up with a number of great ideas. The e@Box, for example, combines product packaging and overpack. On-site filling of the boxes with the branded product takes place directly at the manufacturer’s premises. This saves valuable time and cost in logistics. At the same time, the all-in-one solution for shipping single items always has the right size and strength – regardless of whether cosmetic products, chocolates, shoes or cordless drills are shipped with it. In addition to high product-protection and convenient handling, the clever box-in-box system guarantees one thing above all: that the online shopper will remember the unboxing of the product as part of a positive brand experience.
Brand Activation in Focus
Product lifecycles are getting shorter and shorter, also because start-up companies are launching ever new, ever more stylish products onto the market. Mass-produced products lose their attractiveness. Shoppers’ brand loyalty is fading and eco-sustainability aspects are becoming increasingly important. All this creates new challenges for the industry. Today’s customers want to be inspired and courted by individualised products that are as sustainable as possible. It is more important than ever to focus on the customer and tailor business processes, products and shopping experiences to their needs. And this is precisely where transport-packaging made of corrugated board can bring strong, new accents to a manufacturer’s brand.
When it comes to customer centricity, digital pre-print and its associated flexibility open up a new dimension of interaction. And this is no longer true only for short, but now also for medium and long print runs. Attention-grabbing interior prints and seasonal campaign motifs also enable a differentiated and more emotional customer approach in e-commerce. Smart packaging informs, entertains and networks the online shopper. A scan of printed Quick Response Codes, for example, can provide information about growth areas, as well as tips for the optimal preparation of the product ordered online. In the same way, consumers can gain access to bonus programs or social media platforms where influencers showcase the product or provide helpful video tutorials, for example on make-up applications, as well as on the installation or commissioning of complex products.
Thanks to so-called mosaic printing, even individual shipping-packages can each be given a unique, individual design in digital pre-print. Thus, thousands of unique copies are produced in just one print run. Even last-minute changes of the artwork are now easier, because printing plates are simply no longer necessary.
Brand Protection: Secure QR Codes and Watermarks Provide Security
Digital printing technology also has a lot to offer in terms of brand-protection: secure QR codes are not replicable and provide a reliable method of verifying whether a product is genuine or counterfeit. It makes sense to combine this with a tamper-evident closure on the corrugated cardboard transport packaging. Printed, serialised codes allow packaging to be tracked, but also verified. In addition, this can be used to “marry” product and packaging with each other, for example to record individual batch numbers, production data and production times. This also makes traceability much easier to implement in the event of a recall. Watermarks can also be printed on the transport-packaging in digital pre-print, which enables hidden coding in the printed image. When used selectively, this can in turn be used to check whether it is an original product or not.
Next Stop: Omnichannel Packaging
Modern technologies and changing consumer habits are bringing about constant changes in e-commerce. Offline and online are increasingly blending into each other. Already today, industry, physical retail and pure online players are investing in the development and expansion of their omnichannel initiatives. The relentless, continuing networking of the online and offline worlds has far-reaching effects on the entire supply cycle. In the packaging sector in particular, there will be more and more demand for comprehensive, integrated solutions that work equally well on store-shelves and in online retailing.
About the author
Anja Roehrle is the marketing & communication manager at packaging company, DS Smith. “Digital pre-print opens a new era for brand protection and brand activation in e-commerce. Smart, digitally printed corrugated cardboard packaging solutions inform, entertain and network the shopper. They warn of product counterfeiting and guarantee transparency in shipment and traceability. All this is now possible not only for short, but also for medium and long print runs. Hence, there is almost a paradox: that of individualised mass production,” she concludes.
The global packaging producer, Ecolean has been awarded the prestigious Gold Medal Recognition 2020 for its sustainability work. The certificate is awarded by the independent and trusted provider of sustainability ratings, EcoVadis. In the overall rankings, Ecolean is placed in the top 5 percent of a total of 60,000 companies assessed from 155 countries.
Ecolean’s high score is based on the company’s strategic work with clear objectives within significant areas of sustainability such as environment, including renewable energy and climate impact and social aspects – as well as via monitoring and transparent reporting of sustainability data of its lightweight packages and filling machines. For Ecolean, this is the first year the company participates in the ratings by EcoVadis.
“We are very pleased that our sustainability work is confirmed to be in the top in a global context. The demand for lightweight packages with minimal environmental impact for liquid food is increasing, and an independent assessment such as EcoVadis helps us to show the world our great commitment and successful work on developing packaging solutions with sustainability at the core of our busi¬ness,” says Peter L Nilsson, CEO of the Ecolean Group.
“Our vision is to be the best packaging company in the world in the eyes of all our stakeholders. The EcoVadis rating is a result of our continuous quest to constantly reduce our environmental impact and to be a responsible company that our customers know they can trust,” says Anna Palminger, Sustainability Manager of Ecolean Group.
EcoVadis is an independent provider of business sustainability ratings, which evaluates companies’ sustainability work in global supply chains annually. The assessment focuses on four key areas: environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. EcoVadis uses interna¬tional standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN Global Compact.
A four-year project examining the results of 54 research studies with 170,000 people has concluded that print is vital for effective education. Two Sides has prepared a weighty argument from the Intergraf study which shows the value paper continues to hold. The argument that reading on paper results in deeper comprehension and retention, concentration, vocabulary building and memory has been given immense weight by a ground breaking study by Intergraf, the European federation for print and digital communication.
The research examined the results of 54 studies with a total of over 170,000 participants from 19 countries, and found overwhelming evidence that comprehension of text is much stronger when reading from paper as opposed to a screen, particularly when the reader is under time pressure. Concerned by the effect of increased time spent reading from screens in schools, the international trade body has called upon policy makers and educational organisations at both national and European levels to ensure that print retains a significant role within education.
Better progress with print
Titled E-READ (Evolution of Reading in the Age of Digitisation), the Intergraf study is an impressive feat of research. Taking place over four years, it involved a network of almost 200 academics from all over Europe carrying out highly detailed empirical research and debates about the effects of digitisation on reading, especially for students and young people. “Students learning from digital devices only progressed one third as much as they would have done had they been reading on paper”
E-READ found that print readers have a better recall of the relationship between events and are able to reconstruct the plot of a text better than screen readers. It was also found that the advantage for print was greater under time constraints and that scrolling resulted in a significant disadvantage for digital reading. With regard to education, the digital disadvantage during elementary school was found to be two-thirds of the yearly increase in reading comprehension, meaning that students potentially only progressed one-third as much as they would have done had they been reading on paper instead of on a screen.
Paper a technology of proven strengths
The fact that young people only learn one-third as well when reading from a digital device is clearly alarming, and so Intergraf have called for urgent action to be taken at all levels to “ensure that education in Europe is not degraded by the rapid and unsubstantiated introduction of screen reading in schools”.
The statement continues: “The development of students’ reading comprehension and critical thinking skills must be immediately safeguarded. A failure to act on the advice given in such studies creates an immediate risk that students’ learning outcomes will be negatively affected by the increasing tendency of schools in Europe to promote reading on digital devices without the necessary tools and strategies to ensure this does not cause a setback in reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Products which are proven to facilitate comprehension and critical thinking, such as paper books and other printed informational texts, already exist and should not be overlooked. Paper is a technology of proven strengths.”
Urgent action required
The results of the Intergraf study and their recommendations entirely chimes with the work of Two Sides and the results of our recent study into people’s preference for print. The study, titled Busting The Myths, found that 69% of European consumers preferred to read books in print, with 61% preferring print for magazines and 54% for print newspapers.
There are many studies that show that reading in print improves the understanding of information, as well as absorption and recall, which is essential for the education of people of all ages, but especially for young people. This Intergraf study is a vital piece of work that proves once and for all that print is better than digital for learning. Let’s hope the governments and institutions are listening.
It’s not about litho or other technologies versus digital – it’s a case of finding the right customer outcome regardless of the technology behind the scenes. There have never been more opportunities for print service providers who look to evidence-based strategies of how they can harness the power of all print’s technologies and solutions to improve the customer experience for their own clients. But it can be tough to discern the charlatans from the crackerjacks.
Some punters pit litho and other print technologies against digital. Others howl that print is dead and digital communications and marketing now lead the pack. Still more say print has retro appeal, that paper appeals to the human senses as a refreshing alternative to a world chasing shiny digital stuff rapidly seen and as quickly forgotten.
All sides have, at some point, presented compelling arguments. I’ve even weighed in on the topic myself based on my own experiences.
I’ve also looked at many of the statistics and research findings. Often, upon closer inspection, I find they are little more than minuscule samplings proving laser-like points by companies with vested commercial interests. It’s understandable and arguably even necessary for the marketing machines which is what makes The Power of Print report so interesting.
It’s deceptively titled in that it shares the same name as so many other reports and articles published on the subject. This one is different though, in that it analyses other studies from across multiple, related disciplines, which makes it one of the most inclusive insights into just what gets customers in a flutter.
Creatura wanted to find out if the claims of tactility and the psychological impact on consumers were true and so it commissioned The Multisense Institute for Sensory Marketing to analyse 300 international studies on the advertising appeal of print. Their findings include those of psychology, neuroscience and sensory research rather than the usual band of “executive” and other responses.
The report also demonstrates that print is not a case so much of litho versus digital. It’s more a case of using the correct solution for your purposes. It’s about creating memorable customer moments and improving the customer experience.
They show, for example, that using as many as five channels for a campaign increase the returns on investment by up to 35% compared with a mono-channel campaign. It’s a claim that resurfaces the argument that print – be it litho or digital, paper or sign, injection-moulded label or direct-to-consumer home package delivery – is one component of a more powerful approach to touching customers.
So, all of that’s lovely, but what now? How does it help South African printers?
It’s concrete evidence that print is in demand. It supports the argument that many marketers are riding the digital hype wave but companies who want real returns will support evidence-based activities. There are various options but at the centre is print, and not necessarily confined to paper. The variety of substrates available to printers today is mind-blowing to anyone who has been in the industry 20 years or longer.
The print industry has changed because of these technologies and South African printers are among those exploring the new opportunities. Already, some that started as traditional litho printers have expanded into other areas and now offer packaging, signage, tickets and tags, packaging labels, personalised cooler boxes and coffee cups, boarding passes, luggage tags, car park tickets, point of sale material, books, manuals and toilet rolls. There’s one that specialises in in-mould labelling injection, thermal, and blow moulds and another that offers millions of individualised package label designs based on a few “seed designs” for example. And that implies another point, that not all modern print must be uniquely personalised to customers. Sometimes it creeps people out, such as when people began discussing that Facebook was listening to their conversations and it then turned out they were and it wasn’t just them. Privacy is a real concern that companies have to respect.
Looking beyond the extravagant hype that surrounds digital, ours is an age of unprecedented convenience in which we all expect to experience equally unprecedented appreciation from the brands we support. Print clearly – and now factually – remains an integral asset for companies to leverage.
Article by Vaughan Patterson, Head of Commercial and Industrial Print at Ricoh SA
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Packaging and finishing specialist Richard Bretschneider in Braunschweig in Northern Germany recently celebrated the company’s 100th anniversary together with customers and suppliers. The occasion also heralded the transition to an even more successful second century in the company’s history – with future-oriented technology, a new development centre, and innovations in automation and robot systems.
Bretschneider’s vision has for a long time been to seek recognition as a premium supplier of complex and highly refined packaging, but that nevertheless on the basis of industrial production. The company has thus deliberately positioned itself between the major packaging groups on the one side and smaller craft-oriented businesses on the other. Already today, Bretschneider is a source of exceptional packaging solutions – folding cartons and mailings with special constructions, gift sets, advent calendars and displays – for beauty, food and non-food products, as well as for the automotive segment.
Innovative finishing options
Punctually for the jubilee, a Rapida 106 was installed and taken into service. With six printing units, coater, intermediate drying ahead of a further printing unit and coater, extended delivery and pile logistics, it is very different to the presses used by other packaging printers. Managing director Wolfram Zehnle explains: “We wanted to be even more variable in our finishing options.” Classic double coating applications can be complemented with innovative methods which set Bretschneider apart from its competitors.
The decision to invest extensively in new technologies was also driven by increasing customer demands and needs. A team of nine in-house staff works solely on product development. They design the most varied packaging solutions for subsequent realisation in the production centre. On the basis of 3D PDFs, 3D renderings or ultimately a white sample, customers can then reach a final decision on the packaging to be produced.
Only one press but nevertheless expanded capacity
It is immediately evident that the printers really enjoy work on the new press with all its automation features. Despite now having just a single press, the company is reckoning with significant additional capacity. The halving of makeready times and the higher production speed mean that the jobs printed on both previous presses can now be completed in just two shifts. The third shift is thus available for new projects. That will also be necessary, because customers are increasingly looking for pure board alternatives to their currently mixed production. Experience in Braunschweig even shows that this is given priority over a lower price in many cases.
Comprehensive process automation
Bretschneider is also implementing comprehensive process automation far beyond just the print production stage. An automated packer optimises the boxing of folding cartons and mailings. Subsequently, a palletiser robot takes care of closing, labelling, palletising and removal of the full boxes. A further fully automated production line with state-of-the-art robot equipment raises co‑packing performance to new levels. Up to 30,000 articles can be packed every hour with parallel optical inline quality control.
A global leader in paper, paper pulp and dissolving wood pulp solutions, Sappi Limited (listed on the JSE), is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa; has over 12,000 employees; manufacturing operations on three continents, in seven countries (nine mills in Europe, three mills in America and four mills in South Africa) and customers in over 150 countries worldwide
Through innovation and collaboration we build our expertise and acquire technical know-how that will support our high margin growth strategy. Sappi works closely with customers to provide relevant and sustainable paper, paper pulp, dissolving wood pulp and biomaterial products and related services and innovations that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and profitability of fibre-based solutions.
Sappi’s collaboration with industry bodies and other associations promoting standards of excellence, is demonstrated through sponsorships such as The GAPP Awards to recognize among others, achievement in the field of printing. It is a platform that further highlights the power of paper as a sustainable medium and is relevant to a wide range of Sappi’s products.
Our market-leading range of paper products includes: coated fine papers used by printers, publishers and corporate end-users; casting release papers used by suppliers to the fashion, textiles, automobile and household industries; and in our Southern African region newsprint, uncoated graphic and business papers, premium quality packaging papers and paper grade pulp. Our dissolving wood pulp products are used worldwide by converters to produce viscose fibre, pharmaceutical products as well as a wide range of household and consumer products.
With our biomaterials we further extract value and unlock the chemistry of trees meeting challenges of a carbon-constrained world by establishing a strong position in adjacent business including nanocellulose, sugars and furfural, lignosulphonates, biocomposites and bio-energy.
In a world where environmental and social issues are becoming increasingly important, our commitment to these issues resonates with consumers. This in turn increases brand owners’ competitive advantage. Our Research and Development centres around the world promote a culture of innovation to support the development of commercially and environmentally sustainable solutions that includes new fields of enterprise.
Sappi is well placed to further develop product portfolios to match changing market expectations and increase the share of packaging papers in our portfolio to bring us closer to brand owners’ and consumers’ expectations, as well as meet the need for higher levels of traceability. To this end, we are currently working with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership on block chain technology for timber certification in order to support risk assessment and Chain-of-Custody woodfibre audits from forest/plantation to retail shelf.
This commitment to sustainability is echoed throughout our business. It begins with the fact that our products are based on woodfibre, a renewable natural resource. It continues on the 387,000 hectares of plantations we own and lease which are 100% FSC™-certified (Forest
The award show encompasses a host of printing forms covering 60 categories and you can get your early bird credits to submit your entries today! Winning a GAPP Award sets your business apart as it will place you in the top five of your sector in southern Africa and of course, bragging rights.
The value of a GAPP Award goes beyond the award ceremony and receiving the actual award as you receive extensive media coverage and it boosts customer confidence in your company.
You can enter the GAPP Awards by visiting www.thegappawards.co.za and submitting an electronic entry form.
These are the steps to follow when submitting an entry:
1. Register your account
2. Purchase credits (1 credit=1 entry)
3. Submit entries
4. Send your physical entries to 761 Tortoise Street, Weltevredenpark, Roodepoort, 1709
Entries for the awards will close on the 31st of July 2020 and early bird credits will be available until the 30th of June 2020.
Enter The GAPP Awards now to take your company to new frontiers!
At Kemtek, maintaining a healthy competitiveness in a challenging market environment, and ensuring sustainable growth, means constantly looking for innovative brands within traditional business areas and diversifying into new markets and products.
To this end, we’re reinforcing our commitment to deliver best in class solutions to our valued printing industry customers by becoming an authorised reseller for Petratto Machines in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland.
Established in 1938 by Luigi Petratto and still owned by the Petratto family, Italybased Petratto has evolved from supplying simple book feeders to becoming a leading manufacturer and supplier of top-of-the-line, modular bookbinding machines and creasing, folding and gluing systems for numerous global printing and packaging converting specialists.
Almost 80 years after its foundation, innovation is still at the core of Petratto’s business activities, ensuring a range of modular and durable machines fit to meet modern market needs and beyond. From the entry-level Mini Metro folding gluing machine to fully automatic die cutters, Kemtek can now provide a comprehensive Petratto range, ideal for offset and digital printing companies, and access to competitive pricing. As always, all systems are fully supported by Kemtek’s highlyskilled technical sales and service teams nationwide.