Welcome to the first part of TricorBraun’s four-part series on laundry care packaging trends. Great packaging has many important roles: it attracts consumers, preserves and protects your products, and is a key driver of brand loyalty.
Consumer behaviors continue to evolve and retail brands must act accordingly. This series will provide you with valuable information about consumer preferences as it relates to features and functionalities of laundry care packaging, enabling you to make critical decisions. A solid, consumer-focused packaging strategy can ultimately increase your market share in the laundry care category.
In years past, the laundry care industry centered on a few hardworking products from household-name brands, with packaging design focused mainly on branding and product storage. Today, smart packaging focuses on consumer convenience with numerous players providing more packaging choices, new formats and offerings.
The first part of our series is designed to help you understand how ecommerce is changing the way consumers buy laundry care products and what the implications are as you evaluate your brand’s packaging strategy.
Part I: How Ecommerce and Packaging Take the “Heavy Load” off the Consumer
Let’s face it. The rise of ecommerce has fundamentally changed the way we shop. In fact, according to Mary Meeker’s latest annual Internet Trends Report, ecommerce now accounts for 15 percent of retail sales. In-store foot traffic is down, and online sales in the home and laundry care market are expected to grow by almost half in the next four years (Statista’s Home & Laundry Care Report, March 2019).
What does this mean for you? You need to attain a deeper understanding of your target consumers’ behavior during their product purchasing journey to drive growth for your brand. And packaging plays an increasingly important role.
Consumer Lifestyle and Behaviors in an Omnichannel World
More and more, consumers are looking for ways to save time and money, and that includes spending more time researching and purchasing products online and via mobile retail channels like Amazon (Amazon Prime Has More Than 100 Million U.S. Subscribers). Ecommerce is all about convenience as these retail channels give the consumer power to make purchases that include same-day- or two-day shipping that, in consumers’ minds, pays for itself since they do not have to take the time for a trip to the store. Pick up and carry that heavy detergent bottle from the store shelf to your house or choose front door delivery? It’s an easy choice.
At the same time, in consumers’ minds, the lines are blurring between brick and mortar retail and ecommerce. For example, shoppers are not necessarily taking a direct path to purchase. A coupon or web banner might send the shopper in-store for that touch-and-feel experience or to a website; or an in-store visit might invoke a price check online. Also, showrooming—when a shopper visits a store to see and touch a product before buying it online at a potentially lower price— has increased with the evolution of advanced technologies. Understanding how personalized each consumer’s journey can be — and the role your brand plays in it — means a straightforward omnichannel experience is essential to gaining their attention and driving sales.
Having a deep understanding of your target consumers’ lifestyle and behavior trends in an omnichannel world is just the first step in optimizing your packaging for ecommerce.
Considerations for Driving a Positive Consumer Ecommerce
The second part of optimizing your packaging is to ensure you make the consumer’s ecommerce purchasing experience as seamless and positive as possible. This requires consideration of two key factors: distribution touch points and your ability to deliver a functional product, intact.
First, keep in mind that an ecommerce distribution channel is more complex and requires up to three times as many touch points as traditional brick and mortar. This means that your products have the potential to be handled more often in transit.
Second, consumers who desire purchase convenience are demanding optimized packaging performance. If the experience from purchase to front-door delivery is frustrating or annoying — for example, the package is damaged and leaks and compromises the condition of other packages in the box — the consumer may not give your brand a second chance.
New Packaging Formats That Meet the Needs of the Ecommerce Consumer
Beyond preserving and protecting the product, packaging must also meet the consumer’s need for performance and purchase convenience. The type of laundry product format you choose (e.g., pods, liquids, powders) that works best for your operational structure may influence the package component selection. Subsequently, a company with capabilities and experience in the design and supply of packaging like TricorBraun can help you navigate the myriad of packaging solutions that exist and help you differentiate your brand with consumers.
For example, laundry pods require a wide mouth jar with a child-resistant (CR) closure versus a traditional large handleware bottle with a dosing cap. Ecommerce is also driving lighter — and therefore less expensive to ship — products.
Nonetheless, many options are available:
- Existing ISTA-tested packaging solutions that meet ecommerce requirements. Examples include: dispensing pumps with clips, tamper-evident sprayers and jars with CR closures to hold laundry packs.
- Compact packaging allows for more concentrated formulas and takes up less space in the home (and in the shipping package). Concentrated formulas would require you to find a different sized bottle - or design a custom bottle - to fit your aesthetic and functional requirements. For example, liquid laundry detergent with a dispensing pump and new dosing caps that fit smaller laundry bottle sizes are in development.
- Stacking/Nesting/Design Optimization: With ecommerce, brand owners are always looking for more efficient ways to ship and transport their products. TricorBraun can design the primary packaging to nest or stack to create shipping and pallet efficiencies.
- Stacking is when a design is intended for another package to sit on top of it, eliminating the need for secondary packaging (pending retailer requirements). Stacking can be beneficial for creating in-store displays and potentially eliminating any corrugated display components.
- With nesting, items are stacked in the contour of similarly shaped items to increase the density of components per box/truck/container. Also, you would need to consider the filling operation to make sure they can de-nest the parts as well.
- Pouches (or flexibles) are lighter in weight than most plastic packaging and can reduce your freight costs. For consumers, pouches can minimize storage space and remove the transportation hassle of large, heavy laundry bottles. Pouches are also designed to allow for refills into another (often rigid) package.
Start Your Laundry Care ‘Cycle’ with a Winning Packaging Strategy
So where do you go from here? The right packaging can enable and increase growth, but how can you continue to execute with excellence if you don’t have a winning packaging strategy and plan for ecommerce?
With nearly 120 years of packaging experience, TricorBraun works with manufacturers and suppliers around the world to produce packaging solutions - whether custom or stock, flexible or rigid that meet your needs. TricorBraun’s Design & Engineering Center includes a team of highly-skilled and experienced designers and engineers who bring a comprehensive knowledge of what’s possible to create innovative, cost-effective, custom packaging solutions from the ground up. We can also help you identify and understand aesthetic and functional requirements that consumers seek from laundry packaging.
Stay tuned for Part II of our “Spot On” Laundry Care series covering packaging solutions that meet the specific needs of the On-the-Go consumer.