The revenue generated by the U.S. e-commerce market is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2027 – that’s an increase of $509 billion over four short years.
As the e-commerce industry grows, so do opportunities for packaging distributors. But that also means more challenges to overcome.
Shipping ports are always overcrowded; supply chains are littered with bottlenecks; and the industry is still suffering from labor and material shortages caused by the pandemic.
But consumers don’t care – they want their online orders delivered undamaged as fast as possible.
In this ever-changing sector, taking a more strategic approach to your e-commerce clients’ packaging needs can help set them (and you) up for a more successful future.
Here are several key strategies:
Customize your e-commerce clients’ packaging
Standard boxes won’t cut it. Unlike other industries, e-commerce moves at breakneck speeds. It requires protective packaging that is also lightweight and customizable. Materials like singleface corrugated board or a cohesive coated corrugated product are ideal for e-commerce packaging. They’re lightweight, can accommodate various product sizes and reduce shipping costs.
But, more importantly, take time to deeply understand your clients’ needs and help them create an e-commerce packaging system. That begins with an analysis of existing procedures and end-of-line packaging. Are the current solutions working? What can be improved? Evaluate everything from packs per minute, material consumption, ergonomics and workflow efficiency. Ask clients if the current packaging system is meeting their key performance indicators (KPIs). If not, it’s time for an overhaul.
Automation is your friend
96% of today’s consumers consider “fast” delivery to mean same-day delivery—meaning that e-commerce businesses must fight hard if they want to impress.
But with ongoing labor shortages, it is increasingly becoming a losing battle. However, automation can help. Solutions like automated end-of-line packaging equipment and picking robotics can help mitigate labor shortages and increase throughput.
Adopting technologies like warehouse management systems (WMS), barcode scanning, and order management software can significantly enhance your clients’ fulfillment operations, ensuring accurate and timely order processing.
Automation streamlines processes, reduces errors and speeds up order processing, resulting in faster delivery times and improved consumer satisfaction.
Grow your clients’ fulfillment network/strategy
Having multiple warehousing and fulfillment centers strategically located can be a game-changer for e-commerce businesses.
So, if your e-commerce client has a limited fulfillment network, it’s time to help them expand. This can be done either internally or via a third-party logistics company.
This approach helps in reducing shipping times and costs by enabling orders to be fulfilled from the facility closest to the customer’s location. Additionally, it acts as a contingency plan in case one facility faces issues, ensuring business continuity and resilience in the face of challenges.
Offer a breadth of packaging materials and suppliers
As already stated, e-commerce moves fast, and, therefore, so do packaging requirements. That’s why, as a packaging distributor, your Rolodex better be chock-full of packaging manufacturers and suppliers. Quick access to a variety of corrugated boxes, poly bags, bubble mailers, corrugated rolls and other common e-commerce packaging solutions is crucial.
So, find packaging partners who can meet the unique demands of the e-commerce market. This may involve negotiating favorable pricing and lead times, ensuring consistent quality, and offering value-added services such as inventory management and just-in-time delivery.
Source sustainable packaging solutions
Environmental consciousness is a growing concern among consumers and businesses alike. Seek out packaging suppliers that offer sustainable and eco-friendly options. Sustainable packaging not only aligns with the values of environmentally conscious e-commerce brands but can also be a differentiating factor in a competitive market.
Ivex is creating better and more innovative ways to get merchandise into your customers’ hands. We offer complete, all-in-one e-commerce packaging solutions and our network of suppliers will help you find the best, most cost-effective solutions. If you’d like to see if we are the right packaging partner for you and your e-commerce clients, don’t hesitate to contact us!