The boom in e-commerce was already beginning before the pandemic hit and skyrocketed the popularity of home delivery from groceries to furniture to everything in between. The statistics bear this out with OptinMonster finding 93.5% of global internet users have purchased products online and Shopify predicting online retail sales will reach $6.17 trillion by 2023. As it appears e-commerce is here to stay, demands for packaging and shipping are growing and becoming more complex. Fortunately, Supply Source has been ahead of the trends, identifying partners who can meet today’s needs for packaging products and equipment that can handle greater speeds and offer more flexibility.
The popularity of e-commerce has essentially removed the middleman, in this case, the retailer, from the shipping mix. Where once manufacturers packaged their products in large quantities to ship to a distribution center which shipped to a store, now the manufacturers or the distribution centers send directly to customers. Products have to be packaged for not only shipping and storage in large quantities but also in smaller customized options. And with seemingly every item imaginable now available online to customers, the size and scope of packaging required is endless.
Packaging Solutions to Meet E-commerce Demand
Just having the right size is only part of the logistical consideration. Those packages have to arrive safely. Customers who have a damaged package sitting on their doorstep are likely to leave bad reviews and choose alternatives to the company that delivered a broken product. The cost of a negative review may far outweigh the cost for companies to implement better designed packaging equipment and processes. According to Gartner, when it comes to making purchases, 64% of consumers say customer experience is more important than price. That demand for a good experience dictates not just packaging that limits damage, but also that is easy to open, more environmentally friendly, and contains minimal secondary packaging.
Such demands have led to a greater market for resealable and reusable packaging, and using paper as fill instead of styrofoam or plastic, but also dictates customizable boxes and flexible packaging products like air pillows, paper fill, and protective mailers that can accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes. And while they are not as eco-friendly, foam protective products like insulated shipping containers, rolled and molded foams, and loose foam fill are still popular because of the increase in the shipping of refrigerated items for all those home meal deliveries that have become so popular.
Finding packaging products that are durable but less wasteful has left manufacturers and distributors rethinking their entire shipping process and the equipment needed to meet demands. There is a need for more complex robots and case packing machines that can work with a variety of shapes and sizes. At the same time, recognizing a fragile economy, manufacturers are looking for easy maintenance and repairs, and inexpensive and reusable components that can be easily changed out since the workload on the machines is expanding. Fortunately, Supply Source has been able to keep up with the latest trends in machines and identify just which companies offer the packaging tools to fit any modern need, so our clients have been able to keep running efficiently and economically.
Supply Source is well aware of market shifts and has been working to assist our manufacturing clients in responding to demand. One example is from our partner PAC Machinery which offers automatic bagging solutions as an alternative to boxes. The bags meet the requirements of being flexible, cheaper to ship than traditional boxes, and they are made from recycled products and filled with paper packing making them more sustainable. The bags do cost a bit more, but reduce the needed manpower and space of traditional boxes and cost savings are brought from reduced shipping rates.
Supply Source works with other partners like PAC Machinery that offer customizable solutions to help international and domestic businesses improve their efficiency and reduce costs. Arpac is another partner that offers a wide range of machinery and packaging products such as shrink wrappers and bundlers, tray formers and packers, case formers and packers, pallet stretch wrappers and stretch hooding systems.
3rd Party Logistics Can Ease E-commerce Demands
E-commerce is ever-evolving and the popularity of automatic refills or services like daily or weekly pre-packaged meal delivery has greatly increased the need for not only better packaging but also more warehouse storage. Supply Source takes the complication out of it for manufacturers through our storage capabilities. We can have products in stock on a smaller basis and deliver them as needed. We have met the massive increase in volume that has come from online shopping through our capability to partner with vendors and manufacturers of packaging equipment and supplies who can fulfill our client’s needs.
By working with companies as an independent 3rd party logistics company, as well as an authorized distributor for a host of products, Supply Source can offer a wide range of services and greater flexibility to meet the demands of an expanding e-commerce market. As a company dedicated to logistics, we use our knowledge of technology, compliance, and fulfillment to help any size business access a broad selection of carriers, international routes, and competitive pricing. Contact us to see how we can help your company keep up with shipping demands in the rapidly growing world of e-commerce.