The year ahead is looking promising for packaging as a combination of new legislation and innovation meld together to create a whole new level of variation for a much more product-focused solution. While exact refinements are difficult to predict, there are likely to be a number of areas in which packaging is likely to evolve.
1) E-commerce Packaging
Having a good level of flexibility in packaging is nothing new, and the ability to respond to a customer’s requirements is an essential part of business, but this year is likely to see the start of the next level of packaging, and the integration of bespoke information and icons. Huge, online retailer, Amazon, have recently premiered the use of third-party advertising on some of its packaging, and customers are going wild about it. Many industry experts predict that this type of model will be readily adopted by other retailers and distribution companies. Using packaging as a part of the advertising space could not only lead to added revenue for the supplying company but also present new and innovative ways of cross branding and promotion. Packaging need not be dull anymore and rapid marking techniques make bespoke e-commerce packaging an everyday possibility.
2) Shelf-Ready Packaging
Typified by its easiness, shelf-ready packaging aims to offer a simple solution to business and client-friendly packaging with a solution that is delivered to a retailer in a form optimized for efficient stocking and sale. Easy to store, easy to identify, easy to open, easy to shelf and easy to recycle are becoming the byword in packaging technology.
These requirements become;
• Easy Identification. Products need to be clearly identified by brand, name, stock keeping unit ID, and any bar codes or even RFID tags must meet the retailer’s specification.
• Easy Open. Packaging needs to be secure enough to withstand delivery but still allow easy opening without special tools. The opening processes should be intuitive and may use pictograms to help the user.
• Easy Shelf, Easy Shop. Both stocks and consumers must be able to easily identify and obtain the product. Packaging should improve product identification and thus make a positive contribution to the shopping experience.
• Easy Recycle. The packaging should be disposable with little interaction, without assistance, space-saving, and foldable. When using re-usable packaging, clear instruction for its return should be apparent to the user.
3) Packaging as a Marketing Tool
Packaging design is being recognized as a platform to develop brand awareness. Customers increasingly perceive it as a part of the core product, with contemporary design typically based on minimalism, communicating only the most important brand values. Moreover, the combination of digital design capability and quick turnaround, bespoke production is highly attractive for acquirers. This highly effective tool is likely to become even more apparent during 2019.
4) Bespoke Ready-to-Eat Packaging
With an ever-growing market in the delivery of hot food, the packaging industry is looking to how it can amalgamate client information into the packaging rather than simply using generic items. Similarly, different foodstuffs can be delivered in appropriate – as well as well identified advertising space – packaging to enhance food preservation.
5) Reuse and Recycle – Even More.
Having been a byword in the packaging industry for close to a decade, 2019 is when packaging will become truly reusable or recyclable. Consumers care about the environment, which means your company must too. In 2019 and beyond, it is paramount to approach your packaging design with a serious focus on minimizing your ecological footprint. Traditionally the cheapest and most usable materials, such as generic plastics, are being replaced by environmentally-conscious biodegradable materials, including paper, starch-based
products, hemp, and cellulose, and even materials such as glass and bamboo. The challenge now for packaging manufacturers will be to further entrench these ideals in
consumers and live up to their expectations.
6) Stores Become Warehouses
While the physical store is still relevant, there has been a noticeable downturn as on-line sales have been developing. But 2019 promises to see a change in the operations of stores, with the ability to add the flexibility of on-line shopping to them. Packaging now has the ability to offer flexible solutions so semi-automated smart systems should see a customer select a product, use a virtual fitting system if it is clothing, and have it packaged and delivered to their hand within minutes.
7) Smart packaging Promotes Auto-Replenishment
Barcoding and RFID are likely to offer the packaging manufacturer feedback on packaging use, and allow them to install auto-replenishment systems that call in more packaging as stocks dwindle to certain levels. This is the next step in the Just in Time (JiT) scenario that many manufacturers have been using for a couple of decades. By having the system calling in new batches, packaging manufacturers are never going to be caught short, and that build strong ties with those that they are supplying to. WorkClout enables packaging manufacturers to this really well with its robust inventory management module.