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Packaging – what a load of rubbish?

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With just two-months to go until Christmas, the countdown is on! Very soon millions of us will flock online in search of presents and clothing in preparation for the party season. However, amidst the excitement of receiving your goods, how many times have you rummaged amongst reams of shredded paper and bubble wrap in an unnecessarily huge box, in an effort to find your small sized item?  Retailers are facing criticism over the amount of waste they produce, and there is a call for them to come up with more sensible packaging to ensure more responsible waste management and in turn help to reduce pressure on landfill sites.

...packaging that is recyclable or reusable can be a desirable in its own right

Across the pond, it is apparent that Japan has an even bigger over-packaging issue. Whereas here, walking through a typical supermarket you would expect fruit to be naked and out in the open, in Japan it is enclosed under several layers of plastic and foam netting. It appears that even the most mundane products are individually and elaborately packaged to look ‘fancy’.

A lot of care goes into making every item the best it can look. Going into a bakery to buy a cream bun, I watched them place the bun onto a paper tray and into a dainty bakery box, where they then carefully placed a tiny ice pack into the box, together with a wet wipe, and put the box into a larger plastic bag, sealed with a sticker. Leaving the bakery, within seconds the delicious cream bun was devoured, and all there was left was an empty box inside a plastic bag, hoarded for several hours before a bin was found. In this case, the thoughtful and deliberate presentation of the packaging is just important as the product inside, and provides additional value for the customer as well as the business through the ability to create a memorable and shareable experience.

Packaging is immensely important to help differentiate products and brands, and customers will make purchasing decisions based on how it looks. A prime example is of Apple and its iconic clean, minimalist packaging. However, increasingly customers are considering the impact of what they buy on the environment, and packaging that is recyclable or reusable can be a desirable in its own right. Gü Chocolate Pot ramekin or Bonne Maman jar anyone?

In e-commerce versus a physical high street shop, merchants have fewer touch points to create a memorable experience with the customer, so packaging forms an important part of a branded experience, one that can create a lasting impression in the minds of your customers. Just go easy on the Earth!

Lily Tran – Digital Campaign Manager

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