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Packaging 5 min read

Why Corrugated Packaging is the Future of eCommerce

By Rand Whitney November 21, 2023

In the last 5 years, eCommerce shopping has boomed more than ever. As we’ve seen many large retailers reduce the number of store fronts they have, many have pivoted towards an online sales strategy. So instead of many products coming in one large masterpack, each order placed gets its own packaging to be shipped in. Corrugated packaging has gained significant traction in the e-commerce industry for several reasons, making it the most promising solution for the future of online retail. Here are some key factors contributing to its popularity:

Sustainability: In an era where environmental concerns are at the forefront, corrugated packaging offers a more sustainable alternative compared to other traditional packaging materials like plastic. Corrugated cardboard is biodegradable, recyclable, and made from renewable resources, making it an eco-friendly choice that aligns with consumers’ increasing demand for environmentally responsible practices. Paper and packaging companies have become some of the most active responsible forestry advocates in the world. Many of the mills in the Rand-Whitney network produce 100% recycled packaging from post consumer waste.

Cost-effectiveness: Corrugated packaging is relatively affordable compared to other materials. Wood packaging or rigid boxes are too costly for products with lower profit margins. Plastic film bags are cheaper, but they are not recyclable or biodegradable. The corrugated production process has made enormous leaps, allowing corrugated boxes to be produced in mass quantities simply and effectively, creating large economies of scale. E-commerce businesses can benefit from cost savings on packaging, which can be crucial for maintaining competitive pricing and optimizing overall operational expenses.

Customizability: Corrugated packaging can be easily customized to fit various product sizes and shapes, providing a tailored packaging solution for each item. Using different board combinations and structures our packaging engineers are able to craft solutions uniquely suited for any product. This flexibility not only ensures that products are protected during transit, but also creates a more personalized unboxing experience for customers, leading to enhanced brand loyalty.

Lightweight and durable: Corrugated cardboard is lightweight yet robust, providing adequate protection for products without adding unnecessary weight to shipments. The previously mentioned customizability allows packaging designers to easily make adjustments to increase strength. These include higher board grades, custom inserts, right size packaging and more. The lightweight nature can significantly reduce shipping costs, especially for international e-commerce, where shipping fees are often calculated based on weight.

Easy to handle and store: Corrugated boxes are designed for easy handling and storage, making it convenient for both the e-commerce businesses and customers. They are stackable and require minimal space, optimizing storage and warehousing efficiency. This is especially important in eCommerce environments, where products are often stored in distribution centers awaiting orders.

Branding opportunities: Corrugated packaging provides ample space for branding and product information, enabling businesses to showcase their brand identity, promotions, and even include personalized messages. This branding opportunity enhances the overall unboxing experience and fosters a stronger connection between customers and the brand. This becomes especially important due to the fact that there is no personal interaction when a customer receives their product. Inside print is also increasing in popularity as a way to improve the unboxing experience, while reducing the attraction of porch pirates.

Safe and secure: Corrugated packaging offers excellent protection against external impact during transportation. The unique structure of corrugated cardboard provides cushioning and reduces the risk of damage to products, resulting in fewer returns and higher customer satisfaction. Our ISTA testing lab is able to simulate the stresses of a shipping environment through vibrational and drop testing to ensure your package is ready to be shipped, whether that’s 10 miles or 1,000 miles.

Consumer preference: Many consumers now prefer to support businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. By adopting corrugated packaging, e-commerce companies can cater to this preference, attracting environmentally conscious customers and building a positive brand image. Kraft corrugated is especially attractive, since the textured look and feel give a more natural, sustainable connotation. Consumers like the feeling of being able to recycle. Having to throw out tons of extra waste can leave them associating a guilty feeling with your product.

Corrugated packaging offers a combination of sustainability, cost-effectiveness, customizability, and protection, making it a compelling choice for the future of e-commerce.
At Rand-Whitney our team will custom tailor your corrugated packaging to fit your needs.