The Glue Talk Blog

Opening an e-commerce package.

Value-Added Corrugated Packaging Opportunities for E-Commerce

Posted 22 Oct 2019 by Asuka Westbrook, Market Manager, ACS

According to PMMI, by 2022, the global packaging market for e-commerce will reach $55 billion at a CAGR of 14.3%. There are a number of opportunities to meet the demands of tomorrow’s innovative packaging designs, particularly for corrugated packaging, which will represent over 80% of e-commerce packaging.

Corrugated packaging growth chart.

Consumers have different expectations for packaging that comes in the mail than for packaging that is shipped to retail stores. These expectations are forcing a change in requirements for packaging that is designed for consumers.

  • The first impression of the brand and product needs to be positive.
  • The unboxing experience needs to be exciting and frustration free.
  • The packaging needs to use sustainable solutions.

How can your packaging support a good impression of your brand after going through a demanding supply chain?
What functions of the packaging can differentiate your products and brand image, and help you improve your consumers’ experience?

Improving the First Impression

The e-commerce supply chain has 20 or more touchpoints compared to five touchpoints in the traditional retail supply chain. This requires robust packaging that can withstand the demanding supply chain and protect products from damage.

Retail vs. e-commerce flow chart

Products need to arrive unharmed in order to support a positive brand image and consumer experience. Packaging designers can support these goals by including the below considerations and functionality in their packaging designs.

  • Right size packaging that can withstand all 20+ e-commerce touchpoints. Reinforced box with Sesame tape from H.B. Fuller.
  • Structural designs that do not compromise the packaging integrity.
  • Reinforcement for critical stress points, preventing score line bursts and failures, and access hole and handle tears.
  • Case sealing or closing and opening technologies that protect products inside.

Packaging designers should consider all available technologies for cost-effective case sealing, reinforcement, opening, and closing to improve the first impression of their product.

Real Frustration-Free Packaging

Frustration-free packaging has become the new retail ready packaging. Consumers’ expectations of package opening is changing. The unboxing experience should be exciting and hassle-free. Consumers desire securely sealed packaging that also offers easy opening without the need for cutting tools. At the same time, the opening on the packaging should not trigger tampering or compromise the packaging integrity. Convenience and security are both becoming critical factors for successful frustration-free packaging.

Online retailers such as Amazon are requiring Frustration-Free Packaging that is “made of 100% recyclable materials, easy to open, and designed to ship products in their original packaging” to improve the consumer experience.

The Role of Sustainability in E-Commerce

The sustainability movement is growing fast. Consumers are supporting a circular economy model and choosing products that are packed and shipped in more sustainable ways. Brand manufacturers are expected to look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and pollution

  • Reduce from triple or double wall to double or single wall while maintaining the integrity of the package. This can be achieved by using Sesame® Tape. Right-sized packaging also optimizes material use.
  • Reuse corrugated boxes with Sesame® Tape and String. These solutions can extend the life of box, decreasing the number of boxes needed in the supply chain. 
  • Recycle paper-based packages. Sesame® tape does not change the recyclability of paper-based packages. Tapes are removed during the OCC process and do not contaminate the pulping process.
  • Renew your packaging with products made with sustainable, bio-based and renewable resources.  
  • Return products in original packaging.  Returns are made simple with our Close-Sesame™ system (shown below), which turns the original shipping package into a return package

Reuse by reboxing photos.

Growing Opportunities for E-Commerce 

E-commerce has created additional opportunities for brand manufacturers to differentiate themselves with packaging. Outside of providing the basic strength needed to protect products through the supply chain, manufacturers can include value-added functionalities that enhance the consumer experience, such as:  

  • Shippable primary packaging with frustration-free opening
  • Curbside recyclable
  • Easily returnable packaging
  • Tamper evident, counterfeit-free

Image of a box with adhesive reinforcement for easy returns.

Learn more how H.B. Fuller can support at 

Additional resource: The Future of E-Commerce Packaging to 2022

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