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When Packaging meets E-Commerce: the dawn of a New Era

The evolution of packaging for the E-Commerce world

After an explosive 2020, a mind-boggling 2021 is shaping up and, according to “The Future of E-Commerce Packaging to 2025” study carried out by Smithers, the next few years will be no less turbulent.

To date, it is estimated that, by the end of the year, the value of the E-Commerce Packaging market will reach over $51 billion globally, an increase of 40% compared to a year ago.
The research also underlines that this growth trend is not expected to slow down and, on the contrary, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 17%, in 5 years’ time the sector will be able to reach a final value of over $113 billion.

Doing the math, we can safely say that, indeed, this is the dawn of a New Era.

Like any self-respecting New Era, however, this progress brings with it substantial changes: from cultural, to social, economic, political as well as environmental.

If we want to talk about E-Commerce, the first thing that catches the eye is certainly the imbalance created between the two macro sectors of the retail world: online stores and physical points of sale.

If, following the pandemic, the former have managed to reap great benefits, the latter have suffered huge losses, in many cases finding themselves having to close their business entirely.

The market is changing at a very fast pace, consumers have become users and users have become consumers, and so the fine line that separates the “real” from the “virtual” world continues to become increasingly more transparent.

Bill Ready, Google’s President of Commerce, indeed agrees that E-Commerce is becoming a top priority in the retail ecosystem: a direct consequence of the fact that in the last 6 months consumers have drastically shifted their purchases online, increasingly more open to embrace all the different innovations that this realm brings with it, such receiving their purchases directly in front of their doorstep.

In all this, however, what role does Secondary Packaging play?

In this case, we should be speaking about two types of secondary packaging:

  1. packaging for traditional trade and
  2. packaging for e-commerce.

The first was created to group a certain quantity of products intended, for example, to fill the aisles of a supermarket. In other words, this is a type of packaging designed to ensure that goods are protected during their storage and transport.

The second version of secondary packaging, instead, has been created with the aim of protecting a single product unit during the countless transports that it will have to endure, from the manufacturer, through the various couriers that will be responsible for delivering the product to the final point chosen by the buyer.

But do the needs of manufacturing companies remain the same, whether they sell online or offline?

Yes and no.

We at Zambelli have been collaborating for more than fifty years with companies that sell offline, designing and building automatic machines for secondary packaging, suitable for any type of transport and storage. We can therefore say that we know and understand the needs of these industrial companies quite well: protection, traceability and – in some cases – promotion (for packaging that serves the dual purpose of being used as displays inside the points of sale).

In recent years, however, we have collaborated with many companies that, in parallel with traditional sales, have also adopted the online sales channel. In these specific cases, our machines have been rethought, redesigned and adapted to continue to meet the same needs, but with some additional considerations.

E-Commerce and product protection

When it comes to E-Commerce, packages tend to need to withstand a greater number of transport movements before reaching their destination. Moreover, compared to traditional trade, they typically only contain one product unit. This means that the product is much more likely to move around inside the packaging, in turn subjecting it to the risk of damage.

Packaging specifically designed for online commerce therefore tends to be doubly protective, featuring reinforced corners and internal structures capable of blocking the goods in place, preventing them from coming into contact with the external walls.

For example, for machines designed by Zambelli for large bearings (weighing around 20 kg), the project included additional cardboard capable of supporting, locking in place and protecting the product from impact.

Design study of bearing packaging machine sold online

Are you looking for a partner to collaborate with?

Zambelli is at your disposal for an informational meeting, during which you can present your project idea and we can discuss how to work together on your new business.