The internet has revolutionised many aspects of our lives; from the way we watch television to the way we plan our holidays. However, there is arguably no aspect of the internet that has had a bigger impact on society than the way we shop.
UK shoppers alone spent £91 billion online in 2013 – a figure you wouldn’t bet against being topped in 2014. Such impressive growth, however, also brings intensified competition and customer expectations that are higher than ever, forcing retailers to up their game in order to meet the demand. In the panic to fulfil rising orders, many high-volume online retailers are struggling to deliver their products accurately, safely and on time. Indeed, the speed and quality of product delivery is more important than ever to get right, and as options for customised products and free shipping increase, the way that all orders are being processed must be re-evaluated.
If a company does not have the right packaging solutions in place, its ability to deliver a quality service is compromised. Too much packaging can blow budgets and waste time; too little can damage a product before it reaches the customer – blowing your reputation.
As consumer retail habits move further into a digital landscape, it has never been a better time for companies selling online to update their product packaging approaches.
Why are packing processes so important?
Cost-effective, secure, aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly – there are many things that must be considered when it comes to packaging, including the packing process itself.
It’s no longer enough to assume that the same packaging production lines can work for every product a company sells. The promises being made to customers have become incredibly detailed, making many packing and postage strategies old hat.
To make the packing and postage process as efficient as possible, many companies are adopting advanced solutions.
More efficient options available
In the home shopping, catalogue and internet retail market sectors, high volume manual labour has long been the only option, and it’s a costly one. Even if a company is able to process orders and send them off to customers within the necessary timeframes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the process is efficient.
Time and money may not be being spent on the efforts which will deliver the most reward. For example, employees working in assembly lines – where each completes his or her task before sending the product down the line – could have their efforts allocated to other tasks that require more knowledge. It could also be costing your business valuable time, as an employee may not be able to process as many orders in an hour as an automated solution.
Consistency is pivotal to a successful packing process, and no matter how well-trained and competent employees may be, there is often no guarantee that this is being achieved. Complex packing operations can be hard to overcome using manual labour alone.
Working for the customer
Regardless of industry sector, the packaging a retailer uses to protect its products during shipping becomes synonymous with its brand, so it’s of the utmost importance that it delivers – both practically and aesthetically.
Developing the perfect packaging for a product must begin with the product type, customer expectation and practicality. Customers ordering a £500 engraved watch, for example, may expect a higher quality of packaging than a customer ordering a £10 bracelet. The bracelet, however, should still be protected and packaged with care. The packaging should also be durable enough that, should the customer need to return the product, they can do so using the same packaging it was delivered in.
With so much emphasis on the quality of packaging it is no surprise that many businesses are revaluating their packing practices. For companies who deal in high volume orders from extensive catalogues, how can they increase their productivity while impr oving distribution?
Delivering tailored solutions
End-to-end packaging processes are now much sought after. Technology has become so advanced that the entire process – from reading the product to tracking it and matching it to the customer’s order – is now completely faultless through automation.
By integrating with existing customer warehouse management software, solutions like Kern’s PackFactory™ can simplify even the most complex packaging operations. The reading, printing, inserting and packaging of products is processed quickly and efficiently using Track and Pack software, while additional advertising materials such as flyers or vouchers are automatically selected and added during the packing process.
Kern’s PackFactory™ can identify, wrap, address and scan at a rate of up to 2,000 items per hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In terms of what items can be bagged or shrink-wrapped, the possibilities are huge; from food items or multime dia such as DVDs and CDs to long wooden products, glass and technical equipment. Software can be synced up to existing CRM systems so that address labels can be printed from stored data, while a variety of management information systems provide the to ols for in-depth reporting.
Automated systems have the ability to deliver huge benefits to you and your customer. They are more efficient, consistent and cost-effective, and as demand grows, so too must your ability to supply. That’s precisely why internet retailers – particularly those with high volume production environments who require quick turnarounds – are now increasing their productivity and distribution with advanced packing solutions.