Is it time to update your bedroom with new furniture? You likely won’t be purchasing bedside tables from your local furniture store. Instead, many consumers are opting to shop online from the comfort of their homes. According to Shopify, worldwide eCommerce furniture and appliance revenue was at $258 billion in 2018 and is predicted to grow to $394 billion by 2022. eCommerce continues to grow in these sectors, changing the packaging landscape for large boxes.
Innovation in packaging
With the boom of eCommerce, many companies had to get innovative with their packaging, especially those in the home furnishing sector. Take mattress companies, for example. In 2016, online mattress sales accounted for 5% of the industry. In 2017, that portion doubled to 10%. Mattress companies developed the bed-in-a-box concept – vacuum sealing beds and rolling them up into boxes – to decrease box size and save on shipping costs. Other companies such as Ikea have significantly optimized their freight by disassembling all parts and shipping them in flat boxes versus bulky, irregular boxes. As more consumers choose to shop online, companies are streamlining their packaging to decrease freight costs and simplify shipping.
Increase in shipping hazards
One of the biggest challenges of eCommerce is the extended product journey. A longer trip means more exposure to shock, vibration, compression, and climate extremes. In a traditional retail setting, a product is handled roughly five times on average. In an eCommerce setting, products can be touched 20 times or more. This increased handling means that the average eCommerce package is now dropped 17 times. Increased shipping hazards hit high-value items, such as mattresses and furniture, particularly hard. Protective packaging remains a top priority for companies as costly returns can easily negate and absorb profit.
Importance of first impressions
It can be challenging for online-only retailers to impress consumers. Bypassing the traditional in-store experience, customers will never see products displayed aesthetically on an open floor. Therefore, the first impression is when the product arrives on the customer’s doorstep. A damaged product certainly creates a poor first impression. A study by Packaging Insights reports that 73% of consumers said they would be unlikely to purchase from a company again after receiving a damaged item. Although protective packaging is essential, it will become increasingly important for companies to balance functionality and aesthetics.
eCommerce is having a massive impact on the way companies pack and ship oversized products. Brands can no longer design packaging ideal for stores only but must optimize packaging for both brick-and-mortar and online shoppers.