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Omni means: Everything, everywhere, anytime
Reach out for more touchpoints with packaging

Since the pandemic at the latest, everyone has learned how convenient shopping on the net is. At the same time, we complain about the massive flood of cardboard boxes. We have to come over the situation that well-packed goods have to be put into another box to make it ready-to-ship. This is a real challenge. But an exciting one. There is still a lot of room for improvement.

Protection is key but the right dramaturgy for the unboxing process is very important. If you open a package and the first thing you’re facing is the return voucher or the operating instructions, it’s the wrong message. The product is the hero and should be dramatized and staged.

The bigger the product is (especially talking about non-food) the more important it is to have a package that suits both channels at once.

I can imagine modular hybrid packaging solutions, where we solve the problem of having a box in a box by adding a ‚light‘ pack element to upgrade a shelf-pack for shipping. Think about a colorful and impactful packaging that stands out in the stores. Integrating a shipping label (or even a space for it) ruins the design. Putting it into a bag for shipping doesn’t add much packaging material but solves the problem. Paptic is a sustainable material from Finland that works very well in this respect. But there are many more ideas like this…

This also gives us a hint on the disadvantages of Omnichannel packaging. If you are trying hard to make a beautiful package shippable you may ruin the design or the other way around. If you put a perfectly constructed e-commerce package on the shelf it’ll be invisible and dull. So in some respects, it may be better to have two separate solutions. Or the hybrid-modular pack as described!

But what are the pros and cons of each channel? And how can different channels complement each other? Online means orientation, overview, price comparison. The product features and benefits have already been communicated online and it needs no further information on the pack.

Whilst in brick-and-mortar stores the packaging has to sell the product. Presence in stationary trade means inspiration, testing, trying on, sensual experiences.

If looking deeper into the subject we have to see the complete touchpoint map and the various customer journeys and options. For a branding strategy, it means pushing the right triggers.

To satisfy customers in a perfect way brands need to play on both channels with the best possible instruments. This orchestration can not be regarded separately.

 

Nowadays major problems are:

  • Return policies: it’s too simple to order alternatives and send the stuff back customers don’t want (for free).
  • Stores are not rewarded for consultation
  • Seamless purchase is oXen enough not possible at all

In the future, we’ll have showrooms with a small footprint in A locations and a seamless shopping experience through both channels. Packaging will have an even more important role as it’s oXen the first physical touchpoint for the customer.

Balancing out product safety, function, aesthetics, and sustainability is key for all packaging developments whether they are designed for shipping or for stores – even better for both at the same time. We have to have an eye on our health and our environment. It is major important to use as little packaging material as possible and we need to find the right choice of healthy material and the right production.

Nevertheless, a package has to communicate in a storytelling way, needs a good structure and a brilliant design.

In the near future, Omnichannel will be the new normal. The boundaries between the different sales channels will blur and we’ll get a completely seamless shopping experience even between different brands and retailers.

Companies have to deal with increasingly complex assortments with a huge range of diverse packages. Different formats, different materials, various layouts with a large amount of data that must be kept up to date. This can only be done with clearly guided communication and with automated workflows.

The clever connection to the Merchandise Management System, the Product Information Management (PIM), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems will avoid mistakes and saves time and money.

Technology will also help us In our struggle for more sustainability. It can save human energy but it can also support steering the flow of materials for efficient quality recycling. Eco effectiveness is highly important in positive future scenarios of our circular omnichannel world.

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Uwe Melichar
Managing Partner at MELICHAR Bros. &
epda president
1st June 2021

 

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