Move over Google. It seems that Amazon is the next online behemoth trying to take over the world!
While it began in 1995 as an online book retailer, the company has since expanded to offer sporting goods, clothes, jewelry, electronics, outdoor equipment, healthcare products and, more recently, even fresh food delivery via the company’s AmazonFresh offering.
The company may be on to something, given a recent report from the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen that found the US grocery sector could explode in the next decade, with consumers expected to spend upwards of $100 billion by 2025 — and an impressive 70 percent of those purchases taking place online.
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods will solidify the company’s grasp on the market and likely prove to be a big benefit to consumers as the merger is expected to make the fresh-prepared meals for which Whole Foods is famous for more readily accessible via Amazon’s delivery platform. Still, Amazon’s closest competitor, Wal-Mart, will undoubtedly remain another big player in the space, as Wal-Mart’s intention to ramp up its online grocery game became evident with the acquisition of online retailer Jet, last year.
So what does this mean for the packaging industry when it comes to perishable foods?
Barrier technologies are now a must-have.
Digital consumerism has altered buying behaviors and expectations so packaging must also evolve in order to keep up. Manufacturers must develop packaging that is able to go beyond supermarket shelves to online distribution centers across the country for delivery to the homes of consumers. One there, products must be stable enough to sit on a doorstep in potentially hot or cold weather — a situation for which the solutions are continuing to advance, with barrier technologies likely playing a major role in the packaging production process.
Greiner Packaging has heavily invested in advancing two new forms of barrier technologies in order to meet our clients’ changing needs for longer shelf life and e-delivery, including multi-barrier technology (or “MBT”) and inert barrier technology (or “IBT”). Both technologies protect the product by minimizing external effects to the filling inside the cup. For more information on how advances in barrier technologies are changing the packaging game, check out this Greiner Packaging blog post.
Plan ahead to prevent damage during transit.
Without the right packaging in place, online retailers risk greater damage during the fulfillment process, particularly for perishable fresh-food items. This means retailers must strategically choose durable packaging options that will withstand the rigors of more complex shipping and handling processes. This may include opting for sturdier plastic packaging reinforced by a cardboard component, protected lid openings and other advances.
Packaging must make a strong first impression.
In the online shopping sector, the moment of delivery may be the first impression a customer has with a brand, making it even more important that the product packaging make a strong impact while still being user-friendly and allowing for easy access to the product. As younger audiences continue to dominate the online space, fresh grocery retailers must re-think their packaging choices in order to appeal to a millennial audience that will expect a highly customized customer experience. This could mean producing smaller batches with more targeted messaging or opting for more sustainable materials in order to appeal to the millennials’ increasing “green” sensitivities.
How will this Amazon-zation affect your packaging strategies for 2018? We’ll continue to keep an eye on this and other important trends. Keep checking back for more!