Enabling e-commerce through right-sized packaging

by Emily Atkins

Packsize, which manufactures right-sized cartons for e-commerce shipments, shared some interesting research with journalists at a MODEX press conference.

In a consumer poll, the company found that 84 percent of consumers prefer their items shipped in a cardboard box, as opposed to plastic shipping envelopes and pouches. As well, 87 percent of heavy e-commerce buyers – those who order four times a week or more – will buy from companies that demonstrate they are reducing their carbon footprint.

And, 45 percent of consumers believe it is important that companies they shop from show concern for reducing pollution and waste, while another 38 percent see companies’ concern for improving environmental sustainability as important.

Not sustainable

In an environment where e-commerce has seen exponential gains in popularity, customer expectations have grown in step, said Hanko Kiessner, Packsize founder and executive chairman. “Expectations for fast, efficient and sustainable shipping has grown tremendously. And here is one of the biggest findings of the last couple of years: Internet retailing is actually not a scalable industry, and nor is it sustainable …without right-sized packaging.”

Kiessner explained that by using a right-sizing system for packaging, e-commerce operators can reduce the average box size by 40 percent. “You can fit 66 percent more orders on the same truck if you can reduce the box volume by 40 percent. And that doesn’t sound intuitive at first, but I did the math and it’s actually true. So that means you can actually reduce 66 percent of all of the truckloads once the packaging is right-sized. And that is a staggering amount,” he said.

Multiple benefits

With soaring fuel prices, that adds up to significant savings for shippers, but there are other benefits as well. These include reduced use of corrugated, faster throughput in distribution centres thanks to integration with goods-to-person picking, and higher customer satisfaction.

Packsize came about because CEO Rod Galloway, when working at Staples, was affected by the complaints about tiny items arriving in huge boxes.

But it’s not just consumers who like the right-sized boxes. “Employees who work with technology stick around a little bit longer. Our customers’ employees like working with right-sized technology. It makes a difference. They go home and say, ‘hey I’m making a difference on the environment’,” Galloway said.