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  1. Crucial Considerations for E-commerce Packaging

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    Packaging is not only a necessary part of shipping and transport, it is also one of the most effective ways for a business to provide online customers with a personal touch and a positive first impression. Everything about e-commerce packaging, from its size to its coloring and aesthetic design, serves to establish a brand identity while improving the profitability of your business. Memorable, attractive e-commerce packaging designed with the following factors in mind increases brand recognition, improves overall efficiency, and reduces costs.

    Crucial Considerations for E-commerce Packaging

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    Consider the Box/Package Size

    Compared to standard packaging, e-commerce packaging can often be smaller and softer, eliminating the need for many features such as hanging tabs. This means that you can design your box and packaging to be optimized for shipping. Even light items can be heavy and bulky if packaged improperly, making them expensive to ship. Many items that are not delicate or fragile can be shipped in a padded mailer, unprinted or printed. This reduces shipping material costs and shipping costs.

    To reduce costs, it is vital to consider the size of the product, as well as how many products will need to fit into one box. By choosing lightweight packaging that perfectly fits the product, you will be able to reduce the size of your boxes. This helps protect the product, as there is less space for it to slide around. Additionally, by reducing the need for void fill, your company will be more eco-friendly and save money on unnecessary materials.

    Consider the Box/Package Material

    In addition to the size of the packaging, the material itself plays an important role in the durability and weight of the final product. Although always an important consideration, durability is particularly essential for e-commerce packaging, as the product must uphold during shipping and arrive to the customer in pristine condition. Packaging that fails to protect the product during transit will result in dissatisfied customers and higher return rates (and likely, negative reviews).

    Wherever possible, choosing flexible packaging over rigid packaging is optimal. Flexible packaging is easier to fit into compact boxes or envelopes, reducing weight and making it easier to ship items without unnecessary amounts of negative space. This also helps reduce waste, lessening your impact on the environment and improving your brand image. 

    However, more fragile items may require stiffer packaging for protection. In these cases, double-walled cardboard boxes and the proper void fill or product cushioning are often a good way to ensure the product reaches its final destination without damage.

    Tape Selection

    Although packing tape may seem to be a straightforward, set-in-stone aspect of the packaging process, it can actually serve several important purposes at once, including:

    • Sealing the box
    • Providing a marketing message
    • Improving brand recognition

    Tape can also serve as additional advertising on every box. If you choose to print your logo on packing tape, it will help your packaging stand out to customers from the moment it lands on their doorstep. It will also be recognizable to anyone else around who may see the box, driving new customers to your business.

    Void Fill, Packaging Cushioning, Make-Your-Own Mailers, and Automated Packaging Systems

    Ecommerce manufacturers looking to optimize the safety and protection of their products throughout the shipping process should explore the various void fill packaging, packaging cushioning, and custom mailer solutions available to them – as well as packaging automation systems to make dispensing these products much more efficient.

    Void fill and cushioning products are types of packaging fillers, and they are excellent, protective means of bracing products from facility to destination. You have likely encountered EPS- or styrofoam-based void fill (the peanut-shaped, lightweight, and pourable variety). As sustainability is one of the biggest up-and-coming trends in the realm of packaging, the use of paper-based void fill has quickly become a popular packaging solution. Paper void fill is 100% biodegradable and a great way to immediately improve the sustainability of your packaging, and to resonate with eco-conscious customers.

    Foam and bubble cushioning offer high levels of protection, as well. Foam is an ideal option for those looking to protect products in transit from scratches (paper is not as effective for this case). Bubble cushioning is a reputable and sturdy protector, and it is a great option for high-shock, high-vibration conditions. A hot topic in the packaging industry is the use of on-demand inflatable systems over traditional bubble cushioning, as this can largely improve the speed, safety, and waste reduction of protective packaging. These systems are particularly worth considering if rapid production growth and space constraints are expected.

    Traditionally, customers have had to adapt existing mailers to their needs – today, make-your-own mailers make it possible to have these packaging solutions tailor-made to customers’ own specifications. For example, PAC offers build-your-own mailers to bring an exact mailer size and look to life.

    Automated packaging systems are an excellent way to significantly increase the speed and efficiency of dispensing void fill, cushioning, and custom mailers. Examples of automated equipment include the PACJacket, which can produce 15–20 bags per minute with quality, precision and speed, and the Polyair® X-Fill™ System, which features a rapid throughput speed of 335 ft/min and produces a higher yield. 

    Consider Branding and Unboxing

    When it comes to e-commerce packaging, the box is your customer’s first and main interaction with your business. While retail shops are able to create an in-person experience for the customer, e-commerce depends on packaging to connect with the customer and provide a memorable experience. 

    Brand-specific colors and designs on the exterior of the box will improve brand visibility, but the interior of the packaging is equally important. Consider the customer’s unboxing experience: the box should be easy to open and aesthetically pleasing on the inside. Depending on the type of products you are shipping, you may opt for modular packaging to keep the products in place and avoid a disorganized appearance. 

    E-commerce Packaging at TPC Packaging Solutions 

    For over five decades, TPC Packaging Solutions has been working closely with companies in virtually every industry to provide expert packaging products, equipment, and services. We attend trade shows globally, and are continually expanding our knowledge on the latest trends and technologies to provide the most accurate guidance on e-commerce packaging. To work with us on your next project, contact us here and a TPC Packaging Solutions team member will reach out to help.

  2. The Benefits of Automated Packaging

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    Regardless of the product, the value of high-quality packaging is indisputable. Proper packaging offers better brand recognition and aesthetic appeal for consumers than inconsistent or low-quality packaging. Reliable packaging also provides better protection of products during transit and storage.

    Automating the packaging process ensures that the packaging process remains efficient and consistent during production. When considering costs, keep in mind that an automated system offers numerous benefits to your production line and will pay off in value in a very short time.

    If you are on the fence about automated packaging systems, we have compiled this list of benefits provided through optimizing your packaging process through automation.

    1. Efficiency

    Efficiency is the bread-and-butter of an automated packaging system. Whereas human operators are limited in the amount of work that can be completed in a specific time, an automated system works faster and for longer shifts without interruptions. Automated systems increase product throughput by combining multiple manual steps into a single task. For instance, automation solutions can carefully seal and label a product simultaneously, which would take a workforce more time and effort. By streamlining these packaging processes, companies can free up their workers to focus on more complex, higher level tasks. 

    Automated packaging systems also boost efficiency by providing a consistent output rate. Employees may get tired after several hours of repetitive tasks or experience occasional off days where efficiency is lower than average. Automated systems continue producing at a consistent rate, mitigating some of the common challenges that impact day-to-day efficiency. 

    2. Safety

    Automating your packaging system can make your operations exponentially safer and significantly improve ergonomics. Automated packaging systems mitigate the need for an employee presence on the production floor, where accidents are more likely to occur. Through automation, your staff can control the packaging process from a distance, away from the potential hazards of machinery. 

    Injuries result in costly insurance and compensation payments, as well as production delays. Automating your packaging system decreases the risks your workers face on the job. In industrial applications such as manufacturing, distribution, and packaging, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the top injuries workers face, often due to performing repetitive tasks for hours at a time. Musculoskeletal injuries account for a third of “days-away-from-work cases,” according to data from the
    Bureau of Labor Statistics. Automation solutions handle repetitive tasks that lead to stress injuries, helping to lower the risk of employee injuries over time significantly.

    3. Quality Control

    Through automation, consistent, high-quality packaging is much easier to achieve than it is by hand. Machines can repeatedly package products precisely every time, including clean and accurate labeling, identical folds and cuts, and more.

    As technology advances, the quality checking capabilities of automated packaging systems have skyrocketed. Quality assurance once required visual and tactile verification to ensure quality and consistency. With these methods, improperly packaged products often get missed during the quality assurance process. In the very rare event that the automated system produces a packaging error, the package can be automatically removed from the line for correction without the need for operator input. This improved inspection capability ensures that only correctly packaged goods leave the packaging line.

    4. Lower Labor Costs

    Most industrial verticals face an ongoing labor shortage, which forces excess spending on recruitment and retention initiatives. An automated packaging system helps to optimize existing labor and will also reduce the need for extensive overtime. While the initial investment may seem intimidating, an automated packaging system will pay for itself over time in productivity gains and streamlined labor costs. 

    Automated Packaging From TPC Packaging Solutions

    TPC Packaging Solutions offers innovative automation solutions for even the most unique problems and scenarios, streamlining and optimizing the packaging process. 

    For over 50 years, TPC Packaging Solutions has worked with companies and products in nearly every industry. If you’re ready to find an automated packaging solution optimized to fit your specific needs and requirements, contact us today.

Find out how TPC can help you optimize your packaging process by reducing your costs and increasing efficiency.

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