The constant evolution of e-commerce has transformed the way products reach our homes. The last mile of a product, which covers the final stretch from the distribution centre to the end customer, has become a fertile ground for innovation. And one of those crucial areas of development is the design and technology applied to packaging. In this post we talk about how packaging innovation is integrated into delivery services of many businesses.
Design adjusted to the product
One of the main challenges with last mile is to ensure that products reach their destination in perfect condition, whatever their idiosyncrasies or specific needs: temperature, volume, fragility… To address this challenge, companies are committed to developing packaging specifically designed for each type of product. So, this custom packaging affords a perfect fit, reducing the risk of damage during transport and improving the customer experience as an item is received in optimal condition.
As far as customisation is concerned, companies’ practices in this regard go beyond carrying out packaging designs tailored to the product. Furthermore, the last mile of companies uses emerging technologies that allow them to create customised packaging with messages, images or even customer names. This not only lends a personal touch, but it also creates a unique unboxing experience which can be shared on social media, boosting the brand and customer engagement.
Returns made easier
Returns are an inevitable part of e-commerce and anything businesses can do to simplify these processes will benefit them. Therefore, every day there are more packages designed so that they can be easily reclosed after opening. Thus, the end customer can start the process of returning a product without wasting time through the original packaging, something which increases their satisfaction and at the same time speeds up the process for the company.
Furthermore, some packages already have pre-printed, reusable return labels, which again are designed to streamline and simplify the return process for both customers and companies.
Sustainable and reusable materials
Sustainability is a growing concern in all aspects of the supply chain, even becoming a decisive factor when a user chooses one company or another to purchase a similar product. Today’s packaging uses recyclable, biodegradable and reusable materials to reduce their environmental impact. A practice which, as we said, not only contributes to reducing waste, but also improves the perception of the company amongst consumers who are increasingly aware of the importance of caring for the environment.
- Folding packaging
Storage and transportation space is an aspect to take into account with last mile. To optimise this as far as possible, folding packaging has emerged. A smart solution for optimising space and cutting shipping costs which every day incorporate more businesses into their delivery services. What’s more, these packages can be folded after use, which also facilitates storage at the customer’s home and subsequent recycling.
Smart packaging incorporates sensors and electronic devices on packaging, making use of the latest advances in technology. And what can these devices do? Well, they can track the location, temperature and humidity of each package in real time. Very valuable information that not only guarantees the quality of the product during transportation, but also allows consumers to gain an overview of the status of their shipment.
Finally, any last-mile service must take into account the durability and resistance of its packaging, since they are two essential characteristics which protect the products during the final trip. It is increasingly common for companies to carry out advanced resistance tests to ensure that their packages can withstand extreme conditions, such as being dropped or rough handling. These tests ensure that products arrive in optimal condition which, in turn, reduces returns issues and increases customer satisfaction.