Retail in Transition: The Rise of E-commerce
Lockdown could have resulted in the permanent closure of shops, restaurants, gyms and many other businesses. Even with Government support, paying to retain premises, employees and stock without generating an income is crippling. However, many businesses adapted. They explored new ways of serving customers and focused on home deliveries.
From small, local retailers to big brands, e-commerce made it possible to keep trading. It provided a way to sell the stock, retain custom and cover the bills when no other option was available.
As a supplier of e-commerce packaging for online retailers, Aylesbury Box Company has been inundated with requests from businesses that had never previously traded online. We have been able to advise on bespoke shipping boxes. These protect their goods in transit and help to make the right impression.
A growth in start-up companies has also driven demand for cardboard packaging. With job opportunities limited, many people have been motivated to start a new enterprise. As it is relatively low cost to launch an e-commerce business from home, this has been a popular option. It has driven demand for small volume packaging runs.
Changing Habit Drive E-commerce Growth
No one expected that it would take over a year before things begin to return to some sort of normality. In this time, shopping habits have changed. Even shoppers who had previously resisted online purchases have embraced digital and benefitted from doorstep deliveries. As a result, online sales were up 26% in 2020.
As the shops re-open, many retailers and shoppers will stick with online stores. In ‘Retail in Transition: Capitalising on Future E-Commerce Opportunities’ Euromonitor International predicts that e-commerce will account for 50% of UK retail growth by 2025.
5 Benefits of Bespoke E-commerce Packaging
If online is the way forward for your business, it makes sense to invest in bespoke packaging. Product-specific packaging is the best way to:
- Prevent goods from being damaged in transit – reduce returns
- Optimise packaging design – remove excess materials and reduce waste
- Minimise shipping costs
- Build brand identity – stand out from the competition
- Encourage packaging reuse or recycling – reduce environmental impact
Whilst bespoke packaging may sound like an expensive option, it can work out to be cheaper than off-the-shelf solutions. The right design can reduce the time taken, and fillers required, in packing, as well as cutting shipping costs. A unique design can increase brand awareness and encourage peer marketing, both of which can have a positive impact on sales.
Aylesbury Box Company is happy to advise on the best options for bespoke packaging within your budget. For further information, contact us on 01296 436888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Investment in Technology
It isn’t just packaging that needs consideration. The ‘Retail in Transition’ webinar also identifies that investment in technology is central to the long-term viability of online retail. It credits companies with the rapid introduction of digital systems; stating that the transformation was advanced by 1-2 years during lockdown.
Launching or updating websites to enhance the customer experience is one aspect of the digital transformation. Alongside this sits internal systems that aid stock management and logistics. We highlighted the issue of returns in a recent article and technology can help. The long term benefits of reducing the financial and environmental impact of returns mean the investment will pay dividends.
Exploring E-commerce Potential
If your business is embracing online retail, what can you do to retain the customers gained during lockdown? Incentives to reward loyalty are welcomed, but delivering a great customer experience should be the priority. Positive reviews will help to extend your reach and attract new business.
Would your products be suitable for grouping into popular packages? From recipe boxes to craft sets, many of our customers have developed packages that enhance convenience and desirability.
Looking further afield, the ‘Retail in Transition’ webinar highlights countries with untapped e-commerce markets. Is exporting part of your retail strategy?
As retail continues to evolve, a consumer-focused approach should drive developments. We leave your enterprise with two questions to ponder:
Who is your target customer and what do they want from your brand in 2021?
How can e-commerce growth be realised without compromising brand values or customer experience?
If e-commerce packaging is on your agenda, we are here to take your call.