According to Statista, total global e-commerce sales accounted for about 14 percent of all total sales in 2019. By the year 2023, however, total online sales are expected to hit 22 percent. This e-commerce boom is a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, especially when you consider that in 2015, e-commerce only accounted for about 7.5 percent of total sales. That 7.5 percent figure about doubled in five years and is expected to more than triple in eight years, but what’s fueling the growth of e-commerce? In this post, we’ll dig deeper into e-commerce, why it’s developing so rapidly, and what challenges will need to be addressed in the future. Here’s a closer look.
3 Key Factors Behind the Continued Rise in E-Commerce
Why is e-commerce on such a rapid ascent? Let’s dive into three of the key reasons behind its growth:
It’s an Easy, Convenient Way to Purchase
Think for a moment about the commitment that it takes to visit a store in person. You have to get into your vehicle, drive to the store, browse the store and find what you’re looking for, check out and then drive back home. You have to manage traffic, crowds, weather, and more. Even running an errand to purchase a seemingly basic product can account for an hour of your day. Shopping online can be done from your home on your smartphone within seconds. It’s effortless.
Everyone has a smartphone these days, and all the brands that consumers interact with are allocating more and more resources to various channels to lure business. In addition to brick-and-mortar stores, there are interactive websites, social media communications, and advanced algorithms that track purchasing and make the repeat buying of goods all the more convenient. There’s often a crossover between many of these platforms, as many stores offer the opportunity to buy online and pickup in-store or curbside.
Multitude of Offerings
Stores and brands with a heavy online presence can offer a lot more products and not have to worry about it taking up space on store shelves. Online only specials are just one-way brands can continue to capture business through all of their avenues.
An Opportunity in Packaging
While brands and stores continue to adjust to e-commerce demands, so do supply chains. While the data is inconclusive on packaging waste, the amount of packaging used is significant — and there’s reason to believe that packaging companies have yet to optimize packaging when it comes to shipments. “Overpacking” is an important issue when it comes to e-commerce packaging so that the product is sure to stay safe throughout transit. Overpacking only leads to excess waste and pollution.
Think for a moment about the logistics of traditional brick-and-mortar compared to e-commerce. In the former scenario, the supplier will ship the product to a warehouse, which will, in turn, be shipped to its final destination (the store) and placed on the store shelf. In an e-commerce scenario, the first two steps are the same, but there are sorting centers, private carriers, local distribution centers, and then last-mile delivery.
The Drive for Greater Sustainability
A need for greater e-commerce packaging sustainability isn’t just crucial for the environment; it’s important in keeping consumers happy. More and more consumers are demanding sustainable products — and the packaging should be following suit as well. In addition to optimizing e-commerce packaging so that any overpacking is avoided, there are other tips that organizations such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition suggest. These include:
- Using inserts instead of foam “peanuts” and paper.
- Avoiding the use of bubble wrap.
- The selection of sustainable materials that can be recycled.
- Avoiding the use of solvent-based inks or coatings that limit packaging recycling.
- Including information on the packaging itself about how the end-user can recycle the package.
The bottom line is that e-commerce isn’t going away. Statista’s estimates that we mentioned earlier may underwhelm compared to reality when you factor in how consumer shopping preferences have changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To sustain growth and withstand this more complex distribution process, it’s imperative that the packaging continues to move forward as well.
The Future Is Flexible!
Our marketplace is not on Amazon, but our approach and packaging philosophy is very much in step with this latest mandate from the people, if you will. CDF has built a reputation as a packaging innovator, and we’ve been ahead of this curve in the B2B world for some time with our many flexible packaging solutions. One solution is Meta® Pail with Smart Pail Inside, which is the integration of two technologies to replace plastic pails.
The Meta® Pail is a semi-rigid, vacuum-formed, plastic pail insert with a hermetically sealed peel-reseal laminated film lid, housed within an 8-sided corrugated Meta container. Meta Pail transports semi-viscous, solid, and most liquid products currently shipped in plastic pails.
We’re proud to say that we have considered all of the above-stated pain points—and their solutions—when we designed Meta Pail.
Meta Pail has a very favorable “frustration-free” packaging profile that benefits our customers, along with positive sustainability alignment. These features include:
- Easy to erect in three easy steps
- Can be knocked down and easily stacked
- Lighter-weight material; less packaging (vs. plastic pails)
- Lowered supply chain costs: operational, storage, handling, transportation
- One extra layer per pallet; 33% savings on transportation costs and operational efficiency
- Easy open, easy close with large peel-reseal lidding structure—hybrid peel option with peel-reseal and one-pull features for ease of disposal
- Disposes easily—recyclable: collapsible plastic and corrugated
- Lighter weight than a 5-gallon plastic pail—easy handling
- Saves space from less packaging—collapsible insert for improved space
- savings at both the processor and end-user
Saving the Environment and Your Bottom Line
Everyone wins when we work collectively toward sustainability goals. When we all pitch in through simple practices and everyday business decisions, we all get there. Meet your sustainability initiatives, for your business and the planet.
Sustainable Benefits of Using Meta Pail with Smart Pail include:
- Less disposal volume, easier to recycle: 4 collapsed Smart Pails fit into the space of 1 five-gallon plastic pail
- Reduced impact on climate change (CO2 emissions) by 52% over rigid pails
- 72% less solid waste than rigid pails
- 64% less energy usage than rigid pails
- Recyclable components: HDPE pail and corrugated container
- Ability to collapse or nest for minimized and efficient disposal/recycling—takes up less space in a truck, plant, or dumpster
Disrupting the Packaging Industry
We set out to disrupt the packaging industry with concerted efforts to meet the needs of our customers while also taking care of the planet. CDF Corporation has a long history of innovation in flexible packaging, from accordion inserts to unique IBC liner valves. CDF’s high level of expertise and service ensure a reliable partner for many packaging needs: custom food packaging, chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and more. Download our Meta KD8 with Smart Pail brochure for more details about this innovative packaging system.