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By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley

PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFITS A look at the power of packaging and consumer perception beyond parcel protection

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onsumer research for packaging usually consists of research done in a lab or a store environment, but over the past few years, we’ve been tasked with more and more e-commerce work. Usually, we’re asked about the impact of e-commerce and how it affects retail packaging plans, how brands compete within and around Amazon, and how brands can maximize the opportunity of a more intimate connection with consumers inside their own homes. These are big questions for a big opportunity, and to tackle these complex problems, we find ourselves returning time and again to a core set of principles: People, Planet, Profits. People This is the consumer, the person generally at the end of the very complex and risk-filled marketing, production, and distribution cycle that makes up our economy. Consumers hold the keys

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to our success — they make judgments on value and quality that ultimately determine what is worth their hard-earned cash. With this in mind, it only makes sense that every product and package design process should keep the consumer perspective as a priority. Although the number one concern in parcel packaging should be protecting the product within, engaging the consumer in a positive way should always be a close second. We see this taking place in a number of ways, from efficient and effective dielines that allow someone to quickly hold and interact with their purchase (e.g., custom-sized book packaging with tear-strip access from Amazon), to the unexpected (e.g., Glade scent-filled air pillows), to the more robust and complex (e.g., high-quality graphics, softouch textures, and the well-known millimeter-tolerance packaging that creates a level of final anticipation for your latest Apple product). We’ve found a wide array of effective approaches

here, but what matters most is that the consumer gets the feeling that you’ve considered them — even if it’s a simple thank you note within. Planet This is a real and mainstream topic. It’s part of the household conversation, whether we are talking about shareholder reports from Wall Street, global news headlines, local city infrastructures, or even mass-market movies. Packaging has always played a key role in this conversation, and the e-commerce industry absolutely makes decisions with the planet in mind, especially when it considers the post-consumer waste process. As we’ve discovered, there are some methods to accomplish both planet and people considerations in a very positive way. Last year, we were tasked with investigating the impact tissue paper (decorative and unbranded) had on consumers’ e-commerce unboxing experiences when

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PARCEL July/August 2019  

PARCEL July/August 2019

PARCEL July/August 2019  

PARCEL July/August 2019