All around the globe, lockdowns and restrictions in retail shopping have further accelerated the growth of online sales. COVID-19 not only increased the volume of online deliveries, it has also fundamentally changed online shopping behaviour. Before the pandemic, online purchases consisted mostly of clothes and consumer electronics.
However, stay-at-home policies have encouraged many households to extend their desktop shopping routines and to order everyday goods online such as hair and personal care products as well as home cleaning products.
This altered shopping behaviour presents a serious challenge for suppliers of liquid products: the product category is designed for brick & mortar shops, rather than for small parcel delivery channels. Products passing through the e-commerce channel have to withstand more frequent and rigorous handling. Statistically, a package ordered online is handled on average more than 20 times – four times more than in the traditional retail distribution chain. Moreover, online deliveries are more likely to be tossed into a van or dropped on a doorstep. As a result, many liquid products either leak or are damaged during the delivery process.
If the packaging is not sufficiently robust, the implications can be significant. Replacing a damaged item can cost up to 17 times as much as the shipping costs. And if other goods such as earphones or books are in the same parcel, these could be damaged by the liquid as well. On top of measurable costs, the disappointing customer experience results in negative product reviews and may even influence brand reputation. To avoid damages, e-commerce providers wrap the goods in secondary packaging with up to five additional packaging components. This results in unnecessary waste and packaging volume as well as extra costs. This is certainly no longer the right way to go, as many companies are now saving materials and resources wherever possible in the interests of sustainability. Three R’s are now high on the agenda: reduce, reuse and recycle. The key, then, is to waste less material in the safe packaging of goods.
Less waste, less costs: Rieke’s smart packaging solutions for liquid products
As a leading global player in the dispensing systems market, the challenge of e-commerce fulfilment has been a major R&D focus for Rieke®. Rieke, an innovative brand of US-based TriMas Packaging, has clearly understood the profound need for packaging to be optimised for online commerce. The challenge was to deliver solutions that allow liquid products to reach the consumer without damage or leakage, while eliminating unnecessary multiple layers of secondary packaging components and reducing costs.
Rieke’s certified packaging solutions for e-commerce fulfilment deliver significant customer benefits:
- Produce less waste and eliminate consumer ‘wrap rage’
- Ensure products arrive as intended without damage
- Reduce fulfilment processing time through the elimination of unnecessary and costly packaging components
- Reduce the risk of fines for product fulfilment failures and leaks
- ‘Frustration-free packaging’ items are given priority in Amazon search listings
Close collaboration with Amazon
With the support of Amazon, Rieke established in-house ISTA-6 test labs which enable testing and optimisation of liquid packaging. These Rieke solutions are certified to be in compliance with Amazon’s ‘Frustration-free packaging’ guidelines. The standards to fulfil ISTA-6 requirements are varied and include three main criteria for any project:
- Eliminating leaks, rather than simply reducing or containing them
- Providing an experience that is equivalent to, or better than, the brick & mortar experience, such as a product without inner seals for removal and is ready to use
- Allowing consumers to remove the closure to refill the bottle
“It was evident after our first engagement with the Rieke team that delivering innovation in the e-commerce channel was of strategic importance, and they were eager to work alongside
us to solve these customer pain points. Amazon provided Rieke common failure modes of the current dispenser products and the scale of the commercial impact of innovation in liquids packaging. This opened the door for the Rieke team to drive an innovation plan around this mission,” said Justine Mahler, manager of Customer Packaging Experience at Amazon.
Rieke was first-to-market with a product range designed to meet the challenging requirements of e-commerce fulfilment. These Amazon certified products have been developed to reduce the risk of leakage during shipping, while simultaneously eliminating unnecessary packaging components and cost. Rieke’s e-commerce friendly dispensing pumps and foamers include:
- LDS-2e – Lotion Dispenser Pump
- FND Foamer E – Fixed Nozzle Foamer
- I-Squeeze-E Inverted Squeeze Foamer
- U-Squeeze-E Upright Squeeze Foamer
- RSS-35 Lotion Dispenser Pump
- RSS-40 Lotion Dispenser Pump