With a win-win-win strategy that includes partnerships throughout the supply chain, the world’s largest online retailer is collaborating with the industry to optimize packaging design for ecommerce.
“The time is now to reimagine packaging to enable companies to thrive in an ecommerce business model” says Brent Nelson, senior manager, worldwide packaging, Customer Packaging Experience (CPEX) of Amazon.
Below, Brett talks about the company’s business model, the Amazon Packaging Certification Guidelines, and how teamwork will solve many of today’s packaging challenges for ecommerce marketing.
How important is packaging sustainability to Amazon and why?
Nelson: Our number one priority is to delight customers and packaging is an important part of that. Thirty one million times a year customers give us feedback and usually tell us they love our packaging, but there’s always more room for improvement. We are working hard on initiatives to further reduce packaging waste while protecting orders for customers. One of those initiatives is our Amazon Packaging Certification program, including Frustration Free Packaging, which last year collectively eliminated nearly 83 million corrugated boxes. To date, we have more than 1.1 million items that are available in certified packaging.
What are the challenges you’re seeing in ecommerce packaging and sustainability, and why?
Nelson: We consider packaging sustainability to be a win-win-win and we are working hard to share our standards and guidelines with brand owners and the packaging industry as a whole, so we can drive those positive outcomes faster, together. The primary challenge we see is that packaging designed for brick-and-mortar retail is in many cases not optimal for online fulfillment. Packaging designed to stand out on a retail shelf is often oversized, with expensive “romance” design aesthetics, redundant features to prevent theft and not capable of surviving the journey to the customer. In many cases, these features can lead to suboptimal packaging for online distribution.
How can these challenges be solved or overcome?
Nelson: The most important thing is that the industry works together to create packaging that’s great for customers, companies, and the environment. Using our Amazon Packaging Certification Guidelines, we are working to educate the industry about the impact that sustainable packaging has on customer satisfaction, including repeat customers and cost savings. Certified packaging designed for Amazon and online fulfillment is a win for customers due to right-sized packages being designed to prevent damages; it’s a win for our brand owner partners and Amazon because it’s less material volume and often much lower cost; and it’s a win for the planet—the reduced amount of packaging is less wasteful, and lower damage rates mean less transportation of goods to and from the customer.
In the small-parcel shipping environment of ecommerce, the dimensional weight cost structure is causing product manufacturers to rethink their shipments for “right-sizing.” How does dim weight enter into your suggestions for how to design packaging for ecommerce?
Nelson: Certainly there is a trend toward lighter weight and decreased shipping volumes across the industry. Our commitment is to drive adoption of right-sized, minimal packaging that protects against damage and is made from environmentally responsible materials. Continue reading…