The rise of online shopping has always been big business in the packaging world. Yet the unbelievable growth of the eCommerce industry has defied all expectations throughout the year 2020.
This has helped spur online marketplaces like UK-based OnBuy.com to be the world’s fastest-growing online marketplace, ahead of a worldwide scale-up that’ll expand the platform into over 140 additional countries by year-end 2023, starting with 42 sites in 2020.
Yet in a broader sense, this upswing in activity – years ahead of the projected eCommerce market growth originally forecast for 2020 – has created challenges and opportunities in abundance.
Speed and efficiency
The world’s biggest eCommerce players have worked flat-out to make next-day delivery the expectation in the minds of most consumers.
This speed and efficiency has come at a cost, and not just monetarily or in the framework of the logistics solutions providers themselves. Environmental ramifications and rising numbers of customers dissatisfied with how their products are delivered are casting a long shadow over an industry that, to thousands, has become a lifeline during the global health crisis.
Enterprises are pushing the envelope all the more too, often sidestepping traditional delivery methods for gig-economy or disruptive fulfilment models, as seen in the United States with the recent deal between Instacart and Best Buy – unlocking same-day deliveries across the country.
Crowning the competition
There’s no doubt that fulfilment is set to become a more hotly contested space than ever as the decade goes on, with no territory or market safe from the potential for disruption.
Even well-established UK institutions are reframing their roles in the game, with the end of delivery exclusivity between Royal Mail and the Post Office opening each organisation up to greater diversification than ever in this dynamic market.
Intelligent alliances can do much to navigate the intriguing terrain ahead. OnBuy’s creation of the OnBuy Fulfilment Network is a programme that aims to take away much of the uncertainty in selecting shipping service providers for online sellers, while also unifying the customer experience and standard of service under one banner. Similarly, OnBuy’s partnership with DS Smith ePack will further enhance the OnBuy ecosystem through supporting online sellers with their packaging needs. Ultimately strategic partnerships will enable online sellers to satisfy all their needs via a “one stop shop” and focus on what they do best – supplying great value products for consumers.
Alliances and partnerships like these will help ensure service guarantees are met, while agility and competency are sustained across the board.
Tomorrow’s deliveries will be all shapes and sizes
If online car-seller Cazoo’s recent milestones are any indication, any reluctance about buying even big-ticket purchases online is long gone. Customers feel confident that incentives like PayPal Buyer Protection have got their backs if things go awry.
Yet that still leaves no room for complacency, especially as eCommerce demand for packaging climbs all the more. While the future of how packages are delivered is always evolving, the need for goods to arrive safely and securely is never going to change.
As far as that relates to consumer expectations, the bizarre tales of fulfilment centres sending buyers relatively small products padded and tucked into the corner of far-too-large boxes is hopefully continuing to subside as the eCommerce industry matures. As the #1 packaging provider in the UK, DS Smith ePack offers the small e-retailer access to a significantly wide range with different shapes and sizes available off the shelf, or made to measure solutions via a bespoke packaging service.
A kinder kind of package
The use of materials, their eco-friendliness, and even the trade-off between delivery times and carbon footprint are all internal dialogues customers are having all the time in the eCommerce landscape of today. Packaging is not immune to this trend – and rightly so! This is why DS Smith launched their Now and Next Sustainability Strategy closing the loop, reducing carbon emissions and replacing problem plastic with fibre-based alternatives.
It’s here that DS Smith ePack innovations such as SizzlePak© and the paper bubble wrap can bring significant value to the conscientious seller. Furthermore, news that almost a third of customers may well be inclined to pay more for more environmentally-sound online shopping fulfilment solutions is a very positive step.
The events of 2020 have highlighted the call for ethics, transparency and wholesomeness in honest business all the more. Consumers are rapidly losing their appetite for unfair business practices and faceless corporations who trample where they please.
As a fair, transparent and ethical online marketplace, OnBuy has both embraced and pre-empted these shifts in consumer behaviour, by proactively supporting independent businesses through to household names – and in creating an ethical eCommerce ecosystem that shakes up the status quo.
Going forward, individuality and independence are set to be the defining touchstones shaping the immense growth of this industry in a decade that has begun with an unforgettable first foray. For this purpose, DS Smith ePack offers bespoke solutions with customized and branded packaging available.
It all makes for an exciting era in which to be in business – ever growing, one delivery at a time.