Q5: What innovations can we expect to see coming through in retail packaging over the next few years?
Catalysed by the pandemic, as people continue to move the bulk of their purchasing online, they are also shifting to purchasing goods that may have been bought exclusively in-store historically. For example, a May 2020 McKinsey report found that some beauty brands were seeing e-commerce sales twice as high as pre-COVID-19 levels. As businesses move forward, e-commerce packaging will become a more significant part of the packaging experience.
We can expect to see connected packaging where physical packaging interlocks with smart devices. While physical packaging has various benefits such as design features that protect the product, shelf-appeal and a way to reinforce the brand experience, using smart features will allow the consumer another level of engagement with the brand. For example, the packaging could connect people to product information and brand storytelling through a mobile device or computer.
Likewise, as discussions about the environmental impact we make as a society come more and more into question, consumers are ever more environmentally conscious, requiring new packaging innovations. Industry must continue to advance and drive sustainable packaging innovations that increase the use of recyclable and compostable materials. Equally important is encouraging greater investment in reprocessing technologies that can forever change how packaging is designed, made and re-used.
Businesses of all sizes can put circular economy principles to work. They can start by rethinking the design and development of products and packaging so they can be recycled or repurposed easily and affordably.