If you’ve ever ordered something from Amazon you’ve probably encountered what I call the Russian Doll trick: opening a huge box to go through and find tons of plastic bubble wrap only to find a tiny little product like a USB hub or sunglasses. Not only is this type of packaging incredibly wasteful but more importantly, at least from Amazon’s point of view, it is also costing them too much to stock and ship.
Therefore, Amazon has made a policy change to crack down on this, leading many smaller companies scrambling to get back on the right side of Amazon’s packaging policies.
On Wednesday, July 31st, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon will be enforcing these rules starting from August 1st.
(Note: the article is behind a paywall. You can also see a summary of the article at CNET).
This seems like a great idea, and overall, I’d say that it is. As more and more retails are done through ecommerce, we need to be conscious of the resources we’re using. Not only fuel, but also plastic wrap and packaging is becoming more of an issue.
However, with Amazon you can bet that they’re not absorbing all this cost by themselves. A lot of this lands on the shoulders of small and medium sized companies. Larger companies like P&G, Sony, etc., can easily absorb the costs of new package design and production. It is the other ones that need to quickly update their packaging.
Also, I don’t believe that this will be only something that Amazon will do. They are leading the wave here. Just as California leads the way in emission standards for automobiles, then the rest of country follows suit since its such a big market, I believe the same thing will happen for retail packaging. Amazon requires this, and even if other retailer don’t follow suit it will still make sense to develop one type of packaging that can work everywhere.
So, if it is a necessity, and a trend, and good for the environment, what should a Taiwanese company that exports do?
I’d recommend that you embrace it. Making more efficient, effective packaging doesn’t mean it has to lack character. There are plenty of beautiful, original packaging designs that can bring all these ideas together. Furthermore, you should make it part of your Brand Identity. Make it part of your Brand Culture. These are the types of things that we find are becoming more and more important to consumers the world over.
For a good case study of a brand that put this idea of packaging to heart, see our client, Apera.
It short, rather than fight global trends towards sustainable packaging, make sure that brand embraces it and designs the right packaging for your product, made from the right materials, and make sure everyone sees it.
Article written by
Richard H. deVries
Richard has over 20 years of consulting and sales experience in North America, Taiwan and China and is skilled at helping Taiwanese companies expand overseas. He graduated with a BA from University of Waterloo in Canada, an MBA from National Cheng Chi University (NCCU) in Taiwan, and recently completed his studies in AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning, and robotics from MIT Sloan.
You can connect or follow Richard on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/devriesrichard