Virtually every product you buy these days has a code, markings, and other data printed on itwith some form of ink. Barcodes, expiry date information, and other codes are all part of being able to trace and market a product for safety, security, and marketing purposes.
The increase in the number of online shoppers, easy ways to pay online, a bigger reach for sales, and lower startup costs have given rise to more home businesses in today’s world.
Two examples of this are found on Etsy and eBay respectively. These sites have seen the number of sellers double compared to the five years ago. Entrepreneurs are working from home, selling handmade products, personalized products, vintage products, and other goods to the 25 million + shoppers across shopping channels.
There are approximately 1.6 million eBay and Etsy sellers that fulfill over 72,000 orders every year, which translates to an amazing 1,384 per week. These are small home-based online businesses that produce custom and hand-made items that are essentially rivaling big corporations that mass produce cookie-cutter products. There is a huge opportunity for the packaging and fulfillment industries.
There are no signs that this online shopping trend will slow down in the coming years, which is great news for the packaging industry. E-commerce packaging will likely grow at over 5 percent per year all the way up to 2020.
Packaging & Fulfillment
Packaging and fulfillment are two aspects of these businesses that can either make or break the online retailer, especially in the small to medium sized businesses. There is a grand opportunity for the packaging and fulfillment industry to cater to these niche sellers who are becoming major rivals to their substantially bigger competitors.
This digital age and technology are making it easier for anyone to set up an online shop. However, scaling that online store is challenging, particularly for packaging. When an online seller is getting a small number of orders to fill, there’s no problem.
However, as they grow and get an overflow of orders, fulfillment becomes a problem. That’s where the packaging industry can swoop in and save the day, or neglect these small businesses that buyers tend to like and miss out of a huge opportunity.
You might be surprised to know that some home offices use tabletop bagging machines to automate their packaging process. They often have them on their kitchen table or in a garage workshop on their property, but what about coding and labeling their products and parcels?
They probably invest in bagging machines that provide integrated printer, which saves them time, but how efficient is that compared to using fulfillment services? Can a packaging and fulfillment company help improve productivity and save these small businesses time and money over the long term?
The Packaging and Fulfillment Opportunities
Packaging companies can help these small businesses become successful, while increasing their reach and revenue. Automation is a necessary component in a business where fulfillment is essential to customer satisfaction.
One area where smaller retailers need help is in tracing their products. That requires labeling and coding beyond the shipping of a product. The smart option would be to provide universal bags and packaging that can be customized for the small seller. It saves them time since there is no need for separate labeling and it makes the product easier to trace if needed.
Another aspect is in the actual packaging of products. Empty space is an issue when shipping goods to buyers. That empty space means a bigger risk of the product getting damaged. However, with air-filled pillows, packages reduce that empty space without the mess of packing peanuts and loose-fill or paper filling, while providing optimal protection for products in transit to their buyers.
You can now see how small e-commerce businesses offer a major opportunity to the packaging and fulfillment sectors. Packaging is a major issue and a critical factor in the success of a business. Whether that means stepping up the process to automated bagging to fully automated processes, there are many ways the packaging industry can significantly enhance fulfillment for small online sellers as they grow over the coming years.
It’s important to keep your fingers on the pulse of the growing small to medium sized business industry and how your services can help them thrive.