The brand challenges of a packageless future

More than 8 million tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute (UN Environment figures) and packaging accounts for almost half of that waste.

Over a third (37%) of consumers are responding by now ‘always or often’ choose products with less packaging (Doddle Pulse, April 2019). But this behaviour change presents one of retail’s biggest challenges.

In the physical retail environment packaging has been relied upon to create all-important brand differentiation and to communicate vital product information. And in the eCommerce environment it’s the way brands communicate with customers and ensure their goods arrive protected and intact to ensure repeat sales.

So how can brands in both spaces move to embrace packageless without compromising their brands and their offering?

In the physical environment brands like Lush are trailblazing entirely packageless experiences with Lush Naked Shops launching in Milan, Berlin and Manchester. 

Customers use the Lush Lens app to scan items for information via their smartphone rather than relying on packaging labels.

In the online shopping world, offering a totally packageless experience simply isn’t possible in the majority of cases.  But there is an increasing push to encourage consumers to combine shipping.  This approach offers a double sustainability whammy – reductions in delivery emissions and in packaging.

Both Target and Amazon (with it’s new Amazon Day service) have recently announced big initiatives in this space – a key indication that this is where we can expect many online retailers to follow.

What’s clear in both spaces is that having a well thought through digital communications journey for your customers in a packageless or package reduced future has never been more important.

With no physical platform for communicating information or for making your brand stand out -  making your digital communications clear, compelling and creative is the key to stand out and loyalty in this new greener era.