Naples, Fla. — Buying online with one click is simple for the consumer, but it's complicated for makers of plastics packaging.
E-commerce "has placed new demands on packaging that's not optimized for e-commerce channels," Nova Chemicals' Jonathan Quinn said March 5 at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Naples. Quinn serves as polyethylene market development manager for Calgary, Alberta-based Nova, which ranks as one of North America's largest makers of PE resin.
"The expectation is second day delivery, but e-commerce packages get up to five times the amount of handling as brick and mortar stores do," Quinn said. As a result, e-commerce giant Amazon last year lost $2 billion worth of products to breakage or leakage that occurred during shipping.
"Bad packaging can ruin a customer experience, but it also can create a memorable experience," he added.
Increased e-commerce volume also has created a need for plastics packaging makers to redesign caps and closures to avoid leakage and spillage in products such as liquid detergent, which is seeing double-digit growth. At the same time, e-commerce has increased expectations for packages that can handle online order returns, Quinn said.
Packaging-related e-commerce concerns need to be addressed, because the market continues to grow at a rapid rate.
"E-commerce is changing the way we buy everything," Quinn said. "We can buy faster and easier, and millennials are a large part of it."
Amazon handles roughly half of all e-commerce volume. In the U.S., clothing dominates e-commerce sales, but the market is seeing rapid growth in grocery and household products.
"Consumers are gaining confidence in buying through e-commerce," Quinn said.