online shopping for groceries

How Flexible Packaging Can Support Online Shopping


According to Statista, the number of digital buyers is projected to increase from 256 million in 2020 to 278 million in 2024. To put that in perspective, the U.S. population is around 330 million. That is a very large portion of the population that is expecting their goods to arrive at their doorsteps in pristine condition.

This poses an interesting challenge to brands and packagers, whose products must be available for e-commerce shopping to keep up with the times. Whether it’s groceries or pharmaceutical products, brands must find packaging solutions that are consistent in their distribution efficiencies, consumer experience, and overall brand goals and messaging.

Accenture states the importance of a consistent consumer experience between online and retail. More than two-thirds of millennials demand a seamless, integrated experience regardless of the channel. They expect aspects like price, selection, and packaging to be the same in-store and online.

Here is a look at how reclosable flexible packaging can address the challenges of e-commerce shopping.

What Products Can Benefit from Flexible Packaging?

Many products that come in a bag within a box could benefit from reclosable flexible pouches, especially when it comes to online shopping. Cereal is often mentioned as a prime example. When delivered via e-commerce, a box of cereal may be placed inside another box, and once the consumer eventually opens both boxes and the bag within, there is no sealing feature on the bag that can help keep air out for a longer shelf life. Instead of using multiple packages that require more resources to produce, brands can simply deliver cereal in single, durable flexible pouch.

cereal requires two layers of packaging

Healthcare brands can also take advantage of flexible packaging for e-commerce. For example, many premium feminine products come in boxes that could be damaged during the rigorous e-commerce supply chain, making the durability of flexible packaging a major benefit. A damaged package could lead to a bad impression of the brand or jeopardize the product’s integrity. Healthcare products that require child-resistant packaging can even enjoy the benefits of flexible pouches thanks to new closure technologies like Fresh-Lock® child-resistant zippers.

If more CPGs like cereal were placed into flexible pouches, brands and packagers could reduce the amount of packaging required for delivery, protect the product throughout the e-commerce supply chain, and provide consumers with a more functional package.

Improving the Consumer Online Shopping Experience

Before the consumer can enjoy the benefits of a product in a reclosable package, they must first know how to find it. Given the complexity and inconsistencies of some online shopping experiences, this is not always an easy task.

online grocery shopping on smart phone app

For brands that offer the same products in-store and online, an important factor is the overall design and look of the packaging. If someone typically buys pet food in-store, the packaging needs to be the same if they purchase it online. When it differs from store-to-store or from online to retail, consumers may worry that something has changed with the product and it’s not the same as before. They may question if they even purchased the right product. Having consistent, effective packaging will help alleviate these worries.

Advancements in digital printing have allowed brands to include attractive graphics on flexible packaging that will stand out on both store shelves and websites while delivering clear, consistent messaging about the product. Items like nutritional facts and instructions for package disposal should be easy to find on the package whether it’s at the store or online. 

The Benefits of Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging also provides other design, cost, and sustainability benefits:

  • Flexible films with barrier properties protect product quality and maintain freshness
  • Requires less storage space for warehousing and shipping
  • Reduction of packaging source material compared to rigid formats
  • Less energy required for manufacturing and transport
  • Convenience of reclosability

Online shopping and consumer preferences are changing the way people buy just about everything, and your packaging must reflect those changes to remain top-of-mind.

Reliable Packaging for E-Commerce

Flexible packaging provides reliable, convenient packaging that allows brands to consistently promote their products through e-commerce or retail.  Reclosable flexible packaging can be designed to fit the store shelf while also withstanding e-commerce distribution.

“Flexible packaging can give and flex with shipping movements and, with thoughtful engineering, can be designed to protect products,” says Sarah Stieby, Fresh-Lock® marketing manager. “If the contents do not survive the e-commerce supply chain, it can have a negative impact on the brand, vendor, and consumer.”

If you want to learn more about reclosable flexible packaging solutions for your e-commerce needs, contact the Fresh-Lock team today.

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