Holiday Shopping Offers Green Proof
Forget about stamping, embossing, high-gloss packaging, design work, artwork or anything else physical about a package at this time of year. You've got your list, you know what you're looking for. What the package looks like doesn't matter as long as it easily identifies that it matches the item on your list. BUT, that being said, there is plenty of impulse buying going on right now no doubt, and packaging of course plays a huge role in it. While I haven't done much impulse buying this season (like they sing in Sweeney Todd, "Times is hard"), I still notice packaging. If I didn't notice it after being at a magazine called packagePRINTING for two and a half years, there would be something seriously wrong with me!
So I'm at Best Buy the other day searching for a piece of software from my wife's list and marveling at how many people are NOT at the store. Jen is looking for Adobe Photoshop Essentials. Once I got help finding it, I noticed how small the packaging was for it and all the other software in the store. I remember back a few years ago when software companies stopped printing manuals to go with their software, opting instead to direct people to PDF files on their Web sites. You might say they were starting to think greener even then. What didn't change though was the packaging for the software. Although the companies ditched the manuals, the packaging was still built to accommodate them. Not so today. I don't know if it was because retailers changed the style of their shelves, or maybe because software companies wanted to increase the number of items that could be fit in the real estate provided to them, or if they were trying to be greener, but it was refreshing to see that they have reduced the overall footprint of their packages.
Then I saw the release from Dell that states the company is working to eliminate approximately 20 million pounds of packaging material during the next four years. It's looking like companies are starting to get it, and it's great to see. But from your business standpoint, it's something to keep an eye on.
Reduced amounts of packaging materials means more shorter runs. I mean, if you can now fit four folding cartons onto one sheet instead of three, your runs are going to shorten by one sheet for every three sheets. So once again, NOW is the time to start talking about what you're doing on the sustainability front. The size of the packaging isn't the only thing that's going to change—the inks used, the paper stock used and whether or not its recycled will change. That's not to say that sustainability will have a negative effect on your business, but make sure your customers and potential customers know what your capabilities are regarding sustainability and snatch them up.
Oh, and happy holidays. I'm sure that after unwrapping different toy packages on Christmas morning with my boys I'll be ready to call on all consumer products companies to outlaw the use of wire twist ties on all toys in a future blog entry.