It’s no surprise that e-commerce has made a major impact on how consumers make purchasing decisions. With online retailers putting shopping at our fingertips, more and more consumer goods are being transported in single parcel shipments. This shift away from brick-and-mortar shopping towards the convenience of online shopping has driven distribution centers and packaging operations to rethink their approach to packaging.
When large brick-and-mortar retail stores receive deliveries of goods to be sold, using dress shirts as an example, those products are protected by the following:
- Primary packaging – the plastic bag containing that neatly folded dress shirt
- Secondary packaging – the 2ft x 2ft x 2ft carton filled with these shirts
- Transport packaging – the shrink-wrapped pallet containing 30 of these shirt-filled cartons
This is great for brick-and-mortar stores, but with the growing popularity of e-commerce, packaging has adapted in order to efficiently ship and securely deliver custom orders – giving customers the option to select next day shipping on that new shirt for this weekends’ party.
Since the traditional brick-and-mortar supply chain involves shipping products in bulk via palatalized loads, the use of standardized automated packaging equipment is common, almost always using a film based pressure-sensitive packaging tape due to its effectiveness in the automated application. However, in the growing eCommerce supply chain where various products are shipped via single parcel shipments, the distribution tends to be more manual. It’s typical to see an employee manning a packaging station designed to tackle the challenges that come with packaging every unique combination of products ordered by the online shopper. In this scenario, an easy-to-use carton sealing option that provides flexibility is key.
Water-activated tape (WAT) is a great choice for e-commerce applications because it allows packers to quickly and easily dispense just the right amount of tape they need for the size carton they are packing. Training new employees is easy, and the pre-measured tape prevents waste caused by too-long tape tabs. Most importantly, the tape is built with an aggressive adhesive that can withstand the additional handling that typically accompanies e-commerce sales.