New packaging study reveals room for improvement from UK internet retailers

20 June 2016 (Last Updated June 20th, 2016 18:30)

An 'unboxing' study conducted by UK's Macfarlane Packaging has revealed that UK internet retailers could further improve protection for their brand and customers.

An 'unboxing' study conducted by UK's Macfarlane Packaging has revealed that UK internet retailers could further improve protection for their brand and customers.

The study has been inspired by video blogging and reviews featuring 'unboxing' of products and the packaging that they arrive in.

The survey allows the company to assess the suitability of online sellers' packaging, as well as some of the issues faced by internet retailers and their customers.

"This study identifies some very important issues for online retailers and highlights the opportunities that exist for them to enhance their image, build their brand and reduce their costs."

During the study, Macfarlane ordered 119 items from internet retailers in various sectors, such as health and beauty, homeware, gifts, fashion and electronics.

The study's criteria included size, durability, ease of opening, amount of packaging used, and recyclability.

The research found that almost 30% of parcels dispatched by the country's internet retailers could be unfit for purpose, with as many as 10% containing damaged contents as a result.

Macfarlane Packaging marketing director Laurel Granville said: "As packaging professionals, we know that it's important for customers to have a great experience when they receive the items that they have ordered.

"There has been much made in the media recently about inappropriate packaging and we wanted to take a look for ourselves to gain some insight into where some of the problems might lie in online delivery.

"This study identifies some very important issues for online retailers and highlights the opportunities that exist for them to enhance their image, build their brand and reduce their costs while delivering an excellent experience for their customers."

The study also found that more than 80% of the packages were judged to be clean and dry respectively, while 15% were dented, 8% were crushed, 8% were ripped and 4% appeared to have been opened or tampered with during transit.

Among the evaluated packages, 24% were found to be difficult to open, 19% had too little packaging and 41% contained too much packaging material that would need to be disposed of or recycled.

Only 53% of the packs assessed used packaging materials that were fully recyclable.

Furthermore, the study found that 55% of packages had no information on how to return the item.