Packaging Insights

Four reasons to use paper-based packaging for eCommerce

March 2, 2021
minute read
An eCommerce box with candles wrapped in sustainable eCommerce packaging

The choices you make about your products' eCommerce packaging have implications that travel far beyond their customers' journey. The moment of unboxing is often the first physical interaction an eCommerce brand has with a new customer – and that moment has the potential to make a significant and lasting impact. It's crucial for brands navigating today's competitive online climate to win over new shoppers and convert them into repeat customers. That's why the people responsible for making decisions about product packaging must educate themselves about these materials.

A product's inner packaging is a blank canvas that can (and should) be designed to tell your brand's specific story and help convey your value to the consumer. With nearly eight in 10 consumers reporting they value sustainability in a recent global study by IBM and the National Retail Federation, paper-based packaging should be in the mix. There are more innovative paper-based packaging solutions now than ever before, carrying with them the potential to deliver a myriad of benefits comprising sustainability, brand perception, and customer satisfaction.

Paper is the Sustainable Choice 

Compared to other materials, paper creates a minimal impact on the planet. For starters, paper can be recycled more easily and takes much less time to decompose than plastic does. Only 9% of all plastic waste is recycled, meaning the rest is incinerated, accumulates in landfills, or ends in our natural environment. Some studies suggest that one single-use plastic product can take up 1,000 years to decompose fully, and it's estimated that plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050 if things continue at the current rate.

Paper, on the other hand, is made from pulp fibers that shorten each time the material is recycled – allowing paper products to be recycled up to six times. On average, paper takes about two-to-six weeks to decompose; it's also made from a renewable resource, as trees are continuously grown to replenish those used to make paper products. That makes paper essential to a circular economy.

Brands that reduce the amount of plastic in their supply chains stand to reap the added benefit of fostering a positive image by appealing to consumers' growing concern for the planet. It's not something that can be done overnight, but switching from plastic to paper wherever possible helps put your brand on the right side of planetary progress and consumer preference.

Consumers Prefer Paper

Modern online shoppers are increasingly conscious of – and interested in – how businesses operate on a sustainability level, bringing packaging to the forefront of the many factors considered when deciding what brands to shop with. That IBM/National Retail Federation study found that more than 70% of respondents would pay, on average, 35% more for eco-friendly brands. And a Paper and Packaging Board survey found that 78% of consumers would be more likely to buy products packaged in paper or cardboard specifically because they are better for the environment than other materials.

Failing to make a commitment to the environment can drive away customers who look for it; in a Hotwire survey, nearly half of internet users worldwide reported having abandoned products and services from a brand that violated their personal values. At the top of that list of values? Protecting the environment. By utilizing sustainable packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, brands stand to emit an environmentally friendly image, appealing to the growing category of conscious consumers.

Creativity Elicits Enthusiasm

Contrary to plastic void fill options (commonly bubble wrap or air pillows), colorful and printed tissue paper-based interior packaging alternatives create endless possibilities to tell a brand's story while creating a unique and memorable unboxing experience. Our newly launched 2021 SatinWrap Program provides numerous options to improve packaging design with customizable, quality tissue paper prints that also enhance sustainability efforts.

From ultra-minimal designs to detailed patterns bursting with color, our expansive custom print capabilities tailor our product to your brand’s needs. Just take a look at our Custom Print Brochure to see exactly what we mean.

These design choices truly make an impact. In fact, the study we did with Package InSight comparing consumers' reactions to various void fill materials showed that 77% of consumers reported feeling joy or surprise at the sight of branded tissue paper inside their packages. And 86% said their impression of the brand improved because the item they unboxed was packaged with branded tissue. 76% of the study respondents reported being more likely to recommend a brand that wraps its package contents in tissue paper. These positive sentiments were immediate, lasting, and attributed to both the product and the brand.

Excited woman unboxing a package filled with custom paper-based packaging

One of the most valuable byproducts of creating enjoyable experiences for customers is the positive online review it generates – a significant benefit, considering 81% of consumers look at reviews before making an online purchase decision, according to Dotcom Distribution's 2020 survey of eCommerce consumers.

Adaptive, Efficient, and Innovative

Fortunately, an array of paper-based packaging options that serve an aesthetic purpose also offer protective advantages, adding operational efficiency to the fulfillment process – like Seaman Paper's robust portfolio of multipurpose paper-based products. Our FanFold tissue paper, for example, offers a seamless automated void fill solution. FanFold tissue paper enables brands to combine two sheets of any color or custom print tissue paper, creating a unique, branded unboxing experience that also offers protection comparable to traditional kraft void fill.

Pregis Easypack fan fold machine with custom tissue paper

Procuring eco-friendly packaging materials that are cost, time, and space-efficient on the fulfillment end, while also providing a pleasant experience that leaves customers feeling good about your brand – well, it's a tall order. But SpiroPack checks all the boxes; this innovative, paper-based void fill alternative is curbside recyclable, requires less storage space than crinkle shred, leaves zero dust or mess at packing stations and in customers' homes, and is fully brandable.

For apparel brands looking to ditch single-use plastics, Vela bags provide a durable, transparent, and weather-resistant alternative to the plastic poly bag.

In its many forms and functions, paper-based packaging provides a path for brands looking to build a positive, sustainable image that appeals to modern consumers' values. To learn more about how Seaman Paper can help you find the perfect paper-based packaging solutions, take the next step.

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