Dave Mutton: Manufacturers need to act on packaging to reflect modern-day retail
We are in an era when e-commerce is rising and the pressure is on suppliers to be at the forefront of environmentally-friendly manufacture. As issue for my company – a fishing tackle webstore – concerns packaging and at the heart of the issue is single use plastic used to make products look attractive to consumers entering bricks and mortar stores. Currently everything is geared towards being suitable for shopfloor displays – nice see-through plastic. The need to catch the attention of shoppers browsing the shelves is still important, but is glitzy packaging necessary when suppliers are sending their products after they have been ordered from the website?
It does not need to be as eye-catching because the product has already been sold. We buy a lot of treble hooks which come in the same packaging that you see on the shelves and as well as not being environmentally-friendly, they are also more expensive to ship because of the size of the packaging.
In the UK they are too big to be posted out to customers as a large letter, meaning that they have to be sent as a parcel and that incures considerably more expense. It leaves the retailer with two options – either grin and bear it and accept a lower margin or hope the anglers buys multiple units.
The trade should look at reducing the packaging to the bare minimum. It also makes sense when products are shipped from China. Manufacturers would be able to get more units in the packaging, reducing costs as well as getting kudos for being green. It is also in the interests of many manufacturers in an age when they are transferring to b2c sales.
As it stands at the moment we could buy our products in bulk and repackage, but that involves incurring marketing costs and sourcing packaging. The solution surely lies further up the supply chain. I urge the industry to speak to retailers and develop packaging that is more relevant to modern-day retail.
Dave Mutton is owner of Coventry, UK-based Specimen Fishing UK, a bricks-and-mortar business for five years, before converting to a webstore.