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The Future of Logistics and Packaging in 2020

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By Published On: October 11, 20190 Comments

With the new year approaching us faster than a train, there's a myriad of new trends that are coming along for the ride. From personalisation to automation, there are plenty of the 'next big thing' trends that are facing the industry.

There is an aspect of retail that’s often overlooked but is one of the most critical touchpoints of the industry: logistics. With drones, click and collect and same-day delivery infiltrating e-commerce, what does the future of logistics and packaging look like in 2020?

The Speed v. The Spend

From seven business days to seven hours, what was once acceptable for customers is now defunct. For the past few years, companies have been competing with each other to reach the goal of fastest delivery. However fast retailers push the speed of these deliveries, the cost can be astronomical. This is why retailers will start to introduce supply chain collaborations. Logistic technology is making it possible for retailers to create a cost-effective, more accurate and environmentally-friendly alternative to prior actions.

The benefits behind this trend include lower carbon emissions, up to 20 per cent reduction in inventories, improved SLAs for delivery accuracy and up to 35 per cent in cost reductions. Moreover, incorporating this trend into the retail sector may also increase customer satisfaction, an important aspect of customer experience.

Green Packaging

It’s no secret that the world we’re living in is currently in an environmental crisis, and retailers are struggling to find a way to combat the effects of mass waste. Of course, cutting down on plastic packaging the logical next step, but retailers that stock apparel, perishable foods and other goods know that this may not be realistically possible. This is where green packaging comes in. Next year, retailers should focus on cutting down single-use plastics, and focus on 100 oer cent recyclable packaging. If this is out of reach, biodegradable paper, recycled plastic and cardboard are the next best thing.

“Packaging is no longer ‘just a box’ and change is coming thick and fast. As consumer concern about plastic grows and new technologies change what is possible, businesses need to start thinking outside of the box – literally,” explained Hannah March, the Marketing Manager of Colourform. “It is without question that the demand for recyclable materials in packaging and materials that are actually recycled will grow and become higher than ever in 2020. Natural materials may soon replace common plastics and help brands strengthen their environmentally-friendly credentials.”

According to the Power Retail Spotlight Series: Last Mile Delivery, the ‘greater majority (79 per cent) of Australian consumers believe that retailers should have sustainable practices in place to minimise their impact on the environment. Interestingly, almost the exact same number (78 per cent) of retailers hold the same belief’.

So, is online retail more environmentally friendly than brick-and-mortar? Leading academics generally say so. In the Spotlight Series report, it notes that ‘online retail is more environmentally friendly than in-store retail. The exception is ‘express’ delivery (referred to in this report to mean less than three days) which can involve delivery trucks not being fully laden’.

Think Smarter

Another trend we’re expecting to see in the logistics market for e-commerce is the rise of smart parcels. Utilising AR, cloud labelling and track-and-trace technology, businesses should start to embrace automated and secure tech for deliveries. “2020 is going to be a big year for AR-enabled and connected packaging, as we are increasingly seeing consumers holding businesses to a higher standard of environmental consciousness,” explained David Mather, the Senior Marketing Manager at Zappar.

“AR-enabled packaging, with its infinite scalability, has the ability to educate customers on environmental impact and allow businesses to encourage an eco-friendly approach while maintaining brand impact and user engagement. Grab a smartphone and [you can] turn packaging into a digital discovery channel by increasing transparency about product provenance and ingredients, creating meaningful moments of assistance, while driving purchase intent, loyalty and repeat sales.”

2020 is set to see a lot of changes throughout the industry, but retailers have to adjust the way they handle logistics and shipping. Whether it’s drones, environmentally friendly packaging and AR capabilities, the new decade will be the most revolutionary for online retailers.

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About the Author: Power Retail

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