COVID-19 disrupted lives and business operations overnight. Health and safety protocols have never been more critical for industries around the globe.
The pandemic has forced millions of people into quarantine. Still, the impact of COVID-19 on commercial packaging will have a lasting effect on consumers and businesses long after stay-at-home orders have been lifted.
Have you updated your packaging policy for the 2020-2021 fiscal year? Get started now with this essential guide to Coronavirus packaging.
1. Hygiene First
The pandemic has understandably heightened the hygiene concerns of consumers. As such, consumers now expect businesses to prioritize health and hygiene in product packaging. This new normal is forcing companies to invest more in packaging materials by necessity.
Pre-pandemic trends had favored light-weight packaging materials and sustainable alternatives. Historically, businesses have also sought out methods to reduce packaging costs; however, COVID-19 has changed how business owners approach cost reduction in packaging.
Instead of using fewer packaging materials, businesses owners must rethink how they approach packaging design itself, rather than cut costs on much-needed packing materials.
Increase in Single-Use Packaging
Recent surveys reveal that nearly 70% of U.S. consumers are worried about contracting coronavirus through packages, especially food packaging. This concern has led to a marked increase in single-use packaging. Despite studies showing that virus contraction is extremely low, widespread concerns are putting considerable pressure on businesses.
Extra Attention to Disinfectant
Concerns over COVID-19 have also led to a 44% increase in disinfectant use among consumers. This trend is forcing businesses to take consumers’ leads and invest more in disinfecting supplies. Companies are also encouraged to leave enclosed notes notifying customers that items and packaging have been disinfected.
Minimal Contact with Packaging
Social distancing is changing the way consumers interact with service companies. As a result, more consumers choose to shop online and use self-service alternatives at brick and mortar stores. Delivery professionals are also maintaining strict social distancing requirements.
These trends are having a significant impact on packaging policy. It’s not enough to have safe, disinfected packaging material. Consider shrinking wrapping packaging or covering packages with a peel-off film. Protecting the outside of packages will provide consumers with more peace of mind, which is vital for maintaining trust with your customers.
2. Ensure Security in Packaging
Customer concerns over hygiene have also led to a rise in security worries. Consumers aren’t just worried about their packages being stolen. Now, they’re concerned about theft and possible contact with coronavirus. Businesses are addressing these concerns by beefing up packaging security protocol.
Companies are listening to customer concerns and are actively incorporating tamper-proof packaging.
Here are a few ways to make packaging more tamper-proof:
Vacuum sealed bags
Product lid films
Applying tape around the seal is another way to prove if the packaging has been compromised. Wrap items separately and apply multiple layers of packaging material.
Like your enclosed disinfectant notifications, include a card notifying customers that extra security protocols have been taken with their packaging and delivery.
3. Address the Challenge of Packaging Waste
COVID-19 quickly halted one of the fastest rising trends in packaging. Sustainability in packaging has been lauded for years, leading to advancements like biodegradable and recycled cardboard packaging.
While businesses can still include sustainable packaging elements, health and safety precautions have increased the demand for plastic, single-use packaging. Reusable packaging alternatives have also been put on the back burner.
The rise in non-reusable packaging consumption has created a new challenge for consumers and companies alike. Consumers are generating packaging waste like never before, and businesses are limited in their ability to act. Since sustainable alternatives and less packaging are discouraged, how should companies respond?
Education is one approach. Include information cards that explain how customers can cut down on waste without compromising their health and safety. These information cards can consist of recycling tips or the proper way to dispose of the packaging.
Another option is to reduce the size of the product boxes themselves. This approach will reduce costs and consumer waste without minimizing the amount of packaging material layers used.
Stay on the lookout for advancements in reusable packaging trends, as customers will eventually shift back toward sustainable options with caution.
4. Could AI Be the Answer?
One of the primary goals of a coronavirus packaging policy is to limit as much contact as possible. The more a product exchanges hands, the greater the risk of tampering or contamination. Rising concerns over product handling are forcing businesses to rethink the packaging assembly process altogether.
Artificial intelligence has been disrupting industries for years, but it may prove to be a game-changer in a post-COVID world. Automated processes take packaging assembly out of human hands and into a sterile environment. Automated packaging eliminates health and safety hazards caused by human error, like coughing and surface contamination.
Alternatives to Automated Packaging
Not every business can invest in automated packaging at this moment. Small businesses must take extra measures that packaging passes through as few hands as possible. Limit the number of staff members who contact products and designate a specific job role for packaging.
Like eCommerce businesses, brick and mortar stores should also communicate to customers that extra packaging safety measures have been taken. Communicate which materials are used in the packaging and packing process itself. Stellar communication is essential for all businesses during this challenging time.
Prepare Your Coronavirus Packaging Policy
A strict coronavirus packaging policy provides the assurance your customers need to shop with confidence. Start putting these measures in place and communicate your protocols to maintain trust with customers.
The right packaging materials are essential for navigating this economic landscape. Check out our blogs to discover more packaging tips, or shop now to stock up on your favorite supplies.