How Software is Changing Packaging
Introducing a brand new series featuring industry insights and ideas from ShipHawk’s very own CEO, Jeremy Bodenhamer.
My buddy, Chris Herbert, Founder of Shine and prior Founder of TrackR recently published an article, Software Eats Packaging: The End of Apple Packaging & Rise of Packaging UX, where he shares a story similar to those I share in my new book, Adapt or Die. The demands of eCommerce combined with the independent merchants’ need to compete against the giants (ahem, Amazon, Walmart, etc.), are driving companies to re-evaluate their packaging strategies.
Where once companies built packaging for shelves, they are now building packaging for shipping. Soon the days of maddening 18-piece clamshell packaging – that not only cut into my emotional wellbeing but also clear through the skin on my fingers – will be gone and a thing of the past. And with it, the environmental atrocity that it helped create – the 6.3 trillion kilograms of plastic waste, of which 91% has never been recycled.
Despite that devastating number, companies have the power to calibrate their packaging strategies to slow the bleeding of plastics’ impact on the environment, while significantly reducing their shipping costs. In fact, we are already seeing the change in form factor; orders are showing up on our doorsteps every day in smaller boxes, with fewer frills and – thank God – less plastic. Just last week my 6-year-old, in a momentary fit of excitement, ripped open a padded mailer and I was shocked as paper/wood pulp rained down all over the floor. I’m usually the dad who likes things clean, but this mess was a welcome surprise.
Additionally, Chris points out another big change in packaging that has gone a bit under the radar involving new product instructions. While consumers might have gotten used to new product instructions being a full color, glossy, expensive, heavy (aka expensive to ship) book, product instructions are increasingly becoming app based.
To quote from Chris directly: “... software has disrupted the essence of why packaging exists. Packaging used to exist as a selling tool but now the sales are happening through online or in-store software that demonstrates the product via photos, videos, and interactive programs. User experience and instructions are now delivered through the app experience instead of paper instructions.”
I applaud Chris for not only employing these strategies with his new company, Shine, but also for helping to spread the word to help other indie merchants thrive in the shadows of the giants. Chris’ revolutionary product, simple packaging, beautiful online sales tutorials and app based instructions are good for business, good for the consumer and good for the earth. Keep it up Chris!
To learn more about how ShipHawk software can save you money on packaging, while reducing environmental impact, visit our packing optimization page today.