Step 2: Retail Ready Packaging Trends: Growing Adoption Among Major Retailers
One of the most significant trends and aggressive expansions in the packaging industry today is occurring in retail ready packaging. While this package design trend may have started a few decades ago, packaging designs have only been refined within the past couple of years. Secondary packaging has matured to allow perforations and clean cuts that enable clean shelf display and easy-to-open hoods. In the past, box cutters and custom case cutting by store employees was standard practice, which lead to injuries and damaged products.
The U.S. has only recently started seeing first-hand how effective retail ready packaging is in production. The shift towards retail ready packaging is now in full-tilt with today’s consumers who expect retail shelves to be aesthetically pleasing, easily accessible, and most importantly, fully stocked. Keeping consumers happy and retaining customers is critical for producers and retailers.
The push to keep shelves stocked puts the pressure on retailers. One major advantage retail ready packages deliver is helping stores to better ensure their shelves are full. Many stores today still require a person to move products into shelves by hands. With retail ready packaging, store associates can replace whole display trays that have 6 - 12 units in them rather than having to individually place the units. This saves valuable time.
In addition to helping meet consumer expectations, the shift to retail ready packaging is fixing long time complications in manufacturing, distribution, and store shelves. Manufacturing, distribution, and store shelves are three common factors can be summarized under the following three metrics that retailers monitor: top line, bottom line, and turnover. First, top line refers to retailers asking if they are meeting sales goals. Bottom line indicates whether retailers are getting the desired profit on those sales. Lastly, retailers will look to see if turnover is occurring fast enough.
Retailers such as Walmart, Aldi, Kroger and others are getting savvy to retail ready packaging and their advantages. These stores are establishing guidelines to help standardize and transition their shelves as they adopt the new package designs. Walmart, for instance, published a Retail-Ready Guide in 2016 and 2018 to set standards for retail display and shelf packaging for their stores moving forward. These guidelines are invaluable in helping producers understand what is required of retail ready packages and how stores will leverage them.
Below are a few guides by major retailers on their approach to standardizing retail ready packaging in their stores.