Fashion retailer enhances sustainability credentials with reusable e-commerce box
Ted Baker set out to improve the sustainability of its e-commerce packaging, while retaining its trademark ‘wow’ factor for customers. For an innovative solution, Ted turned to leading packaging strategist, DS Smith.
Responding to a changing market
With an increasing awareness on issues relating to improved environmental performance, Ted Baker wanted to take the lead in redesigning their packaging to better respond to their customers’ needs.
As part of this revamp, packaging production was on shored – moving it from the Far East back to the UK – a decision which contributed to the reduction of company’s carbon footprint, while allowing the brand the flexibility to update the packaging design to reflect seasonal campaigns, and the reactivity to deal with increased peaks in trade.
In need of packaging robust enough to withstand multiple journeys through a complex supply chain, the new e-commerce packaging focused on the reuse and recycle principles of the circular economy. Working with DS Smith, the company developed a completely recyclable box with the aim of reusing 20% of its boxes annually – a target that has already been exceeded with an average reuse rate of 27%. To accompany the new box, an innovative reusable and resealable sleeve was designed, using the brand’s bold and exciting designs.
Rob Carle, UK Head of Sales, e-commerce at DS Smith, said “The sleeve protects the parcel during transit and means that customers can return items in the same box by simply reversing the sleeve and securing it back around the box. It arrives back in the Distribution Centre with no labels on it, and so can be used again for other customer orders, doing potentially upwards of three journeys through the courier network.”
Georgina Jarvis, Print Production Manager at Ted Baker, said “Finding a solution to the environmental considerations of packaging returns has been an ongoing challenge. By working with DS Smith, we were able to make the concept a reality.”
Testing the concept
Protecting the product and the condition of the box is a vital role of the sleeve. For this reason, the packaging design and its eight size variations were tested in DS Smith’s state-of-the-art DISCS laboratory to simulate the rigours of the e-commerce supply chain journey. A significant amount of time was spent testing the packaging for efficiency on Ted Baker’s packing line to ensure that pack time was not affected.
The unboxing experience
Focusing on sustainability, it was important for Ted Baker to have a partner able to respond quickly to any design and print requests. Alongside improving the sustainability of the packaging, the inside of the box and the new sleeve provide a blank canvas for colourful and impactful lithographic designs to enhance the customer unboxing experience. The decorative print on the interior of the box is hidden from view on arrival to the customer and gives an added ‘wow factor’ during the unboxing experience.
Georgina explains, “Developing a collaborative relationship with DS Smith and finding the perfect solution to our e-commerce packaging has been a fulfilling experience.”
Rob adds, “Ted Baker are really pushing the boundaries of packaging design with new print techniques, and it’s exciting for DS Smith to be supporting them on this constantly evolving brief each season.”
Ted Baker and DS Smith are continuing to develop new seasonal print designs to entice and engage customers, while striving to increase the continued use of the boxes and maintain momentum on improving sustainability metrics for the company.