Flexible packaging is a popular choice due to its convenience, space-saving, and sustainability advantages, which can also enhance your brand's image and reputation. However, it is crucial to select appropriate materials and designs to avoid damaging your company's credibility.

According to the 2023 Flexible Packaging Market report, the global flexible packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.12% from 2023 to 2028, driven by two emerging trends. The first trend is a shift from rigid to flexible packaging, and the second trend is the use of high-barrier plastic materials for vacuum sealing, which extends product shelf life.

So, why is flexible packaging gaining popularity, and how can you ensure that you are using the right packaging for your needs?

The Impact of Flexible Packaging Benefits on PR

Selecting the appropriate e-commerce packaging can be crucial for its success. Your customers may either appreciate it, setting a high bar for future orders — or dislike it, and possibly refrain from making repeat purchases.

When executed effectively, flexible packaging can significantly enhance a brand's public relations and image in the following ways:

1. Enhanced Brand Image

The first pro of using flexible packaging is an enhanced brand image and reputation. With the help of flexible packaging that’s well-designed and branded, you can communicate your company’s values and highlight what makes your product unique and special.

When customers see a brand's packaging, they should be able to immediately identify it and associate it with positive feelings about the brand. This can help build brand loyalty and generate positive word-of-mouth.

2. Increased Customer Satisfaction

Customers love flexible packaging mostly due to its convenience. These flexibles are typically easy to reseal once they’ve been opened, preserving the freshness of the product inside. Plus, they’re lightweight and don’t take up too much space.

Naturally, happy customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, which can result in increased brand awareness and positive PR.

3. Positive Impact on the Environment

Although most flexible packaging options aren’t recyclable, they still have a lower carbon footprint than rigid packaging, mostly due to their lower weight and size.

When a brand adopts environmentally-friendly packaging practices, it demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and earns positive PR for its efforts. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of packaging on the environment, so adopting eco-friendly practices can be a smart PR move.

4. Improved Customer Engagement

With a little bit of creativity, flexible packaging can easily be transformed into intelligent packaging that will engage customers. As a brand, your packaging can become your greatest advocate.

For instance, you can design your flexible packaging with interactive elements such as QR codes or augmented reality experiences that encourage customer engagement. This can create a positive association between the brand and the customer, and lead to increased loyalty and advocacy. Again, word-of-mouth can do wonders for your PR!

5. Increased Sales and Revenue

Flexible packaging can have a significant impact on a brand's revenue, which, in turn, can lead to positive PR. The cost-effectiveness of flexible packaging, due to its reduced material usage and lower storage and transportation costs, can improve a company's profitability. Additionally, the convenience and ease of use provided by flexible packaging can enhance customer satisfaction and engagement, which translates into higher sales.

When customers see a brand's success, they're more likely to associate it with positive attributes — such as quality and innovation — and share their positive experiences with others. This increases brand awareness, customer loyalty, and ultimately, provides better PR. By designing packaging that is both customer-centric and cost-effective, companies can create a win-win situation that benefits both the brand's reputation and bottom line.

Why Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Flexible Packaging?

Choosing sustainable packaging made of eco-friendly materials is equally important with flexible packaging as it is with rigid.

In fact, sustainability is one of the biggest packaging industry trends for 2023 as more and more consumers don’t just want it, but expect it, from the brands they choose to buy from.

In a recent McKinsey study, 55% of surveyed US consumers stated that they are extremely or very concerned about the environmental impact of packaging. The same study noted that 60 to 70% of consumers agreed to pay more for sustainable packaging.

This data clearly shows the rise of sustainable packaging, but let’s see its benefits:

  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Easy to reuse, recycle, or dispose of
  • No harmful substances or toxins
  • An improved brand image

If you need more reasons to switch to sustainable packaging, especially flexible sustainable packaging, note that in most cases, it translates to cheaper freight, storage, and handling costs. This is thanks to its features, such as reduced weight and storage space.

It's important to acknowledge that the adoption of flexible packaging is not without its challenges. The rising costs of raw materials such as paper, plastic, and films, as well as the need to keep up with fast-paced technological changes, pose significant obstacles for flexible packaging companies. Additionally, boosting sustainability and finding solutions for end-of-life disposal, while ensuring the protection of the contents — especially for perishable items — is a complex issue.

Despite these challenges, businesses can overcome them by implementing sustainable practices, designing innovative flexibles, and keeping up with industry trends. By doing so, they can achieve a more positive impact on the environment, build stronger relationships with their customers, and stay competitive in the market.

Flexible packaging presents a viable solution for businesses looking to achieve sustainability and customer satisfaction while improving their brand's PR. Although it may present challenges, the benefits of flexible packaging far outweigh the risks. By making the switch today, businesses can secure a brighter future for themselves, their customers, and the planet.

Alex Selwitz is the Director of SEO for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and digital marketing. Visit https://redstagfulfillment.com/ for more information.

This article originally appeared in the May/June, 2023 issue of PARCEL.