By Christopher Morgan, Global Sales Director, Filtrona Tapes
Simplification can provide the best competitive advantage of our time, helping us be more innovative, adaptable, and better positioned to thrive.
Good design demands that users take precedence over aesthetics if the product is to meet their needs.
Why do some products capture our attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain things over others? Is there an underlying pattern to how technologies hook us in?
A successful design must incorporate not just what users need but must also address our minds by attending to our visceral reactions, our behavioural choices, and the stories we want the things in our lives to tell others about ourselves. Good human-centred design isn't just about making effective tools that are straightforward to use; it's about creating effective tools that mesh well with our emotions, help us express our identities, and support our social lives.
At Filtrona Tapes, we do the little things well to make the big things better.
Today's packaging has to be much more than just a protective layer that looks appealing on the shelf. In an era of environmentally aware consumers maintaining sustainable and healthy lifestyles, the demands on packaging manufacturers, designers and brands have never been greater.
Customers won't tolerate a choice between sustainability and convenience: they expect both.
That's why brands covet packaging solutions that provide good end-of-life options without compromising convenience or performance. From nudging consumers into better consumption
habits to increasing collections of recyclable packaging, legislators are looking to harness the power of regulation to affect social and environmental change.
Manufacturers for years ignored consumer complaints about hard-to-open packaging, often prioritising competing goals such as safely transporting products over further distances or preventing tampering and theft. The costs involved in overhauling packaging systems also made them reluctant to change for the benefit of a less-finicky opening experience.
But companies have responded to regulators, shareholders, and consumers' pushes for sustainability, campaigns that have been harder to dismiss than requests for better accessibility. Companies say that reducing plastic packaging, using recyclable materials, and using less overall material will help their products stand out and remain competitive among a more environmentally conscious consumer base, despite the repackaging costs, which most decline to disclose.
But, in doing so, they are finally, if at times incidentally, making some products easier to open.
According to research commissioned by tear tape specialist Filtrona Tapes, 57% of consumers named difficulty opening as their top frustration stemming from packaging. Reinforcing the rising need for sustainability, more than 40% reported that they were frustrated by packaging that was difficult to recycle.
For those who see the opportunity for packaging to play a powerful role in the world around us, Rippatape® Halo helps brands and converters worldwide meet their environmental goals, while providing customers with more circular curbside recyclable packaging options.
This brand-new solution is the first paper tear tape of its kind in the Filtrona Tapes ECO Range. It is externally certified as recyclable with paper achieving an A+ level via the Italian National Recyclability Standard: UNI 11743 and MC 501: 2017 criteria.
With a tearing performance comparable to our market-leading Rippatape® 60, Rippatape® Halo does not compromise on the easy opening credentials of its plastic alternative. Crucially, Rippatape® Halo is recyclable along with paper and board packs, is fully reclaimable, eliminates the plastic film used in standard tear tapes, and focuses on fibre recovery.
Returns and returnability
Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we try to figure out the shower control in a hotel or navigate an unfamiliar television set or microwave. Companies devote untold time and resources trying to dazzle customers. Loyalty has much more to do with how well companies deliver on their basic promises than how dazzling the service experience might be. Forget bells and whistles and solve your customers’ problems should be the basic mantra.
But it's not just manufacturers who should consider the benefits of returnable packaging solutions; this is also a key consideration for brands in navigating the consumer journey. Consumers list the convenience of E-commerce as one of its primary benefits. This convenience is one of the key drivers behind its rapid growth, which was already outpacing high-street retail even before the pandemic. With time being a commodity that today's consumer is increasingly unwilling to waste, undermining convenience – the key value proposition for E-commerce – with a frustrating packaging experience can cripple a brand's relationship with its consumers.
As packaging solutionists, the best option is often the most straightforward: ensuring that the packaging you deliver can easily be used for returns in case of customer dissatisfaction. And that has been the catalyst for our latest innovations, which forward-thinking brands can use to enhance their packaging.
Incorporating an easy opening solution into returnable packaging is critical to improving the consumer opening experience and delivering a method of opening that will maintain a pack's structural integrity. If a consumer must destroy the packaging upon opening an item, the returns benefit is lost immediately. Filtrona Tapes' Rippatape® product line, including the new repulpable Rippatape® Halo, opens corrugated and paper packaging cleanly, safely and without needing tools/blades.
With the packaging opened cleanly, if returns are needed, release liners or double-sided tapes offer a no-fuss, ready-to-use solution to reseal the packaging and enable hassle-free repacking for the consumer. Filtrona Tapes provides a range of paper-based release liners under its EASILINER banner, which protect glue lines, allowing consumers to remove the paper liner to reseal their packaging easily. Something as small as a glue strip and release liner can turn flexible packaging and corrugated packs into easy-return packaging with relatively little investment.
Historically, deploying both opening and closing solutions have required multiple passes through the packaging production process, but not anymore. Advances in packaging technology now mean resealing and easy opening technologies can be seamlessly woven into existing packaging lines using multi-head applicator systems.
Filtrona Tapes has developed the SF-AS applicator range for folder-gluer lines to deploy its Rippatape® and EASILINER or double-sided tape solutions in a single pass. Returnable packaging no longer means having to accept decreases in operational efficiencies.
From in-person interactions to digital conversations, any business that hopes to succeed in the future must combine strategic insights with tactical applications to deliver remarkable customer experiences.
It's essential to view change as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. In a world of clicks and cardboard parcels, packaging can create that vital first impression of an E-commerce business for customers and therefore plays a crucial role in consumer perceptions of their sustainability status.
Organisations with high ambitions for the product experience, including the opening of packs, while attempting to understand today's consumers' intersecting motivations will grow and sustain at greater levels.