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5 Innovations in Packaging & Delivery for E-Commerce

No Comments    |    ,     |    March 21, 2024    |    Reading time 5 minutes
Innovations in E-commerce Packaging & Delivery systems

(updated March 2024)

In today's rapidly evolving world of e-commerce, packaging and delivery play a crucial role in ensuring customer satisfaction and sustainability. With the growing demand for online shopping, companies are constantly seeking innovative solutions that not only enhance the customer's experience but also minimise their carbon footprint.

In this article, we'll explore some exciting advancements and strategies shaping the future of e-commerce packaging and delivery.

Table of Contents

Reduce Shipping Costs and Carbon Footprint

Shipping costs and carbon footprint are two key challenges faced by e-commerce companies. To address these issues, several packaging innovations have emerged.


Integrated retention features of FlyPak, a new type of e-commerce packaging

One such innovation is FlyPak, a revolutionary e-commerce packaging solution. FlyPak's quick pop-up assembly saves significant time and labour costs, ideal for the dynamic e-commerce sector. Its key feature is the versatile variable-height retention system, accommodating various product sizes while reducing the need for multiple box sizes.

This saves a significant amount of carbon expenditure on wasted void fill material and simplified manufacture. Security is paramount with FlyPak too, reducing damage and theft, especially when compared to crashlock boxes (Edit to add - the crashlock boxes on our website feature a unique patented "x-lock" base to prevent opportunistic theft during transit, whilst also being one of the most cost competitive e-commerce crashlock boxes on the market).

Biodegradable Material

bio-plastics used in a circular economy - image of single polymer plastic beads for injection molding. Can be recycled almost infinitely into new packaging closing the loop on reusable and circular packaging.
bio-plastics used in a circular economy - image of single polymer plastic beads for injection molding

Another packaging innovation that has gained traction in recent years is the use of biodegradable and compostable materials from a variety of sources. These materials, such as plant-based plastics and paper-based alternatives, offer a more environmentally friendly option compared to traditional packaging materials. These materials often originate from agricultural waste products, so offer potential for offsetting carbon throughout the production and supply chain.

By using biodegradable packaging, e-commerce companies can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. Innovations in biodegradable material are being discovered all the time, here are some to consider:

  1. Cornstarch Packaging: Derived from the corn or maize plant, it's used for items like void / loose fill packaging - cornstarch is a byproduct of agriculture.
  2. Mushroom Packaging: Utilises mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, to form protective packaging and has applications for molded inserts and insulation.
  3. Seaweed Packaging: An innovative material made from seaweed extract, suitable for wrapping and containers (such as Notpla)
  4. Polylactic Acid (PLA) Plastics: Made from fermented plant starch (usually corn), these are biodegradable under certain conditions and are also a byproduct of agricultural industry.
  5. Paper and Cardboard: Sourced from sustainable forests (see our blog on FSC® certification) or recycled material, widely recyclable and biodegradable.
  6. Bagasse Packaging: Made from sugarcane waste, it's used for disposable food service products and has applications in void fill and retention systems.
  7. Cellulose Packaging: Derived from wood pulp and highly versatile for packaging needs.
  8. Palm Leaves: Used especially in disposable plates and cutlery, but has applications in packaging.
  9. Organic Fabrics: Such as cotton or jute for reusable bags, alternatives for void fill, and wraps.

Smart Packaging - Trackable Shipments IoT (internet of things)

RFID chip packaging that can be tracked and traced

Furthermore, some companies have started implementing smart packaging solutions to optimise shipping efficiency. These solutions utilise sensors and tracking technology to monitor the condition and location of packages in real-time. By collecting data on temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors, companies can ensure that products are transported under optimal conditions, reducing the risk of damage and minimising the need for additional packaging.

"SMART Packaging" in the context of IoT (Internet of Things) represents an innovative leap in packaging technology. It extends beyond mere tracking, integrating digital functionalities to enhance the product experience and provide valuable data. This approach involves using IoT for sophisticated tasks like detecting counterfeiting, analysing user patterns, and generating digital IDs for consumer engagement. Examples include temperature-controlled packaging for sensitive products, biodegradable containers with refill alerts, and blockchain-enabled product authenticity tracking. Companies adopting this data-driven approach have seen significant revenue increases, highlighting the transformative potential of smart packaging in various industries.

For a more detailed insight, you can read the full article on InfoWorld: Smart packaging with IoT goes beyond better tracking.

Interactive Packaging - AR and QR codes

cartoon illustration depicting interactive packaging with mobile AR

In addition to reducing shipping costs and carbon footprint, packaging innovations also play a crucial role in enhancing the customer experience. For instance, companies are now incorporating "Interactive Packaging" that transforms the consumer experience by fostering deeper engagement between the customer and the brand. It leverages technologies like QR codes and Augmented Reality (AR) to add a digital dimension to traditional packaging.

QR codes provide easy access to product information or exclusive offers, while AR creates immersive experiences blending digital content with physical products.

This innovative approach not only offers extensive product information but also enhances brand loyalty through engaging and memorable interactions. For more detailed insights, read the full article on TrendHunter: 23 Examples of Interactive Packaging.

Repurposed Packaging

custom cardboard box made for Mattel toys
custom cardboard box made for Mattel toys can be repurposed as a child's play mate for colouring in and playing toys cars.

Moreover, packaging innovations are not limited to the materials used but also extend to the design and functionality of the packaging itself. Companies are increasingly focusing on creating packaging that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and reusable.

For example, some packaging designs now incorporate built-in handles or compartments that can be repurposed by customers for storage or other purposes, reducing waste and adding value to the packaging.

Take our customer Mattel for example, their cardboard boxes feature print designs that can double up as colouring in pads, play mats and can form part of the play experience with the toys that are delivered within the package.

It is worth mentioning that packaging innovations are not only beneficial for e-commerce companies but also for the entire supply chain. By reducing shipping costs and carbon footprint, these innovations contribute to a more sustainable and efficient logistics network. This, in turn, benefits manufacturers, distributors, and even end consumers by ensuring timely and cost-effective delivery of products.


The world of e-commerce packaging and delivery is experiencing a remarkable transformation, driven by the need for sustainable solutions, cost reduction, and operational efficiency. By adopting innovative practices and materials, companies can not only enhance customer satisfaction but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. As e-commerce continues to thrive, so too will the innovations that shape the way we package and deliver goods.

Ready to revolutionise your e-commerce packaging and delivery with bespoke solutions that captivate your customers and streamline your operations?

Bespoke postal and E-commerce Packaging manufacture

At The Packaging Club, we specialise in creating custom printed packaging that elevates your brand, enhances the unboxing experience, and aligns with your sustainability goals. Our expertise in packaging consolidation, high-quality flexographic, lithographic, and digital printing, along with high-speed gluing and special finishing options, ensures that your products stand out while saving you money. Partner with us to tap into the UK's largest packaging manufacturing capabilities, and let's craft packaging that's as unique as your business.

Learn more about bespoke packaging and how we will enable you to exceed your CSR sustainability goals with The Packaging Club today.

This article was written by...

Nathan Calvert

Nathan is Head of Digital at The Packaging Club. He has worked in the packaging sector for over 15 years across food, consumer electronics, FMCG ecommerce and more, both directly in-house or as a freelance consultant.

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