December’s retail sales in the UK fell by 1.5% in the quantity bought and 0.9% in the amount spent compared with November according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This marks the biggest month-on-month drop since the Brexit vote in June 2016 and the worst December in 7 years.

The weakening performance is partially due to particularly strong sales results in November as customers prefer to start Christmas shopping earlier (in the light of Black Friday sales).

Retailers aware of this trend can plan their Q4 strategies to get ready for seasonal spikes.

Below are a few ideas to help you ensure your packaging operation is always well-prepared for increasing demands.

Review your current packaging

For packaging to effectively protect products it needs to be suitable for its contents.

Counter intuitively, one-box-for-all approach can do more harm than good… Boxes that are too large can compromise product protection if insufficient cushioning is used as products can easily get damaged on their way to customers.

Firstly, this increases the likelihood of returns, requiring additional resources and time to process them. Secondly, customers will not be impressed receiving a small item in a massive box. And lastly, think about all that extra cushioning material you need to fill the gaps and the costs involved!

A selection of different-sized boxes carefully tailored to suit your product range will offer better transit protection and ensure your packers spend less time filling voids creating a more efficient packaging operation.

Take another look at your pack benches

Well-organised pack benches with easy access to all the packing materials your staff need are key to guarantee your packaging operation runs smoothly.

Be certain that all your packers, both permanent and seasonal, are properly trained and familiar with your processes and your warehouse. This will help you ensure orders are dispatched quickly and efficiently.

Staff training is often overlooked but If your products aren’t packed properly, arrive damaged or late, customers may buy from elsewhere next time.

Consider packaging automation

Packaging automation comes in different forms from automated case tapers and strapping machines to stretch wrappers and fully integrated conveyor lines. There is something to suit different budgets and requirements.

For more information, visit: https://www.macfarlanepackaging.com/products/automation/

Find out how Macfarlane Packaging can help you speed up your packaging operation. Contact us today: https://www.macfarlanepackaging.com/contact/

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References

Retail sales, Great Britain: December 2017: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/december2017

UK retail sales slide in December, capping tough year for consumers: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy-retail/uk-retail-sales-slide-in-december-capping-tough-year-for-consumers-idUKKBN1F80XD

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