Retail-Ready Packaging: More Shelf Impact, Less Fuss

Posted on 1/28/2016 9:38:57 AM By Hallie Forcinio

If you’ve noticed more retail-ready packaging on store shelves during recent shopping trips, you’re not imagining it. This packaging format, has been in growth mode for several years. Long a staple at club stores, the format is rapidly expanding in other channels, particularly supermarkets. In fact, retail-ready packaging now appears to dominate in Aldi stores.

By 2019 we’ll see even more retail-ready packaging. A report from Technavio, “Global Retail Ready Packaging Market 2015-2019,” predicts the global retail-ready packaging market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 3.91 percent between 2014 and 2019.

Growth is strong because retail-ready packaging, which also is called shelf-ready packaging, doubles as transport package and display, delivering an attention-grabbing presence in store aisles and an enhanced shopping experience with minimal effort by store personnel. Instead of unpacking and placing individual primary packages on the shelf, a unit of multiple packages is opened and set in place, simplifying both stocking and replenishment. Colorful printing supports brand identity. Other advantages include better on-shelf access to the product, less damage and fewer out-of-stock situations.

The retail-ready format is popular with national brands and used with virtually all types of primary package – pouch, carton, bottle, can. It is frequently chosen to showcase pouch packages, which otherwise can be difficult to present face-forward on store shelves. Retail-ready packaging also helps merchandise multipacks and unpackaged items like kitchen utensils. 

Recyclable paperboard and corrugated rank as the most commonly specified retail-ready packaging substrates, but shrink wrapping also may play a role. Fiber-based designs tend to be clever configurations of tabs, scores and die-cuts, which are erected to create a holder/display/shipper for primary packages. Hot melt adhesive frequently seals seams and connection points. To simplify opening and dispensing, designs often incorporate easy-opening tape, tear strips or perforated sections. Easy-opening features also eliminate the need for knives to open cases and associated risks such as product damage and personal injury.

A surprising number of retail-ready packs are hand-erected and loaded, but automated systems, are available and seem to be gaining market share. Since flexibility is essential, automated systems often include a robot or two.