Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How the Well-Dressed Box Brings Repeat E-Commerce Customers

Looking for a way to engage e-commerce customers and bring them back for a second time? Make sure that opening the package is an experience they won’t forget. Packages that tell you brand's story can enhance the user experience and bring them back for more.

For e-commerce businesses, the shipped package is the company's billboard and represents the best and most personal customer touch point. But most e-commerce shippers don’t use it well. That’s not to say that strong packaging - corrugated cartons sealed with water-activated tape for strength and security – shouldn’t be an e-commerce shippers’ first priority. But why waste the opportunity to make better packaging part of the excitement of opening an e-commerce “gift?” We all know the thrill of a well-packaged birthday or holiday gift. Why shouldn’t an e-commerce delivery feel the same?

Making your package an experience provides additional value for an e-commerce customer. And they appreciate it. So much so that there’s a whole genre of YouTube videos called “unboxing videos” that glorify and share the joy of opening an e-commerce delivery. Clips of people tearing into packages are among the fastest growing video categories on YouTube, getting an estimated 10 billion views monthly, according to Tubefilter .

Want your packaging to be Unboxing-Video worthy? Here are a few tips:

Distinctive Cartons – When a unique and branded package arrives at a customer’s door, it kicks off the excitement of opening it. “The shipping box represents the biggest opportunity to begin creating that wow experience...” says e-commerce blogger Richard Lazazzera.

Choose a strong, corrugated carton with graphics that kick-start the branding experience. Both LL Bean and Crate & Barrel know this well. Who doesn’t want to rip into a box with rugged LL Bean logos when it shows up on their doorstep? Or look forward to opening the iconic Crate & Barrel package that greets you at the end of the day? We found eight unboxing videos on YouTube for the LL Bean boots alone, some of which had over 2000 views.

Branded Tape – Today’s packaging tapes do more than securely seal the box. They contribute to the look of the package and make it a messenger of the brand. Choose secure, water-activated tape that gives you the option to add a promotional message on the tape itself. This delivers a couple of financial benefits to your company; it saves money because you don't have to pay for the custom printing on the corrugated box, which in turn allows you to buy your cartons on the open market. You also have the flexibility of changing your messaging easily. The largest online seller uses a number of distinctive water-activated tapes with different messages that both enhance the look of the box and promote their latest offerings.

Tissue Paper – Once someone opens the box, you can still make the unboxing experience feel like opening a gift. Consider wrapping your products in tissue paper which packaging blogger Richard Lazazzera says “…adds an extra level of mystery and excitement to the unboxing experience.” The tissues can be custom printed or carry your brand’s colors into the box. Want to make it extra special? Seal the tissue with a logoed sticker that adds an inexpensive, yet elegant touch that enhances the unwrapping experience.

Filler - Traditional filler types are Styrofoam packing peanuts, foam inserts, air pillows or bubble wrap. Here you’re balancing safety, sustainability and experience. We believe the air pillow offers the best balance of both. It protects the contents of the package, gives a clean, uncluttered look to the inside of the package and is frequently recyclable. These air pillows also allow for brand interaction should you choose to customize the message on the air pillow.

Promotional Material/Business Card – Believe it or not, most unboxing videos include someone holding this item up to the camera and even reading it. So why not add a simple “thank you” card or promotional insert to your next e-commerce shipment? How about a card that offers the recipient (or a friend) a discount on their next order? It’s an inexpensive and personal way of solidifying your relationship with that e-commerce customer.

Gift/Sample - A small gift or sample of another of your products is a great way to enhance the unboxing experience by adding a little wonder. Cosmetics e-commerce vendors like Sephora use these little gifts to surprise and delight their customers. Not surprisingly, they also encourage customer to try something new. E-commerce customers have already decided to buy from you. Why not cross-sell them with something else in the package that they didn’t expect?

The well-dressed package engages your e-commerce customers from the moment it hits their doorstep. Use these tips as an extension of your brand and as a way to involve them with you. When done well, distinctive packaging effectively tells your story and encourages repeat business from your existing customers.

Better Packages | Water-Activated Tape Dispensers and Tape

IPG offers a complete line of water-activated tape and tape dispensers. Central® brand water-activated tape, includes reinforced and non-reinforced tape. IPG has the in-house capability to customize your company's message on the top of every box, adding to the user experience while enhancing your gross profits.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Masking Tape Part II: The Sticky Details

Earlier this year, we learned how acrylic and rubber/synthetic rubber masking tapes are made. This month, we’ll focus on chemical additives that can change or enhance the tape’s physical properties and characteristics. The importance of these minor differences are critical as they give the tape its application qualities. There are many characteristics of tape that can affect your project, but let’s take a look at three important areas: clean line technology, UV inhibitors and operating temperatures.

Clean Line Technology
Edge treatment has been an industry trend for over a decade. Clean line technology is an additive applied to the edge of the roll, forming a barrier or blocking agent so paint cannot seep under the tape. Edge-treated tapes are usually very forgiving and provide a good option when the job requires a perfect line. Look for IPG’s patented Bloc-it™ Clean Line Technology, a proprietary edge treatment that delivers clean, crisp paint lines.

UV Inhibitors
UV inhibitors are additives necessary for a tape to properly perform outside or directly on windows exposed to sunlight. If you’ve ever applied tape to a surface outside on a hot summer day, you might have noticed it falls down in a matter of minutes. When working outside in the sun, make sure your tape has built in UV Inhibitors to help it adhere and work properly.

Operating Temperatures
Extreme heat, cold and humidity can all affect the tape’s adhesion, causing potential failures. It is important to understand your working conditions when purchasing tape. Generally speaking, your painter’s masking tape will work at its optimum around +70°F, but will do the job properly between +50°F - +100°F.

Keep in Mind
There are still some challenges that may arise even when you have the perfect tape for the job. Remember to make sure the surface being taped is free of dust and debris prior to application. When applying any pressure-sensitive masking tape, be sure to press down firmly and use your thumb on the edges. This will ensure thorough adhesion coverage, helping eliminate bleed through.

1. Textured walls – orange peel type walls always present a unique challenge as the tiny bumps and crevices make it difficult for a low-tack masking adhesive to flow through and adhere.
Tip: Use a higher adhesion performance 1-day masking tape if you are planning to finish the job quickly. This will allow the adhesive to move into the crevices of the textured surface and will still pull off cleanly if done within 24 hours.

2. Freshly painted surface – If paint has not fully cured, your tape may not stick to the surface. The chemicals in the tape react with the chemicals in the paint causing the tape to fall off as you apply.
Tip: All paints are different, but the tape should have a better reaction after 24 hours. Low VOC paints present a different challenge and may take longer for the tape to properly react.

3. Pulling off tape– Sometimes, when removing tape from the wall after the paint has dried, you will notice the paint has formed a plastic like coating (mainly latex paints) over the tape. When this happens, achieving a straight line by pulling the tape off is impossible.
Tip: To avoid this, pull the tape right after the painting is complete, even if not fully dry. If it’s too late, score the edge with a blade. This will break the seal and allow for a perfect tape peel off.

I know it can be tedious, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but take the extra few minutes to properly apply the correct tape and then check out your end result. I guarantee you it will be worth it!

Written By: Brandon Paas, Intertape Polymer Group, Consumer Marketing Manager

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Can Gummed Tape Benefit My Business?

Gummed Tape | Water-Activated Tape - Central Brand Printed Tape
What is your company’s goal when shipping products? It is to make sure the products inside the corrugated cartons are delivered in perfect condition. If you are successful, your customers are satisfied and your company’s costs are reduced.

To keep your products protected, you’ll need a versatile sealing solution so your cartons can withstand the shipping process and your business can run cost-effectively. Sealing solution elements to consider include harsh handling treatment, theft, productivity, and branding. One sealing product, reinforced water-activated tape, also known as gummed tape, is uniquely suitable to stand up to the shipping challenge. This post highlights how gummed tape can benefit your business.

Products Are Safer

As your carton travels to its destination, it is handled many times. Fortunately, reinforced water-activated tape is extremely strong and can withstand the rigors of what can be a rough and tumble shipping process.

Cartons remain tightly sealed and products safe within. When gummed tape is applied to the carton, it literally “Welds” to the corrugate and it’s crossing, reinforced fibers provides a tamper-evident seal. The tape is very difficult to remove without leaving signs of incursion. Thus, your cartons are protected from theft. This adds to the customer experience while ensuring satisfied customers and avoid the added costs of having to replace missing products.

Productivity Is Increased

To use water-activated tape, you’ll need a water-activated tape dispenser. These dispensers are available as manual machines, which do not require electricity and as electric tape dispensers, which do require power.

They are very simple to use; they wet and cut the tape. Using them, in comparison to having packer use a hand-held tape gun with plastic, pressure sensitive tape, improves business productivity while reducing “repetitive action injuries” on your packing line. Studies have shown that using water-activated tape with the dispenser is 21% more productive than using a hand-held tape gun. Click here for study results.

Brand Recognition Is Increased

Corporate and product branding is an important element for business growth. By using gummed paper tape, your company can simply print its logo or a message right on the tape in either color or black and white. This looks professional.

A logo printed on your tape keeps your brand front and center when your carton arrives at your customer’s home or office reminding them of their customer experience and giving your company another chance to delight that customer.

This enhances the first impression your company makes upon your customer. Using printed gummed paper tape sets a positive stage for delighting your customers as they open the corrugated carton and receive your products.

Central Brand Gummed Tape | Water-Activated Tape

IPG offers a full line of water-activated tape, designed to create a superior seal on your corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.

Central brand water-activated tape is offered in a wide range of paper and reinforced gummed tape styles, roll lengths and widths to best fit your carton sealing needs. It is the preferred choice of packaging specialists when quality, strength, security and professional appearance are critical.

Want to see if gummed tape will benefit your business? Receive a free water-activated tape sample >

Friday, March 10, 2017

E-Commerce Packaging Tape Usage

By Ryan Mach, IPG Product Manager, Water-Activated Tape ––  

LxWxH - E-Commerce Packaging Tape Usage
14 inches. This is an important number in e-commerce packaging today. It is the average length of a carton used in e-commerce in North America. The actual number is 14.3 inches (Standard Deviation=6.6).

True, there are organizations that ship nothing but long golf clubs or fishing rods, but you know who you are and you know what size cartons you use. For the rest of us, the answer is neither constant nor clear. Even if you have calculated the average length of your cartons, how do you compare to the industry?

Carton length drives a large number of decisions: corrugate choice, tape consumption, packaging station design, shipping cost, rack sizing, conveyor sizing, label size, etc. Logistics engineers have hundreds of decisions to make in this rapidly growing industry.

How Much Tape Per Carton Is Normal?

14.3 inch tape plus three inch tails (on each side) equals ~20 inch tape for the closure of the top or bottom of a carton. Operators applying pressure-sensitive tape by hand often use two or three strips of tape per top or bottom. Using water-activated tape (gummed tape, Kraft paper tape), you can be sure of single-strip closure. In addition to its efficiency, WAT lends itself well to custom printing/branding, and is considered the most secure way to seal a carton with its tamper-evident seal.

Watch this video comparing pressure-sensitive tape with water-activated tape:

Please feel free to respond with comments or questions below.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Challenges of Appliance Installation

Have you ever purchased a microwave from a major home improvement store, got really excited to bring it home, and opened the box and to see what types of tapes were used to package it???  Well, I do and this happened to me a few weeks ago when I decided to get rid of the 20 plus year old microwave in my kitchen.  

When I got the microwave home and started to inspect the packaging, the outside of the box was sealed with a clear carton sealing tape.  After I opened the box, I saw that a clean-removal MOPP tape was used on the outside and inside of the microwave to secure the door and parts during production and shipment.  I was not surprised to see either of these tapes being used by this particular manufacturer.  

I decided to install the microwave myself and unfortunately for me, I always seem to run into some type of “challenge” when I take on a home improvement project.  The “challenge” that I ran into on this project was a large hole in the wall behind my existing microwave.  My guess is that the previous homeowner tried to vent the microwave through the wall and abandoned that idea and decided to vent it through the top of the kitchen cabinet.  What the previous homeowner didn’t do was cover up the hole that was left in the wall.  So what did I do?  I decided to use a few strips of IPG® Duct Tape to cover this hole and the problem was solved in a matter of minutes.  Every household needs a roll of IPG® Duct Tape.  In fact, maybe our sales force should add duct tape to their product line when they call on an Appliance Manufacturer.  A roll of duct tape could be packaged with the microwave, dishwasher, etc. in case the homeowner runs into the same “challenge” that I ran into.  

So to all you Appliance Manufacturers out there, call your IPG Sales Representative today and order some IPG® Duct Tape!

Written by Andy Coyne, IPG Corporate Account Manager

Friday, January 27, 2017

3 Packaging Tips When Shipping Electronics

Packaging and Shipping Electronics
Technology is constantly evolving and many people are eager to obtain the latest electronics. Electronics are relatively fragile and often expensive, so it's important to understand how to safely pack and ship these products. Take a look at the following tips to properly package electronics so you can prevent costly damages and returns that can occur when shipping electronic devices.

Properly Secure Batteries For Shipping

Most electronics require batteries or are equipped with detachable batteries for power. Although batteries such as lithium are common in many of today's electronics, these components can be a source of hazardous heat, sparks or fire if improperly packed for shipping. According to UPS, when shipping almost any type of battery, you must safeguard all terminals against short-circuiting. To do so, completely cover them with an insulating, non-conductive material or pack each battery in fully enclosed inner packaging to ensure exposed terminals are protected.

Separate Cords and Accessories

When electronics have several components, it's always good to stay organized by separating the cords and accessories. Separating and bundling the cords significantly helps the user, as well as the retailer, by:

  • Creating more organized space so loose cords are not tangling with other items in the carton
  • Separated items can be labeled to make it easier for the user to identify each piece and know how they connect
  • Providing a better customer experience helps build your business's brand 

Use Effective Shipping Materials 

It’s important to utilize the right shipping materials to ensure that your electronics remain safe and arrive to your customer in pristine condition. The following packing materials are effective in keeping your electronics safe and secure.

Corrugated Cartons 

Corrugated cartons are different from cardboard boxes.  Cardboard boxes are any type of box made from heavy paper pulp.  Typical applications include cereal cartons and game boxes.  Corrugated cartons are comprised of three layers of paper that includes an inside liner, an outside liner, and fluting with a ruffled shape, which runs in between the two. The corrugated fiberboard sheet is created by gluing the 3 sheets together. As a result of their design, corrugated cartons are cost-effective and, depending upon their construction, can hold a wide variety of weights, protect against moisture and are a sustainable choice.  Depending on the amount of protection required, corrugate is available in a wide variety of sizes and thickness.

Void Fill / Air Pillows

Protective packing, or void fill, are important to keep items separated from each other and from the corners, sides, top and bottom of the box. It helps prevent items from moving around in the carton.  Materials available include packing peanuts, and air pillows.  Air pillows are an excellent interior packing material choice.
Air pillows are not only more cost-effective than packing peanuts but also provide a more effective cushion for your products. This will ensure your products make it to the customer safely and without employing polystyrene packing peanuts that many people prefer not to receive.  Air pillows are environmentally friendly.  The total volume of filled air pillows is just 1% of the initial size for disposal and HDPE films are easy to recycle.

Water-Activated Tape 

It is important to choose water-activated tape for your carton sealing application so you can keep your customers satisfied and maintain your bottom line.  When shipping expensive electronics, you want a tape that will keep your products safe and will be cost-effectiveness.  Water-activated tape provides these advantages because when the adhesive is activated with water, it penetrates the carton material and the tape forms a permanent bond with the carton. As a result, it creates a strong seal that is tamper-evident.  Water-activated tape is available in various widths and thicknesses and may contain strands of fiberglass reinforcement to provide added strength.

IPG's Water-Activated Tape

IPG offers a full line of Better Packages gummed packaging tape dispensers, along with Central brand water-activated tape. Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, gum tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced paper tape) is designed to create a superior seal on corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.

Central brand water-activated carton sealing tape is offered in a wide range of paper and reinforced gummed paper tape styles, roll lengths and widths to best fit your carton sealing needs. It is the preferred choice of packaging specialists when quality, strength, security and professional appearance are critical.

Still wondering if water-activated tape is right for your company? Request a sample and explore the enhanced carton sealing solutions for yourself.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Masking Tape – The Core Basics

Masking Tape: Adhesive, Backing, Release CoatWe have all experienced masking tape problems at some point, whether a weekend project at home or out on the job site. Having experienced issues in the past, we’ve learned that it all comes down to buying the right tape for the job. Easy, right?  Not exactly! I work in the tape industry and I still get confused walking through the tape section of a big box store. I can’t imagine how overwhelming it must be for a DIYer or contractor searching through an entire aisle of different brands, colors, sizes, prices, etc…where to begin?!

Understanding Painter’s Masking Tape

“Masking Tape” (a term most often used categorizing paper tapes) comes from the act of protecting or masking an area prior to the application of painting, coating or surface treatment. But are all masking tapes created equal? Let’s take a closer look.

The composition of masking tape at its most fundamental level is made up of three layers: backing, adhesive and release coat. (See illustration, top of page.) The backing is generally made from a saturated crepe paper. Crepe paper is known for its ability to stretch, allowing the tape to bend and conform around curves. Saturation helps enhance the paper’s physical properties and can also add color if preferred. The paper can be smooth crepe or coarse crepe—smooth crepe is used on high performance products, leaving a clean paint line and no bleed-through. Coarse crepe has a rough finish and is commonly used in general purpose applications where a clean line is not necessarily required.

The two types of adhesives used are acrylic and rubber (or synthetic rubber).  Acrylic adhesives can be water-based or solvent-based and use synthesized polymers to formulate an adhesive structure that is applied to the tape. Acrylics have medium initial adhesion, temperature resistance, solvent resistance, UV resistance and durability.  Rubber adhesives can consist of natural or synthetic rubber. Natural rubber adhesives have a medium to high tack and are used for general purpose applications. Synthetic rubber adhesives are formed by mixing synthetic compounds with rubber.  These are medium tack and intended for indoor and outdoor painting applications. Rubber and synthetic rubber adhesives have medium-high initial adhesion, temperature resistance, UV resistance, and durability.

The release coat controls the tape’s unwind values, its adhesion to backing values and adhesive consistencies. In other words—the release coat allows the tape to come off the roll easily and not stick to itself.  There you have it, lesson one in the books! Learning what masking tape is and how it’s made is key to understanding how it works and why it works (or doesn’t work—we will cover this later). In Part II we will learn about applications—what to use, why to use and how to use—and break down acrylic and rubber masking tapes further, discussing chemical additives that can give the tape new properties and

Written by Brandon Paas, Consumer Marketing Manager, IPG