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Corrugated packaging and the retail ready world.

Retail ready packaging (RRP) helps retailers improve their bottom line by increasing sales, improving brand visibility, and improving efficiency in storage and stocking.

Quality retail ready packaging improves consumer experiences in-store by providing attractive, easy to locate, reliable brand identity and product selection.

A number of big box retailers are requesting retail ready packaging, and brand managers are required to provide this packaging in order for their products to be carried in these stores. Among stores specifying this type of packaging are Costco, Walmart and Kroger but it seems to be a growing future trend.

Why go retail ready?

The reason for this is simple: cost savings and material use reduction are the twin factors driving big box retailers like Walmart to adopt retail-ready packaging throughout their stores. RRP containers are shelf-ready and display-ready. Stockers place RRP packages on store shelves or stack them in displays in one motion, which has been shown to reduce stocking time and labor costs as part of a well-designed retail operations program.

Walmart focuses on sustainability that goes beyond quick cost savings from reduced stocking time. Ron Sasine, Walmart senior director of packaging, says that good RRP design eliminates extraneous material. Sustainable RRP design involves selectively thinning package walls, or eliminating entire portions of traditional shipping cases or containers. Sophisticated RRP designs provide structural strength through a variety of corrugated packaging substrates, along with printing surfaces.

Reducing or eliminating product loss and damage due to handling is yet another retail benefit. Today's RRP designs even allow items like bread, pizzas and sausage to be pre-packed in ready-to-display containers. RRP that allows pizzas to be displayed vertically rather than horizontally, avoiding topping loss or damage, has increased sales at several big box grocers.

Retail-ready benefits:

• Easy-open, quick stocking cartons/containers
• Up to 67 per cent reduction in labor costs
• Easy identification of product throughout supply process
• Collapsible, stackable, recyclable and easy to dispose packaging

Retail-ready branding benefits:

A number of marketing studies have proven that consumers make purchasing decisions in three seconds or less. Retail ready in-store displays or shelf packaging, help brand managers to get their brand message across in that crucial three second time frame. Brand managers are increasingly turning to customized RRP, because it offers up to 200 or even 300 per cent greater brand visibility space than standard product labeling methods. Brand identity and messaging is printed directly on product containers, which are then placed directly on store shelves or in displays. Retail-ready cartons, containers and displays can be immediately adapted and changed for promotions. RRP's ability to place brand messaging directly on store shelves in front of customers assists brand managers to overcome the increased unreliability and diffuse focus of traditional media advertising.

Consumer benefits:

Shopping experiences are improved by quality retail-ready packaging. Consumers recognize products, brands, pricing and promotions more quickly thanks to large brand messaging space and the ability to print pricing and promotions directly on packaging and/or displays. Improved organization on store shelves preserves product quality and availability. Products are also much less likely to be damaged when retail-ready packaging is used. Retail ready packaging improves stocking rates, as it is obvious when products are out of stock, leading to greater product availability on store shelves.

Here are five top ways to get your product retail ready with RRP:

Design and develop the packaging as integral to your overall
marketing and branding
Develop the packaging with sustainability in mind – find ways
to reduce materials and improve recyclability
Develop packaging that is truly "shelf-ready"
Take advantage of the extra branding and marketing visibility of
the packaging
Use innovative printing and die-cutting to make your packaging
stand out at every step in the supply chain

Global retailing is consolidating, and retail-ready packaging is anticipated to play an even larger role in the future. Retail ready packaging is more than a functional tool saving time and money in stocking store shelves. It can harmonize with and strengthen brand messaging and recognition, influencing buying decisions storewide.