Coping with seasonal packaging demands in the 2023 festive season 

To excel in this market, it's crucial to anticipate and employ creative strategies to fulfil the seasonal packaging requirements. By Oumar Fofana.

It’s imperative to plan for the holiday season surge in consumer spending by ordering seasonal packaging early to avoid last-minute issues and potential shortages. Credit: alexmstudio via Shutterstock

The packaging industry is bracing itself for another holiday season, and with the recent economic challenges and ongoing labour crisis, staying prepared is more critical than ever.  

As we head into the festive months leading up to Black Friday and Christmas, it's essential to address the potential challenges posed by the increasing demand for packaging products, such as corrugated cardboard.  

In this updated article, we'll explore how businesses in the packaging industry can ensure they are well-equipped for the seasonal demand. 

1. Order customised seasonal packaging early 

With the holiday season expected to witness a surge in consumer spending, it's crucial to plan ahead. To avoid last-minute headaches and potential packaging shortages, start by ordering your seasonal packaging early.  

This includes custom-sized boxes and printed tapes, especially for your most popular packaging items. 

Custom packaging design and production take time, and this becomes even more critical in the face of any potential packaging shortages. Getting your seasonal packaging right not only ensures you have the necessary materials but also enables you to provide a better experience to your customers during the festive season. 

2. Ensure adequate storage space for seasonal packaging 

In a busy period with limited space, nothing is more frustrating than an overcrowded and disorganised stockroom. Storage issues can hinder your business from meeting the heightened demand for packaging materials.  

To address this, consider optimising your storage through pallet optimisation or investing in packaging automation. 

Pallet optimisation can help reduce the number of packaging pallets on-site, making better use of the available space. Alternatively, you can explore packaging automation options like auto boxing systems and machines, which significantly speed up packaging operations, particularly for stretch wrap.  

This efficiency not only reduces waste in your warehouse but also improves productivity. 

Conducting a comprehensive packaging audit at your warehouse to understand your packaging operation's challenges is important. This can result in substantial cost savings, increased productivity, and reduced waste, with potential savings of up to 57%, 40%, and 74%, respectively. 

3. Make seasonal packaging easy for customers to return 

With the possibility of more online orders during the winter season, it's vital to ensure that your seasonal packaging is customer friendly. Customers appreciate packaging that is easy to reseal and return if needed.  

Avoid the hassle of finding a new box for returns, especially during the Christmas rush, when cardboard shortages are a real concern. Additionally, environmentally conscious consumers appreciate packaging that can be reused, showing that your company cares about sustainability. 

Consider adding a second seal strip to your boxes for extra protection, preventing damages during shipping and reinforcing security. 

4. Timing is key for seasonal packaging 

Forecasting demand accurately remains a significant challenge during the holiday season. Companies often struggle with overestimating or underestimating the packaging materials they need.  

To stay prepared, it's essential to know your product lead times, assess product popularity, and have ample storage space for extra packaging. 

Research historical packaging demand and past shortages to make informed decisions. By pre-ordering high-demand products in advance, your business can avoid being affected by potential packaging shortages. 

As we navigate the uncertainties of the 2023 holiday season, early planning and smart strategies will help packaging industry professionals meet the heightened seasonal demand while ensuring a seamless experience for their customers.  

Stay ahead of the curve. And remember that preparation is the key to a successful festive season in the packaging industry.