Flipkart: An eCommerce platform's positive effects on packaging

Anal Jha, vice-president - supply chain grocery and b2b wholesale business, Flipkart spoke about sustainable packaging and the world of eCommerce at the 10th Specialty Films & Flexible Packaging Summit 2023, held at Jio World Convention Centre, Mumbai, on 31 August and 1 September 2023.

04 Jan 2024 | By Abhay Avadhani

Anal Jha: 50% of the packaging that Flipkart uses is directly sent back to the converter

Anal Jha started off his presentation by highlighting Flipkart’s eCommerce journey in packaging. The company has an eCommerce supply chain, EKart which currently delivers over 100-million shipments a month across all serviceable pin codes.

Jha touched upon five aspects of packaging in eCommerce. These include protection; since the packaging will have multiple touch points, and will consist of mix loads. He said that packaging in eCommerce involves products with unique dimensions packed in a minimum number of SKUs.

Jha also highlighted customer experience in unboxing, “it should be a frustration-free packaging experience,” he pointed out. He said, “Products should be easy to unpack, but at the same time, the packaging has to ensure the integrity of the product, and it has to be adaptable and tamper-proof.”

He emphasised that brands use packaging space for customer and product level marketing. It depends on the brand’s ability to do targeted brand marketing across geographies and demographics.

From an eCommerce perspective, sustainability in packaging can be adopted by reducing the extra layer of packaging, touch points and minimum distance travelled. Jha said that replacing traditional materials with sustainable alternatives such as paper and compostable bags, minimum shipment size, and recycling the packaging back into the circular economy are some of the key points of sustainability in eCommerce packaging.

“In eCommerce businesses, sometimes the consumer wants to return the product, so our supply chain can even manage the reverse logistics, and faster than any offline supply chain,” said Anal Jha commenting on Flipkart’s supply chain abilities.

He then talked about how Flipkart goes green. He said that 30% truck load ability has been improved by the packaging of the right size. The company has partnered with Canopy for Pack4Good policy to protect endangered and ancient forests. Jha said, “55% improvement has been in shipment carrying capacity. And we have also collected and recycled 100% of plastic through EPR.”

Jha focused on the evolving trends in eCommerce packaging. He listed down the elements for socially responsible supply chain, such as supply chain efficiencies, eCom-ready packaging, reuse at the end of life, returnable packaging, automation, and technology.

Minimalist packaging can be achieved through partnerships between brands, eCommerce platforms, and vendors to reduce the layers in packaging materials. Jha also emphasised that eCommerce can contribute to the circular economy by partnering with producers to own and recycle the materials into the fresh ones.

He talked about how Flipkart has been working with various brands to reduce the usage of secondary and tertiary packaging. “We also work with brands to reduce the air quantity in packaging, and have managed to improve durability by 30% by providing the right-size packaging,” Jha added. He said that Flipkart works on reducing the material usage. 50% of the packaging that the company uses is directly sent back to the converter, and the target is to reach 90% in the next six months.

Lastly, Jha spoke about the way to reduce the requirement for packaging is by reducing the distance travelled. He said, “We have a two-tier supply network, where we try to keep the inventory closer to the usage point, and we have been constantly optimising our network to reduce the distance travelled per packet that we deliver.”

Latest Poll

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Results

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Shortcomings in EPR policy

 

21.05%

Inadequate infrastructure

 

10.53%

Shortage of recycling firms

 

21.05%

Lack of consumer awareness

 

47.37%

Total Votes : 19

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