The online retail market for aftermarket automotive parts and accessories continues to grow at a rapid rate. In fact, according to a March 2014 report, “Digital Disruption: e-Tailing in the Automotive Aftermarket,” the Automobile Aftermarket Suppliers Association reported that aftermarket e-tailing has grown dramatically, with an estimated 60 percent growth occurring in the past four years (Source).
This post will examine the automotive aftermarket's growing impact on eCommerce and the challenges associated with packaging and shipping automotive parts and supplies.
Why Are Buyers Shifting To Purchasing Parts Online?
There are four main benefits of buying aftermarket automobile parts online:
- Easy access a wide selection of parts
- Cost savings
- Ability to price compare
- Time savings
Simply put, the convenience of eCommerce and modern shop management systems have made it easier to buy parts online, compared with traditional, over-the-phone ordering. Consumers appreciate the information and price transparency available on online because local garages have often held an unfortunate reputation of being vague in their pricing and pricing methods, as well as in their product descriptions.
The Stakes Are High
Online shoppers buying auto parts employ ship-to-store 55% of the time, a 14% increase from the prior year. This is part of a growing trend toward increased convenience and “no-cost, ship-to-store pricing” (Source). For the remaining 45% that opt to have their automotive parts shipped to their home or place of business, there are additional issues to deal with.
When car enthusiasts work on their vehicles, they expect their purchased parts to be pristine— any imperfection is simply unacceptable. If the automotive parts are damaged in transit due to poor packaging, then product returns follow and this is a labor-intensive and expensive process.
Aftermarket automotive parts can be anything from replacement windshields to fenders or headlights. Each product requires unique protective packaging to prevent damage during shipment. Depending on the application and final destination, there’s an array of materials and techniques that can be used to create the best packaging solution for your products. Some of these solutions include:
- Plastic corrugated partitions lined with foam
- Heat-sealed bubble pouches
- Films to protect against scratching, marring and abrasion
- Water-activated tape for a strong, secure seal
Changing Equipment Needs
The impact of eCommerce on automotive packaging is evident in secondary and tertiary packaging. Packagers’ top concerns and considerations typically include speed and the flexibility of the carton sealing equipment, and the durability, size and presentation of the shipping carton and its tape.
When it comes to packaging equipment, there are a number of suggestions to improve processes:
- Automatic taping machines, or case sealers, are often added to in-line, high-speed operations (but not to pick-and-pack environments).
- Water-activated tape and electric tape dispensers are ideal for packing station operations. These dispensers dispense and cut the exact length of tape needed to seal random sized cartons.
Better Packages | Packaging Companies
Better Packages offers a full line of gummed tape dispensers, along with the Central® brand water-activated tape through its parent company, Intertape Polymer Group (IPG). Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, gum tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced paper tape) is designed to create a superior seal on your 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-only 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 packaging company? Request a sample and explore the enhanced carton sealing solutions for yourself.