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Exclusive Interview with Smurfit Kappa's Market Development Director

Ahead of E-PACK Europe 2020, we spoke with Herwin Wichers, Market Development Director at Smurfit Kappa to get a sneak peek of what we can expect from his presentation.

Herwin joins the opening session of the conference, exploring 'market and consumer trends, regulations and sustainability'.

Your presentation will discuss “boosting consumer perception and online (re-) sales using the right sustainable packaging experience”, can you give us a sneak peak of what delegates will hear?

From the moment a product comes in to contact with its packaging, it goes on a journey that will have an impact on a company's image. Packaging in e-commerce is the perfect opportunity to highlight your product and gain brand presence in a consumer's home. We want to share our insights gained from 80,000 shoppers worldwide to encourage people to think deeper in to all elements of their packaging, from structural design, to print, to sustainability.

Why is this an important topic to discuss and what effect could it have on the e-commerce industry?

For me, the key importance is with packaging you can create a positive impression of your product, your brand and your overall perception by consumers. More often, we see consumers making purchase decisions based on their moral conscience, and if a business does not support this conscience then what is stopping them from looking elsewhere?

Why is sustainability so important to this industry and its future?

We only have one world that has been hit hard by a litter crisis and it is now the responsibility of all of us to recognise what needs to change. I believe it is the obligation of every company to try and do their best to do business in the most sustainable way possible. Our paper-based products are 100% renewable, recyclable and biodegradable and it is our goal to continuously and rigorously develop new solutions to help create a more sustainable world.

What are the trends and developments that will redefine the E-commerce packaging industry the next 5 years?

In the last 5 years, things have happened that nobody could have predicted at the time, however, in the current market there are some areas that we can use to start painting our direction. eSupply chain logistics remain a critical part of the challenges facing the e-commerce category, and I believe that environmental aspects and consumers' view on that will especially become more important. This means material usage, optimising the last mile and overall logistical efficiency optimisation.

This is not the only topic however, for example we also have to look at, how can we improve the total experience of eshoppers and consumers? How can we drive brand equity and positive feedback using packaging? This will become more and more important as the e-commerce channel will be an increasingly substantial part of the business.

You will be organising a site visit and workshop to Smurfit Kappa's Global Experience Centre. What will delegates see and experience and why should they attend it?

It will be an experiential workshop and tour for people to see and experience (e-commerce) packaging in all the stages of the supply chain, from packing to shipping to receiving at home. With our unique User Experience Lab we are able to capture, measure and analyse your products' visibility and brand presence as if being in the consumers home or in the store.

We will also share our main insights gained from 80,000 shoppers worldwide to encourage people to think deeper into all elements of their packaging, from structural design, to print, to sustainability. Looking at supply chain and logistical requirements, we will show and explain how to solve the omni-channel challenges and how to determine your right sized parcel portfolio. Lastly, there will be many examples of best-in-class solutions and executions for e-commerce and other outlet channels (bricks and mortar retail, industrial, point-of-purchase etc.)

What are the main challenges when it comes to e-commerce packaging? What are some of the biggest opportunities?

E-commerce packaging needs to become more sustainable is all aspects. We also need to start using the packaging as a branding opportunity. Another area is to find an efficient way to deal with the increased complexity in the supply chain, especially the omni-channel challenges that are facing us. For me these are a challenge as well as an opportunity.

Why do you feel it’s important for companies to attend the E-commerce packaging conference  EU conference?

It will give visitors a very good snapshot of the e-commerce arena at this moment in time as well as in the foreseeable future.


Other presentations in our 'market & consumer trends, regulations and sustainability' session include:

  • Realising the innovation opportunity in the new plastics economy - Leela Dilkes-Hoffman, Senior Research Analyst of Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • New DHL trend report on packaging - Michel Heck, Innovation Manager, Trend Research of DHL
  • Fireside Interview: Importance of customer experience online, with implications for packaging - Miguel M. Avalos, EMEA Head of Ads Vertical Product Marketing & Revenue Programs of Google

View 2020 programme >                    Book your ticket >