We’ve all been there — you’re in a hurry and you have to stop at the grocery store to pick up just a few items. Maybe it’s a carton of eggs, a bag of apples and a package of hamburger. You grab the items in a rush, speed through checkout and get home only to find … damaged apples at the bottom of the bag, a small but significant slash in the plastic film on the meat, and a carton with cracked eggs.
Now you either have to go back to the store — an aggravating and time-consuming prospect — or chalk everything up to experience and toss the unusable products in the trash. If you’re really angry, you may post a negative review about the store online.
As a grocery category manager, you spend most of your day on the business side of the consumer/grocery operation equation. But if you’ve ever experienced all or part of the scenario above, you’ve had a consumer’s view of what happens when packaging fails to protect product. In the case of the perishables we’ve mentioned, RPCs do a better job of protecting the product you purchased.
The advantage that keeps on giving
We talk a lot on this blog about how RPCs can help streamline supply chains, improve efficiency and lower cost. And you probably already know the rigid, well ventilated plastic structure of RPCs does a superior job of protecting perishables in transit. However, it’s worth giving that advantage — superior protective qualities — a closer look.
When product packaging is damaged in transit from the production point or distribution center to the store, hopefully store employees will spot the damage and remove the product from the supply stream. In that case, the lost value of the damaged product is your responsibility and impacts your bottom line. Because the damaged product never makes it into consumers’ hands, you don’t have to worry about any reputational impact.
But what if employees miss the damage, the product ends up on shelves and consumers purchase it? In that case, consumers experience the monetary loss caused by the damage … at least until they return to the store, irate, to get their money back. Even if customer service personnel make the return-and-refund process as easy and pleasant as possible, some reputational damage may be unavoidable — especially if customers repeatedly find damaged perishable items on your store shelves.
The beauty of reducing waste
As noted above, RPCs offer many advantages, including:
- Helping supply chains reduce packaging waste.
- Providing superior structural integrity vs one-way corrugated packaging, especially in damp conditions.
- Offering greater stack-ability and resistance to crushing when stacked.
- The ability to cool product like eggs more quickly.
- Easier handling so that store employees can stock shelves more quickly and efficiently.
All those advantages, however, distill down to a single overarching benefit: RPCs equal less waste. You’ll not only have less packaging waste, you’ll have less damaged and wasted product. Less damaged product means less risk of bad stuff getting on shelves and into consumers’ shopping carts.
Finally, RPCs can help ensure there’s less chance you’ll waste consumers’ goodwill by selling them damaged product.
The perishable products you sell in your store are fragile, and so is consumer sentiment. The superior protective qualities and environmental friendliness of RPCs can help ensure you protect your product and your reputation in the eyes of the customer.