Insights
Low touch economy
What is the ‘low touch economy’ and how is it influencing packaging processes?
How business’s packaging solutions supported, and also learned, from the low touch economy:

Keep your distance. This phrase came to characterise the pandemic, as people kept to strict social distancing measures in the community and in their workplaces. But while restrictions have long since been lifted, many of those behaviours have stuck.  

Covid 19 has accelerated the low touch economy, influencing how we behave towards one another and how we buy goods – and how packaging is used. 

What does low touch economy mean?

Low touch economy refers to practices that limit contact between people, instead using digital methods or automation to complete tasks. It was already being utilised by many businesses pre-pandemic but boomed as lockdowns were enforced. 

Online solutions were central to this. Online shopping sales have doubled in recent years, now accounting for nearly one-third of all retail spending across the UK. In 2020 alone, e-commerce sales grew by 47%. 

Low touch economy methods supported this, allowing retailers to fulfil online orders while keeping their workers safe in busy facilities. Automated equipment not only improved the hygiene of packaging processes, by limiting contact between workers and products, but also the efficiency.  

As such, many have maintained low touch economy processes, particularly in the selecting, packaging and posting of products. Businesses have enjoyed not only the hygiene benefits of this, and the improvement to worker health and safety on the shop floor. 

Having invested in automatic or semi-automatic packaging machinery or dispensers to support order fulfilment, businesses have seen other benefits from their packaging too. For retailers no longer enjoying an in-person element to their interactions with customers, packaging is one way to enhance the shopping experience. Packaging can elevate a product’s perceived value and communicate a business’s brand values, as well as protect goods. 

In this way, the low touch economy has influenced how packaging is used, increasing the value it offers businesses. 

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