Dow's Innovative EPE Form Solution:Smart Packaging for Smart Shopping

  • IT Innovations , Infrastructure
  • 23.03.2017 06:30 am

Ther was the time when everyone was saying "the future of shopping is online"? It seems like that future is now and the current reality is that shopping in bricks and mortars retail stores is a less essential part in the seller-buyer experience. Digital shopping, particularly for retail consumers, has not only reshaped the payments industry, but has also left an indelible effect on how products are presented, displayed, compared, purchased, and eventually delivered. The traditional definition of shelf space and product face has been replaced with an overarching priority to showcase practical and functional utilities, alongside the focus on convenience of shipment and handling. 

Answering the expectations of modern-age retailers, shippers and consumers, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics (P&SP) offers a new age ultra-efficient packing solution made from a blend of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) that delivers both convenience and quality. In markets like Asia where digital retail sales are growing faster than anywhere else in the world, packaging is an increasingly critical component of the total proposition. This innovative enhanced expanded polyethylene (EPE) foam solution from Dow offers better protection from stress - with its flexibility and firmness, and delivers greater value - through its prolific cost-efficiency.

Rise of e-commerce leading to a vibrant logistics industry

In emerging economies like India and Indonesia, the digital retailing sector experienced stellar growth rates of 129.5% and 65.6%, respectively in 2015. While China, another fast-growing market for online shopping, accounts for 40% of the world's retail e-commerce sales. Similarly, the economies of other Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore also offer an amazing level of potential for retailers who can leverage the digital opportunity. One doesn't need to go farther than the nearest metropolis to understand how a rising middle class and a culture of consumerism are fueling the growth of online shopping. From tech-gadgets to household articles to fashion - online shopping platforms like Amazon, Alibaba and Flipkart are discovering effective ways to deliver goods to people's doorsteps. 

Most importantly, smartphones have made it even easier for people to search, compare, and order things from anywhere and anytime. When your favorite marketplace is at your fingertips, you are likely to have more choices and expected to seek more flexibility. And this notion of flexibility extends beyond the physical product itself. From packaging to shipment to delivery, today's consumers look for a seamless and positive experience that ultimately contributes to maintaining the integrity of the brand.

Needless to say, the shipment and logistics aspects play a decisive, often underestimated role in delivering a positive customer experience - maintaining the integrity of the brand's image. Where Dow's revolutionary EPE solution adds real value is in durability, convenience and safety of the shipped package. Sellers would want the packaging to not only withstand automated and manual processing especially when in transit, but also leave a hassle-free impression in the consumer's mind when the product reaches its destination. The bottom-line: the best customer experience ensured by safely delivering the product in the most efficient packaging.

A dynamic industry where one size doesn't fit all

Contrary to traditional shelf packaging, which involves a large number of identical or similar products, e-commerce logistics deals with products of different types, shapes and sizes that are packed together and transported to the same or neighboring destinations. The co-location of products of many different types and shapes makes it essential to use suitable packaging that would protect the goods from shocks and hazards during transportation, and from each other too. The primary (exterior) packaging of an e-commerce shipment - which could be a corrugated box, courier bag, tube, padded envelope or carton - doesn't suffice; so, a secondary or sometimes tertiary packaging is commonly applied to wrap and protect the products. Materials traditionally used for this include enhanced expanded polyethylene (EPE), air bubble films, inflatable air, and cushion bags.

EPE, lovingly called pearl cotton, is one of the most popular types of protective packaging that is durable and flexible at the same time. This material can be shaped and tailored into various forms, such as rolls, mesh and planks, making it suitable for various usage types. It is typically an unfailing material that protects a wide variety of goods - from small electronic components and food items to large machinery and home appliances.

A revolutionary solution from a global leader

Dow is not only a global leader in packaging materials, it is also a pioneer in supporting the e-commerce sector. Staying true to its tradition of industry engagement and continuous innovation, Dow keeps a constant track of developments in the logistics and packaging sectors. Here in Asia, based on intensive research and development, the company has developed a range of flexible packaging solutions to meet the needs of the vibrant e-commerce market in this region. Dow's innovative EPE technology is the perfect example of a practical solution from a global leader who has deep understanding of the market and the customers. 

DOWTM LDPE 450E and ELITETM LLDPE blend can deliver a 20% greater strength and almost twice the tear strength vs. standard EPE resin. These LDPE/LLDPE blends are better able to protect e-commerce goods by minimizing damage risks during shipping and handling. As a result of its cost-efficient performance and reliability, smart businesses are choosing this solution over conventional options available in the market. 

Dow's EPE solution brings functional benefits coupled with superior performance

The foaming in traditional EPE solutions uses 100% LDPE, making the material too brittle, damage-prone and more susceptible to in-transit wear and tear. Dow's patented technology for enhanced EPE goes to the heart of these issues and offers a reliable fix by blending LDPE with LLDPE which has higher tear strength than 100% LDPE. 

Dow's EPE technologies can be adopted across a wide range of applications. This innovative solution is compatible to pack many consumer goods types that were previously unsuitable for EPE packaging due to poor compression and tear strength. Sharp or edgy objects, thorny fruits like Durian, and heavy items such as appliances can now be safely packed and wrapped using Dow's LDPE solution.

A key advantage of this advanced EPE solution is its superior cushioning delivered through higher compression ability. It requires less secondary and tertiary packaging, reducing costs and weight, streamlining packing operations. Foamed EPE sheets using Dow's advanced technology enable merchants to reduce the number of layers needed, for instance, from five-six to three-four without affecting the packaging integrity. Apart from savings on space, it also cuts down material and transportation costs, and benefits the environment by lowering energy consumption and reducing the amount of packaging diverted to landfills.

Comprehensive Polyethylene (PE) Packaging 

Dow offers a full suite of PE products for e-commerce packaging. In particular, its DOWTM LDPE, DOWLEXTM, and ELITETM resins can be formulated into bubble films, air cushion bags, and heat sealing and binding materials that can be used to produce air column bags. Dow also collaborates with e-commerce logistics value chain partners to improve the comprehensive performance of related products and technologies. The company's LDPE/LLDPE blends make packaging lighter, often leaner, and improves shipping economics. 

By delivering innovative packaging solutions, such as enhanced EPE, Dow is enabling e-commerce merchants to optimize logistics and minimize damage to products during shipment. Avoiding excessive packaging, and the need for less storage space, also means eliminating wastage of resources and ensuring a positive customer experience.

In fact, this innovation from Dow can potentially benefit e-commerce businesses and customers across Asia, by customizing the solution according to respective market and sector needs, and contribute to an overall improvement in industry efficiency and sustainability.


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