Corrugated boxes have been the primary shipping container of choice for 100+ years, for good reason: they’re strong, lightweight, customizable, made with renewable materials and recycled at 96%. They also are so versatile for design and printing that corrugated boxes make powerful messaging machines – giving brands a last-mile customer engagement opportunity to promote their products. So while a corrugated box is an ordinary part of day-to-day life, its multifunctional capabilities make it an extraordinary vehicle for brands.
Online shopping brings boxes to consumers’ attention
While shopping behaviors and product delivery mechanisms are undergoing dramatic changes, one thing has remained constant: the humble corrugated box maintains its station as the packaging material of choice for carrying those products from point A to point B. Corrugated is the primary mode of packaging used in today’s e-commerce and subscription economy.
The possibilities are endless for custom packaging that is both functional and beautiful. As Rachel Kenyon, Vice President of the Fibre Box Association, said, “The beauty of corrugated is that it can be anything.” Industry experts predict the emergence of more innovative promotion and advertising on boxes in the future, like Amazon’s celebrated Minion™ boxes.
Corrugated’s ability to convey a message through high-impact graphics helps to sell products and ideas. When a package is delivered directly to a consumer’s door, that delivery presents a golden opportunity to promote the brand, reinforce the relationship with the buyer, provide information and excitement all in a functional container whose versatility could easily go untapped.
A mobile billboard
For brands, corrugated boxes serve as mobile billboards that showcase a product’s image wherever they land. In stores, corrugated substrates also allow for eye-catching, modular display units that can be set up quickly and recycled at the end of a promotion.
A flexible medium, corrugated accommodates a broad variety of printing options that support end-use requirements. These include:
Digital printing for customized print jobs where the promotional messaging varies
Flexography for high-volume printing
Litho-lamination and silk-screening are other options
A blank canvas for digital printing
Exciting technical advances are being made in corrugated manufacturing, enabling the package to more powerfully fulfill key marketing functions. Plus, digital printing capabilities have improved dramatically over the past few years to support direct printing of intricate and colorful graphics on corrugated board. In fact, many corrugated manufacturers are investing in equipment to make production-scale, digitally printed boxes with sharper, cleaner graphics on this popular substrate.
Corrugated and digital printing — a powerful combination
According to a recent report in Packaging Impressions, “multiple suppliers (have) unveiled single-pass, direct-to-board digital presses that can make high-speed digital corrugated printing a reality.”
As the digital print market evolves, corrugated packagers are able to adopt new processes and systems to address the demands of brands.
The advantages are many:
Flexible print runs
Affordable set-up costs
Personalization by region, store, individual or promotion
The level of quality now available through the latest technologies serves as a growth engine of opportunity for converters and printers.
Digital printing on corrugated for branded shipping and retail packaging is here. Brand owners today see growing opportunities to ignite brand loyalty through greater engagement with their customer base. Both legacy and emerging brands view packaging as a key component in creating a memorable shopping experience that users will want to share on social media. At the heart of this trend is corrugated packaging with digitally printed brand messaging that encourages repeat business and attracts new customers.
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