Americans have been ready to get back to normal for some time, and it looks like exactly that is going to happen in the coming months.
Sports stadiums are working their way back to allowing full capacity. The COVID vaccine is out and available to the masses, and the CDC even says people who have had the vaccine no longer need to wear masks.
But, consumer purchasing habits aren’t changing. Higher corrugated cardboard prices will remain a problem for the rest of the year. And to add insult to injury, Amazon has been purchasing cardboard like mad (though it’s been undertaking cardboard-saving measures too), leaving smaller businesses with a real problem on their hands.
What can you do?
We’ve already offered some ideas in a couple articles. Here’s some other things you might consider moving forward:
1. Shift to Plastic
In the EU, supermarkets haven’t been able to get cardboard for the eggs they sell. So, despite the fact it’s not a very eco-friendly move, they’ve shifted to plastic.
European consumers haven’t liked it. But, it’s gotten to the point that either they get their eggs in plastic containers, or they get no eggs at all.
You may have to use undesirable (but temporary) measures like this. Less revenue is better than no revenue at all.
2. Try In-Store Promotions
Consumers are still going to be gun-shy about going into stores. But, with the vaccine coming out and more and more governments allowing society to re-open, consumer confidence will slowly return.
This may not be a huge opportunity because it will take some time for people to get comfortable shopping in-store again.
But, every little bit you can do to deflect the high costs of cardboard helps.
3. Continuously Audit All of Your Packaging
Even though Amazon gets a rap as the “bad guy,” they do use artificial intelligence to determine the best-fit packaging for every customer order. They claim they’ve reduced their cardboard use by 33% over the past 5 years.
You may not have the ability to use AI to make decisions.
But you can certainly evaluate all of your packaging and find out how you can either use smaller packaging that better fits your product without sacrificing protection, or use different packaging entirely.
4. Work on Just In Time Cardboard Box Deals
Anything that alleviates the pain of not having the cardboard boxes you need helps. Many packaging distributors will store your boxes for you as you purchase them and then release your boxes when you need them.
So, you can lock in the lower prices now. And then you know you’ll have the boxes when you need them.
It won’t be easy. And it will require some innovation and creativity. But, the good news is you can make it through these high cardboard prices okay.