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  • David.PackagingSolutions

New and improved fashion packaging for Oh Polly

As an online retailer, Oh Polly’s packaging is a crucial part of its e-commerce strategy. Back in February 2020, the company had its first meeting with the Smurfit Kappa team as it was up against several issues with its current packaging.

The first was that the print quality varied greatly – meaning that the boxes arrived showing different shades of the core brand Pantone colour. The company was keen to ensure that the packaging was uniform, as it showcases brand continuity.

Additionally, Oh Polly’s success is in part due to the brand appeal and customer retention.

Image is clearly a key facet of the customer experience, extending from first brand interaction to unboxing of millennial pink packaging. Luckily, the Smurfit Kappa Experience Centre team’s expertise spans sustainability to aesthetics, and it quickly set to work.

The Oh Polly team was also concerned about the packaging for its sub-brand, Bo+Tee. Designed to plumb the ongoing fitness craze, Bo+Tee shares Oh Polly’s chic style, though with a different image.

The Bo+Tee packaging is striking, a bold black emblazoned with a holographic print. The Experience Centre team suggested using litho printing to deliver the sleek effect desired, maintaining the brand’s quality whilst allowing Bo+Tee to stand out.

That initial order was rather hurried: back in March 2020, Oh Polly’s previous packaging supplier had required a six week lead time to provide the boxes. With spiking demand due to the UK going into the first national lockdown, Oh Polly was in need of an urgent solution.

Once the request for immediate supply was delivered, the Smurfit Kappa Experience Centre team made sure that the order was designed, colours and artwork approved and a full truck produced and supplied into Oh Polly’s warehouse within eight days of the request being acknowledged.

Subsequent orders were a little less rushed: they have a two week lead time. This was a vast improvement on the previous six, and Smurfit Kappa’s flexibility allows room to react to unexpected events and pressures.

Of course, the fact that Smurfit Kappa can design and produce packaging all within the UK is also a key factor: it reduces shipping times hugely.

There was another issue troubling the Oh Polly team: that the original packaging was arriving un-palletised, meaning that the company had to have employees manually off loading packaging from containers and transported across several warehouses in order to be utilised for orders. This was not only leading to damaged boxes during transit from Asia to Europe, but was hugely time inefficient.

A simple solution was to ensure all packaging is delivered safely on pallets, with strapping and topboard to ensure a quick and smooth delivery and unloading process.

Manually assembling boxes was also identified as an area where further efficiencies could be gained.

The Smurfit Kappa Experience Centre team suggested that Oh Polly explore their machine systems product offering. Through the purchase and implantation of a box assembly machine, the brand is able to significantly reduce assembly time. The Smurfit Kappa machine can assemble two different sizes of box without damaging or scuffing the paper – and can get through 24 boxes per minute. In fact, the cost of labour for at least two employees to manually assemble the boxes would be recouped within just one year.

Joe Henderson, Oh Polly’s head of operations, was delighted with this suggestion. ‘Smurfit Kappa has saved us so much time and money with its expertise – we can’t thank the Experience Centre team enough,’ he said.

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