The ecommerce shipping trend and the 2017 outlook

As more and more businesses turn to ecommerce channels, like Amazon, to sell and distribute their goods, new methods of packaging performance testing must be considered to ensure integrity throughout this dynamic supply chain. Smithers Pira gives its perspective on package testing needs for this growing distribution trend in 2017 and beyond.

ecommerce shippingCustomer expectations for making online purchases are becoming more and more demanding. They expect to shop for a variety of products on a single site and they expect those products be in stock and readily available so they can receive their products quickly and at a low shipping cost. For CPG retailers and manufacturers, whether they sell products on their own website or via a third party vendor, they must prepare for a number new potential hazards that may result in product damage.

Recently, the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) released the ISTA 6-Series Over-Boxing standard.  This test method, an adaptation of Amazon’s package testing procedure, was designed to give the industry some standard guidelines for qualifying packaging for ecommerce shipping - specifically mixed unit shipments. The procedure employs a unique mix of package test procedures to more accurately simulate shipping conditions in the ecommerce supply chain.

“Ecommerce presents some unique challenges for retailers and product manufacturers who are looking to utilize this distribution channel”, explains Michael Kuebler, technical director for Smithers Pira and Testing Council Chair for ISTA. “We understand the challenges associated with getting products to the consumer in one piece and we work with our clients to assess the landscape of the entire supply chain so they can be confident that their product arrives as intended.” 

In an upcoming webinar, Amazon will join the package testing experts from Smithers Pira to discuss the growing trend toward ecommerce and the challenges associated with shipment damage and customer satisfaction. During the webinar, “Ecommerce Packaging: How to Mitigate Damage in Transit”, Amazon and Smithers Pira will provide some insights on packaging selection and discuss ways to optimize your packaging to reduce the risk of damage. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, February 15th at 10:00 am EST.

Register for the webinar >

To learn more about ecommerce package testing, visit