Toy Project, Updates

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Online Toy Purchases Packaging Perceptions, update

Consumers have responded favorably to FFP. In 2015, just 29% of respondents admitted to being influenced by premium packaging. This figure increased by over 10% in 2016. The advantages of FFP are attracting more users. One of such advantages is ensuring that the product arrives delivery point without damages. Self-shipping is offered under FFP but the experience depends on the user. Collectors are more likely to opt out of self-shipping.

Please find below a dive into this request.

METHODOLOGY

In completing this request, we first carried out a general research on how packaging affects a customer’s perception and/or influences their purchase decisions. In 2016, 40% of consumers were positively influenced by premium packaging. We then circled on how packaging affects toys and games purchasing. The two main classes of people that make toys/games purchase decisions — parents and children — are attracted to packaging that is simple and easy to open.

Our next step was to search Amazon to find out what Frustration-Free Packaging is and how customers are responding to it in toys and games delivery. We went to Amazon because they are the initiators of FFP and have been using it for over a decade. We found that on the three counts of FFP, that is, easy to open, eliminating waste, and delivering goods undamaged, consumers are happier. So much so that in 2017 alone, Amazon completed 120 million FFP certified shipments.

While we could not find research on self-shipped packages, we did find that for certain types of toys, shipping without an additional box or just placing a label on the package created a bad user experience.

PACKAGING PERCEPTION SPECIFIC TO TOYS & GIFTS

Consumers of toys and games are more attracted to visually appealing packages. They are also interested in having quick access to their toys and games when they are delivered. We need to acknowledge that there are two types of consumers of toys and games. The first group is children who play with these toys and games and the second are collectors. An addendum to the first group is the parents who buy the toys and games who are interested in the packaging beyond simply unwrapping the toys in time. Their concern extends to disposing of the packaging and how it affects the environment. In one decade, Amazon eliminated 181,000 tons of packaging materials.

We shall talk about collectors in the paragraph tagged 'Self-Shipping'.

FFP AND THE EFFECTS ON THE PERCEIVED VALUE OF TOYS/GIFTS

FFP allows customers to show their commitment to the sustainability of the environment and influences their choice of purchase. In 2016, two in every five consumer says they will buy again from retailers/manufacturers that use premium packaging. This is an 11% increase over 2015. The premium packaging also ensures that the goods purchased arrive without being damaged. FFP also affects the manufacturer. Chances of being listed on a site like Amazon increases when they subscribe to Frustration-Free Packaging.

SELF-SHIPPING PACKAGING:

Applying Augmented Reality in online retailing also enhances user experience. This gives the customer an opportunity to see what the product will look like on delivery especially if they opt for self-shipping. There have been instances where the customer has been disappointed by the packaging because a product was only available for FFP delivery and they wanted some other packaging because they are collectors.

CONCLUSION

There are many benefits of FFP in the retailing of toys and games. Customers want to get right to their toys without spending too much time unwrapping the gifts. They are also concerned about the materials that are used in packaging and preventing damage to goods. These are all covered under FFP. This is why, in 2016, 40% of respondents said they would rather buy from retailers who offered premium packaging than those who didn’t. AR technology further deepens consumers experience and helps them decide whether to opt for self-shipping or not.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Packaging Toy Trends, update

While there is no pre-existing information to fully answer your question, we've used the available data to pull together key findings: Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) was created by Amazon in 2008 to minimize both consumer frustration and environmental impact. Since the inception of the practice, Amazon has delivered 120 million FFP shipments in 2017 alone and eliminated 181,000 tons of packaging material over the last ten years (obviously, not all in toy shipments). While some toy stores have adopted FFP for their own online stores, we find no evidence that FFP has seen deployment in a brick-and-mortar environment, where bright, colorful packaging is still used to draw the eye.
Below you will find a deep dive of our findings.

METHODOLOGY

Since the packaging industry has numerous sites, blogs, and articles written by both insiders and marketers, we started our research there. While we found several articles discussing the practice in general terms (see below), we did not find any which provided hard figures on how Frustration Free Packaging (FFP, henceforth) affected sales or consumer buying behavior. We also were unable to locate an article detailing packaging trends that was specific to toys, though there are many which discuss packaging trends in general. Since FFP originated with Amazon, and Amazon is publicly-traded, we next researched Amazon's annual reports to see if they provided any numbers on the impact of the practice. None of the reports going back to 2008 so much as mention the phrase "Frustration Free Packaging," let alone detail its impact on sales and buying habits or trends.
As a result of a lack of data in public sources, we are unable to give a quantitative answer to the question. However, the qualitative data available still provides a high-level view of the impact of FFP.
OVERVIEW
Frustration Free Packaging (FFP) has two primary criteria:
- "Recyclable and does not include excess packaging materials, such as hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings and wire ties."
- "Designed to be opened without a box cutter or knife, while protecting products just as well as traditional packaging. Products can be shipped in their own boxes, without an additional shipping box."
As described by Packaging World, "Since launching in November 2008 with 19 items, Amazon’s packaging programs have grown to include both Frustration Free Packaging and Ships-in-Own-Container. In 2017 alone, Amazon has delivered 120 million shipments with packaging that is certified Frustration-Free or Ships-in-Own-Container. To date, Amazon’s sustainable packaging innovations have eliminated 181,000 tons of packaging material and avoided 307 million shipping boxes—enough boxes to fill more than 550,000 semi-trucks." The above statistic refers to more than just Amazon's toy shipments, but gives a good picture of how successful the initiative has been in its stated goals.
FFP goes hand-in-hand with Ships-in-Own-Container (SIOC) and Prep-Free Packaging (PFP), with the two being generally lumped together with FFP in the articles we located that discussed the concept. It is important to note that Amazon works with manufacturers to design FFP for their products, but it is the manufacturers who provide the packaging with the product to Amazon. Mattel, Microsoft, Unilever, Fisher-Price and Logitech were some of the earliest adopters of FFP.

FFP ADOPTION AND RECEPTION

FFP has been adopted not only by Amazon client companies like Hasbro, but by toy companies like Toys R Us for use in their own direct toy shipping. However, it is telling that not only does Toys R Us only use FFP in shipping, it presently does so only for shipping Nerf toys. In fact, we could find no examples at all of FFP being adopted in brick-and-mortar toy stores. On the contrary, recent articles from packaging industry sources show that manufacturers still find immense value in traditional, colorful packaging for toys, including open-faced boxes that show the actual product. Moreover, as a review for a Transformers toy points out, even some items advertised as FFP on Amazon still come in traditional logoed and decorated boxes (which in this case includes a "much coveted" artistic rendition). Other sites advertise a choice between traditional packaging and FFP for online purchases.
Because of this lack of in-store adoption, we were unable to locate an article by an industry expert which discusses the pros and cons of FFP vs traditional packaging in a store setting, or of the effects of FFP in online sales. However, the practice seems to be appreciated by most consumers. Environmentally-conscious parents particularly like the practice and will consider FFP a priority in their decision-making process. Another "collector" toy review (this one for a Millennium Falcon shaped drone) gushes over the FFP, but with a caveat: "Two thumbs up to Amazon for the compact, customized packaging. It serves its purpose well, and judging from how the product was priced down by 50%, I’d give up on the fancy original manufacturer’s packaging any day, especially if you’re looking to opening it up for display and playing with the product. But if you’re the kind of geek who is buying it as a collectible to keep sealed in its original fancy packaging, or for gifting/reselling, then this option probably not for you."
That last observation fits well with one from Crowdspring which isn't specific to the toy industry, but nevertheless sums up why universal adoption of FFP, or widespread adoption of FFP in brick-and-mortar toy stores, is unlikely: "The pragmatism of blister packs and frustration-free packaging still have a place. Still, for those companies that ship a packaged good, a customer’s first experience with that product is critical. It’s the first touch-point between you and your customers."

CONCLUSION

Though there is a lack of public data on the dollar impact of Frustration Free Packaging, the available articles on the subject do give a solid qualitative answer: While consumers are generally positive about FFP, it is not appropriate nor would it be appreciated in all cases. It has not been adopted for brick-and-mortar toy stores, we surmise because the plain packaging would not attract the eye and generate sales like traditional packaging. In addition, some collectors see the design and artwork on traditional toy packaging as intrinsic to the toy's value, and FFP can be perceived as lowering the value of a gift. Consequently, FFP is likely to remain as an option for customers in online sales for the foreseeable future.

Sources
Sources