Over dinner at the eCommerce directors forum in May 2018 (while Liverpool FC dramatically overturned a Roma 1st leg Champions League semi-final lead), Whittard CEO & retail mogul Mark Dunhill approached our company owner Fred Lill, expressing his desire to revamp the eCommerce unboxing experience from what Mark described to be “very slow standard plain boxes with ugly tape all over it and an extraordinary amount of plastic pouch voidfill”.
Mark Dunhill joined Whittard of Chelsea in January 2014 as MD with the objective of transforming the company from a UK high street retailer to a global aspirational brand. Prior to Whittard, Mark worked for T.M. Lewin as International Director from early 2011. Before that role, Mark held the position of CEO of Fabergé, where he led the multi-national team to restore the famous name to its former position as one of the most desirable jewellers in the world.
Fred's executive assistant and former graphic designer Rebecca Hutton created a no obligation ‘artist impression visual’ to help explain Lil Packaging’s vision for Whittard's eCommerce packaging.
Mark Dunhill recognised Lil’s vision aligned perfectly with his objective of transforming Whittard into a global aspiration brand and quickly facilitated a meeting with Whittard Head of eCommerce Dan Mahoney & Head of Logistics Mark Helling, the latter commenting passionately :
“We must spend more on voidfill than on boxes, you wouldn’t believe how much voidfill we’re getting through. Every order takes just shy of 2 minutes to pack and I bet most of that time is handling voidfill”
To introduce new outer packaging which:
- Improves our customer’s unboxing experience; in-line with global brand aspiration.
- Halve the time to fulfil from 117 secs to less than 60 seconds.
- Eliminate the need for void fill.
- 100% plastic free.
- FSC® environmental certified sustainable packaging.
- Increases the protection afforded to products as parcels pass through the carrier networks.
- Reduces the cost of international, premier volumetric shipping - ideally by £200k.
- Increases the protection to reduce parcels which arrive damaged.
- Achieve buying efficiencies through optimising/rationalising of current 11 sizes of boxes to less than 8 which will also yield ‘easier packer choice’
What was Whittard's old packaging like?
A range of 11 different standard cardboard boxes - none of which were designed specifically for teas or coffees. They relied heavily on plastic air pouch void fill, which was both inefficient and environmentally unfriendly.
Whittard head of Logistics Mark Helling was blown-away by the 19 second pack time video of Lil Breezebox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ9vHoIl-is and 13 second pack time video of Lil twistwrap https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-5M5tTvkIs
With Breezebox and Twistwrap being easily identified as perfect for packaging Whittard’s selection of Luxury Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate & Gifts, solving challenges 1-6, the only way of satisfying challenge 7-9 was to extensively research Whittard's most common SKUs, typical order combinations and sizes. Both parties spent an exhausting day at Whittard’s Global fulfilment centre to record all relevant data.
All 9 challenge criteria were met with Whittard’s Mark Helling commenting :
“This is an instant game-changer. It’s been an absolute success. If you’re already looking for tweaks to improve, the only thing I can possibly think of is maybe a size tweak to the smallest Breezebox but I’m not entirely sure yet if that’s required”
- Improves our customer’s unboxing experience; in-line with global brand aspiration. ✔
- Halves the time to fulfil from 117 secs to less than 60 seconds. ✔ (after only one day of implementation, Whittard already reported <40sec twistwrap <60seconds Breezebox)
- Eliminates the need for void fill. ✔
- 100% plastic free. ✔
- FSC® environmental certified sustainable packaging. ✔
- Increases the protection afforded to products as parcels pass through the carrier networks ✔
- Reduces the cost of international, premier volumetric shipping - ideally by £200k ✔ on track
- Increases the protection to Reduce parcels which arrive damaged. ✔
- Achieve buying efficiencies through optimising/rationalising of current 11 sizes of boxes to less than 8 which will also yield ‘easier packer choice’✔ rationalised to only 5 sizes; 1x twistwrap, 3x Breezeboxes and 1x variable-height Lil Amazon box.