The way we shop has changed – think online with fast delivery – but the way online sellers ship, using cardboard boxes (invented in 1856), hasn’t. A team at 3M is about to change that.
“Overall, people hate shipping,” said Lindsay Schostag, a consumer insights manager with 3M. “They’re excited to sell something, but the shipping is a pain and not something they want to focus on.”
After connecting with online marketplace sellers about the hassles of order fulfillment, a team of 3Mers developed a simpler, sustainable – and dare we say revolutionary – option.
The problem: Cardboard boxes take up lots of space, and they frequently aren’t available in the exact size of the product being shipped. The solution: The new Scotch™ Flex & Seal Shipping Roll, which saves up to 50% on time, supplies, and space when compared to cardboard boxes. No boxes, filler or tape are needed! You simply need to cut the Scotch™ Flex & Seal Shipping Roll to size, fold over and press to securely seal. It’s that easy!
Plus, it’s made with the same material as plastic bags, so it can be recycled at retail stores that have a plastic bag recycling program.
Before getting the product out into the market, the team had to overcome a sticky issue. 3M needed an adhesive for the product that would stick to itself but not to the items being shipped.
“Potentially, it could have been faster to bring in a third-party technology, but we wanted to utilize 3M technology to ensure it was the highest quality it could be,” said Andrew Singer, a 3M application engineer.
Using 3M’s expertise in adhesive technology as a starting point, the team ran as many “small and scrappy experiments” as they could, said Andrew.
They eventually landed on a brand-new proprietary adhesive that sticks to itself and not your item. Just fold it over and press the gray surfaces together to create a snug fit around your item, all the while remembering--“gray to gray makes it stay!”
While the team knew it had a good product on its hands, a recent trip to the Prosper Show, a convention of Amazon’s top sellers in Las Vegas, proved the point.
“Everybody was so surprised at the amount of ingenuity and innovation in a space that has been so stale with innovation,” said Andrew.
The team recently rolled out the product online, with plans to expand to bricks-and-mortar locations in the future. Throughout the launch, the team will continue to gather useful consumer input to evolve the product offerings.
“This is simpler, easier and more modern, frankly,” Lindsay said. “We think this product is just a start, but there are a lot of additional things we can do in this area to help people with shipping.”
Want to try it? You can find Scotch™ Flex & Seal Shipping Roll online now. Visit www.scotchbrand.com/flexandseal to learn more and find available retailers. A new, easier way to ship has arrived!