Deckers & UGG - Packaging for Fashion, Lifestyle and performance Footwear
When Fred Lill had a meeting with UGG early in 2018 it could not have gone any better. This was an instance where the client's needs - " We hate tape, it ruins the experience and is the total opposite of uniformity and efficiency" - could not have been more in alignment with Lil Packaging's own approach.
Initially, however, such was the diversity of UGG's packaging requirements that it seemed as though a streamlined solution might be difficult to come by. Fred Lill knew he wouldn't be happy with any old fix; he was after a solution that would be as snug a fit as the footwear many of us never want to take off.
UGG is an American footwear company and a division of The Deckers Group. It is a registered trademark both in the United States and in over 130 other countries. As well as footwear, it produces bags, clothing, outerwear, home goods and an assortment of other products. The Deckers Brand is made up of several individual brands each fulfilling a customer's needs in different ways; some of the footwear is made to be timelessly stylish, some designed to aid wearers in their quest to get more active. Whichever type of shoe, boot or trainer the customer chooses, the company's philosophy is that their comfort is paramount.
Diverse footwear, therefore, but one common goal and this correlated with Decker's packaging needs. Dispatching roughly 550,000 parcels a year, 70% of what they were previously using was polybags in three main sizes. Additionally, their range of packaging extended to fifteen different sizes of boxes in total.
Knowing that they needed to work on their packaging and wanting to phase out plastic mailing bags altogether, Deckers confessed that, following a review with Lil Packaging some 12 months before, they had tried to order a truckload of Crashlock from an alternative manufacturer. This was not a success as the boxes were insecure, didn't assemble correctly and regular split open - Deckers admitted that "We should have gone with Lil".
Speaking of experts, Fred Lill had had his Eureka moment! Having studied the sizes of the most popular selling UGG SKUs, he realised it was the height of the most popular SKUs that was the constant; they all measured between 123 and 127mm. By introducing a rationalised range of box footprints, all being a height of 125mm, Lil Packaging was able to ensure that its packaging would just about accommodate a 127mm UGG boot box and also, be compact enough of a fit for the shallowest SKUs. Where previously there was an assortment of 15 cardboard box sizes available to the packer, this could now be reduced to three custom Lil mailbox sizes.
Stepping up to the challenge and working extremely closely with Lil Packaging, UGG has now been able to take their packaging and their customer unboxing experience to the next level and consign their failed attempt to history.
By switching their packing options to three sizes, the packers have a much easier time identifying the right box for the job and then using the pop up base Mailbox construction. Packaging efficiency has therefore increased enormously, each box taking less than 20 seconds to fill when it used to take well over a minute. Consequently, there is now twice the speed of fulfilment.
Use of the hated parcel tape has been eradicated bringing about a large saving in packing costs and elevated aesthetic appeal. The financial gains have been augmented further by a minimised volumetric shipping cost; UGG's shallowest box was previously 200mm - compare this to the 127mm of the new mailboxes. Movement and slide inside the ecom box during transit has also been kept to an absolute minimum.
Deckers has not only left packing tape far behind, but voidfill is well and truly a thing of the past as well. With Lil Packaging, they have eliminated any empty space in the boxes and have ensured that the boxes are small and snug enough to get the products to the customer in tip-top condition. And achieving minimised volumetric shipping costs is not just the issue here; less shipment space also leads to a smaller environmental impact. Add to this the fact that Lil mailboxes are FSC® accredited, made as they are from corrugated kraft cardboard and being 100% recyclable. Customers can be comfortable in the knowledge that Deckers is a company who protect their bottom line but not at the expense of the environment. The message is clear: it is possible to run a successful business and constantly look for ways to decrease your ecological footprint.
As a final step in redressing their packaging previously unprinted packaging has now been replaced by internal coated UGG branding using eco-friendly vegetable- based inks. This, along with the other environmental credentials and lack of void-fill, has highly enhanced the customer's unboxing experience. Additionally, not only is there a twin peel and seal application which gives the boxes uniformity, there is also a convenient return seal should it be required.
Deckers are confident that their new packaging strategy will continue to go well and if it does, they plan to roll it out for their other brands, from Rotterdam, to the USA and Shanghai. Lil Packaging is confident that Deckers has been provided with a solution that is not only cost effective and aesthetically pleasing, but also treads carefully and considers its environmental implications.
If you're the kind of company who is keen to boost your environmentally friendly credentials whilst also developing packaging strategies that do your business justice, or if you're simply interested in seeing how we've helped other major brands around the world with their packaging needs, you can check out our other case studies right here.