Posts Tagged ‘ecommerce’

Celebrating Our 1 Year Partnership With Rainforest Trust UK

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Charity, News, Office, Office, UK

This month, we are celebrating our 1 year partnership as a Conservation Circle partner with Rainforest Trust UK. We are extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to work with an incredible charity, helping them work towards their goal with a mission to save endangered wildlife, preserving rainforests, and ultimately protecting our planet.

Rainforests are one of the most important natural resources on Earth, and the long-term protection of them is crucial for the survival of our planet. In the fight against climate change, we know that trees are our greatest allies, and every second an acre of forest is lost to deforestation, so it’s up to us to protect them in order to protect our future.

Thanks to the help of our customers and our partnership with Rainforest Trust UK, so far we have protected…

“Save rainforests. Save species. Save the planet”

Rainforest Trust UK

About Rainforest Trust UK

For over 30 years, Rainforest Trust UK have successfully demonstrated that safeguarding vital habitat is the most effective way to protect wildlife. By identifying and focusing on key biodiversity areas around the world that require protecting, it allows them to productively save ecosystems across the globe.

Devastatingly, more than 50% of the world’s tropical forests have been lost due to aggressive deforestation for logging, mining, and agriculture. These tropical forests harbour hundreds and thousands of species, and are home to millions of Indigenous communities; but with deforestation, these habitats are being wiped out. Additionally, millions of carbon stored in rainforests are being released into the atmosphere, which has detrimental effects on our climate, contributing to increasing temperatures, progressively severe droughts, and rising sea levels.

Once the areas of land in need of protection are identified, they are categorised into one of the following types:

Private Reserves - Reserves are individual parcels, or multiple parcels of land that are secured for conservation, and maintained by dedicated partners.

National Parks - National parks are areas of land that are set aside by national governments to preserve the natural environment. With the support of their partners, these national parks can be open for public recreation and enjoyment.

Community Forest - Local people are directly involved as a critical stakeholder in the management of protecting land recognised as part of a Community Forest project. They work closely with partners and the government to make land-use decisions.

Indigenous Land Titling - Projects assigned as indigenous land titling, allow indigenous communities to gain legal rights to their land through the help and support of Rainforest Trust UK partners and government.

Their Mission

With a vision of protecting half of the Earth’s lands and waters, providing a sanctuary for wildlife, and stabilizing the climate, Rainforest Trust UK works tirelessly to save endangered species and protect the planet through creating rainforest reserves by enabling partnerships, community engagements, and donor support.

By 2025, Rainforest Trust UK aims to lock up 15 billion tons of carbon, the equivalent of three years’ emissions from the entire United States Economy. Engaging people in their conservation mission is also an extremely important goal of the work they do. And by 2025 will have reached half a billion people with their brand and mission, and will have respected, engaged, and empowered people across all areas of their work.

Recently, they announced a $500 million commitment to conserve 30% of the planet by 2030 through launching the Protecting Our Planet Challenge. Studies have shown that protected areas are one of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard nature, vulnerable communities, and our climate. The effective management and preservation of at least 30% of the planet in areas in desperate need, could ultimately protect up to 80% of plant and animal species, secure 60% of the world’s carbon stocks, and conserve 66% of the planet’s clean water.

Their Contribution

The success of the work they do is measured by a multitude of factors and differs across their projects, which include multi-year projects to save large landscapes, protecting entire species of wildlife in just a few acres, ensuring Indigenous communities gain legal rights, or safely storing millions of tons of carbon.

So far, Rainforest Trust UK has protected more than 37 million acres of land by establishing protected areas in partnership with local organisations and engaged communities across more than 50 countries. The protection of threatened rainforests over the years has helped store 13.9 billion tons of carbon, and saved 34.9 billion trees.

Ultimately, healthy rainforests are crucial for a long-lasting, healthy planet. But it's up to us to work collectively, support, and donate wherever, and whenever we can, so that Rainforest Trust can continue their protection of the world's most important natural resources.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

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Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

World Cancer Day - How Online Checkouts Can Provide A Lifeline For Charity Fundraising

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Office, UK

February 4th 2022 is World Cancer Day, an opportunity for us all to recognise the importance of cancer charities, raise awareness and funds, and make a difference for those who are working tirelessly to ensure we have the best opportunities for our futures to fight the second-leading cause of death worldwide[1].

You don’t need us to remind you about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on all of us on a personal and professional level over the last two years - with so many industries hit particularly hard with the fallout of ever-changing government restrictions, and this is extremely true in the charity sector.

With the initial forced closures of trading shops, cancellation of fundraising events of all sizes and scales, and not forgetting the limited supporter fundraising due to over a third of UK workers being placed on furlough [2] for the 18 months it was running, resulting in reduced incomes and causing personal spending reviews to ensure the essentials could still be bought and so something had to give, which unfortunately and undeniably in most instances was regular charity donations.

But, even with all that was thrown their way, the charity sector had no option but to carry on providing essential services which millions of people rely on, but with just a fraction of the funds they usually receive.

Indeed, one of the UK’s largest Charities, Cancer Research UK, are expecting to see a reduction in fundraising income of £250m from 2020-2023.[3]

Cancer Research’s ambition was to improve cancer survival from 2 in 4, to 3 in 4 people by 2034, potentially saving 3.7 million lives per year, but given this dramatic loss of funding as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this is now in danger.[4] Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and as 1 in 2 of us will get cancer at some point in our lives, we know we can’t afford to be without their vital work. 

During the last 12 months alone, Cancer Research estimate that around 46,000 fewer patients started cancer treatment compared to the previous 12 months [5] - it’s clear to say that we’ll be feeling the impact of this pandemic for a while yet.

So, what do we do? What can we do?

On World Cancer Day, February 4th 2022, it falls to us all to consider what we can do to undo this funding deficit and re-invigorate this vital sector as now, more-than-ever, charities such as Cancer Research UK are in need of our help and support. We feel there’s an opportunity which has been overlooked for too long now which offers a simple solution and really could be a game changer for charity fundraising moving forwards. 

Remember these? You find them next to the checkouts in a lot of physical retail stores – a smart way to encourage us to drop any loose change in the pot as we already have our wallets and purses in our hands ready to pay for the goods we’re buying. As the world is becoming increasingly cashless, and more and more consumers are shopping online and sticking with it (whether that’s through choice or being forced to with no physical non-essential retail stores open), what about a digital charity coin pot?

What if all online checkouts had the option for you to donate money to charity right there and then as you’re about to purchase your items? And what would the impact be if all online retailers took their power to support the charity more seriously?

The amount spent in online retail sales increased by over 84% at its peak in November 2020 compared with 2019,[6] and since the pandemic hit, is now responsible for £2,334,200,000 revenue on average per week.[7]0,000 revenue on average per week.[6]

From March 2020, if all online retailers donated just 1% of online revenue to the charity sector, they would have received on average between £15.2m and £33.5m every single week.[7]

With that amount of money, Cancer Research UK’s three year funding deficit would be solved in just over two months.

A boost in funding of this magnitude to the charity sector would drive immeasurable improvements to humanitarian, health, and environmental causes and their ability to improve our world. Particularly when you consider that these statistics are for the UK alone, the effect of adopting this worldwide could completely revolutionise the charity sector.

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So, 1%? That’s it? Is it realistic and how could it be done?

We believe it really is as easy as that - here are some simple solutions which businesses can easily implement:

Reward Points

Nectar points, Clubcard, Priory Direct Rewards, and many other loyalty programmes already exist and have done for a long time. Allowing customers to translate the monetary value of their points into charitable donations instead of redeeming them as savings on products is a purely cost neutral exercise for any business. In the first three months of launch, almost ¾ (73%) of our customers have chosen to give their reward points to charity rather than make savings on their order.

In-Checkout Donations:

The digital charity coin pot; give your customers the option of rounding up their transaction to the nearest whole pound - after all, they have their cards in front of them so it’s minimum hassle and disruption for them. Whilst the maximum charity donation for any one order will be 99p with this mechanism, the money would soon add up if it was offered on every order and by more retailers. Businesses such as Domino’s Pizza are already offering this in support of Teenage Cancer Trust and raised over £1m within 14 months of launching the donation option.[8]

Charity Ranges:

Selling products in conjunction with a charity, or specifying that a percentage of the sales of products will be donated to a charity is another solution to easily raise funds. Priory Elements Planet Friendly Packaging Ranges donate 1% of all proceeds to 1% for the Planet to support environmental charities, M&S give 5% of the sales of their festive sandwiches to Shelter to support their annual winter appeal for combatting homelessness, and Big Wild Thought raise awareness of endangered animals with their apparel, and donate 10% of the sale of each item to a relevant animal charity. Allow your customers to do some good just by purchasing your products.

Using Your Audience:

Online retailers receive millions of visits to their websites and social media channels every month, so what simpler way to provide support to the charity sector than using these to talk to your audience and to raise awareness of causes desperately in need of support? Some businesses have charity partners and their customers won’t even know about them! A lot of the time with charity appeals, they just need access to that large audience to be able to start making a difference. 

As mentioned above, even if we just aim for the conservative target of 1% of online sales going to charity, the fundraising potential is colossal. For example, in November 2020 and the lead up to Christmas, online retailers could have collectively donated £32.6 million on average per week to charities. [7]

We really see this as a no-brainer, a simple and effective opportunity to use the flow of retail to online transactions as a huge force for good. So, businesses, what are you going to do about it? And consumers, how about you? 

Consumers, we encourage you to choose responsible retailers, and retailers, take your potential impact and social responsibility seriously.

For the charities and the causes they’re fighting; as Cancer Research UK say: “What will you do? Speak up, stand up, and take action together.”

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

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Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Our Year In Numbers: 2021

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Office, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), News, Office, UK

As 2021 draws to a close, we want to take the opportunity to look back over the last 12 months, and celebrate what we as a business, alongside our fantastic customers, have been able to achieve. From protecting threated rainforest and supporting our charity partners, to launching new, innovative, planet friendly packaging products, we have a lot to be proud of. We can’t thank our customers enough for joining us along our sustainability journey; we truly couldn’t do it without you all. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our year in numbers…

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Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

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Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Christmas 2021: Spending, Shopping Habits, and Store Favourites Revealed

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Office, UK

The Christmas countdown is now down into single digits and we’re a nation determined for the big day to be bigger and better than ever before. It’s been widely speculated that Christmas in 2021 would be a record breaker with millions eager to make up for the disappointment of last year, and now we have the latest data, insights, and all-important consumer opinions which reveal exactly how the festive season is being tackled.

Festive Financials

Christmas retail sales in the UK are forecasted to hit a whopping £84.7 billion in the six-week period from the middle of November to the end of December, making it the largest on record. Unsurprisingly, we saw a dip last year with spend during the holiday period totalling £79.7 billion, and 2021 is expected to see spend grow in a typical way with pre-pandemic levels, where we saw a strong £83.1 billion in 2019.

Whilst the overall spend levels between 2019 and 2021 are fairly close in the grand scheme of things (if you can ever call a difference of £1.6 billion ‘close’), the major difference we’ll see is where that money is spent.

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As you can see, the difference between online and store-based shopping from 2017-2019 is vast. With the forced change in shopping behaviour which we saw in 2020, the gap became significantly smaller, and the proportion of online sales grew by almost two thirds.  

The prediction for 2021 is that revenue from online sales will drop slightly versus last year, with store-based shopping seeing a rebound with the British public choosing to shop local and support their highstreets in a way which they weren’t able to last year – and likely missed.

All of this would suggest that more of us would take to the streets to do our shopping – however this is where it gets interesting…

Stocking-Filling Statistics

We’ve seen that most of the revenue in the festive period is store-based, however, 69% of consumers prefer to do their Christmas shopping online. Whether that comes down to convenience, availability, environmental, or some lasting fear around Covid-19 is up for debate – but the willingness and desire to shop online is present in an overwhelming majority of people where we’ve not really seen it before.

When it comes to online shopping, one retail giant superpower springs to mind for everyone, and the data proves it. A staggering 85% of consumers in the UK buy at least one Christmas gift on Amazon.

And with their aims of being a one-stop-shop for everything anyone could possibly need over the Christmas season, the news that 46% of online shoppers prefer to buy all gifts through one platform certainly is welcome to them.

North Pole Number One

With a cemented place in our childhoods, the Argos catalogue is synonymous with Christmas for many – and even now, they’ve still got it.

Topping the charts for the most popular UK-based online store to buy Christmas presents, it goes to show that, whilst frantically flipping through the catalogue pages has been replaced with endless scrolling on phones and tablets, the retailer is still a firm favourite with us all during the festive season.

All Things Sled and Done

The most wonderful time of the year is certainly also one of the most expensive for us with the average Christmas spend per head in the UK ranging from £994 to £1,746.

Although nothing will ever replace the feeling of highlighting and folding down the corners of the thousand-page catalogue, it seems that online shopping has finally won over the great British public and is here to stay. It’s proving to be now or never for retailers to adapt to and adopt ecommerce, and Argos are proof that fundamentally as a nation we’re creatures of habit who love tradition, yet they have been able to keep up with and capitalise on the change in consumer behaviour.

The sales that in-store shopping sees speaks for itself, however with over two thirds of us saying that our preferred way of shopping is online, it’ll be interesting to see where and at what point we see the majority of revenue start of shift that way too, as surely with the way the data is going, it’ll be happening in the not-too-distant future.

References

All data and information correct at time of publishing, sourced from Statista - https://www.statista.com/topics/3157/uk-christmas-shopping

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

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Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Why Should You Use Gummed Paper Tape?

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Office, UK

It's no secret that plastic packaging products are causing a huge environmental issue for our planet. Despite it being a highly versatile material, every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in existence in some form and with only 9% of all plastic being recycled, it’s time to ditch the single use plastics in favour of something more sustainable.

When it comes to choosing plastic free packaging, it can be overwhelming, but the simplest swaps can make the biggest difference. Plastic packing tape is a non-recyclable, single-use plastic that reduces the recyclability of cardboard once applied, destroys the biodegradable quality of cardboard and can reside in our environment for hundreds of years after disposal. So switching to a more planet-friendly option is a no-brainer and it’s easier than you might think.

Gummed paper tape, or water-activated paper tape as it’s also known, is an extremely eco-friendly packaging product that can help drastically improve the sustainability of your operation. But why should you use gummed paper tape and how does it work?

How to use gummed paper tape

Gummed paper packing tape is a paper based tape with a starch, water activated adhesive. Differently to self-adhesive tapes, gummed paper tape must be activated with water before it can be applied to any box or packing material. To effectively use gummed paper tape in your operation you must use a gummed paper tape dispenser. This ensures that the tape is passed through the water reservoir, sufficiently wetting the tape ready for application. Gummed paper tape cannot be used with standard packing tape guns, so finding the right water activated paper tape dispenser for your needs is as important as finding the right tape. Once the tape has passed through the water reservoir within the gummed tape dispenser, all you have to do is apply to your cardboard box, or other packing material to create a secure seal - it's as easy as that.

How is gummed paper tape planet-friendly?

Gummed paper tape is the ultimate planet friendly packing tape. Fully recyclable, biodegradable, plastic free packing tape that is made entirely from paper and eco-friendly, starch based adhesive. Not only is the tape itself super eco-friendly, it doesn’t impact the recyclability or biodegradable quality of the cardboard it is applied to. Due to the recyclability of the tape, you do not need to remove it from cardboard sheets or boxes before recycling; saving you time and effort and saving the planet too.

How does gummed paper tape create a strong seal?

Creating a strong seal for your packing boxes is a must, and with gummed paper tape, you’re guaranteed a reliable, permanent closure. The starch, water-activated adhesive on gummed paper tape penetrates into the lining of cardboard boxes, creating a robust and permanent seal that is tamper and pilfer resistant. Sealing your packing boxes with water-activated paper tape actually enhances the strength of durability of your boxes, increasing the stack-ability of the cartons, whilst also keeping goods safe and secure.

How does gummed paper tape increase efficiency?

Optimising your packing operation can hugely increase efficiency and productivity, particularly during busy periods. Gummed paper tape is typically stocked in long run rolls, such as 100m, 200m or even 300m long rolls. This can help decrease time spent changing rolls and ensure that packing operations are running for longer before changeovers are needed. Additionally, gummed paper tape can be used with electronic dispensers to deliver the correct amount of pre-moistened tape for your box; dramatically decreasing time spent measuring and dispensing tape.

So, no matter your initial reason for switching to gummed paper tape, you truly could be saving the planet with every parcel when using water activated tape; not to mention saving yourself time and effort during your packing process. It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the planet, and packaging swaps is the easiest place to start. If you need any further information or help to make your operation as planet-friendly as possible, get in touch - we’re here to help!

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

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Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Which Retailers Are Best For Recyclable Christmas Wrapping Paper?

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

Christmas is just around the corner and the most wonderful time of year can also be one of the most wasteful. With an estimated 50,000 trees needed to make the over 100 million rolls of wrapping paper[1] used over the festive period in the UK alone, your choice of wrapping paper should be about more than what co-ordinates with the baubles on your tree and instead the focus should be on how environmentally friendly it is and whether it can be recycled or not.

With a nation of more sustainable savvy shoppers, recyclable Christmas wrapping paper is widely available this year from a whole host of retailers – but who comes out on top? We’ve compared the most popular festive wrap sellers to see who’s going to be Christmas number one in the eco wrapping paper charts:

B&M

B&M are famous for their bargains, and their Christmas wrapping paper is certainly no exception here. At just £1 for 12 metres of wrapping paper, it’s certainly the cheapest we’ve seen. However, the real cost comes at the expense of the planet as none of the low-cost wrap can be recycled. When we asked B&M why, they explained it was due to the combination of materials used and advised that availability of recyclable wrapping paper options is something they’re looking to improve on.

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Paperchase

A stationery supplier who are, in their own words, ‘keen to be green’ it may come as a surprise that only just over half of their Christmas wrapping paper can be recycled. Shiny foil wrapping paper is Paperchase’s downfall and unfortunately makes up a not insignificant amount of their range. It is a shame that a retailer with sustainability supposedly so high on their agenda needs to stock so many different types of unrecyclable foil wrapping paper when alternatives are easily available. Even more so that the foil options are mainly aimed at children – and even the most angelic of children are really only interested in what’s underneath the paper.

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WH Smith

As usual, WH Smith have a huge range of Christmas wrapping paper this year with almost 60 different patterns available. 60% of the wrapping papers are recyclable which does raise the question why stock more than the 35 recyclable papers as that number still offers a comprehensive range to shoppers. WH Smith are also stocking wrapping paper which is decorated with biodegradable glitter which is a great swap – however these papers aren’t recyclable. So close yet so far!

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Next

Next have been silently making moves with their sustainability journey and have already achieved a 50% reduction in their carbon emissions and diverted 97% of waste from landfill, so our expectations were high when it came to the eco credentials of their wrapping paper. Almost 80% of Next’s wrapping paper is recyclable this year, with their foil-based luxury wraps letting them down. Whilst wanting a premium looking and feeling wrapping paper is understandable, it shouldn’t come at a cost to the planet as even just a thicker paper can translate the luxury look and feel without contaminating the paper with unnecessary extra unrecyclable materials.

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John Lewis

For many of us, watching the John Lewis Christmas advert marks the start of the holiday season, it’s safe to say we expected them to take the festive period seriously – and we weren’t disappointed. With their sister brand Waitrose leading the way with eco-friendly package free food shopping, they clearly understand their responsibility to influence consumer behaviour for the better, and as such, John Lewis and Waitrose have ensured all of their Christmas wrapping paper is fully recyclable. They’ve also ditched glitter this year to guarantee the recyclability of their paper, proving they are a conscious retailer wanting to help their customers make better choices for the future of our planet.

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Marks & Spencer

Taking home the prestigious Christmas number one this year is Marks and Spencer. And if you’re wondering how you top John Lewis’ offering of only stocking fully recyclable paper; M&S have the answer - going plastic free. Recognising that not only is the used wrapping paper a source of waste but the plastic the paper is wrapped in is as well, M&S have made the decision to bare it all and are opting to add an extra 15cm of paper to every wrapping paper roll to limit any damage instead. And they haven’t stopped there – they’ve also included reusable wrapping paper in their range this year. It is quite pricey coming in at £12 for just two wraps, so it may not be the most practical for those who are particularly generous at Christmas time, but... it’s £12 for 2 wraps for life... so definitely a step in the right direction.

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The Upshot

Sustainable wrapping paper solutions are far more accessible ahead of Christmas 2021 as retailers are taking their responsibility to the environment more seriously this year – although some are more than others. The most important thing to remember here is that buying recyclable wrapping paper isn’t job done, it’s making sure you and your family and friends knowing it’s recyclable and acting accordingly – don’t forget to do the scrunch test!

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

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Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

References

[1] https://pebblemag.com/magazine/doing/5-reasons-why-its-time-to-bin-the-wrapping-paper-this-christmas

Can Wrapping Paper be Recycled? There's A Simple Test To Find Out

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

With the festive season fast approaching, as a nation we’re set to make up for the disappointment of last year which will see even more gifts being exchanged than ever before.

Over 100 million rolls of wrapping paper are used every single Christmas in the UK alone, all of that paper has to go somewhere. But with it roughly equating to over 227,000 miles worth of paper from around 50,000 trees - it’s safe to say that if your Christmas wrap can be recycled, it should be.

But of course, this raises the question, how do you know if the wrapping paper you receive can be recycled? The good news is there’s a simple test:

The Scrunch Test

The quickest and easiest way of knowing if wrapping paper is recyclable is by doing the scrunch test. If you can scrunch wrapping paper into a ball and it stays scrunched, it can be recycled normally with your standard paper recycling provided there is no glitter on it. If the paper can’t be scrunched or springs back open, it can’t be recycled – this is because there’s plastic or foil content in with the paper.

Just remember: if you find your wrapping paper to be recyclable, remove any plastic tape, tags, bows, or ribbon attached to the paper as this will prevent the paper from being recycled.

Stick or Twist

If you’re making the effort with researching and buying recyclable wrapping paper, then don’t ruin it by putting plastic tape on it – particularly if the thought of separating plastic tape from wrapping paper on Christmas morning isn’t appealing to you, then ensure you use, and encourage friends and family to use, paper tape.

As the name suggests, paper tape is made from paper instead of plastic and can be recycled along with the paper or cardboard it’s stuck to – no separating needed!

The Upshot

Recyclable wrapping paper needs to be a non-negotiable for the season of giving and beyond, and paper tape needs to be too to ensure the hard-work doesn’t go to waste – literally.

Just remember – if it scrunches and stays then you’re good to go!

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Paper Strapping: The Innovative & Eco-Friendly Alternative To Plastic Strapping

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

If you want to strap, bundle, and secure your parcels without harm to the environment, then paper strapping is the perfect planet-friendly solution to polypropylene plastic strapping for you.

The Switch From Poly To Paper

Conventional polypropylene strapping proves extremely difficult to recycle and often ends up in landfill, the countryside, rivers, and oceans. But with paper strapping, it can easily be recycled alongside all of your cardboard and paper packaging products. We all know the detrimental effects that single-use plastic waste has on the environment, so it’s great to see an entirely eco-friendly alternative that has been produced and can ultimately replace plastic strapping.

Aside from the obvious (being plastic-free), this strapping is made from 100% recyclable FSC certified paper, is compostable, and biodegradable. Requiring less energy to use, this eco-friendly product is great for reducing the demand for fossil fuels and is a more cost effective option compared to plastic strapping.

Following an official analysis of the product, according to the RlSE Research Institutes of Sweden AB “considering the components, the paper strapping should be suited for recycling in established paper recycling systems”.

Tried & Tested

Now to the technical part… ultimately, this paper strapping was designed to completely replace plastic strapping without the need for you to change your machinery and equipment. So, whether you use an automatic machine, semi-automatic machine, hand battery tools or strapping tensioners, the patented design and composition of this paper strapping makes it even easier to switch to plastic-free.

Not only does paper strapping help reduce your operational costs, but the paper material can easily be folded unlike plastic strapping, making it quick and easy to handle, and dispose of. Now you might be thinking, ‘surely paper can’t be strong enough to securely seal large, heavy, bulky items?’, well, with the 55kg break strain, paper strapping can create a very tough and secure seal for a wide variety of items. It works so well, that we even use it in our warehouse to strap our boxes.

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So whether you’re wanting to bundle, strap, or secure your items, paper strapping provides a seamless transition from poly to paper, and offers an environmentally sustainable solution that eliminates single use plastic waste.

If you and your business are looking to take you packaging to the next eco level, paper strapping is the way to go. Any questions, queries, or information you may need on whether paper strapping is the product for you, let us know in the comments or get in touch with one of our team members.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

What You Do Wednesday: Our Customers & Their Sustainable Packaging

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

Shopping sustainably plays an important role in protecting our planet, and we love that our customers think so too. Whilst it may be difficult to know where to begin, eco-friendly packaging is a great place to start, and we believe that providing a great variety of sustainable packaging options allows our customers to begin or continue to progress on their eco journey.

A couple of months ago, we decided to start a hashtag called #WhatYouDoWednesday for us to showcase how our incredible customers use our eco-friendly packaging, what sustainability means to them and their company, and how they are sharing their sustainability story through their packaging choices.

Take a look at our customer’s planet-friendly packaging...

Honey Bee Studio

With cardboard being one of the materials with the least environmental impact, it's no surprise Honey Bee Studio uses cardboard postal boxes for her company's packaging. These brown postal boxes are fully recyclable and biodegradable - did you know, recycling cardboard can save energy and uses 90% less water and 50% less electricity when making items out of recycled cardboard.


"Being kind to the environment is absolutely at the heart of everything I do at Honey Bee Studio. Not only in the packaging I use but also through the artwork and products I make. When I started my business I knew I wanted to avoid plastic as much as possible in the packaging and always use cardboard and paper - hence me using Priory Direct. I love how easy it is to find eco alternatives on your site and the scoring system you have!"

Honey Bee Studio

Oh Sew Honey

Using eco-friendly packaging is a great way to show your customers your commitment to the environment and protecting our planet for a greener future. At Oh Sew Honey, they've chosen our Priory Elements EcoMailingBags, which are fully recyclable, biodegradable, 100% plastic-free, and made from sustainable materials. Spotted the penguin? there's a reason why we've added animals to many of our Priory Elements Ranges...unfortunately, they are are endangered, and by assigning vulnerable animals to our products, we aim to raise awareness to threats that are affecting their likelihood of survival.

Kiera Flynn Photography

At Kiera Flynn Photography, they opted to ship their products using our Priory Elements EcoMailers, which are made from 100% post consumer waste and contain no plastic. A super ocean friendly packaging alternative that helps to protect our planet. How? Well, with each purchase of these Priory Elements products, we donate 1% of the sales to 1% For The Planet, allowing our customers to make sustainable packaging choices that also work towards driving environmental change.

"When I started my business it was really important to me to make sure that I did so in an environmentally friendly way, which for me meant using minimal packaging and ensuring that it was plastic-free and recyclable from the start!"

Kiera Flynn Photography

By incorporating plastic-free and recyclable packaging into their business, they are helping fight the global plastic waste issue, saving the planet's limited supply of raw materials, and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Sewshetstitcheco

Who said eco-friendly packaging had to be boring? SewSheStitchesCo shows us how it’s done with their planet-friendly blue tissue paper, adding an eco-friendly pop of colour to their packaging. Not only is it recyclable, but our tissue paper is FSC certified, meaning that it is sourced using responsible forestry practices to maintain sustainability and reduce environmental impact.

Barefoot.Tech

Using sustainable packaging contributes to reducing your carbon footprint, can break down without releasing harmful chemicals, are easy to dispose of, and can either be reused or recycled. But at Barefoot.Tech, they don't stop there, in fact, they believe in taking environmental accountability of their products too. Instead, they recycle and reuse the materials readily out there to make their products.

"All our products are made up of pre-existing materials, recycling 90% of all our fabrics, scraps and trimmings. Therefore using Priory Direct packaging aligns our values as a brand; boxes and padded envelopes are made from recycled content, are plastic-free, 100% recyclable, biodegradable and fully compostable."

Barefoot.Tech

Barefoot.Tech have sealed the deal on their packaging using our Priory Elements Ecotape, which unlike many other packing tapes, is 100% plastic-free, biodegradable, and recyclable - so, when using it to tape up cardboard packaging, your customers can safely recycle both together and reduce their plastic waste.

Our customers are helping protect our planet one parcel at a time - and you can too. Because whilst we can't all do everything, everyone can do something.

What eco-friendly packaging do you use? How are you sharing your sustainability story through your packaging? Let us know.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Your Sustainability Questions Answered

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

The sustainability space can be overwhelming to say the least, with so much noise around the topic, new trends cropping up, and buzzwords appearing all the time. We all know for one reason or another that sustainability is important. But ever wondered why? Or how? And perhaps, a more fundamental question should be asked first - what is actually meant by the term ‘sustainability’?

What Sustainability Means

Sustainability is about acting in a way in the present which doesn’t harm, jeopardise, or compromise future generations ability to live. More simply, it means not using resources, particularly natural ones, which cannot be replaced, in order to maintain an ecological balance.

Being sustainable and making sustainable choices needs to be considered in every aspect of everyday life - putting sustainability at the forefront of everything we do ensures we will have minimal impact on the environment.

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Why Sustainability Matters

Sustainability matters because our, and the planet’s, future depends on it. Sustainability is about finding and maintaining the balance between taking and giving which is essential for the future. Not acting sustainably will damage the lives of our future generations, cause global temperature increases, increase frequency of natural disasters, and will force thousands more species to become extinct.

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Why Sustainability is Important in Business

We all need to take responsibility for our own actions, and that doesn’t stop on an individual level - every business needs to be held accountable for their environmental impact. 

Ecommerce businesses come under scrutiny, and in a lot of cases, rightly so, for their impact - with inbound deliveries of stock which can come from anywhere across the globe, outbound deliveries to individual customers around the country, continent, or world, the warehouses and offices needed to run the business, let alone the packaging involved too - it all soon adds up to a hefty carbon footprint.

But, there’s so many quick and easy ways businesses can reduce their carbon footprint, and by making just a few small changes, it can have such a big and positive impact on the environment. And with consumers now actively choosing companies who are aligned with their eco values, using eco friendly packaging, but are also willing to pay more for it - the time for businesses to act is most definitely now, not least as it’s the right thing to do, but it’s going to begin to affect your bottom line too.

As a business looking to be more sustainable, your packaging is an excellent place to start as you’ll find quick wins here for sure. Are you using plastic packaging items for which there are paper alternatives? Are you using void fill, and if so, is there a more appropriate size, or type of packaging which would fit and suit better? If you’re using paper based packaging, is it made from virgin or recycled materials? How clear and obvious are the eco credentials of the packaging, and does your packaging tell your customer what they need to do with it once they’ve finished with it? There are so many possibilities for improvements, small and large, and we guarantee there’ll be something your business can do to make a difference.

Top Tip - Make sure you look out for logos for ‘sustainably sourced materials’ as it means the materials used to make the packaging or item were either replenished, or already in existence and recycled into a new form. 

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Where to Start with Sustainability

Whether you’re approaching sustainability as an individual or a business, this first piece of advice remains the same - the key to getting ahead is getting started. Begin by categorising the different aspects of your life or operation (e.g. food, travel, or packaging, couriers) and review what you’re doing.

As an individual, starting with sustainability can be as simple as remembering to take your bags for life with you to the supermarket, buying loose fruit and vegetables instead of plastic wrapped, walking instead of driving a journey, eating meat-free or plant-based for a day or more a week, turning plugs off when not in use, and making sure you do your recycling at home. None of these suggestions would result in a huge upheaval to your normal daily life, nor do they add much effort, time, or cost to you - but the planet would benefit hugely if we all tried.

As a business, your footprint will obviously be larger than as an individual - but don’t find this overwhelming, instead view it as a bigger opportunity to improve. You don’t have to change all aspects of your operation overnight, evaluate what your business is using and compare it to what it actually needs to use, and you’ll soon start making progress. 

Cutting carbon emissions is key for a sustainable future, and so a simple one to start with is choosing a renewable energy supplier - most companies handle all of the switch process themselves so you don’t have anything to worry about when going from old to new. 

For ecommerce businesses, logistics and deliveries are likely to be the main cause of carbon emissions, so pay close attention here when you’re looking to become more sustainable. Your choice of courier plays a big part here - Royal Mail is an excellent lower carbon delivery partner as by using the postal network, they aren’t making additional journeys to houses as they were going there anyway to deliver letters. If your parcels are too much for Royal Mail, choose a courier who offers carbon neutral delivery and/or has electric vehicles in their fleet. 

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Sustainability vs CSR

Whilst both sustainability and CSR seem similar in the sense they’re both designed to do good - there are several differences between the two. The first major difference being around the timeline; sustainability missions are set out as longer term future commitments which are very unlikely to change year to year. CSR statements on the other hand are focused on the now, set out each year and will change yearly depending on company objectives for that time period.

Another difference between sustainability and CSR is the scope involved - with sustainability missions, because they’re longer term, they revolve around systematic change in a business and a commitment which will be far-reaching. As CSR comes at a cost to a business whether through charity donations or staff volunteering days, it’s likely to be more limited in terms of scope. 

Something which also needs considering as a key difference between the two is the motive. CSR can be seen as, and indeed sometimes is, a PR activity - businesses want to be seen to be doing the right thing and so throw some (likely to be insignificant) money at an issue in society, get some good press about the good they’re doing, and that’s it. When it comes to sustainability though, your responsibility to the planet and the future doesn’t stop, and it can’t be resolved with a donation - a sustainability commitment becomes the way you run your business and go about your day to day life. 

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Do you have any other eco questions which have been bugging you? Did these answers surprise you from what you thought originally? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, we’re here to help. From top tips and guides, to sustainable packaging solutions, supply chain audits, and BCorp certification help - we’ve got a team of experts on hand to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us and we’ll do everything we can to answer your questions - or if you just want to say hello, tell us a joke, or let us know what your weekend plans are, we’d love that too.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Branding Your Eco Packaging: Telling Your Sustainability Story

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

Your packaging is where your brand reaches the customer in a physical sense. Choosing the right materials, and ensuring your customer understands them, is a huge opportunity for your brand to demonstrate its commitment to the environment.

Swapping to a sustainable solution is the sensible thing to do, however not informing your customer of your packaging’s eco credentials renders your smart choice almost useless. Plastic manufacturers are turning to grass, polythene producers are turning to potato starch, but unless it’s completely apparent that these new eco-friendly products aren’t the same as the age-old plastics which we’re all guilty of binning, we’re not going to see any considerable change.

The majority of stock packaging lines include official eco markers as standard, though when businesses create their own unique beautiful branded packaging, eco icons tend to be neglected and forgotten about. Whichever solution, stock or bespoke, is best for your business, it’s important to realise that these markers are a great way to communicate your values to your customers, tell your eco story, and help to evangelise your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Official Eco Markers

If your main focus is instant recognition on a global or national scale, it may be wise to stick with the more traditional and official eco markers. We’ve put just a few below which you should already be familiar with, but as the eco-friendly need continues to grow, we’re seeing more and more rise in popularity and come to the forefront:

FSC
PEFC
Compostable
FSC promotes responsible management of the world's rainforests so you can recognise your items are from well-managed forests.PEFC promotes responsible management of the world's rainforests throughout the supply chain so you can buy sustainably sourced and produced items.Compostable logo bearers are certified to be industrially compostable according to the European standard EN 13432/14955.
Plastic Free
Mobius Loop
Green Dot
Plastic Free is used to indicate where products are exactly that, and most prominently used in the food and drinks industry.The recyclable logo is universally recognised for where the products' materials are partially or totally recyclable.The green dot signifies the manufacturer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging.

Unofficial Eco Markers

You don't have to stick with the official markers to show off the eco-credentials of your packaging. We’ve listed just a few examples of creative ways to speak to your customers about the eco-friendliness of your packaging to show it can be fun, on-brand, and easy-to-achieve:

Biodegradable Sustainably Sourced
An easy and effective way to communicate important eco credentials of your product packaging. Made sustainably but no official marker? Combine multiple sustainable source credentials with this logo.
Plastic Free I am not Rubbish
Show you understand and care about the fight against plastic in the oceans by adding this marker to your plastic free products. Be fun but blatant with your message and speak directly to your customers about the packaging material.

Get Inspired

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Care/of

Care/of, a personalised vitamin and supplement company made a sustainability shift in their packaging back in April 2019. Their vitamin packs are now made with a plant-based film; making them a great sustainable, compostable packaging option. They inform their customers of this packaging choice by opting for simple, yet effective messaging; speaking directly to the consumer and highlighting the eco credentials. ‘This pack is now made with compostable, plant-based materials’ is a message that cannot be missed or ignored, and one that encourages customers to dispose of the packaging correctly.

Priory Elements

Branding your packing tape is an incredibly effective way to add a personal touch to your despatches as it is, but using it to add an eco-message is an even smarter solution. Priory Elements, our very own brand of sustainable, planet friendly packaging solutions, uses a mixture of simple eco messaging and unofficial markers. Printed with ‘Delivered in planet friendly packaging’ and easy to understand icons, the Priory Elements EcoTape shows customers our eco values and draws attention to the sustainability of the product. Encouraging end users to dispose of packaging correctly is hugely important, and, therefore, simple branding can help hone in on the message.

Ask The Experts

By working together to swap to eco-friendly products and educating and informing business owners, we’re paving the way to a greener future for us all. We hope this has given you all the information you could need to know about eco markers and the importance of passing on the message to your customers, and probably a little bit more too. We pride ourselves on our service and sharing our knowledge wherever possible, so if you have any questions then please speak to us on live chat, give us a call on 01622 580100, or use our Contact page.

eCommerce operations are our speciality and we can advise on all aspects of despatch to assist you in perfecting your process, so please get in touch - we’ll be happy to help.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Recycled vs New Materials - Which is Better to Protect Our Planet?

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Awin, Business Services (B2B), UK

We’ve all been told that recycling plays a key role in saving the planet - but have you ever wondered how it helps, thought about what it does, or questioned what impact it actually has on the environment?

When it comes to recycling, as with most things in the fight against climate change, the small things you do really can and will make a big difference on a larger scale. But don’t just take our word for it – here are some statistics for what you’ve been wanting to know:

The Current Situation

In the UK, the most recent waste statistics show that we’re actually not doing too badly at all, with 70.2% of packaging waste being either recycled or recovered. 

It’s a good start for sure, but it does mean that nearly a third of packaging isn’t making it’s way into the recycling bin. It’s crucial businesses start making a conscious effort with their packaging, and most importantly, telling their customers what to do once they’ve finished with it. You can spend a lot of money on ensuring your packaging is super eco-friendly, but if it doesn’t tell your customers what it is or what they need to do with it, it’s wasted effort, so brand your eco-friendly packaging with easy-to-understand messages or symbols for next steps.

However, all of the current UK recycling efforts are estimated to be saving more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road. This really goes to prove the power of a seemingly small effort from millions of individuals - it really does add up!

The environmental benefits don’t stop with lower carbon emissions either – when recycled material makes its way back into the manufacturing process, the difference in using recycled and raw materials is very apparent.

Manufacturing Using Recycled Materials

Recycled paper can be made by using just a few non-hazardous chemicals, while virgin paper is produced with hundreds of hazardous and highly toxic chemicals. Not only that, but making paper from recycled paper uses 40% less energy, and emits 55% less air and water pollution than making it from virgin wood fibres.

The benefits don’t stop with paper either, as using just one tonne of recycled plastic saves 5,774 Kwh of energy and 16.3 barrels of oil. Simply ensuring the plastic waste from your household alone is properly disposed of would have such a large, positive impact on the environment, helping to get it back into the manufacturing process, and reducing the need for raw plastics.

With all of this in mind, you’re not alone in questioning if there’s really any positives associated with using raw or virgin materials? Well, are there? Let’s take a look.

Manufacturing Using Raw Materials

Using raw materials undoubtedly has a huge environmental impact, and not in a good way either. However, given the increased demand over recent years for more eco-friendly packaging, more and more manufacturers are choosing to use new, innovative materials which have a low environmental impact up-front and can be recycled time and time again.

For example, grass paper (exactly what the name suggests, paper made from grass), is brand new to the packaging world. Using grass to make paper uses 50% less raw material, 85% less energy, and 99% less water than wood does.

It’s important to bear in mind that you can only recycle a material so many times, so we’d never be able to completely remove raw materials from use. Grass is a fast growing, renewable resource that is naturally biodegradable and compostable, which would be far better for the environment to have in the supply chain than wood pulp paper.

The Verdict

Without a doubt, the environmental benefits of using recycled materials far outweigh raw materials. If packaging could only be made from recycled materials the planet would be better for it. One thing is for certain, the more sustainable the raw material is, the better it’ll be for the planet the first time it’s used, and every time thereafter.

If you stop for a moment and think about your recycling efforts - do you do everything you could? Are you aware of the recyclability of everyday items you ordinarily throw away? Our Recycling Locator widget allows you to find what and where you can recycle materials and items - and even if it can be done at home or not. We know that recycling can make a huge difference in the fight against climate change, and all of our individual efforts will have a collective impact which we can be proud of.

Ask The Experts

If you have any questions or need advice on choosing the right eco friendly packaging for you and your business please contact us. eCommerce despatch operations are our speciality so if you have any unanswered questions or require further assistance then please get in touch – we’ll be more than happy to help. 

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

New Priory Elements Ranges

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Product Launches, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office

We're extremely proud of our Priory Elements products, and are continually looking to expand our ranges, offering our customers planet-friendly alternatives to their favourite packaging supplies. Designed with the environment in mind, our sustainably made and responsibly sold Priory Elements packaging helps to minimise the use of new materials, prevent biodegradable waste by-products, and ensure you can easily recycle after use.

Priory Elements EcoBoxes

Our new range of Priory Elements EcoBoxes are postage optimised and quick to assemble. Featuring a peel and seal closure, there is no need for packing tape - ideal for reducing packaging waste. The integrated tear open strip means a fuss-free opening for customers too. Ocean-friendly and 100% plastic-free, our EcoBoxes are made from sustainably sourced, recycled materials.

Priory Elements EcoPaddedMailers

These lightweight, protective Priory Elements EcoPaddedMailers are ideal for safely sending a range of products the eco way. Offering a plastic-free, planet-friendly alternative to bubble lined bags, the protective inner is made using paper instead of a plastic bubble lining. So, once finished with, there is no need to separate, simply place the whole EcoPaddedMailer into paper and cardboard recycling. Requiring no tape, instead these paper mailers have a peel and seal strip, making them 100% biodegradable and the perfect sustainable packaging solution.

1% For The Planet

As part of our promise to work towards a more sustainable future, we are partnered with 1% For The Planet, meaning that 1% of every sale of across all of our Priory Elements ranges goes towards environmental charities at no extra cost to our customers. Shop now and package your products in packaging that protects the elements.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

CASE STUDY: I Love Wallpaper - Putting Personality Into Packaging

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in UK, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B)

For almost three decades, I Love Wallpaper have been dedicated to helping the British public find their own unique style and create homes they adore, as they have the belief that walls simply have more to say than ‘magnolia.’

With that ambition in mind, and with over 500 designs in their range, I Love Wallpaper introduced a sample service, so customers could see physical samples and try out wallpaper designs before they buy.

And when it comes to samples packaging, it couldn’t be more critical to spend the time getting it right, as it’s often where your customer will first meet your brand in a physical sense - and first impressions go an awfully long way.

I Love Wallpaper were using one of our old stock packaging solutions, silver metallic foil mailers, for sending out their samples. These mailers are certainly striking and eye-catching, but they don’t represent the I Love Wallpaper brand, what they’re about, nor in keeping with the brand’s values, and most significantly, they don’t speak for the high quality and premium customer experience you get with I Love Wallpaper.

So, step aside unbranded, unprotective, non-eco-friendly mailing bags, and say hello to stand-out design, beautifully printed, sustainably made envelopes, whilst being a physical representation and delivering on their wider brand goal of making achieving eye-catching design effortless.

Story

These printed envelopes deliver in so many ways for I Love Wallpaper - and most notably in the way they make an instant, eye-catching, high quality feeling impression before the mailer is even opened. When these envelopes are put through potential customers’ letterboxes, there’s no question who the mail is from, it stands out from the rest, and ultimately goes to show how powerful some wallpaper can be!

Product

Instead of pursuing a branded version of the metallic foil mailers, we worked with I Love Wallpaper to find a more suitable packaging solution which not only offered better protection to the samples, but to the planet too. The cardboard mailers at the base of this solution are manufactured from sustainable sources in the UK (unlike the metallic foil mailers which were made in China), and are also fully recyclable and completely plastic free. And the good news doesn’t stop there as the cardboard lends extra rigidity to keep the samples flat, but it’s still lightweight enough to not add to postal charges. A real winner all round!

Print

These envelopes are fully digitally printed; giving a fully encompassing design which can be easily changed and updated as and when I Love Wallpaper want to. A flexible design, in more ways than one, which suits a brand who wants to effortlessly ensure their packaging reflects how they keep on top of changing trends and designs.

Sustainability

Like thousands of businesses, I Love Wallpaper are on their own sustainability journey, as they’ve made their commitment to the planet, and their customers, that they will be making their wallpaper from sustainably sourced materials. As a business, that’s a big decision to make, and so it’s very important that the messaging from the brand is consistent throughout - afterall, spending time, money, and effort on ensuring the product is as eco friendly as possible, but then choosing packaging which is on the other end of the spectrum can really let down the brand, and how customers perceive it. 

By changing from the unrecyclable silver metallic foil mailers, I Love Wallpaper have removed unnecessary plastic from their packaging, and instead have a fully recyclable solution with eco symbols to explain it to customers. They’re also finding, because of the stand-out design, that customers are choosing to re-use the envelopes for storing samples, papers, and other documents too.

Summary

We just love these stylish mailers. If you needed inspiration for putting personality into your packaging, you couldn't get much better than this!

As an online retailer, offering a samples service can really help, particularly where customers are used to buying the types of products you sell in physical stores. Whilst it may seem like an unnecessary business expense at the start, you really shouldn’t underestimate the power and importance which samples can have; offering an opportunity to not just send out what was requested, but get an early brand impression with your potential new customer, meaning they can really get a complete picture of who your company is. 

I Love Wallpaper have proved that you don't have to choose between sustainable and beautiful - you really can have both, and we'd love to help you achieve this too. We have a team of experts on hand to help and advise you on packaging which ticks all your boxes. Take a look at what we can do, or get in touch with our team to discuss your hopes, dreams, and goals (for your packaging, not on a personal level - don't get us wrong, the team are great listeners, they just may not be able to give you a breakdown for how you can become a millionaire overnight), and they'll be there to help create the perfect solution you need, guiding you through it every step of the way.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Amazon 2020 Sustainability Report - How Green Are The Ecommerce Giant?

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK, Uncategorized

Amazon have recently published their sustainability report for the last year, detailing how their operations across the globe have performed from an environmental point of view, their progress, and their commitments to the planet now and into the future. 

As one of the world’s largest online retailers, it’s unsurprising that Amazon are under scrutiny when it comes to sustainability - delivering more than 10 billion items a year certainly will come at a cost to the environment, but how much?

At A Glance:

With the latest report coming in at a total of 138 pages, it's clear that Amazon have a lot to say - here are the headlines:

  • Became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy
  • Reached 65% renewable energy across the business
  • Delivered more than 20 million packages to customers in electric delivery vehicles
  • Ordered 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles
  • Launched The Climate Pledge Fund with a $2bn investment
  • Increased absolute carbon emissions by 19%, overall carbon density reduced by 16%
  • Eliminated more than 1 million tons of packaging material, equivalent to 2 billion shipping boxes, since 2015
  • Reduced the weight of outbound packaging by over 36%

A Closer Look:

The World’s Largest Corporate Purchaser of Renewable Energy

We know that adoption of renewable energy is crucial in the fight against climate change, so news like this is surely a good thing, right? Well...not completely… Whilst purchasing renewable energy is a positive thing for the planet as wind, solar, and hydro energy emits no greenhouse gases, unlike non-renewable energy such as fossil fuels, and will help Amazon on their journey to achieve net zero, it’s not actually addressing the root of the problem - the carbon emitting activities in the first place. Purchasing renewable energy doesn’t encourage Amazon to behave any differently, and it’s not changing their infrastructure - if anything, it’s allowing them to continue with poor environmental practices, and not feel as guilty about it. In an operation as large as Amazon, there will be many carbon emitting activities taking place throughout the supply chain which could at worst, be significantly improved, and at best, be removed altogether - it comes down to businesses owning and taking responsibility for their actions and implementing change, instead of relying on offsetting to be the solution.

65% Renewable Across The Business

As mentioned above, renewable energy is really critical to limiting climate change, so for a business as large as Amazon with thousands of warehouses, offices, and stores across 5 continents to be using 65% renewable energy is great news - and the even better news is they’re set to be using 100% renewable energy by 2025. Originally they were targeting 2030, so a 5 year improvement on that is really commendable. Personally, I think the statistic which is most impressive in this area isn’t one Amazon seem to be shouting about - the improvement from 42% renewable energy in 2019, to 65% in 2020. A near 55% increase in 12 months for a multinational business is a giant leap in the right direction, and one they should be proud of. 

More Than 20 Million Packages By Electric Delivery Vehicles

20 million packages certainly seems like a fair few - however when you consider that Amazon deliver more than 10 billion items a year, those 20 million parcels by electric vehicle doesn’t seem to be that many at all (in the grand scheme of things), representing just 0.2% of their deliveries. This number will only increase over the next decade, but with the power and capacity Amazon has, I’d expect them to be doing more at this stage. 

Electric Delivery Vehicle Fleet

Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles in 2019 - the first of which were on the roads earlier this year. They’re planning on having 10,000 on the road “as early as 2022”, and the remainder up and running by 2030. Whilst I appreciate 100,000 electric vehicles is going to require work at their delivery centres across the globe with charging stations an absolute must, I do think the roll out could happen much sooner - what are they gaining by waiting? Will these charging points actually use renewable energy, or is the delay in deployment to give them time to sort out further offsetting? Another thing to consider here is that Amazon rely on third party couriers to deliver reportedly up to 50% of their parcels - if 100,000 electric vehicles of their own is only enough for half of their deliveries they need to make at the moment, what are they going to do to cover for the inevitable business growth they’ll see over the next 9 years? Rely even more on third parties? If so, will they only work with third parties who use electric vehicles? Perhaps they should increase their order, and quickly too...

The Climate Pledge Fund

Off the back of co-founding The Climate Pledge in 2019 which sees businesses commit to being net zero by 2040, in 2020, Amazon created The Climate Pledge Fund. The idea behind The Climate Pledge Fund is for Amazon to invest in companies that can ‘accelerate Amazon’s path to meeting The Climate Pledge.’ And that investment isn’t small either - it’s set as $2bn and the plan is ‘to support development of decarbonising services and technologies’. So far, they’ve invested in 9 companies, with services ranging from lower carbon concrete to electric aircrafts. Amazon are clearly aware of their current largest carbon emitting activities and are thinking ahead to achieving the 2040 target they set for net zero. They know they need solutions to their problems, have identified who can provide them, and are investing a hefty amount into them. A really great initiative - let’s hope the companies they’ve invested in aren’t going to be exclusive for Amazon and will provide access to their services regardless of business size as it could be a real game changer on a big scale.

Carbon Emissions Increase, Carbon Density Decrease

Unsurprisingly, Amazon saw huge growth last year as, in the UK at least, everyone was forced to shop online. More online shopping means more deliveries, so the question was never ‘would Amazon’s carbon emissions increase?’, it was always ‘by how much?’ A near 20% increase in emissions is significant and scary for any business, let alone one the size and scale of Amazon. 2020 certainly did cause unprecedented demand, and pretty much overnight too - undoubtedly they would have needed more delivery vehicles for the increased order volumes, yet they didn’t use any of their 100,000 new electric vehicles and instead outsourced or purchased more non-electric vehicles. At the time, it would have come down to letting customers down or abandoning their environmental responsibility - whilst neither of these options are something a business wants to be faced with, there would have been a better compromise than the colossal 19% increase in carbon emissions we’ve seen. 

There is more hope for the future though, as Amazon are reporting a reduction in overall carbon density of 16%. Partly due to the change in customer behaviour and online shopping having a lower carbon footprint compared to their physical stores, and also in part to their fulfilment operations which saw an increase in renewable energy usage, efficiencies in transport network, and reduction of packaging materials. 

Amazon are admitting that they are still in the early stages of decarbonising their business, and that it will take several years for the reduction in carbon intensity to be reflected in an overall carbon footprint reduction - which it will - and is certainly now a bigger task given the huge, unforeseen, increase in emissions last year. 

Saved 1 Million Tons of Packaging Material

Amazon have come under a lot of scrutiny for the size of their packaging compared to the size of the contents. This has evidently improved in the last 5 years with that enormous reduction in packaging material through investment in technologies and solutions, which means they now have just a handful of packaging items, and there will be a solution which gives a ‘best fit’ for the vast majority of the 350 million products they sell. However, Amazon still face a problem when it comes to shipping multiple items in one order. Multi-product orders are frequently being sent in oversized packaging which not only is a waste of materials, but is resulting in a much larger carbon footprint than necessary due to the amount of air they’re shipping. Dedicating just one paragraph to one of their biggest problems, and opportunities to improve, in the 138 page report where they state they’re using AI to optimise packaging choices is a serious oversight in how much of a problem this is for them. Oversized packaging means there is air (with or without void fill) in nearly every single despatch Amazon do. Air in a parcel is an inefficiency; not only is the packaging the wrong size, but it also means that less parcels will fit in delivery vehicles, meaning more on the road, and therefore, unnecessary extra carbon emissions. And on a business of Amazon’s scale, these inefficient packaging choices are really coming at a cost to the environment. This has been a problem for a while, and we need to see improvements in action.

Outbound Packaging Weight Reduction

A reduction of packaging weight is a good thing as it shows Amazon are continuing to improve the materials they’re using to send goods, however, this is really further evidence for our above point. Reducing the weight of outbound packaging isn’t going to solve the fundamental issue which Amazon have, as air has no weight. Lighter packages don't help with the wasted space they have in their supply chain, nor the knock-on-effect of far more vehicles on the roads than necessary and the associated higher carbon emissions. Using AI and algorithms to decide which size packaging is needed is great in theory, and sometimes in practice too, but ultimately, common sense should prevail and step in when there is a more suitable solution available.

Our Verdict

Overwhelmingly, Amazon are doing a great job when it comes to sustainability. Ultimately, people shop on Amazon because it’s convenient, it’s reliable and it’s fast, not because of their values, their renewable energy usage, nor their packaging choices - but they’re making a real effort when really, they don’t have to. As one of the world’s largest retailers who turned over $386.06bn in 2020 alone, there’s nothing stopping Amazon from using cheap plastic mailing bags which they could import from China for a fraction of a pence per bag - but they’re not. They’re choosing recyclable packaging, they’re choosing to eliminate single use plastic films, they’re choosing paper over plastic. Whether that’s because of a genuine desire to protect their namesake and the planet itself, or because they want to be seen to be doing the right thing is another matter, however I do believe it’s more the former than the latter. No-one has set a target for Amazon to be net zero by 2040, other than Amazon. No-one has demanded a $2bn investment into cutting edge companies providing climate positive solutions, but Amazon have done it anyway. 

The cause of frustration we, and a lot of others, have is that they have the power, the people, and perhaps most crucially, the funds, to do even more and make a really positive and lasting impact, but they’re not even vaguely testing the limits. They’ve made some good changes so far and are laying the foundation for doing a lot of big things right in the future, but there’s smaller and more attainable opportunities right in front of them which they’re neglecting at the moment. Addressing the amount of shipped air in their supply chain would be straightforward for them to put right, looking at how they can change to genuinely green business activities instead of relying on purchasing carbon offsets in the short term is another key step for them which has gone unmentioned as well. Fundamentally, ignoring the situation altogether will never result in change. 

Other business giants could learn an awful lot from Amazon’s approach and practices for sustainability. If governments and official bodies won’t take the climate crisis as seriously as it needs to be taken, businesses, particularly ones with so much power, should take matters into their own hands and start - if not now, when?

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

We've Removed Our Shrink Wrap & Plastic Strapping

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), News, UK, Updates

Becoming an eco-friendly ecommerce operation is a never-ending task, and it is important that to continue on our sustainability journey, we must constantly look at ways to reduce our impact on the environment and protect our planet for the future.

As you may have seen, we have removed shrink wrap and plastic strapping from the packaging on all of our integrated labels - saving around 5 tonnes of single-use plastic each year!

What are we doing instead?

As an alternative, we have made the switch to paper strapping - just as effective, but fully eco-friendly. It can be as easily recycled as card or paper, and is fully biodegradable. With 70% of consumers actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging, it’s important that we offer sustainable solutions so we can all help each other in protecting our environment. [1]

Why are single-use plastics so bad?

Single-use plastics are damaging to our planet. Incapable of degrading, they break down into microplastics, releasing toxic chemicals into our water supplies, food, and ecosystems. Ingested by wildlife, in particular aquatic animals, scientists have found that microplastics are prevalent in 114 sea creatures, with more than half of those consumed as food by humans[2]. It has been found that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish, and with 80% of marine litter originating on land, it’s up to us to take actionable steps in managing our plastic waste correctly in a way that won't harm the environment, wildlife and oceans[3].

So, what can you do to help?

Popularly used for packaging and service ware, single-use plastics are meant to be disposed of after use, however over the years, this has led to a multitude of damaging environmental consequences. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom - there are many, simple ways you can make small changes to your day-to-day life or to your business that can help.

1. Opt for reusable products

It’s easy to forget the impact that disposable plastics have on the environment, especially with today’s ‘throwaway culture’ and prioritising convenience over considering the long-term effects. Choosing items such as reusable water bottles and coffee cups, or cloth shopping bags and reusable metal straws is a quick fix that everyone can implement into their daily routine.

2. Recycle your plastic waste

It may seem like an obvious solution, but currently only 32% of total UK plastic waste is recycled[4]. Recycling plastic requires less energy than producing plastic products, preserving the Earth’s natural resources and easing the demand of fossil fuel consumption, ultimately minimising its environmental footprint. With many types of plastic circulating, it’s also important to understand what to look out for on your plastic products and how to correctly recycle your plastic waste.

3. Choose plastic-free packaging

As the global war on plastic continues, it’s no surprise that there has been a growing demand for plastic-free packaging over the years. In light of this, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic packaging are constantly being developed, so that no matter what your packaging needs are, there is sure to be a sustainable, plastic-free solution. Implementing plastic-free packaging into your business is a great way of reducing plastic waste, limiting your impact on the environment and wildlife, and decrease your carbon footprint.

4. Look out for microbeads

Commonly found in many cosmetic and beauty products, microbeads are tiny amounts of plastic used in facial scrubs, toothpaste and body washes. Although they might look harmless, they are passed through into water treatment plants and are often mistaken by marine animals as food. There are various natural alternatives available such as oats or even salt, which pose no harm to the environment. 

5. Buy in bulk where possible

Single-serving, travel-size, and small packaging products all contribute to greater plastic waste. Consider the ratio between product size and packaging and select the larger container as an alternative to buying several smaller sizes over time.

Ultimately, reducing plastic consumption is the most effective way of reducing waste and the implications of plastic pollution. Whilst we can't all do everything, everyone can do something - the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

How Important Is Sustainability In Online Retail? A Consumer Led Movement

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK, Uncategorized

As sustainability and planet protection grows in interest amongst the general public, and with the airing of eye-opening documentaries on mainstream TV, and most recently the publishing of the IPCC report, there’s no wonder it’s such a prevalent and important topic. But what does sustainability mean within ecommerce and online retail, and what do consumers really want?
Search engine data shows that searches for terms such as ‘sustainable retail’ and ‘vegan’ are up by ~22% and ~46% respectively within the last 2 years, and with more than 4 out of 10 shoppers saying they would pay more for a sustainably sourced product[1], it’s clear to say that sustainability is at the forefront of consumer’s minds; and therefore, the shift to sustainability and eco commitment within ecommerce is certainly a consumer-led movement.

We’ve taken a look at the eco consumer survey held by Sifted which asked 500 participants how much they care about sustainability when purchasing online, and here’s what we’ve found.

How important is sustainability to consumers?

When it comes to choosing suppliers, brands or businesses to purchase from, how important is sustainability to consumers? Well the answer is, very. Research has shown that two thirds of the 500 consumers asked said that their purchasing decision is influenced by the sustainability and eco-friendly practices of a brand or business[2]. This shows that the majority of consumers are perhaps no longer led by price comparison, or brand name, but rather they are led by the sustainability of a brand and the actions they are taking to be more planet friendly. This is why authenticity is so important when it comes to brands telling their sustainability story, and greenwashing or un-genuine attempts at going green are no longer acceptable.
This is further exemplified by the findings that a mere 21% of those asked said that they never research the sustainability of a company before purchasing from them[2]. That means an outstanding 79% of consumers will do their homework before committing to a purchase. Sustainability has never been so important, and with consumers demanding brands to be better, they have no choice but to step up.

Consumers who purchase online regularly and receive 5 or more packages a month tend to have higher eco expectations of a brand than those who have a lower online order frequency. 72% of regular online shoppers say that a business's eco-friendliness is important, or very important to them, compared to 65% of those who receive just one or two parcels per month[3]. Although the research does not delve into the reasoning behind regular purchasers having high expectations of a brand, it could be suggested that due to the high order frequency, regular shoppers are more aware of the damage that online retail can have on the environment. From the shipping and packaging, down to the way products are manufactured, regular online shoppers may feel a responsibility to the environment to ensure the brands they purchase from are doing their bit.

What do shoppers think of the packaging they receive their goods in?

Packaging goods for despatch and shipping is an integral aspect of any online retail operation, and packaging choices can have a huge impact on consumer perception of brands and their eco values. When asked about the packaging that companies use to ship goods, 81% of consumers believe that companies use excessive packaging[3], and 66% of consumers believe that the size of the package has a moderate to high impact on sustainability[4]. And they’re not wrong. Oversized packaging that has to be filled with void fill in order to protect a small product in a large box is an example of shipping unnecessary air in despatches. Unfortunately, this is a widespread issue, and with 8.2 million parcels being shipped everyday in the UK, oversized packaging can add up to be a huge problem. Not only does oversized packaging lead to excessive use of void fill and other filler packaging, it also takes up more room than needed on delivery vans; consequently resulting in more vans being used. And we don’t need to tell you that this equals higher carbon emissions and a higher overall carbon footprint for the online retail industry as a whole.

With a whopping 74% of consumers feeling that packaging has a moderate to high impact on sustainability[4], it’s more important than ever for brands and businesses to make responsible packaging choices. Making small swaps to recyclable or biodegradable alternatives, ensuring cardboard boxes are well sized for the goods they ship, and reducing single use plastics are all ways that brands can improve the sustainability of their operation through packaging. Consumers are very aware of the impact of packaging and therefore, it’s no surprise that shoppers are likely to base their purchasing decision on the efforts that brands are making to improve their sustainability.

Do consumers care about eco-friendly shipping methods?

With lots of online retailers offering next day delivery across their whole product ranges, consumers have become accustomed to speedy delivery processes that means their goods arrive with them almost as quickly as if they’d visited the shop themselves. This is clearly evident in the research with 74% of consumers stating that shipping speed is important or very important when making an online purchasing choice[4]. However, 82% of those asked said that they would wait an extra day if it meant their goods were shipped in a more eco-friendly way, and 17% would wait an additional 3 days[5]. Furthermore, 91% of consumers said that they would like to see an eco-friendly shipping option in the checkout when purchasing goods online[6]. The fact that consumers are willing to compromise on the speed of their delivery in order to reduce the impact that delivery has on the environment shows that consumers truly have a genuine concern for the planet and want retailers to share that concern and act upon it.

How important is price to consumers?

So we’ve established that the majority of consumers are concerned by the sustainability of a supplier, business or brand that they purchase from, but with that in mind, how does eco concern match up against price? Is price still a leading factor in a consumers buying cycle? Or is the cost to the environment more important?

It’s not surprising that 92% of consumers still think that price is a ‘somewhat’ important factor when making purchasing decisions, however, that is rivalled by the 88% of consumers who think eco-friendly practices are also important[7]. It appears that consumers are now at the point where the balance between sustainability importance and price importance are almost level, and that balance may be beginning to tilt even more towards sustainability. 57% of all consumers asked, stated that they would be willing to spend 10% more for eco-friendly packaging and shipping, and 80% are willing to pay at least an additional 5%[8]. Even amongst the most price-conscious consumers, the willingness to spend more on a more sustainable shipping and packaging method is certainly a step in the right direction towards protecting our planet.

It’s evident that consumers want businesses to have sustainability at the forefront in all that they do, from eco practices within the company, to sustainable packaging and shipping methods. The ever-growing concern for the environment has only been escalated by the IPCC Climate Change Report, and it’s clear that consumers are driving the changes by expecting more from their online suppliers. All these small steps towards more sustainable practices are adding up to make a big difference to the future of our planet, and if we all continue to expect high eco standard from businesses, we are building a greener, more eco-friendly future.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Climate Action Is Needed - 7 Ways You & Your Business Can Make A Difference (And They’re Simpler Than You May Think)

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in UK, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office

Last week, the IPCC released a landmark document on climate change which uncovered the implications and reality of the damage human behaviour has caused on our planet. ‘Bleak’ is an understatement for the general feeling after reading it, and even their ‘best case scenario’ wasn’t exactly enjoyable. It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed with so much negative news, but don’t lose hope, as one thing prevailed through it all - scientists think a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast.

So, with that in mind, we want to help you with some simple ways you and your business can help - and whilst they’re seemingly small, if we all take note and act upon them, it’ll make a big difference.

1 - Renewable Energy

Whether you’re at home or the office, review your choice of energy supplier and the source of the energy they’re providing you - solar and wind, or coal and oil? We know from the IPCC report that reducing greenhouse gas emissions needs to be our number one priority, so choosing a responsible renewable energy supplier needs to be at the forefront for all of us, businesses and individuals alike. Most suppliers now take care of the switch for you, so swapping couldn’t be easier.

2 - Values, Set, Match

Review your suppliers - whilst they may be offering a good price, ask yourself are they aligned with your beliefs and values as a business? Have you seen their environmental commitment or statement about what they’re doing to help the planet? And if yes, are they actually acting upon it? Challenge them, ask questions, seek proof - after all, authenticity is key, particularly when it comes to sustainability. You are your suppliers’ customer, and you have power to support those who look after you and the planet without compromise.

3 - Source Domestically

Manufacturing abroad may be the cheapest option for you, but the environmental cost of transporting those goods to you, and then on to your customers, will be huge. Investigate if and where you can source goods closer to home as the less miles it is from your supplier to you, the less carbon will be emitted into the atmosphere. For those where importing is the only option, discuss with the logistics company if there are more eco-friendly or carbon efficient delivery methods, and if possible, if they will, or contribute to, carbon offsetting the journeys.

4 - Carbon Neutral Delivery

Delivery is a fact of life for eCommerce businesses, and as transportation is the leading cause of carbon emissions, there’s room for improvement for a lot of businesses here. Some major couriers, like DPD, offer carbon neutral deliveries and are expanding their delivery vans with electric options as well, so take this into consideration when selecting your courier partners. If you don’t require a courier service, a low carbon delivery solution is to use Royal Mail, as postal workers are already out delivering mail around the country 6 days a week, so it’s not adding unnecessary journeys or extra vans on the roads. 

If you’re looking to go carbon neutral throughout your supply chain, ask your suppliers to give preference to low carbon, or net zero logistics providers, or if they’ll offset the journeys themselves. More and more transport and logistics companies are taking ownership of their environmental responsibility, and as with all things, it’s worth asking as, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

5 - Join the Cycle2Work Scheme

Go zero carbon with your, and your employees’ commute and sign up for the Cycle2Work scheme which is designed to allow companies to help employees buy bikes to commute to work with. The scheme has been in place for a long time now, but the pandemic brought about a fresh love of the outdoors for a lot of us, so even if you signed up a while ago, it’s worth reminding your employees that they can still take advantage of it! Cycling is great for keeping fit, for getting around, and to see more of the world - all without emitting carbon and causing any damage to the environment! It’s a win-win! 

6 - Ethical Investing

A lesser known tip for reducing your environmental impact and carbon footprint is to review your choice of bank, and your pension fund. You could actually unknowingly have a larger carbon footprint than you thought, as some banks invest in fossil fuels - in fact, the UK’s largest 5 banks invested nearly £40.4 billion into the coal industry in 2018-2020. Plenty of high street banks don’t invest in fossil fuels though, so it’s worth finding out about your bank and swapping if you don’t like what you discover. And the same goes for your pension too - with most workplace pensions, you can choose what and where your money is invested in, and swapping it to an Ethical fund can be done in a matter of minutes.

7 - Talk About It

When it comes to taking climate action, nothing is too small, so talk about what you’re doing, share what you’re doing, be proud of what you’re doing. We all want to help protect the planet, but many of us don’t know how to, or where to start. Talking about what changes you’ve made or are making may inspire others as well, and before you know it, your seemingly small one-person change has had a widespread adoption and a larger, more positive impact on the planet. After all, we’re all in this together.

With so much noise around climate change, carbon emissions, and the need for immediate action, we want you to know that we’re here to help. These points may seem obvious or small, but if everyone acted upon them, we would see a real difference in the world.

Small steps in the right direction are still steps in the right direction - we can’t all do everything, but we can all do something, so do what you can, and together we’ll make a difference we can be proud of. 

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Sustainability Webinar with Retail X: How the Industry Is Changing To Meet Consumer Demand

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Awin, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Office, UK

With the ever increasing pressures of climate legislation and changes in consumer behaviour, the ecommerce and online retail industry is having to adapt, change and improve; reducing impact on the environment and striving for sustainability. Our Managing Director- Josh Pitman, joined Emma Herrod - Editor of RetailX and Sophie Moule - Head of Marketing at Pi Datametrics to talk about the steps that are being taken by retailers within the industry to become more sustainable.

Click here to watch the Webinar.

What the experts say:

Consumer behaviour and habits have changed significantly over the last few years and the focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness is more prevalent now than ever before. More than 4 out of 10 shoppers say they would pay more for a sustainably sourced product or service and a third have already done so; whilst 70% of shoppers say it’s important for them to buy from companies whose values align with their own[1]. This shift in behaviour isn’t just noted in studies and surveys, Sophie Moule explains that search engine data shows that consumers are researching sustainable alternatives in their everyday lives, with searches for ‘vegan’ increasing by ~46% in 2020-2021 vs 2018-2019, and searches for ‘sustainable retail’ increasing by ~22% in the same time period[2]. This search engine data shows real intent from consumers to change and opt for more planet friendly, sustainable options. Consumer demand is so strong that it cannot, and certainly should not, be ignored.

Due to consumer demand, commercial decisions are changing; what once was bottom line focused is now sustainability focused and the shift from brands and companies selling efficiency solutions to sustainability solutions is evident. The rising popularity of environmental documentaries and the Attenborough effect have certainly been influential in changing consumer habits and once that awareness has begun, it cannot be undone, so brands are forced to make better, more considered decisions that reduce their impact on the environment.

But it’s not just high-level sustainability efforts that consumers are interested in, there is a real demand for sustainability to be considered throughout every element of the production cycle, from product development and sourcing, in-bound logistics and supply chain, to sales, delivery and returns. Sustainability is not just a marketing tool, brands and companies who are embarking on their sustainability journey should be doing so from a truly authentic and genuine perspective. Consumers are aware of greenwashing and the unauthentic attempts at sustainability by brands and businesses, so authenticity really is key.

How packaging can impact brands' sustainability:

Josh Pitman talks about Priory Direct’s position within the packaging industry and states that; ‘as a packaging supplier, we actually try to get people to use less of it. That may seem counterintuitive but it is after all, a waste material, and waste and unsustainability increases a company's carbon footprint’[3]. Shipping air, or over use of void fill due to ill fitting packaging is just one issue that is contributing to larger footprints within the ecommerce and online retail industry, and packaging as a whole holds one of the keys to improving sustainability.
Priory Direct is on a mission to make ecommerce a fully sustainable industry, and packaging is just one aspect of that, but it’s an important one. Packaging is the first time a brand meets the customer in the real world, so it’s a hugely important touch point, and poor packaging choices can damage not only brand perception but the environment too. The emerging trend amongst brands is to make sure packaging is communicating sustainability to the consumer; brands are making good, considered choices and explaining that with official markers on their packaging.. Not only does this increase awareness of sustainability and the planet friendliness of the packaging, it also adds character and perceived value, enhancing the brands journey and voice.

We at Priory Direct have created our own brand of planet friendly packaging - Priory Elements - that focuses on communicating our sustainability story, educating end users on the eco credentials of the packaging, and raising awareness of the environmental movement. We’ve also partnered with 1% for the Planet, so as a business we are able to help protect the environment with every purchase made with us. We have partnered with 1% FTP in two capacities; we donate 1% of all sales of our Priory Elements ranges, helping make meaningful change through customers purchasing these products. And secondly, we allow all our customers to donate their loyalty reward points to charity when they order with us. It is a simple, effective way for customers to support environmental charities when purchasing their packaging essentials, and it doesn’t cost them a penny. Larger customers have the potential to make huge donations through bulk purchases, and this type of partnership is something that can be emulated throughout the industry, making monumental change.

Ultimately, connecting to your customer base through your packaging and communicating your sustainability journey through customer interaction points, explaining why it’s important to your brand, is the key to raising awareness and truly using your business as a vehicle for good.

Brands that are setting excellent examples:

Finisterre

Finisterre are a great example of a brand using customer touch points to communicate their sustainability story, and really reinforce their planet positive sentiment in all that they do; truly encapsulating authenticity in their messaging. Their Positive Impact Report 2020 shows how they are dedicated to using their business for good and defines how they are using their B Corp certification and place with the market to affect real change.

Patagonia

Similarly to Finisterre, Patagonia really sells the lifestyle rather than just their products. Their communication and messaging to their customers is transparent, authentic and educational; putting a real focus on making change and protecting our planet for future generations. The ‘Activism’ section of their website is an innovative, revolutionary way of getting their customers invested in the lifestyle and not just the products.

With the textiles industry having a larger carbon footprint than all travel combined, it’s great to see brands such as Patagonia and Finisterre taking action to reduce their impact on the environment and reduce the industries footprint.

Mayborn Group

The Mayborn Group have set themselves the target to have a climate neutral supply chain by 2030, by the end of 2022 they will have removed all single use plastics from their packaging and have a fully sustainable operation across their entire organisation, as well as appointing an internal sustainability team dedicated solely to that. They are a shining example of a company setting ambitious targets whilst fiercely making change in every aspect of their organisation.

How the Plastic Packaging Tax will help:

Plastic itself has a low carbon footprint and is actually highly recyclable, however it becomes problematic when it is not disposed of correctly and it ends up in our environment.

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/explore/plastics-and-the-circular-economy

78 million tonnes of plastic was used in the EU in 2018 and 98% of that came from virgin plastic feedstocks, which means only 2% of plastic was from recycled materials[4]. The Plastic Packaging Tax is a way of incentivising manufactures and businesses to use post consumer waste. Under the new tax that comes into place in April 2022, any plastics that are made from less than 30% recycled materials will be charged at £220 per tonne[5] - this could be a huge overhead for some larger organisations that are currently using plastic made from virgin feedstocks. This tax should bring around meaningful change in business behaviour and drive investment into the infrastructure for recycling; currently recycling rates of plastic are far from ideal and the Plastic Packaging Tax should give it the push it needs to make real change.

Of the 78 million tonnes of plastic used in the EU in 2018, 32% was leaked into the environment, polluting the planet and causing extreme damage, 40% ended up in landfill, 14% was incinerated, and just 14% was collected for recycling. Only 2% of the plastic that was collected for recycling was used to create the same or similar of the original product and 8% was used to create lower-value, or other products[6].

With most plastics used only once, and such a high percentage of it ending up polluting our environment, something has to be done to bring around change. 8 million tonnes of plastic are leaked into the ocean every year, and if that continues, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, so the Plastic Packaging Tax brings hope for the future of plastic recycling and disposal[6].

The expert's key takeaways:

When it comes to sustainability and protecting the planet, everyone can agree that it has to come from a place of authenticity; and brands have to genuinely want to use their business for good. But before brands can do anything, they must ask hard questions of themselves and what they are currently doing in order to be better. Telling stories of sustainability and planet protection will change consumer behaviour, and doing so in an authentic way defines brand voice, making your brand synonymous with sustainability.

What steps do you take as a business to communicate your sustainability story? Have you seen consumer habits change from efficiency or price focused to environmental focused? Has consumer demand changed your business?

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

References & Sources

[1] - RetailX Sustainability in Retail Webinar - https://retailx.net/ecommerce-world-review/

[2] - Sophie Moule - Head of Marketing at Pi Datametrics - https://retailx.net/ecommerce-world-review/

[3] - Josh Pitman - Managing Director of Priory Direct - https://retailx.net/ecommerce-world-review/

[4] - Ellen MacArthur Foundation - 'Plastics and the Circular Economy' https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/explore/plastics-and-the-circular-economy

[5] - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introduction-of-plastic-packaging-tax/plastic-packaging-tax

[6] - Ellen MacArthur Foundation - 'Plastics and the Circular Economy' https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/explore/plastics-and-the-circular-economy

Amazon Rainforest Emits More CO2 Than It Absorbs - How You and Your Business Can Help

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in UK, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Office

For the first time ever, the Amazon rainforest is emitting more carbon than it is able to absorb; but why is this important?

Our rainforests are one of the biggest carbon stores on the planet, and the Amazon has previously played an important role in helping stabilize the climate by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. However, due to deforestation and forest fires, the Amazon Rainforest, which once was a carbon store, helping to slow the climate crisis, is now accelerating it.

June fires in the Amazon rainforest are at their highest level since 2007, and last year deforestation rates have surged to a 12 year high; meaning that without intervention, the statistics are only going to get worse. Forest fires produce around 3 times more CO2 than the forest is able to absorb, and with most forest fires caused deliberately to clear land, the time for action to protect our rainforests and reduce carbon emissions is now[1].

Chris Redston, Executive Director of Rainforest Trust UK, said: “Studies have shown that halting tropical deforestation and allowing for regrowth could mitigate up to 50% of net global carbon emissions in the next 30 years [2] – yet rainforests are still being cut down at a rate of 70,000 acres a day. And as well as storing billions of tonnes of carbon, the world’s rainforests produce 20% of the planet’s oxygen, stabilise global weather patterns, provide habitat for thousands of endangered species and sustain the livelihoods of millions of indigenous people. In short, we can’t really live without them.[3]

Lowering our carbon emissions and protecting our rainforests should be at the top of everyone’s agenda; it truly is everyone’s responsibility to look after our planet. So whether you’re a business owner, or an individual looking to do your bit, there’s lots that you, and your business can do to help in the fight against climate change.

What can your business do to help?

Partner with Rainforest Trust UK

Partnering with Rainforest Trust UK gives you the opportunity to protect threatened rainforests and use your business, and customer base as a vehicle for good. Rainforest Trust UK is fighting climate change by protecting the world’s most important tropical forests, and by partnering with them, you can do your bit to protect the planet.

Chris Redston of Rainforest Trust UK goes on to say: “Safeguarding existing rainforests is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways an individual can fight climate change, as every acre safely stores over 100 tonnes of carbon that could otherwise enter the atmosphere as the greenhouse gas CO2”[4] It really cannot be overstated how important it is that our rainforests and tropical ecosystems are protected, and just a small donation can add up to make a big difference.

We are proud partners of Rainforest Trust UK and we offer all our customers the opportunity to protect 1000m2 of threatened rainforest with every purchase over £30. It’s one small act, but since partnering with them in February 2021, thanks to our customers, we have raised enough to protect over 1.6 million square metres of threatened rainforest. And it is so simple and easy for businesses to partner with Rainforest Trust UK and make a real difference.

Vicky Wallace, Fundraising Manager at Rainforest Trust UK, said: “We are all stakeholders in protecting our planet’s most threatened tropical forests, which is why we partner with UK businesses like Priory Direct to save rainforests and protect the climate. We are always happy to work with like-minded businesses of all sizes who want to do good for the planet, so anyone wanting to make a difference should get in touch – even if you’re not sure where to start!”[5] You can find out more information about the work that Rainforest Trust UK do here, or if you’re ready to join the movement, then email Vicky at UK@RainforestTrust.org to get started.

Reduce inbound and outbound deliveries

Road transport accounts for around one fifth of global carbon emissions, and for some companies, transportation of goods can be one of the biggest contributors to their carbon footprint. Deliveries are, of course, an essential aspect of any ecommerce or online retail business, so ensuring inbound and outbound deliveries are optimised for ultimate sustainability is a great way to do your bit to help.

Ordering your business supplies in bulk reduces the number of deliveries you require, and therefore, reduces the number of delivery vans on the road. If you have your own delivery service, switching to an electric vehicle can reduce carbon emissions by around 73%, significantly reducing your businesses carbon footprint[6]. Alternatively, using a climate neutral courier service such as DPD climate neutral is another great way of offsetting the carbon emissions associated with the delivery of your business essentials.

You could also encourage your customers to place larger, less frequent orders with you to ensure your outbound deliveries are as planet friendly as your inbound. Communicating this message to your customer base has the potential to make a big difference; altering consumers' purchasing habits for the better. We can’t all do everything, but we can all do something, and changing the way you order business supplies, and how often, can make a real impact.

Make sustainable packaging choices and use climate neutral packaging where possible

Choosing sustainable, planet friendly packaging options for your despatches is a simple, yet effective way of reducing your impact on the environment. Purchasing packaging that is manufactured carbon neutral, or is recyclable, biodegradable or plastic free is a great way of lowering the environmental impact of your business. And communicating the eco-credentials of packaging to customers is vital to ensure that packaging is disposed of correctly and responsibly.

Our own planet friendly packaging brand, Priory Elements, focuses on telling our sustainability story to our customers by printing the packaging with easy to understand eco markers. Priory Elements is a packaging range that is sustainably sourced and responsibly sold, and by telling our eco story, we are helping lots of businesses make planet friendly packaging choices.

Packaging isn’t just a means to an end, it really can be the difference between an operation being planet friendly or not; so considering your packaging choices is one of the easiest ways your business can become more planet friendly, reduce your carbon footprint, and do good for the environment.

What can you do as an individual to help?

Drive less; use public transport, cycle or walk to work

As we have previously mentioned, transport equates to one fifth of global carbon emissions, so reducing the amount you travel would ideally be the best plan of action. But we know that travel is essential in our everyday lives, so by making small changes and more planet-friendly choices, your individual travel habits can add up to make a big environmental difference.

Driving a medium sized diesel or petrol car emits between 171g and 192g per passenger km of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, whereas using the National Rail service, carbon emissions are around 41g per passenger km - so choosing to take the train to work rather than drive, could reduce your carbon emissions by approximately 78%. Opting to car share with colleagues or friends is another great option for reducing your carbon footprint and air pollution, and choosing to walk or cycle where possible, reduces emissions even further[6].

When the time comes to choose your next vehicle, consider purchasing an electric powered vehicle. With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans being banned in the UK from 2030, now would be the perfect time to consider a more planet friendly vehicle[7].

Raise awareness of the climate crisis

One of the easiest ways to do your bit to help in the climate crisis and protect our planet, is to raise awareness of it. Too many people believe that as an individual they cannot affect change by themselves, but that simple isn’t true. As we’ve said before, even the smallest actions can make a difference, so raising awareness by getting involved in events like Rainforest Trust UK’s Hug 100 Trees campaign, or posting about your planet friendly habits on social media, you’re doing your bit to aid in the fight against climate change.

There are countless environmental awareness days throughout the year, from Earth Day and World Ocean Day, to Plastic Free July, so getting involved and shouting about it to your colleagues, friends and family is an easy, simple and fun way to help protect our planet.

Consider the sustainability of the businesses and brands you use

Lots of businesses and brands are taking steps to become more planet friendly and reduce their carbon footprint, however greenwashing is still prevalent within many industries, so ensuring companies are genuine about their eco-friendly actions is a must. As a consumer, you have the power to choose authentic, genuine brands that are serious about protecting the planet and raising awareness of the environmental crisis.

By choosing brands who are doing good, you in turn, are doing your bit for the environment too. So be sure to look for businesses that are open and transparent about their sustainability journey, who offer planet friendly options wherever possible, and package and ship those planet friendly options to you in an eco conscious way. More than four in ten shoppers say they would pay more for a sustainably sourced product and 70% of shoppers say it’s important for them to buy from companies whose values align with their own, so seeking out and using environmentally conscious businesses really is a consumer led trend[8].

At Priory Direct we truly believe in awareness, access and authenticity when it comes to sustainability and our journey to becoming as planet friendly as possible. There is always more that can be done, and we work hard every day to ensure we’re doing our bit. To find out more about what we’ve been up to so far, check out our case study.

We know that not one business, or one individual can solve the climate crisis on their own, so it’s more important than ever before that we all pull together and take small, actionable steps to do our bit to reduce carbon emissions and protect our planet. Be the change you wish to see in the world and start your eco journey today.

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

References & Sources

[1] - The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/14/amazon-rainforest-now-emitting-more-co2-than-it-absorbs

[2] - Rainforest Trust UK - https://www.rainforesttrust.org/climate-action/

[3] - Rainforest Trust UK - https://www.rainforesttrust.org/5-reasons-to-stop-what-youre-doing-and-save-rainforests/

[4] - Rainforest Trust UK - https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/conservation-action-fund-worldwide/

[5] - Vicky Wallace, Fundraising Manager at Rainforest Trust UK

[6] - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2019

[7] - BBC News - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54981425

[8] - RetailX - Sustainability in Retail webinar - https://retailx.net/ecommerce-world-review/

New Cardboard Boxes

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Product Launches, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Uncategorized

Cardboard boxes are the ideal option for a great variety of packaging needs. With over 200 sizes and styles of boxes available, we thought why stop there? 

With an ever-expanding range of packaging products, we want to ensure that there is an option to suit you. 

We have 18 new sizes of single and double wall cardboard boxes added to our range - these are a perfect low-cost packaging solution, made from high-quality corrugated cardboard that offers robust product protection. 

Our single wall cardboard boxes are fit for sending and protecting a whole variety of items up to 10kg, whilst our double wall cardboard boxes can cater for products up to 25kg.

Made using eco-friendly materials, our range of cardboard boxes are fully recyclable, sustainable, plastic-free, biodegradable and compostable - Shop now and ship your products in packaging that is great for the environment. 

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

Peak 2020: How the Global Pandemic Impacted eCommerce

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in General Promotions, Business Services (B2B)

Now the peak season is over, and the stress of Black Friday, Christmas and January sales are behind us, it’s time to evaluate how the eCommerce industry was affected by the global Coronavirus pandemic and the associated changes to consumer behaviour. Industry experts predicted that the eCommerce retail sector would experience the largest peak season ever, with a reported 73% of consumers in the UK anticipated to purchase online - but did those statistics hold up? Was 2020 the biggest and busiest peak season to date? Let’s take a look.

As you know, Q3 is the busiest time of the year for online retailers, with consumers taking advantage of seasonal sales and incentives to purchase their Christmas shopping, and 2020 was no exception. Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales grew from 18.3% in Q3 2019, to 27% in Q3 2020[1]; a dramatic increase far above the standard annual increase rate that would have predicted sales to be at 20.5-22%. But why did we see this sharp increase in online sales?

There is no doubt that Covid-19 had a substantial impact on the industry and the behaviour of shoppers. Widespread restrictions that were put in place earlier in the year directed consumers to online retail as a safe and risk free way of sourcing their essential and non-essential goods. Even after some restrictions were lifted in areas in October and November, it seems shoppers still chose to shop online as a safer alternative to high street Christmas shopping.

All online retailing in December 2020 saw a 61.4% year on year growth in the UK, a huge increase if you look back over the 13 years of eCommerce online sales. Starting at just 4.2% of all retail sales in December 2007, eCommerce has come a long way to 31.3% in December 2020[1].

However the month on month growth shows that there was a 6.2% decrease from November 2020. The slight drop in online sales could be attributed to the fact that many areas across the UK experienced lesser restrictions on non-essential shops during the mid weeks of December, meaning they had a greater chance of purchasing their goods in person on the high street. Alternatively, we could speculate that consumer habits and FOMO (fear of missing out) would have influenced shopper behaviour to purchase earlier in order to not miss out on their goods before Christmas. And the concept of FOMO is clearly evident in the gift sector of the eCommerce industry.

Reporting a year-on-year growth of 103.4% in October 2020 and a -6.7% year-on-year growth in December 2020[2], it is safe to conclude that the buying habits of consumers have changed drastically from 2019 to 2020. People chose to get ahead of the game and purchase their festive gifts early in October, rather than leaving it to the last minute in December (as seen in 2019). Lockdown restrictions are likely to have played a part in this; causing people to purchase early and online to ensure their loved ones didn’t miss out, and those who chose to purchase in December 2020, had more opportunity to buy in person in high street stores rather than online due to the brief relaxation of restrictions in many parts of the country.

So how did other sectors within the retail industry hold up in peak season during a pandemic?

Supermarkets & Food Stores

As we’ve already discussed, covid-19 related restrictions meant that many high street retailers had to close their doors, forcing consumers towards online shopping for all their purchasing needs, be it essential or non-essential. And with many shoppers having to shield due to health complications, or reluctant to visit supermarkets in person due to the coronavirus risk, there is no surprise to see that the percentage of online sales from food based stores increased from 5.6% in November 2019 to 10.9% in November 2020[3]. Supermarkets also benefited from the closure of the hospitality sector, meaning consumers were more likely to have an increased food budget.

Home & Garden

The homewares and household goods sector faced an incredibly large and unseasonal peak during the first lockdown of 2020 in April that decreased again in July. However, they too saw a year on year growth throughout Q3, increasing from 15.8% of total retail sales in November 2019 to 35.1% in November 2020[3]; more time spent at home meant that consumers were more inclined to invest in their homes and gardens. It’s likely that Black Friday sales contributed to the spike in sales in November 2020, indicating that more people took advantage of the retail sales in 2020 than they did in 2019. Reporting a year-on year growth of 89.2% in December 2020[4], the Home & Garden sector likely benefited from the closure of the hospitality and travel industries, allowing consumers to spend more of their homes to create a more comfortable and enjoyable festive period under lockdown restrictions.

Clothing & Footwear

After a tough year, the clothing and footwear sector saw an increase in online sales around the peak season, increasing from 21.1% in November 2019 to 47.5% in November 2020[3]. With a year-on-year growth of 6.4% in November 2020[5], the overall clothing sector managed to end the year in a better position. Aside from the usual Christmas shopping that takes place in Q3, the increase in sales could be attributed to ‘retail therapy’. With restrictions on travel, shopping, socialising and even work, there is no doubt that the general public morale was low, and online clothes and footwear shopping brought some well needed relief. 

Electricals

The electricals online retail sector saw a boom in 2020 Q3, reporting a 116.9% year-on-year growth in December[4]. Despite the Black Friday sales in November, December 2020 still managed to produce a high growth percentage.

With over a third of UK workers being placed on furlough during 2020, resulting in lower incomes[6], the growth in the electricals market may seem uncharacteristically high. It was reported that 51% of shoppers did not plan to decrease their spend over the festive period despite experiencing household income cuts[7]. As discussed earlier, this could be due to consumers wanting to make home life and the Christmas period more comfortable and enjoyable during lockdown restrictions; therefore causing an incredibly high market growth at the end of the year.

It’s safe to conclude that peak 2020 was indeed the largest, peak season that the eCommerce industry has ever seen, with the coronavirus pandemic and widespread restrictions playing a large and key part in that. As we head into 2021 with many of the similar restrictions still in place, how will the eCommerce landscape be impacted in the coming months?

How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your eCommerce business? Do you expect the pandemic to continue to impact online retail as we head further into 2021? Let us know in the comments below.

References

[1] - Office for National Statistics 'Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales'.

[2] - IMRG Capgemini 'Sales Index - November 2020'

[3] - Office for National Statistics 'Retail sales index internet sales'.

[4] - IMRG Capgemini 'Sales Index - January 2021'

[5] - IMRG Capgemini 'Sales Index - December 2020'

[6] - HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics

[7] - Internet Retailing

New Eco-Friendly Garment Bags and Void Fill Products

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Uncategorized, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), Office, Product Launches, UK

Looking for environmentally responsible packaging made entirely plastic-free? Then our new planet-friendly additions are perfect for you, providing excellent paper alternatives that help remove the need for single-use plastics from your supply chain. 

Naturally biodegradable, our Eco-Friendly Garment Bags are made from FSC® Certified Paper and provide weather resistant protection to your clothing products preventing damage from humidity, moisture and dust. Highly durable, these plastic-free garment bags are designed to withstand their shipping journey and are the ideal alternative to poly garment bags; giving you all the benefits of traditional garment bags, without the environmental damage.

A decorative paper void fill that offers a truly unique design - Spiro Pack Void Fill takes up 80% less storage space than crinkle shred. The contiguous cut spiral creates a no dust no mess paper void fill solution that both looks the part and plays the part in protecting your products and the planet.

Both curbside recyclable and sustainably sourced, these products are a great eco-conscious option for packaging that cares for the Earth. So why not browse our new ranges today and ditch the plastic for good?

Don't forget, we're running other great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 10% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Priory Direct Affiliate Team

Chloe Winsper | cjw@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk | Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk

At RAJA UK Packaging, there's no cardboard shortage!

Written by RAJA on . Posted in Uncategorized, Business Services (B2B), Business Services (B2B), UK

INDUSTRY NEWS

Some of you may have heard in the media recently of the cardboard shortage the industry is facing. With the increase of online shopping due to store closures, retailers need packaging, particularly cardboard packaging to ship goods to customers.

Just to provide you with an insight into our industry and what RAJA have experienced; during the lead up to Christmas, we had to revise our delivery time to up 72 hours instead of next day. These new level of sales have never been experienced.  From March 2020 just after the first lockdown was announced, sales across our product range were at a new high, increasing more so with the lead up to Christmas (consumers were shopping online for gifts, and retailers needing supplies to send their products). Now in 2021 although sales have decreased, we still find ourselves experiencing incredible numbers – with shops still closed and people not able to travel – goods are being shipped meaning packaging is required. We are servicing the increased demand from our existing customers, and also, welcoming an incredible rate of new customers.

At the beginning of 2020 we were close to moving into our brand new and bigger warehouse, completing the move in July 2020. You could say we were very lucky, to not only successfully relocate during a pandemic, but also had the opportunity to stock up across our product range, enabling us to service customers through Christmas 2020, and now hopefully continuing throughout 2021.

Packaging is a necessity, and this trend will not be slowing down any time soon.

Priory Direct Charity Support Program

Written by PrioryDirect on . Posted in Offers/Promotions, Business Services (B2B), Office, Product Launches

Here at Priory Direct our mission is to reduce the impact of ecommerce on the planet and also use our business as a vehicle for good. As well as focusing on sustainable, eco-friendly packaging and minimising environmental damage, we wanted to give our customers the opportunity to donate and give back to charitable causes; that’s why we’ve created the Priory Direct Charity Support Program.

Every order that is placed with us, we give 1% back to the customer in the form of reward points which are redeemable against future orders; customers now have the option to donate the monetary value of those reward points to their chosen charity. We have partnered with four wonderful charities to ensure that we - are our customers - are helping to make a real difference.

Our charity partners are:

  • Cancer Research UK - We pioneer research to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. We fund scientists, doctors, and nurses to help beat cancer sooner.
  • Save The Children - In the UK and around the world, we make sure children are safe and healthy. We support them to learn, grow and become who they want to be.
  • 1% For The Planet - We fund forces for environmental good, supporting diverse environmental organisations to have a bigger and better impact; we can do more together than we can alone
  • Heart of Kent Hospice - We make every day precious at the most difficult of times by providing exceptional care to people living with a terminal illness in Maidstone, Tonbridge, Malling and surrounding areas.

Donating is simple; once customers have put their items in the basket and gone through to the checkout, they will be presented with the option of donating their reward points to one of our charity partners. Once making that selection, we handle the rest from there, ensuring customers well earned points are correctly assigned and donated. Giving to charity has never been easier and never felt so good!

Don't forget, we're running great promotions exclusively on our affiliate programme, offer 7.5% commission for new customers, as well as free next day delivery on orders over £250 - if you haven't already, join us today!

If you need any help at all then please get in touch

Lauren Churcher | lrc@priorydirect.co.uk | Samantha Holmes | sgh@priorydirect.co.uk