Online retail sales have more than tripled in the UK over the past 10 years (Retail Economics). Retail businesses are increasingly realising that to survive they need to have a strong online presence backed up by an efficient logistics strategy. Buying online has evolved from being solely for the big chains such as Amazon, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis, into an essential revenue stream for clothing and footwear brands across the UK.

Clothing and Footwear Image
Branding clothing and footwear packaging is a marketing objective (photo credit: Sitma)

In response to this there are machine manufacturers and innovators who are developing processes that can enable a cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly ecommerce solution for their customers.

One of the key deliverables for these manufacturers is the ability to showcase the customer’s brand and to also offer a high level on customization on their packaging. When the end consumer receives the package they still want to have a positive experience with limited packaging and 100% recyclable material. They want to be excited to open the package and for there to be a level of satisfaction from their purchase. Clothing and footwear brands want to ensure that their brand is maintained throughout this experience, so that the consumer returns to their shop in the future. Elogistics equipment can work with a range of printed materials that can be personalized and aligned to the strategies of the relevant brand. Companies can personalise with logos and messages, all of which positively enforce the purchasing experience and enhance brand loyalty.

Returns are also a big consideration when setting in place an e-logistics plan. As much as 40% of all clothing sales are returned so, as the volumes increase within the online market, there must be a consideration of how this is managed. The customer’s purchase experience has to be positive, so that a potential lost sale is converted to an opportunity. This gives the retailer a challenge of how to handle these goods, then check them and repackage for resale.

Of course the pandemic has been a significant catalyst for change in consumer behaviours, and in 2020 e-commerce grew in the UK by 46.5%. It is predicted that, whilst this growth will slow slightly, it will still continue to increase at an annual rate of 20.5% (emarketer). The largest shopping segment in the UK is fashion and searching for fashion items is a popular hobby across a wide range of demographics, in fact in June 2021, 29.5% of textile, clothing, and footwear sales were made online (Statista).

What does this mean for Retailers? Whilst there are a lot of benefits to having a large online presence, such as fewer physical stores helping to make large cost savings, it is also really important for clothing and footwear retailers to maintain control over their products, brand and also the logistics process. When looking to outsource or purchase equipment retailers need to be able to systematically trace their products throughout the supply chain. The latest technology can identify a product from the manufacturing stage and trace it from there, to the warehouse and then onto the ultimate consumer.

Fast Pack Paper Wrapping Machine
Packing in paper is essential for the e-commerce market (photo credit: Sitma)

The environment is also at the forefront of consumer’s minds and a low carbon footprint is essential for peace of mind and for brands to fulfil their green credentials and company objectives. The ability to pack in paper is key to the ecommerce markets. Fortunately, this has been a huge growth area over the past few years and there are now options for businesses to take advantage of. Paper packaging is recyclable, light to ship and easy to brand. Recent investment in research has meant that the paper options are now more resilient and less susceptible to weather damage and more hard wearing. It also means that the size of the package can easily be adapted, ensuring that there is less paper wastage and that packaging, particularly for clothing can be minimized, which in turn means less space when transporting and a lighter load for transportation.

E&B work with cutting edge manufacturers in the ecommerce and elogistics industries to help and advice our customers on the perfect solution for their business needs. Our roots are in the personalisation of Direct Mail, and we have made the natural progression into the e-coms market. We work with manufacturers whose solutions are sold around the world to some of the largest retailing brands and distribution companies.

Our manufacturers include Scallog, Skilled Group, Trascar and Sitma. Find out more about our ecommerce machinery solutions at Our Website or contact us for more information on all our solutions 01420 593680.