Tide laundry detergent will soon be shipped in a shoe box, part of its parent company Procter & Gamble's push to adapt to online deliveries.
P&G rolled out the new "Tide Eco-Box" on Friday. It features a twist-to-open pour for the detergent, a pull-out stand, and a measuring cup. The liquid formula, which contains less water than normal Tide, comes in a sealed bag.
The version uses 60 percent less plastic than shipping an equivalent 150-ounce bottle of Tide since it doesn't require additional layers of cardboard boxing or bubble wrap. It's lighter and takes up less space in a delivery truck—saving P&G money on shipping costs.
"Its size is perfect for the e-commerce supply chain," said David Luttenberger, global packaging director at market research firm Mintel. "It's an easy package for nearly any consumer to pick it up, manipulate the opening features, and dispense from."
P&G —the owner of big brands like Gillette, Pampers, Old Spice, Head & Shoulders, and Dawn— has been working to address the challenges of shipping more products to shoppers' homes.
P&G's digital sales grew 30 percent last year to $4.5 billion. They make up around 7% of the world's largest consumer products conglomerate.
The company has organized a unit within its fabric care business, which also includes Ariel and Downy, dedicated to digital innovations.
"This is a fundamentally different approach than we've taken in the past," said Sundar Raman, Vice President of P&G's North America Fabric Care business.
Consumer products' manufacturers are hesitant to tweak even the smallest details of their brands' design to avoid turning off customer. But they have been forced to rethink their packaging for online shipments and pressure from Amazon's strict shipping standards, Luttenberger said.
Online shipping raises the chances of liquid products leaking or spilling along the supply chain. These products are packed, unpacked, and bundled together with other stuff more often on the route to customers' home. And online deliveries also rely more heavily on cardboard and plastic, posing added environmental and sustainability risks.
In response, P&G has developed a new "AeroFlexx" package for liquid products like Dawn soap and Old Spice body wash.
The cap-less bottle and flatter design uses 50% less plastic and doesn't need bubble wrap to ship. P&G says the more flexible bottle makes it easier to pour and convenient to use with one hand.
P&G isn't the only one remaking its brands for online orders: British company Garcon Wines has rolled out flat wine bottles.