Shelf-ready packaging (or SRP) is a packaging method used by manufactures to ensure that individual items are easy to stock on shelves and readily recognized by consumers. Retail ready packaging as it is also known is becoming increasingly used to drive sales in shops and ensure ease of replenishment alongside a number of other benefits.
SRP is generally defined as being a ready to sell merchandise unit that encompasses a number of single units, but it is difficult to pin down the exact nature with variances between manufactures apparent. Diamondpak shelf ready packaging act to draw the customer’s attention and increase impulse buys as well as lower logistical barriers for manufacturers and retailers. The Efficient Consumer Response Europe working group has attempted to classify the requirements of a SRP item with a five point list, namely being easy to identify, easy to open, easy to dispose of, easy to stock on shelves and easy to shop.
Easy identification refers to shop staff’s ability to clearly identify SRP items. This impacts time efficiency during stocking and movement while maintaining the legally required elements of product identification such as bar-coding and expiry dates.
Easy opening states that SRP packaging should be both simple for staff to open and display on the shop floor without the use of any additional tools whilst retaining the sturdiness of the packaging that is a benefit regarding transport. This can be a tricky balance to maintain but is required by manufacturers through efficient design and creation.
Easy disposal intends to consolidate the time-saving elements of SRP by ensuring that staff’s time is not spent interacting unnecessarily with packaging. SRP should be as simple as possible to operate while having as little impact as possible regarding the environment.
Easy shelving means the ability of staff to replenish shelf items via the SRP’s inherent stability and ease of handling, including stacking and storage elements. This often includes the ability of packages to be stored consecutively on shelves in order to avoid out of stock situations that can be discouraging to customers.
Easy shop definitions are related to a customer’s ability to select and remove individual items. This means packaging that is immediately clear regarding the exact nature of internal products while at the same time being easily accessible. Bright and recognizable advertising elements must draw attention whilst not impeding the removal or replacing of single items.
While filling these requirements, SRP can take a number of separate forms. Trays designed for efficient spacing on shelving can be of a disposable or reusable nature for smaller numbers of products. Larger amounts of stock can be displayed in a single custom-made promotional display unit, designed for attracting additional impulse purchasing and product recognition.
Retailers may find a number of benefits from using SRP. The most obvious positive in using a style of packaging designed to efficiently use shelf space is the reduction in general costs. SRP packaging means more individual items can be stocked per pallet, impacting retailer costs relating to storage, transportation and staffing. Inherent stability within SRP means that pallets are less prone to breakages during transit, increasing profit levels as a whole.
The speed in transfer from storage to shelf also means that store logistical practices can be adapted to a faster turnaround. This is as a unit of SRP represents a single label for faster processing and selection. As the majority of activity within the food industry relates to this kind of stock movement, the potential for cost saving is massive.
Beside these logistical benefits, SRP offers additional profit enriching factors. SRP in both shelf and merchandising unit forms allows for an integration of advertising and efficiency. Shelf units are often designed with this dual-purpose in mind, with cardboard tops for packaging folding up to form a custom space for brand recognition. This often encompasses themes from advertising campaigns and attention grabbing brand-related elements, increasing customer recognition alongside impulse purchases.