Consumers spent nearly $900 billion online in 2020 in the U.S. alone, an increase of 45% year over year. In fact, ecommerce sales accounted for over 20% of all retail sales in the U.S. in 2020. This shows how consumers are becoming more reliant on the ecommerce market to purchase their goods and services. As more industries make their products available online, even essentials like groceries and medicine can now be shipped directly to consumers, providing an easy and convenient experience.
Due to this expanding ecommerce world, ecommerce packaging manufacturing has evolved to address consumer demands to offer:
- Increased security: Since items like food and medicine can now be shipped, packaging manufacturers are exploring ways to prevent contaminants from reaching the package contents.
- Reduced shipping costs: Studies show that consumers dislike paying for shipping more than almost anything. Some manufacturers have turned to packaging options like envelopes and bags to keep shipping costs down.
- Heightened production speeds: As more packaging is needed, manufacturers look for automation options to keep up with demands.
Because packaging evolves to meet these demands, ecommerce packaging tapes should evolve as well. These tapes ensure that a package will arrive unopened, unharmed and on time. Therefore, it’s crucial that your ecommerce tapes are manufactured with the right adhesive to achieve strong performance and address needs for both standard packaging and more complex applications. Learn about key performance criteria that all ecommerce tape adhesives should possess as well as needs for specific tape applications and which adhesive technology works best to accomplish it all.
What All Ecommerce Tape Adhesives Must Possess
Some adhesive characteristics are desirable for all ecommerce tape formats. Regardless of the type of ecommerce tape you’re manufacturing, your adhesive should offer:
- Substrate compatibility: You’ll want to ensure your tape adhesive is compatible with corrugate and other common ecommerce materials. This means that it is able to sufficiently wet out and form a secure bond between substrates. However, keep in mind that your customer requirements may mean that you have to use formats like bags or envelopes. These low surface energy substrates are traditionally hard for an adhesive to adhere to, because the adhesive is unable to sufficiently wet out. An adhesive that is incompatible with these substrates could result in bond failure and cause the package to open prematurely.
- Balanced peel and tack: While ecommerce packaging tape adhesive should maintain a strong bond when placed on the package, it should also be easy for the end-user to peel off when it’s time to open the package. The way to accomplish this is by ensuring your adhesive offers a balanced peel and tack. With good peel, the end-user is easily able to open the package. Additionally, if it possesses good tack, it will be able to wet out the surface for a strong grip. When the peel and tack are balanced, the tape will yield easy and clean removal, too.
- Wide temperature range:
- During package production: In addition to thinking about performance and end-user experience, you’ll want to ensure your adhesive is right for your ecommerce packaging production lines. By selecting an adhesive with a wide temperature range, it will make it easier to implement into your process without having to invest in addition equipment. If your adhesive is unable to perform in the temperatures within your production environment, for example, you may need to invest in new equipment in order for that adhesive to work.
- During package transit: Further, if the packaging will be delivered to hot or cold climates and undergo exposure to various temperature extremes on its delivery journey, a broad adhesive temperature range can ensure the package will not be disturbed in those environments.
What Ecommerce Tape Adhesives Must Possess for Certain Applications
If your customers have specific end-use application requirements, you may also want to look for additional adhesive characteristics to allow your tape to address them.
Tamper-Evident Tape Adhesive Needs
Tamper-evident tapes have become popular for packaging with increased security needs, like food or medical shipments. Designed to alert a consumer if a package has been opened, tamper-evident tapes use a variety of methods to communicate if the package’s contents have been disturbed. To achieve this, your adhesive should provide:
- Die-cuttability: Some tamper-evident tapes are made to tear in such a way that the tape cannot be re-adhered the same way once it has been opened. This will alert the consumer that the package contents may be contaminated. To achieve this, your adhesive may need to be cut into a certain shape or pattern. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your selection is compatible with die-cutting machinery.
- Customization opportunities: Other tamper-evident tape formats will leave a pattern or message on the package once torn away to let the consumer know the package was opened. If your tape requires printing or other customization, ensure your adhesive is compatible with any inks or dyes used in the backing; if these materials will negatively impact the adhesive’s performance, select a different option.
Transfer Tape Adhesive Needs
Transfer tapes can help meet consumer desires for lowered shipping weights. These tapes consist of a pressure sensitive adhesive with a liner on one side. When the tape is pressed onto a package, the liner stays in place until the package is ready to be closed for its end-use application. Transfer tape adhesives should enhance the tape’s performance by providing:
- High cohesion: Since transfer tape consists of a double-sided adhesive with no carrier to increase flexibility, the adhesive’s cohesion, or internal strength, should be high to ensure it can keep both sides of the closure together. If the cohesion is not strong enough, the tension on the adhesive may cause the package to open.
- Discreet properties: Because your transfer tape will be applied to small packages intended to reduce weight, be sure your adhesive is also lightweight and does not cause any stringing or mess in use. Otherwise, the adhesive could add weight back to the packaging or stick to other packages.
What Ecommerce Tape Adhesive Technology to Choose
Hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives (HMPSA) are ideal for ecommerce tapes. They are designed to meet the general requirements necessary for this application by offering:
- Versatility: HMPSAs are compatible with a wide range of substrates, helping to ensure strong in-use performance and design flexibility as manufacturers try to keep up with changing substrate needs.
- High adhesion: With balanced peel and tack, these solutions are able to provide a strong bond while also being easily removable for the end-user.
- Ease of use: Compatible with many temperatures and application methods, HMPSAs are easy to integrate with your system.
Bostik offers HMPSAs with additional benefits that make them ideal for certain tape formats. For example our Thermogrip® 4185 adhesive provides excellent die-cuttability. This means the adhesive can be shaped into specific patterns to provide a tamper-evident closure. This solution is also compatible with many backings, giving you more customization options.
Similarily, our Thermogrip 20103 adhesive solution also offers high internal strength. This property makes this solution great for transfer tapes; you can be assured the bond will remain strong even when tension is placed on the adhesive. It is also lightweight and discreet in-use to avoid higher shipping costs or unwanted stringing.
By selecting an adhesive that offers key performance criteria for ecommerce tape applications, you can be assured that your tape will perform well in end-use. This will help your packages arrive safely to consumers, resulting in increased customer satisfaction. To see how Thermogrip 4185 or Thermogrip 20103 can benefit your ecommerce tapes or to request a sample, contact a Bostik representative today.
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