Online shopping is on the rise. About three billion shipments have been processed in Germany alone over the past year and the trend across Europe is similar. It is estimated that the carton sealing tapes market will grow by more than 20% over the next five years and this will in good part be driven by the increase of e-commerce.
As a result of these developments, the mailroom has become a much more interesting place. Packaging tapes, for example, have never been more important – there’s simply not one type of tape that fits all needs.
German adhesives manufacturer tesa has been in the tape business for 80 years, and it is these years of experience that have made the company an expert in the field.
Whatever the specific needs of the customer, tesa can offer the right solution, from high-quality PVC tape needed for sealing heavy parcels and different kinds of polypropylene tapes for professional and efficient shipments, to recycled PP tapes for sustainable ecological packaging.
Falk Butterwegge, Head of Office Supply, Stationery & Online for International Sales at tesa and Lyreco’s Group Marketing Executive Pascal Mitchell, talked to OPI about the mailroom sector at large and the opportunities that the continued collaboration between the two companies presents.
OPI: What fuels the demand for mailroom products in the European markets that you operate in?
Pascal Mitchell: The mailroom environment has changed in the past few years. The decrease in traditional mail, such as letters or invoices, and the increasing transfer of documents through electronic channels has resulted in a big shift in the way mailroom products and solutions have evolved.
Falk Butterwegge: And while traditional mail is in decline, the strong e-commerce trend has given the demand for packaging tapes a boost.
OPI: So overall that is good news for this product category?
PM: Yes. The growing internet-based sales by both SMEs as well as the major online players of a huge variety of products means that the type of packaging, sealing and protection of the products needed is more varied than ever before.
Different box sizes and vastly differing content weight, plus more specific use of tapes – personalised and containing the name of the company or even including a message, for instance – has led to a much wider offer of packaging solutions.
FB: As we all know, overall the traditional stationery market in Europe is mainly flat or, in some categories, even slightly decreasing.
But there are several silver linings, even in this traditional segment. In addition to the ongoing online shopping trend, we see increasing demand for sustainable ecological solutions and as a result are now also producing tapes that are produced from 100% recycled plastic.
These products are particularly interesting for certain public tenders, but also for customers that want to ensure a sustainable strategy across their entire business.
OPI: What are the challenges from a reseller perspective?
PM: The mailroom environment, which is linked to Lyreco’s industrial packaging strategy, creates a number of new challenges. What should our offer be in terms of SKU count and variety? How do we target our customers? Things like warehouse and storage issues for multiple box sizes also have to be addressed.
Our main competitors in this sector of the market have a level of expertise and credibility that we need to match.
FB: And we can help with gaining that expertise. Detailed product knowledge is vital in order to ensure that different tapes meet the needs of different applications.
As one of the leading brands in Europe for packaging tapes, tesa has accumulated considerable knowledge in this sector. It is our objective to enable Lyreco to fully exploit the potential of this category by providing them with our full support.
OPI: So what is Lyreco’s positioning in the mailroom and packaging sector at the moment?
PM: We currently have a solid range of tapes and adhesives that allow us to cover most customer needs. However, our objective is to really develop this category. Our one-stop-shop approach will lead Lyreco to improve the packaging solutions we offer our customers in the near future.
Lyreco and tesa have always had a strong relationship. In our view, the development of brands is key to maintaining a high level of quality across our ranges. It also reassures our customers that we are working with the right supplier sources.
In the mailroom and packaging sector, though it might seem quite simple, identifying the right solutions for their packaging needs isn’t always easy for customers. Working with tesa allows us to propose the right tape for the right use – being able to give customers that guidance is very important to us.
OPI: How important is this category for tesa?
FB: It’s part of tesa’s core business. Packaging tapes overall can be very generic. However, there are so many different specifications and needs that expertise and a wide assortment are required to best serve the market.
The right tape depends on the type, timing and purpose of shipment as well as on the parcel/cardboard box itself. We at tesa have to ensure that our reseller partner understands the different needs of packaging, bundling and sealing tapes, as well as the variations in related dispensers.
Having a good understanding of the different applications helps to increase the overall category value.
OPI: What distribution channel provides the best opportunities for you Falk?
FB: Professional packaging dealers as well as B2B contract dealers offer the best value to the business as they fully exploit the potential in the market.
However, marketplaces and pure online dealers like Amazon are also becoming major players in the market.
OPI: What are the core aims of the tesa/Lyreco collaboration?
PM: Our ambition is to grow with tesa and develop our business by targeting customers who are small to large consumers of packaging solutions. The aim is to become a leader in the industrial packaging environment.
Our category split in the mailroom sector overall is in line with the market and that is because of our long history in this segment. However, in the packaging category the split we have does not match the specialist distributors that serve this market due to our shorter history and also because we have placed less emphasis on this category.
We want to become experts in both the packaging and the mailroom environment, understand our current and future customer needs and improve our credibility in this market by working hand in hand with key suppliers such as tesa.
FB: For us it’s crucial to understand the objectives of our partners in order to enable them to achieve their goals.
To start with, a professional and competitive assortment is mandatory to enable their sales team to offer the best solutions to their customers. The support element then includes training programmes, workshops, submission of samples, etc.
So overall, our role is to support Lyreco to improve their understanding of the packaging business by offering them our expertise and, of course, a comprehensive product portfolio.