Shelf-ready packaging

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Shelf-ready packaging (SRP) refers to the preparation of a product so that it is delivered to a retailer in a ready-to-sell merchandised unit. Products which come in SRP can be easily placed on the shelf without the need for unpacking or repacking. SRP covers all types of packaging designed for the retail outlet. Shelf-ready packaging includes sales support mechanisms in all major distribution channels; "Retail-ready packaging" is a term broadly used to summarize the type of packages produced for retailers shelves.

SRP is synonymous with RRP Retail-ready packaging, or PAV (prêt-à-vendre). Wal-Mart refers to them as PDQ ("Pretty Darn Quick").

Functional requirements[edit]

The purpose of secondary packaging is to collate and protect the product. In order to call a secondary packaging SRP, additional packaging solutions need to be provided to assure functionality. Experience has shown that on the one hand it is generally easy to define what is not SRP. On the other hand, to define precisely just what SRP is becomes more complicated. Therefore, an agreement on common functional requirements for the design of SRP was implemented by the Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) Europe working group.

The following five SRP requirements are applicable across Europe:

  1. easy identification
  2. easy open
  3. easy dispose
  4. easy shelf
  5. easy shop

To move products successfully through the supply chain, it is important for a SRP solution to both collate and protect the product, as stated above. A SRP solution which is easy to open but does not protect the product, is not a sufficient SRP.

The different requirements have variable effects throughout the supply chain. The attributes “easy identification”, “easy open”, “easy dispose”, and “easy shelf” have a direct effect on the store staff.

Easy identification[edit]

The requirement “easy identification” supports the store staff in terms of the selection of the right products. All attributes that help in the identification of a product reduce placement error in the stock and in the store and allow a faster filling of the shelves. For this reason, the products on the pallet are arranged and aligned so that different product versions and brands can be seen. In addition, a product must be clearly identified by printing on the SRP. Product, content, versions and expiration date must also be clearly visible on the SRP. The product code should be printed in the form of a barcode, printed to provide easy handling.

Easy open[edit]

All SRP solutions should be easy to open, in order to secure easier and quicker replenishment. Consumers can be negatively affected by overcrowded aisles as well as by out-of-stock situations. To avoid slow and inefficient replenishment, a well designed SRP needs to fulfil the requirement ”easy open”. Another important factor concerning “easy open” is that a SRP solution should be easy to open in the store (without any tools, such as knives), but it should be robust so that it can be transported without damage through the whole supply chain. Additional pictograms with a minimum of text facilitate the handling of SRP and make clear how the SRP is to be handled correctly. [1]

It is important that after opening the SRP, the quality, integrity and appearance of the products are not affected. Furthermore, sharp edges that could pose risks to employees and customers should be avoided. The time required for opening a SRP should contribute to simple and efficient replenishment. [2]

Easy dispose[edit]

In addition, a SRP should be easy to dispose. If the disposal of packaging materials is unwieldy and time-consuming, the benefit generated by SRP are negated by the disadvantages of elaborate disposal. Therefore, SRP should be disposable with little interaction, without assistance, space-saving, and foldable. In order to prevent injury to employees, the tearing of packaging should be avoided. The material used for SRP should be kept as minimal as possible both to save disposal time and to save the environment. [3]

When using re-usable SRP, clear instruction for its return or recycling are necessary. [4]

Easy shelf[edit]

Closely related to the functional requirement "easy open" is the requirement of "easy shelf". Both requirements are intended to facilitate the replenishment of the shelves. To ensure proper replenishment, the SRP needs to be stable and should not lose its original shape. Integrated handles in the SRP can facilitate the placing of goods for the employees in the store. If possible, two SRP should be placed on one shelf to avoid out-of-stock-situations. Furthermore, SRP should be stackable so that the space available on one shelf can be used efficiently.

Easy shop[edit]

So that customer can locate their desired product inside the SRP and easily remove it from the SRP, the requirement “easy shop” needs to be fulfilled. Considering this functional requirement, physical and visual attributes need to be taken into account. The front panel of a SRP should reflect the products included in the SRP. Accordingly, the SRP often includes the brand or manufacturer’s logo to ensure rapid recognition and visibility. This makes it easier for the customer to select the desired product, possibly among several variants. SRP should also provide any relevant information from the primary packaging. SRP should improve product identification and thus make a positive contribution to the shopping experience. As a result, SRP should be designed brightly to attract the attention of customers. Individual product variant can be especially enhanced via color printing; plain SRP may reduce the shopping experience. Moreover a customer needs to be able to take the desired product out of the SRP easily and place it back if unwanted. Therefore, products should not be arranged too close in a SRP and should not stick on the tray. After removal of products, the SRP must nevertheless remain stable and still visually appealing for the customer when in a half-empty state.

Depending on the product, type and complexity of the existing SRP, the relative importance of the functional requirements stated above may be different. Often, not all functional requirements can be realized equally by a SRP. [5]

SRP types[edit]

Due to the fact that there are many different products which need to be packed in a SRP, products can be delivered by a variety of solutions.

Shelf tray[edit]

SRP solutions which can be placed in the shelf are predominantly made of corrugated cardboard. In general, these consist of a tray (secondary packaging) and a cover (a lid which protects the product). The cover can be easily separated from the tray by a perforation.[6] Sometimes the cover of a tray is a transparent film which protects the products from mechanical and climatic influences. [7]

Re-usable plastic tray[edit]

In addition to SRP made of corrugated cardboard, SRP solutions can also be made of re-usable materials such as plastic. Such plastic containers can be re-used directly in the store. Furthermore, if re-use is not possible, the containers can be returned to the producer. [8]

Merchandising unit – promotional display, dolly, pallet / ½ pallet / ¼ pallet[edit]

Merchandising units represent another type of SRP solutions. They are used for secondary placement. Normally, promotional goods or fast-moving products are presented in a merchandising unit. An enormous number of products can be placed on a merchandising unit. Therefore, the merchandising unit serves as SRP.[9] Secondary placements can trigger impulse purchases. Often, roll-up palettes, called dollies, are used as a base for merchandising units. Rolling pallets facilitate the handling of merchandising units and increase flexibility. [10]

Importance of shelf-ready packaging from the perspective of traders[edit]

The implementation of SRP differs for discounters and full-line distributors. The implementation rate of full-line distributors averages about 37%, and is therefore considerably lower than the 90% implementation rate for discounters.[11] However, there are also differences among full-line distributors regarding the use of SRP. Basic causes are the respective strategies used in the markets. On the one side, some full-line distributors avoid the use of SRP for image-related and aesthetic reasons. On the other hand, some full-line distributors use SRP extensively because of the ease of handling and lower personnel costs. Apart from the strategy followed for individual markets, the decision whether to use SRP or not depends on the variety of goods provided in the market. The use of SRP in the discount trade has already been mentioned; cost savings can be realized while the best possible presentation of the products is possible. Thus, in some cases revenue could be increased up to 35%, partly because of the use of SRP.[12] In addition to the increase in revenue, SRP simplifies work processes and consequently increases productivity. Activities related to in-store logistics, such as storing, unpacking, labelling products and filling the shelves, account for 70% to 80% of the daily business in the food sector. It is clear that potential savings can be generated through the use of SRP.[13] Thanks to printing on the SRP, selecting stock becomes easier. Due to easier and faster replenishment, the largest potential savings result from this improvement to in-store logistics.[14] Depending on container size, 10 to 60 products can be displayed at once on a shelf.[15] To exploit the full potential savings of SRP, it may be removed from the shelf when the last article has been removed. This leads to gaps in the shelves that can affect the purchasing behaviour of customers. Through the use of an integrated product system, which pushes the remaining products to the front of the SRP whenever one product has been taken from it, shelf gaps can be reduced. [16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ GS1 Germany (2008), Supply Chain Management
  2. ^ ECR Europe, GS1 Germany GmbH (2007) Handelsgerechte Regalverpackungen
  3. ^ o.V. (2008), Von Regaltray bis zu Logistikdisplays
  4. ^ ECR Europe, GS1 Germany GmbH (2007) Handelsgerechte Regalverpackungen
  5. ^ ECR Europe, GS1 Germany GmbH (2007) Handelsgerechte Regalverpackungen
  6. ^ ECR Europe, GS1 Germany GmbH (2007) Handelsgerechte Regalverpackungen
  7. ^ GS1 Germany (2008), Supply Chain Management
  8. ^ ECR Europe, GS1 Germany GmbH (2007) Handelsgerechte Regalverpackungen
  9. ^ ECR Europe, GS1 Germany GmbH (2007) Handelsgerechte Regalverpackungen
  10. ^ o.V. (2008), Von Regaltray bis zu Logistikdisplays, In. Markenartikel
  11. ^ Bergmann, H. (2007), Stand und Umsetzung von Shelf Ready Packaging
  12. ^ Kober, I. (2006), Verpackugen: Fertig für's Regal
  13. ^ Portmann, M. (2008), Sinnvoll und auch sparsam eingepackt
  14. ^ o.V. (2008), Von Regaltrays bis zu Logistikdisplays
  15. ^ Vollmers, F. (2007), Schicke Schachteln fürs Supermarktregal
  16. ^ Portmann, M. (2008), Sinnvoll und auch sparsam eingepackt