The Problem With Snapdeal’s New Red Packaging Noone Is Talking About

Snapdeal unveiled its brand makeover a couple of weeks back amidst much media hype and fanfare. The Rs. 200 crore overhaul had entailed a new logo, a new tagline (Unbox Zindagi), a flurry of ad campaigns both offline and online, and a catchy TVC featuring the musical prowess of Shankar Ehsaan & Loy. But there was another tiny change –Snapdeal has done away with its vanilla brown packaging in favour of the new brand colour, which makes the basis for its new logo.

Snapdeal shipments will now be delivered in solid red boxes as opposed to the standard brown corrugated boxes – a feature Snapdeal’s been highlighting in all its campaigns.

On the face of it, the change comes as a breath of fresh air. It fits in with Snapdeal’s branding, makes Snapdeal’s packaging stand apart from the others, and has had some users gushing about the change.

We’ll just ignore the *size* of the box in relation to the size of the product it enshrines. But does a coloured red box make a lot of sense?

A normal corrugated box costs anywhere between Rs. 10 to Rs. 150 depending on the size. These boxes are unpainted and come in the natural brown colour which comprises of (mostly recycled) paper and wood pulp. Snapdeal’s solid red coloured box could cost as much as 30% more for having a red print. (An email to Snapdeal to get details about the new packaging didn’t elicit a response.)

For a company that ships out 100,000 or so such boxes everyday, and at a fairly conservative estimate assuming each box costs an extra Rs. 10 for the colour, does it make sense that for a company that’s trying to curb its burn rate to spend an extra 10 lakhs every day just on packaging? Especially when the packaging is of a cosmetic nature and is mostly likely to be discarded after the item has been delivered.

Additionally and perhaps more importantly, with the massive rise of ecommerce, concerns about the environmental effects of excessive packaging have always remained on the sidelines. If the natural brown boxes weren’t bad enough, now we have Snapdeal’s solid red coloured ones. Ink has an environmental bearing. When any product with a huge amount of ink is disposed, not only are the chemicals present in ink harmful for the environment, but the associated waste like ink cartridges and the printing process itself go some way in contributing to a carbon footprint.