Why the Packaging Industry Should Level Up to Sales 4.0? -- drupa - May 28 to June 7, 2024 - Messe Düsseldorf

Why the Packaging Industry Should Level Up to Sales 4.0?

by Jean-Michaël Peinchina, Keybop Conseil

Industry 4.0 has become a widely discussed topic, capturing significant attention across the packaging industry. Industry 4.0 primarily focuses on enhancing machine performance and optimizing back-office processes. However, there has been a notable lack of emphasis on automating and streamlining the sales process.

Meanwhile, brand owners are increasingly seeking digital services and experiences to streamline their purchase processes. This article explores the trend of B2B purchasers embracing digital solutions and highlights how packaging converters can equip themselves with Sales 4.0 technologies to meet these evolving needs.

Understanding Sales 4.0 and web-to-pack in the packaging industry

Sales 4.0 in the B2B context represents the integration of advanced technologies, data-driven insights, and innovative approaches such as Web-to-Pack solutions. Unlike Web-to-Print, Web-to-Pack specifically caters to the unique requirements and complexities of the packaging industry.

Web-to-Pack platforms provide brand owners with user-friendly interfaces to browse a wide range of packaging options, visualize designs, and customize packaging materials. With dynamic 3D visualization tools integrated into the platforms, brand owners can experience a realistic representation of their packaging designs. Real-time pricing and instant quotations enable informed decision-making, while collaborative features facilitate communication and interaction with packaging experts, ensuring a seamless and efficient ordering process.

Over the last 10 years, some pure players like Packhelp, Poland, Pack.ly, Italy, Coqli, France, and many others have experienced exceptional growth, capturing online requests - and not always simple requests! - and transforming them into real orders. Many converters are now facing a dilemma: let pure players capture online leads, see their market share drop down and potentially accept manufacturing for them? Take their own market share online? Or adopt a hybrid strategy, accepting multiple sales channels - online, marketplaces, traditional sales?

To offer online services and thrive in the evolving B2B landscape, manufacturers need either to develop their own solution or to equip themselves with some innovative platforms so they can enhance customer experiences, reduce lead times, and provide a convenient and personalized way for brand owners to browse, customize, and order packaging materials. Web-to-Pack, along with other Sales 4.0 technologies such as AI, project management, automation, and data analytics, empowers packaging converters to deliver exceptional value and stay ahead in the digitally-driven market.

Trends in B2B Purchasers' Digital Purchase Experiences

In today's B2B landscape, purchasers are increasingly demanding digital solutions for project management, online catalogs, order placement and tracking. Here are some statistics that highlight the growing importance of digital tools and platforms in B2B purchasing:

Project Management: According to a survey by McKinsey, 88% of purchasers expect their suppliers to offer digital project management tools that streamline collaboration, communication, and document sharing.

Online Catalogs: Research conducted by Accenture reveals that 73% of B2B buyers prefer to make their purchases directly from supplier websites. They expect comprehensive online catalogs that provide detailed product information, pricing, and customization options. Furthermore, 78% of purchasers expect real-time inventory visibility to ensure availability and prompt delivery.

Order Placement and Tracking: A study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that 74% of B2B buyers expect their suppliers to offer an online platform for placing orders, while 76% expect real-time tracking capabilities. These features provide purchasers with convenience, transparency, and control over their order processes.

To stay competitive in the B2B space, packaging converters need to prioritize the development and implementation of robust digital platforms that cater to these evolving expectations. By offering user-friendly interfaces, real-time information, and self-service capabilities, packaging converters can enhance the digital purchase experience for their B2B customers and drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Benefits of Sales 4.0 Technologies for Packaging Converters

By embracing Sales 4.0 technologies, packaging converters can unlock several benefits to meet the evolving needs of B2B purchasers:

Customer acquisition: According to a study by Salesforce, companies that effectively utilize digital tools and technologies for customer acquisition experience a 38% higher sales win rate. This indicates that Sales 4.0 technologies contribute to improved lead generation, better conversion rates, and increased customer acquisition.

Customer loyalty: A report by Adobe states that businesses with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy an average customer retention rate of 89%. By leveraging Sales 4.0 technologies to provide personalized and seamless customer experiences across channels, manufacturers can boost customer loyalty and retention.

Efficient Order Management: A study conducted by Aberdeen Group found that companies implementing digital order management systems experienced a 24% reduction in order processing costs and a 60% improvement in order cycle times. Sales 4.0 technologies enable manufacturers to automate order processes, reduce errors, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Collaborative Platforms: Research by McKinsey highlights that effective collaboration through digital platforms can result in a 20-30% increase in productivity. By adopting Sales 4.0 technologies that facilitate real-time collaboration, manufacturers can enhance communication, decision-making, and project management, leading to increased productivity and improved customer satisfaction.

Data Analytics and Insights: According to a study by Forrester, companies that utilize data-driven insights for decision-making experience a 30% increase in marketing ROI. By leveraging Sales 4.0 technologies to gather and analyze data, manufacturers can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends, and product performance. These insights enable informed decision-making, targeted marketing strategies, and improved business outcomes.

Sales 4.0 + Industry 4.0 = let data flow improve all your operations. Integrating data between digital storefronts and machine equipment brings significant advantages to packaging converters in job estimation and onboarding processes. This integration enables accurate job estimation by utilizing real-time information on machine capabilities and resource availability. It optimizes resource allocation, streamlines communication, and improves overall efficiency and productivity. The integration also enhances visibility and transparency throughout the processes, allowing stakeholders to track job progress and provide customers with accurate updates. By leveraging this data integration, packaging converters can deliver projects more efficiently, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive business growth. A study by McKinsey & Company found that automation technologies can lead to a 20% to 30% reduction in labor costs for manufacturing industries. Research by the Aberdeen Group also shows that companies leveraging data integration and automation experience an average of 10% to 15% improvement in operational efficiency.

It is important to note that while these statistics are not industry-specific to packaging, they highlight the broader benefits of Sales 4.0 technologies for manufacturers. By embracing digital solutions, manufacturers can achieve higher sales win rates, improve customer retention, streamline operations, enhance collaboration, and drive ROI through data-driven decision-making.

Investing in Sales 4.0 Technologies for Packaging Converters

To equip themselves with Sales 4.0 technologies and meet the digital expectations of B2B purchasers, packaging converters can take the following steps:

Technology Integration: Packaging converters should invest in integrating digital solutions into their existing processes. This includes adopting customer relationship management (CRM) systems, digital ordering platforms, virtual product visualization tools, and communication and collaboration platforms.

Product visualization and configuration, desktop & mobile Packitoo HIPE

Data Analytics Capabilities: Implementing robust data analytics capabilities allows packaging converters to gather and analyze customer data, identify trends, and provide actionable insights to their sales teams and clients. This can help in tailoring packaging solutions to meet specific customer needs and preferences.

Omnichannel sales performance visualization in Packitoo HIPE

Talent Development: Packaging converters should focus on nurturing a workforce skilled in Sales 4.0 technologies. Training programs can be implemented to ensure employees are proficient in utilizing the digital tools and technologies required to meet the evolving demands of B2B purchasers.


The packaging industry in the B2B context is witnessing a significant shift towards digitalization and Sales 4.0 technologies. Brand owners are increasingly seeking digital services and experiences throughout their purchase processes combined with a strong time-to-market requirement. By embracing Sales 4.0 technologies, packaging converters can enhance their offerings, streamline operations, and provide personalized and efficient digital experiences to B2B purchasers. Investing in technology integration, data analytics capabilities, and talent development will position packaging converters at the forefront of the digital transformation in the B2B packaging industry.

About the Author

Jean-Michaël Peinchina is digital transformation consultant in the graphics industry at Keybop Conseil. He helped several manufacturers get started on their digital transformation journey. For the packaging industry he identified some relevant players, and especially Packitoo HIPE, a solution meeting the criteria of a 4.0 environment.

You can reach Jean-Michaël under LinkedIn and find more about Packitoo reaching his CEO under LinkedIn


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