In 2016, Garçon Wines invented the world’s first full-sized wine bottle that could easily be delivered through a letterbox. This is possible because of a flattened, glass-like plastic bottle which fits a mail slot, is light enough to go through the postal system and strong enough so that it doesn’t break when it hits the doormat. Its cardboard packaging gives the bottle extra protection. This wine company wasn’t the first company to flat-pack products that can be delivered through your mail slot, but it recognised the growing trend for packages that can easily drop through letterboxes.
Why this growing trend of letterbox-friendly packaging?
When you order online, you can’t usually specify when you want your package delivered. In order to deliver cost-effectively and keep the cost free, or at least low, for the customer, companies need to deliver using the postal service (or at least downstream into the postal service). Because of this, timed deliveries are not an option and the product must go through the letterbox or delivery will fail, resulting in sorting office collection. This is to fit in with the postal service’s schedule. That used to mean that you had to ask a neighbour to take in packages for you or go to the sorting office to pick up your parcel yourself. Alternatively, you needed to forego ordering online and shop locally. The drawbacks of this are obvious, not a great deal of choice, heavy bags to be transported home, finding a parking place and so on. Clearly having items flat-packed is very beneficial to busy people.
What comes flat-packed?
Online florists have been sending flowers to customers in flat boxes for some time now. Of course, not all flowers can be flat-packed. Sunflowers are too large to fit into a flat box, for example, but freshly-picked rosebuds are ideal for such packaging. Peonies and hydrangeas can also be flat-packed, as can some types of lily. The flowers that can be pushed through your letterbox don’t have to be tiny. The florist usually includes tips on how to arrange your flowers in the box so even if you are a newbie to flower arranging, you can create a stunning floral arrangement.
And what traditionally goes with a bouquet of flowers? A box of chocolates. These are ideal to send in sturdy cardboard packaging. They arrive unbroken and there are many varieties to choose from.
You can order teas, coffee, presents for dogs on their birthdays, breakfast hampers of ham, bacon and sausages, specialist gourmet mini-hampers, sanitary products, and even small birthday cakes. The cakes are iced to the box so that they aren’t damaged when they drop though your letterbox. You no longer have to get up at the weekend to go shopping before you cook breakfast. There’s a growing choice as more producers and suppliers see the advantages of flat-packed items.
The other good thing about ordering items that can fit through your mail slot is that you can arrange to have regular deliveries. Some companies will send you products as often as you wish, although not on Sundays due to the restrictions of the postal service.
The future of flat packaging
As more and more companies realise the potential of packaging products so that they fit mail slots, there will undoubtedly be many innovations in the future. Designers are now thinking creatively about redesigning traditional products so that they can fit through letterboxes. If we can have flat wine bottles, what else can we have? I wonder if champagne would be the same in a flat bottle. We’ll have to wait and see.