By integrating RePack through a pilot approach, Royal Canin made its subscription model more convenient and sustainable.
About Royal Canin
Pet owners ever more are looking for exclusivity, convenience, and security. Royal Canin Individualis is a tailor-made diet that takes into account all of the animal’s needs with the help of a vet.
Solving the subscription service waste issue
Royal Canin developed a new offer of tailor-made pet food in France, Germany, and Japan, with a formula created for each animal-specific need. It can be ordered online via the pet's vet and received at home, at the vet’s practice, or other pick-up points.
The first delivery is premium as it contains the first order and starting pack.
As a monthly subscription, pet owners receive refills in a large cardboard box at home each month. After the first delivery, single-use refill delivereies are wasteful and polluting while taking little advantage to improve the user experience.
Royal Canin’s efforts are underway to significantly boost the use of reusable packaging in alignment with their group Mars’s ambitious packaging sustainability goals for 2025. Royal Canin wanted to offer recurring customers a more convenient and sustainable option: reusable packaging.
In e-commerce, customers usually choose if they want to receive reusable packaging each time.
In this case, customers would receive it each month. For this reason, we needed to understand if customers found the reusable solution more convenient than breaking down cardboard boxes for recycling. We had to run a small qualitative pilot to assess customer satisfaction.
Royal Canin usually ships its premium pet food in protective cardboard boxes. Therefore we had to ensure our packaging was sturdy enough to guarantee intact quality at delivery.
To tackle Royal Canin’s challenges, we decided to launch a pilot in three phases:
- Feasibility - How to offer reusable packaging for each customer each month without impacting the bottom line? Should they cover France, Germany, and Japan or select a market?
- Customer Satisfaction - Are customers willing to return a packaging each month instead of receiving a cardboard box?
- Logistics - How can Royal Canin use RePack in their warehouse processes? Can a flexible pouch replace rigid cardboard boxes and maintain the premium quality of pet food?
The Individualis program is available in France, Germany, and Japan.
Royal Canin first chose to launch reusable packaging in the French market, primarily because of the competitive pricing of RePack.
As Royal Canin wanted to make each refill order in a RePack, the cost of RePack was slightly too expensive compared to their cardboard alternative.
Our partnership with La Poste reduced the cost of each RePack to a more competitive levels, allowing Royal Canin to consider a larger-scale deployment of the solution to the French Market.
Royal Canin is a testament that legislation and return costs really do help scale up reusable packaging.
Among their loyal french customers, Royal Canin made a test over two months with 15 selected pet owners to be among the first customers to receive their following refills in RePack.
They agreed to share their impressions in individual interviews to share their experience.
Individually interviewed customers to see if they were willing to return the empty packaging each month and if they understood the sustainability benefits.
This first test was very successful and received average customer feedback of 4,8/5.
Customers reported that RePack was:
- Easy to use
- A good solution for e-commerce
We reviewed the feedback received and the questions French customers had about the system. For example, some were worried about their return to Estonia but this changed once we set up the empty return collaboration with La Poste.
This valuable feedback helped us scale the reusable packaging project while understanding what information was most relevant to French customers.
Logistics and Packaging
We organized a workshop in the Royal Canin warehouse in France where all Individualis orders are prepared, packed, and shipped.
We met with the Royal Canin team to review any questions they had in the preparation of the order when preparing the first orders in the first small pilot.
The refills quantity varies significantly from the needs of a small cat to a large doc, and they usually need three sizes of cardboard boxes. The three sizes of RePack allowed them to meet their packaging need perfectly.
We tried our different sealing methods to find the most efficient and secure one for Royal Canin.
Royal Canin tested the resistance of the packaging with a crash test and validated an ISTA certification certifying that RePack packaging protected the pet food perfectly during transit.
By replacing 100% of their refill orders with reusable packaging, Royal Canin Individualis drastically reduces the negative impact of its shipping in terms of carbon emissions and waste.
Shipping in RePack is just as secured as cardboard boxes.
In addition, their customers warmly welcomed the service, who feel that it’s easy to use, more sustainable, and a good e-commerce solution.
The order contains a flyer with instructions and the possibility to switch back to a cardboard box single-use if needed.
We constantly collect feedback through a QR code to understand if customers stay happy with their experience and if we can improve the service, refill after refill.
To wrap up
Royal Canin offers a subscription model for their individualized pet food, “Individualis,” and decided to ship the refills in reusable packaging to minimize waste and deliver a better customer experience. — a practice loved by pet owners that also supports their company’s their company’s sustainability goals.
- Build a great customer relationship - Reusable packaging is an innovation their customers love, especially when they receive deliveries regularly.
- Support Sustainable Objectives - RePack contributes to the company’s sustainability goals for circularity and carbon reduction.
- Break free from Single-use - Eliminate unnecessary packaging and its sourcing and waste management challenges.