X-Ray – Car Mat Packaging
- Who-Rae Pty Ltd
X-ray is a new merchandising solution for automotive floor mats, developed by CobaltNiche for Who-Rae Australia, a major supplier of automotive accessories. The automotive floor mat category historically suffers a high proportion of discounted sales due to damaged or missing packaging. The design solves these problems with a unique and patented hanger system. As part of a strategic design programme to secure distribution of floor mats into the North American retail market, X-ray has achieved this and more with the design becoming an industry standard.
Improving durability, reducing waste
Automotive floor mats are typically merchandised on hangers adapted from garment retailing. However the higher weight of rubber mats makes this only partially successful. Additionally, header cards are usually attached (presenting brand/product features) and these are regularly damaged during normal handling. This was overcome by designing a suitably-sized display area on the hanger itself, with graphics applied via labelling processes. Tearing/folding/dog-earing of the header graphic is eliminated, as are dangerous staples. With a positive impact on the consumer/retailer experience and a reduction in discounted/unsalable stock, the benefits have flowed on to increased sales and less waste.
Design insight on merchandising
With purchases made as a gift or on impulse, high levels of returns/exchanges are customary in this segment. Before return, packaging is typically damaged/discarded, preventing resale at full price. In a key design insight, the team realised that the definition of the merchandising process needed to include the customer taking the product home; possibly returning it and the retailer re-racking it. This drove the innovation of secure but re-usable hang points, which along with a carry handle and integrated header, give a system that not only survives but excels in all phases of the re-imagined merchandising path.
To North America
Who-Rae has been in the business of branding and wholesaling automotive accessories for more than a decade with roots in the sector going back thirty years. The X-ray design and development programme has transformed the business with regard to sales and global reach. It has secured distribution with major US retailers – spearheading transformation from a regional to a global operation and exponentially lifting the company’s sales volume.
Vertical integration and beyond
In equally significant transformation, the X-ray hanger design has allowed the company to become more vertically integrated, expanding from sourcing product to taking control of its own packaging IP and supply chain. In recognition of the benefits of the design, the key North American retailer has mandated the use of the hanger for all suppliers. Who Rae are now benefitting by supplying large quantities of the hanger to the other mat suppliers, so that the company is now effectively profiting from their own competition.