Packaging refers to a container/wrapper in which the product reaches the end-use consumer. It is a part of the presentation of the product and stays right till the customer takes it from the retail store. It should not be confused with packing. A package is nothing but a container in which things are packed. Packing is the process of covering or wrapping goods into packages. Packing refers to the external protective covering that is used for the safe transportation of goods to the importer.
For example, a plastic box used to pack a set of embroidered handkerchiefs is an example of packaging. On the other hand, the corrugated fibre board boxes which are used for packing plastic boxes for their safe transportation would represent packing, Packaging is the process of designing or producing the container itself.
According to William J. Stanton, “Packaging may be defined as the general group of activities in product planning which involves designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product”.
Packaging refers to grabbing the consumers’ attention, relating to their own identities and creating an emotional connection in a matter of seconds. Packaging trends evolve with consumers’ wants and needs and sometimes they can become a primary factor in whether or not packaging will succeed. Most of the time the concept of packaging and packing and their difference is also understood by dividing the term packaging into two categories, i.e., consumer and logistical packaging.
Consumer or product packaging is primarily done for market appeal, convenience, and protecting the product from the effects of natural elements. However, logistical, industrial or transit packaging is a very essential element in the physical distribution process. Product packaging is designed to meet marketing objectives, but logistical packaging is designed with the idea of distribution objectives. The packaging of the consumer’s products is an important part of the marketing plan. There are many elements to be considered while designing a package. Packaging has been defined as “an activity which is concerned with the economy, protection, convenience and promotional considerations”.
Purpose of Packaging
Packaging has many objectives, from protecting the product to deterring thieves, to aiding in the final sale of the product. Each of these purposes is equally significant to the ultimate success of a company. The major purposes of packaging are stated below.
1) Product Protection: The most prominent purpose of packaging is to physically protect the product inside. The package protects the products and is fundamental to the idea. Their journey from manufacturer to buyer is facilitated.
Packaging protects the products from various types of damage:
i) Damage by mechanical handling,
ii) Product loss-powder, oil, and petroleum products are lost if remain exposed,
iv) Contamination by dirt or dust, i.e., clothing,
v) Moisture gain or loss, i.e., cement, sugar,
vi) Chemical change, i.e., metal corrosion,
vii) Insect attack, i.e., moths in warm garments.
2) Product Contaminants: Package means using the space in which a product will be contained. Ordinary packing is in the form of throw-away containers.
3) Product Attractiveness: The size and shape of the package, its colour, a printed subject on it etc., must make the package attractive to look at. The psychological feeling is that a pleasing package contains a good quality product in it. Attractiveness is a primary consideration in modern packaging. A pictorial label on the package plays the role of a muted salesman.
4) Product Identification: Packages differentiate similar products. Packaging and labelling are and are closely related to branding. Package has more significance, when the product cannot be seen by the buyer fruit juice, packed milk, etc. Customers rely on the package label for understanding the product in the package. An attractive label is a tool for success in marketing.
5) Product Convenience: The purpose of packaging is not only confined to consumer service. The design and size of the package must be by the contents, i.c., the product; it must be convenient to the ultimate customers. A package which can be easily handled, opened, moved, etc., is appreciably favoured by customers.
6) Effective Sales Tool: An attractive design and package invite customers. As is the product, so is the package of the product. Many people think that a good package, taller in size, not shorter, contains bigger products/ Women like the round or curved shape of packages. Packaging, attractive and innovative, has value, as many people purchase the products, for the sake of containers.
7) Segmentation: Packaging can be tailor-made for a specific market group. If a company offers two or more package shapes, colours, sizes, or designs, it may employ differentiated marketing.
8) Channel Co-operation: Packaging can address wholesaler and retailer need for shipping storing, promotion, and so on.
9) New-Product Planning: New packaging can be a key innovation for a firm and stimulate sales.
10) Retail Marketing Trends: The growth of packaging has had a tremendous effect on retailing methods. It enabled manufacturers to sell more and more goods under brand names and it changed the character of retail shops.
11) Self-Service and Supermarket: Self-service on any large scale is completely dependent on the packaging. although it is also true to say that the growth of self-service in departmental stores and supermarkets has had a corresponding great impact on packaging developments.
12) Increase Marketing: Another important purpose of packaging is marketing. Attractive packaging will help to draw more customers and will encourage more purchases of the product.
13) Reusable-Recyclable: Packaging needs to be designed in such a way that the packaging material can be reused or recycled so that it does not generate unnecessary waste in the system.
14) Bring Distribution Efficiency: A package with inadequate stacking strength takes up extra ground space in a warehouse. The material in which a product is packaged also has a direct bearing on transportation costs i.e., the higher the density, the lower the transportation cost. Packaging in small quantities lowers the density of shipping and adds extra cubic volume and weight to storage requirements. This adds to the costs. This requires innovative solutions like the partial assembly of machines, the use of square bottles, the use of flexible packaging materials, etc.
Function of Packaging
The major functions of packaging are as follows:
1) Utilitarian Function: The package performs a utilitarian function by retaining and enhancing the product value to consumers in the following ways:
i) It helps in easy brand identification.
ii) It enhances product use convenience by keeping it clean and undisturbed.
iii) Package protects products from deterioration, spilling, spoilage and evaporation during their transit from manufacturer to consumer.
iv) It makes product handling easier and safe on retail store shelves.
2) Profit Function: The package also performs a profit function in the following two ways:
i) Effective package cuts costs of handling and transportation saving a company from cuts in profits. and protects the product from damage, thereby, saving a company from cuts in profits.
ii) Consumers assigning a relatively higher value to the package are usually prepared to pay a higher price for this product attribute. As a result, higher contribution to profit flows from the package.
3) Communication Function: Packing performs the function of communication by becoming an important adjunct to the components of the communication mix, namely through advertising and sales promotion such as:
i) Identification and Differentiation: It makes product identification and differentiation both easy and effective. In a competitive market when differences in tangible product attributes are not conspicuous, it is the package’s unique presentation that makes a product different from other competing brands. Different brands of hair oil, shampoo, detergent, soap, and liquor have different designs and colours of glass or plastic or paper containers resulting in easy identification and the package become an integral part of the total product. Consumers visualise the product along with the package and these days they prefer good, appealing and attractive packaging.
ii) Communicate Product Massage: Package features communicate product massage and motivate consumers to buy, i.e., India King Cigarettes, Liril soap and Kellogg’s breakfast cereals, Keo Karpin hair oil and Dettol, etc. This is particularly true for food and pharmaceutical products as the information and instructions on the label of the package focus on important attributes or contents of the product and product application.
ii) Implementing Repositioning Strategy: A change in product package design and message considerably facilitates the implementation of the product/brand repositioning strategy of a company. This is particularly relevant for regular consumer products like baby powder, toothpaste, soaps, detergent, and shampoo.
iv) Repeats the Selling Message: The package repeats the selling message printed on it before a consumer when it is repeatedly handled during a series of uses This encourages repeat and replacement purchases. This is also true for household products and fast-moving consumer products like Maggi Noodles, Lifebuoy liquid soap and Mobil car lubricants:
v) Promote Products: It promotes products at the point of purchase and usually helps in the purchase decision process. New brands or products are easily identified by consumers leading to communication with the dealer and may result in an ultimate purchase. New products like Philips electric shaver. 7’6″ clock twin blades and Maggi tomato ketchup are some examples which are easy to see or locate at the point of purchase.
vi) Attractiveness of Product: The product display at the dealer’s shop becomes more relevant and useful and consumers are drawn towards products or brands occupying prominent shelf space like Lux, Liril, Lifebuoy soaps, and Kellogg’s.
4) Purchase and Marketing Functions: At the other end of the chain, the packaging is a part of marketing and must be considered at the start of any marketing plan. It has been seen that the packaging function is involved with many other functions within the company. Efficient communications are important because of the diverse disciplines represented in the packaging operation.
Requirement of Good Packaging
1) Package Design: Because package design affects the image a firm seeks for its products, the colour, shape, and material all influence consumer perceptions. Listerine Antiseptic changed from glass to plastic in its most popular bottle sizes, as redesigned the classic barbell-shaped package that signified amber mouthwash and medicine-y’ taste to generations of consumers. The product inside is the same.
2) Packaging Materials: A firm has many packaging materials from which to select, such as paperboard, plastic, metal, glass, styrofoam, and cellophane. In the choice, trade-offs are probably needed; Cellophane allows products to be attractively displayed, but it is highly susceptible to tearing, and paperboard is relatively inexpensive, but it is hard to open. A company must also decide how innovative it wants its packaging to be. Aseptic packaging (for juice boxes and milk ) allows beverages to be stored in special boxes without refrigeration.
3) Placement of Label: The placement, content, size, and prominence of the label must be set. Both company and brand names (if appropriate) require to appear on the label. The existence of package inserts and other useful information (some required by law) should be noted on the label. Sometimes, a redesigned label may be confusing to customers and damage product sales.
4) Convenience of Usage: The packaging of products should be such to provide maximum convenience to customers, manufacturers, and distributors alike. Consumers prefer packages which are easy to use and handle.
5) Guarantee of Economy: Package costs must be considered on both a total and per-unit basis. Total costs can run into millions of dollars, and per-unit costs can go as high as 40 per cent or more of a product’s price depending on the purpose and extent of packaging. Thus packaging costs should not be a burden on manufacturers.
6) Assurance of Adjustability: A good package should be adjustable to all types of products, be they solid or liquid.
7) Package should be Pollutionless: Firms seeking to act in a socially responsible manner also consider the environmental impact of packaging. Shiny gold or silver packaging transmits an image of quality opulence but certain metallic inks are not bio-degradable and are harmful to the environment. Some companies are developing innovative green packaging which is less harmful to the environment than other materials.
Trends in Packaging
The current trends in packaging are as follows:
1) Technological Advancement: New technological advances such as adding sound, light, colour and movement have started impacting packaging in more developed markets and this trend is set to influence the local market.
2) Environment-Friendly Packaging: Sustainable and environmentally-friendly packaging remains a major trend during this era. This will helps in maintaining ecological balance also.
3) Innovation of Self-Adhesive Labels: Another key trend will be the growing importance of self-adhesive labels, replacing the glue-applied labelling lines with more modern technology.
4) Rise of Reusable Packaging: A related trend is the rise of reusable packaging. This trend is set to grow in the foreseeable future as it allows brands to extend their brand presence with consumers over a longer period.
5) Lamitubes: Cosmetic industry extensively used the lamitudes and later on it was borrowed by the toothpaste and pharmaceutical industries.
6) Sachets: The Chennai-based Chik shampoo first introduced sachets in the Indian market. The biggest advantage of the sachet is that it offers an opportunity to experiment with a new product at a drastically minimal cost.
7) Tetrapaks: In 1986, Parle Agro scored a hit with its mango drink Frooti, tetra paks were noticed as a revolution in packaging. It had a long shelf life; it was priced in line with other drinks; it did not face the logistics constraints of bottled drinks. It is made up of six layers each of which serves the function of protecting or keeping germs out.