Packaging is the other side of the product identification. Traditionally, the function of packaging was to protect goods. However, it is a promotional tool and the major image builder contributing to the product success. It is a point of sale display that develops a favourable consumer appeal.
‘Packing’ is a process that speaks of company’s ability to contain economically man made or natural products for shipment, storage, sale or final use. It comprises the activities of wrapping or creating the product for performing the marketing functions more easily and economically.
In simple words, packing is the act of housing the product in the packages or containers like tins, cans, bags, jars, bottles, boxes, kegs, casks, and the like. A ‘package’ is a wrapper or a container in which a product is enclosed, encased, housed or sealed.
‘Packaging’ on the other hand, deals with activities of planning and designing of different means of packing the products. What are clothes to human-beings, so are the packages for the products.
“Packaging is the general group of activities in designing the containers or wrappers for the products”. Professor William Stanton
“Package design is the unique combination of colours, graphics and symbols to distinguishing the products.” John Bull
“Packaging is an activity which is concerned with the protection, economy, convenience and promotional considerations”. Professor Philip
Thus, it embraces the functions of package selection, manufacture, filling and handling. It is worth noting, here, that the word ‘packing’ is more comprehensive and, hence, covers ‘packaging’. Packing is concerned with product protection while packaging with product promotion.
Objectives of Packaging
Packaging is a market and marketing necessity, at-least five objectives can be identified so far as product packaging is concerned. These are product protection, product identification, product convenience, product profit generation and product promotion.
These points can be outlined as given below:
(i) Product protection
The primary objective of packaging is protection of products or contents. It is the package that keeps the contents fresh, clean and un-spoilt by using moisture proof, vermin-proof and damage resistant materials.
It is powerful weapon to avoid shop-lifting, stealing in shops. This protection is given to the products from their birth till their death. Thus, product is protected against the possible theft, pilferage, leakage, spilling, breakage, contamination, deterioration, evaporation and so on.
(ii) Product identification
The products available in a shop on shelves must be distinguishable for easy identification. One brand is to be compared and distinguished from another. Next to brand names, packaging is another easy and convenient method to identify the products of different producers or marketers.
It is obvious that the packaging of one product is very much different from another. Thus, it becomes a means of easy identification. The size, the colour combinations, the graphics used in each package are unique that can be easily remembered and recalled.
(iii) Product convenience
A packaging aims at providing maximum convenience to the purchasers, producers and distributors alike. A nicely designed product package facilitates product shipping, storage, stocking, handling and display on the part of producers and distributors. It is caused by product density.
Good packaging facilitates the ease of product use by consumers. The best examples of this kind are: tear-tape, poring spouts, squeeze bottles, aerosol cans, flip-tops pull- tubes, wrappers and the like. They increase consumer convenience to a great extent.
(iv) Product promotion
Product package is a powerful promotional tool. Packaging performs good many advertising functions.
At-least four are emphasized:
(a) Self advertising package design has supreme significance as it attracts consumers.
(b) Point of purchase display when we talk of display the two possibilities are ‘window’ and ‘counter’ where the first does the work of attracting the consumers or prospects to ‘get in’ and the second one gives the comparison of ‘competitive products’ for consumer choice.
(c) Media of advertising the general appearance and the selling features created by the packaging techniques decide the product success and
(d) Product publicity free advertising is done through package-insert or flap advertising.
(v) Product profit generation
Adequate and proper packaging can be the cause for generating increased profits to the producers and distributors. Because of product density created by good packaging, it reduces costs in storage, transportation and handling.
Further, the wastes that are common in marketing process can be minimized, if not eradicated. Further, sound packaging is an effective tool of sale-promotion. All these factors are bound to contribute towards profit maximization with reduced costs and improved efficiency.
Role/Functions of Packaging
In modern dynamic and competitive marketing conditions, the role of packaging cannot be underestimated. It has become a highly specialized activity building the fortunes of producers, extending the stay of middlemen and expanding the convenience to the consumers. The role of packaging is self evident from the specific functions it performs.
The functions of good packaging are summed up as under:
(i) It protects the contents
The basic function of packaging from the time is to protect the contents of it from damage, dust, dirt, leakage, pilferage, evaporation, watering, and contamination and so on. The intrinsic values or the properties or the quality standards are maintained intact. Thus, the contents are kept fresh, clean, un-spoilt and unaffected.
Seasonal fluctuations in demand may be smoothened out through packaging. The canning and deep freezing of some perishable products like straw berries, orange juice, and mango pulp enable all the year round consumption on the part of consumers.
(ii) It provides product density
It is packaging that increases the product density. Product density implies selecting such package materials, design and shape that it helps to use the limited space in the best way. Product density improves relations with common carriers, permits better use of space in storage and usage and increases the grace and poise of arrangement.
(iii) It acts as promotional tool
Good packaging can sell more easily and quickly as it works as a promotional tool. It is a ‘silent’ salesman. As a promotional tool, it does self advertising, displaying, publishing and acts as an advertising medium.
Attractive package enhances the opportunity of impulse buying. It is the package, size, design, colour combinations and graphics that decide its ability to attract the valuable attention of customers or the prospects.
(iv) It provides user convenience
Convenience in storage, transportation, handling and usage the product is another requirement. Good packaging does this in greater degree. As a result the marketing functions of the transportation, storage and handling are performed with ease and without wastage.
Consumers are greatly assisted so long as the product is in usage. In fact, neat packaging has brought home reduction in inventory costs, packing costs, space and time costs.
(v) It facilitates product identification
Product differentiation is the hall-mark of these days of keen competition. This process of product differentiation is furthered by effective product identifiers; one is branding and another is packaging.
The product package identifies the product no matter where you see it, under what circumstances you see it, or when you see it.
A package is product’s personality, its reality. Product identification goes easy with distinguished packaging as it adds to its personality or image. Consumers’ confusion over the large variety need not confound them and mislead them in consumer decision making because, they go by distinctive product packaging.
(vi) It allows easy product-mix
Product-mix relates to the product-lines and assortment of sizes, colours, measures, grades, and package types etc., offered by the selling house. Changes in product-mix can be possible as packaging is to influence weight, size and dimensions of the products.
Such a selected sales or product-mix will facilitate product pricing, shipping, storage, stocking, handling, display and so on, in diversified market segments.
(vii) It extends product life-cycle
The package of a product may be used in an effort to extend the product life- cycle. Updating design may help to give the pack a more contemporary image.
It is increasingly difficult to come up with totally new products, but any variety of packaging innovation can be introduced which offers features of a consumer wants and willingness to pay for a form of product innovation. This can be achieved through improved convenience to not only consumers but also to wholesalers and retailers by which packages are easy to stock, price, mark, display and identify.
Essentials of Good Packaging
The objectives and functions of packaging have clearly demonstrated the importance of packaging in modern marketing setting. To get all these benefits, the packaging must be certainly attractive, protective, economical, convenient and adjustable. Experts opine that the following points to be fulfilled by a packaging to be called as ‘good’ packaging.
Therefore, the requisites of good packaging are:
- It should protect the contents
- It should be attractive
- It should bestow convenience
- It should guarantee economy
- It should assure adjustability
- It should be pollution free
- It should be informative
Types of Packages
When one speaks of types of packaging, there can be three types namely primary, secondary and shipping. Let us know about each type.
- Primary Packaging
Primary packaging is basically done for protecting the quality of the product and protection against possible effects caused by exposure. Much depends on the type of product its form namely, Solid or liquid, solids are packed in polyethylene paper bags, hard boards, bottles both glass and plastic.
The basic idea is to protect or preserve the basic ingredients. Say, a shampoo can be packed in sachets, pouches, plastic bottles, so in the case with other liquids. Tetra-packing is done in case of soft-drinks, juice, and oil and so on.
- Secondary Packaging
Secondary packaging serves for providing quantitative convenience of the buyers and sellers. Thus Shampoo Sachets may be in straps of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 and so on. The bottles may be 10, or 12, or 144 units put to together. This is done for additional protection plus meeting the consumer’s dealers, convenient for exchange purpose. It also helps in storage.
- Shipping Packaging
Shipping packaging is the final packaging mainly for transportation and stocking purposes on wholesale basis. Thus, fruit juice boxes (tetra pack) may be put in cartons of 50, 100, and 200 and so on.
The care is taken to see that it helps in convenient handling of cartons in transportation and warehousing while loading and unloading to cause least damages. Here, the materials used are rugged and providing cushion in handling, storing and transportation.
The materials used for primary, secondary and shipment packages differ very much. A continuous research is going on to do away with conventional materials.
Labelling is another significant means of product identification like branding and packaging. Labelling the act of attaching or tagging labels. A label is anything may be a piece of paper, printed statement, imprinted metal, leather which is either a part of a package or attached to it, indicating value of contents of price of product name and place of producers.
It carries verbal information about the product, producer or such useful information to be beneficial to the user. Thus, a label is an informative tag, wrapper or seal attached to a product or product’s package.
The Purposes of Labelling
- To bring home the product features
A label goes on describing the product specialties which makes the product a quick-mover. It gives its correct use. Thus, bottle containing poison, if not labelled, it fails to tell about its contents. Wrong labelling does more harm than no labelling at all.
- To facilitate the exchange process
As good many competitive products are available in a given product range, label helps in avoiding the unwanted confusion. This is of special importance in case of drugs and chemicals where even spelling mistakes prove fatal to the users. That is why; druggists and chemists are having qualified pharmacists in the pharmacies.
- To encourage self-service
A lable is a strong sales tool that encourages self-service operations. If the customers are supplied with necessary information of the contents of the package or the container, as its contents, weight, use, price, taxes, and instructions and so on, consumers can pick the package of their choice from shop shelves. Thus, labelling has a special role to play in self-selling units.
A label may be descriptive, informative or grade designating or a combination of these. A ‘descriptive’ label describes the contents of the package or the ingredients of the product. Thus, a descriptive label on a cane of pineapple describes the contents by size, weight, number of slices, syrup cups and the number of servings.
An ‘informative’ label includes detailed description with emphasis on how the product is made? How to use it? How to care for it? In order to drive maximum satisfaction. A ‘grade’ label designates customary or regulated standards. Thus, a pack of ghee or honey might have ‘Ag-mark’ grading, certificates as A, B, or C.
- Product related services
Generally, a product is surrounded by various services that make it easier for the consumer to use, pay for and maintain the product, in addition to its branding, packing and labelling. These include the product support services, credit granted guarantees and warrantees given and after-sale services extended.