What is Packaging ?

An end consumer always receives the product inside a cover, container or wrapper. It is termed packaging. It is an essential element of the product as presentation. It resides with the product until customer does not buy it from a retail outlet Packaging and packing should not be used interchangeably. Packaging is the material used to cover and safeguard the product. Whereas, the method of enfolding or covering products into packages is called as packing. With the help of suitable packing, a product gets an outer protective enclosure useful during the transportation of the products to the importer. 
For example, packing plastic boxes in corrugated fibre board boxes to protect them during transit would imply packing. The container or box in which a product is packed is called as package. The technique of creating or manufacturing this container or box is called as packaging. 
For example, using a plastic container (package) to pack assorted collection of embroidered handkerchiefs is known as packaging. 

Definition of Packaging 

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 attracts the attention of consumers, helps to connect with their own personality and establishes an emotional relation in very small fraction of time Style of packaging develops with the needs and requirements of the customers. Sometimes these requirements may become the key ingredient to determine the effectiveness of packaging. The terms packing and packaging, and the difference between the two can be learned through classifying the term packaging into two types namely 'consumer' and logistical packaging. 

The basic purpose of undertaking product or consumer packaging is to safeguard the goods from reactions caused by natural elements, to draw the attention of the market and to have case of handling. Whereas, industrial or logistical or transit packaging is utilized in case of physical distribution of goods. Both these categories I packaging are intended to achieve organisational objectives, where logistical packaging aims to meet distribution objectives and product packaging fulfills marketing goals. The packaging aspect of the product offered to consumers is very crucial for any marketing strategy. Several features and elements need to be evaluated while creating a package.

Purpose of Packaging

The various motives behind packaging can be to help the concluding sale of the product, safeguarding the product during transit or otherwise, to prevent theft, etc. which are equally significant while accomplishing the ultimate goal of the organisation The key reasons/motives or objectives of packaging are as follows :

1) Product Protection : 
Physical protection of the product inside the container is one of the very apparent motives of packaging. This is one of the basic concepts of packaging which facilitates transportation of goods from producer to the end consumer. Several types of damages are kept away due to packaging namely : 
  • Theft of a part of the product, called as pilferage. 
  • Breakage of product due mechanical mishandling.
  • Contamination by impurities like dust, dirt, as in case of clothing.
  • In case of metals, corrosion due to chemical changes.
  • Loss of the enclosed product, as in case of oil, powder, petroleum items, etc., being exposed.
  • Attack by pests or insects, as in case of warm garments being harmed by moths.
  • Degradation of the product due to loss or gain of moisture, as in case of sugar, cement etc.

2) Product Attractiveness : 
The basic features responsible to make a package appealing for the customers include size, shape, content printed on pack, color, etc. Expecting a good quality product inside the pack is the basic or natural impression derived from a good package. Present-day packaging mainly takes into account the attractiveness of the product package. The package containing a label in the picture form acts as a silent or implicit salesman.

3) Product Identification : 
Identical goods can be segregated or distinguished because of packaging. Packaging and labeling are one and the same both are closely associated with branding. Products like fruit juices, packaged milk are examples in case where packaging is very important as these products cannot be directly seen or accessed by the customer. In above cases or otherwise, the customer totally on the packaging to interpret the product contained in the box. Successful results can be achieved in marketing with the help of an attractive label.

4) Product Convenience : 
Packaging is not all about catering to consumer requirements. Packaging should be done in accordance with the contents of the pack. The size and style or pattern of the package should be suitable to the end users. The most acknowledged and beneficial packaging is one which can easily be moved, handled or opened.

5) Effective Sales Tool : 
A well designed packaging grabs the attention of consumers. Package determines the quality of the product enclosed in it. There are several perceptions about packaging in the minds of customers like a package big size contains huge products. Circular or curvy packages are preferred by women. Many a times customers decide to buy a product only to have containers attached to it.

6) Segmentation : 
Customization of product packaging is often practiced for a particular market segment. Differential marketing techniques could be applied by a company by offering more than one package sizes, shapes, designs, styles or colors.

7) Increase Marketing : 
Marketing is one of the significant reasons behind packaging. Packaging which is attractive grabs the attention of consumers and induces them to purchase the same.

8) Bring Distribution Efficiency : 
Packages with insufficient piling capacity occupy additional floor space in a warehouse. The transportation expenses are directly proportional to the packaging material used, the transportation costs will be less ; if the material density packaging volume is less in quantity, it reduces s more. If the the shipping density and which in turn increases the cubic space and weight for more needs. New remedial measures like utilization of storage flexible form of packaging material, using square bottles, resorting to partial machine assembly line, etc., can be implemented to increase efficiency.

Levels of Packaging 

The tangible items need to be sold and presented in some package or container. Hence, packaging of products is quite essential for protecting the product and for ensuring the ease of handling. Moreover, attractive packaging can always appeal people and hence it can be helpful in promoting the product. Packaging of the product has a vital role in positioning the product in the market as well as in establishing its brand image. Packaging is also significant marketing tool and makes an important part of strategy used for creating a product concept. Thus, it can be said that packaging decision is an essential element of marketing plans. In other words, packaging refers to the procedure of manufacturing the container or wrapper for the product. Following are three basic levels of packaging :

Levels of Packaging

Primary Package

The immediate container which is directly in contact with the product, i.e., which envelops and holds the product is known as primary package. 
For example, the tube holding Palmolive shaving cream, the can of Coke, or the box holding candles, etc. are primary packages.
There can be a variety of primary packaging ranging from simple wrapping to the sophisticated ones covering and protecting the product from all sides. The intention behind primary packaging is not to avoid movement and jerks during transportation, yet t ensures the ease of f handling and helps in reducing its vulnerability to force. Besides lowering the total dependence on external packaging done during courier and transportation, it also protects the product while it is used in the household. 
For example, plastic or paper is used in the first layer while packing a bag or purse, which serves as a primary package for it.

Functions of Primary Packaging 

Following are the basic functions of primary packaging :

1) Physical Protection : 
It helps in protecting the product against any kind of physical damage which may be caused due to mechanics! jerks, electrostatic discharge, shaking, compression. temperature etc.

2) Acts as a Barrier against Critical Issues : 
It safeguards the product from weather elements such as moisture, dust, contaminated air, germs, oxygen, etc. Permeation is given due importance while designing the package. Moreover, some packages involve desiccants for absorbing the moisture or oxygen for extending the shelf life of the product.
Similarly, packages of some edible products are designed in such a way that they can maintain the controlled temperature so as to protect the items from decaying. Therefore, packing keeps the product hygienic, fresh, disinfected, and safe to consume.

3) Enhances Convenience : 
It also enhances the convenience of handling, distributing, storing. displaying, selling, opening and closing, using, supplying, reusing, recycling, and disposing the product.

4) Controlling the Portion of Inventory : 
The amount to be used in one serving or one dosage can be controlled by packing the appropriate amount of content in packaging. Bulky items, like sugar and rice can be divided into packs to suit specific families. It also helps in keeping the accurate record of inventory. Moreover, fixing the precise amount in one package help in case of delivery as well as in controlling inventory. For example, one litre milk pack helped in delivery of milk, saving consumers from carrying their own utensils for the same.

Secondary Package

Packaging material which is used for holding or safeguarding the primary package is known as secondary package. Usually, it is discarded or thrown as soon as the product with primary packaging is taken out of it. The purpose of secondary packaging is to safeguard the product as well as the primary packaging Secondary packaging is visible to the customers when the product is displayed in the retail store. It is mainly designed for the retailers rather than customers. It mainly contains the brand name and logos instead of detailed information such as nutrition value, warnings, etc Such packaging ensures safety of the product during its shipment.
For example, many jars or bottles can be clubbed together to form a pack: and can be shrink wrapped or wrapped. Such a pack can be put in a carton to ensure ease of shipment; it leads to the subsequent and ultimate stage of packaging process. A carton containing twelve ketchup bottles or shaving creams, or a packet containing ten pencil boxes can serve the purpose of secondary packaging.

Functions of Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging has following functions : 

1) Branding and Display : 
It plays an essential role in the marketing strategy regarding a product, especially when display packaging is practiced by the company.

2) Agglomeration or Containment : 
It helps in agglomeration and containment. Many a times, small products are grouped and placed together to ensure efficiency. For example, a single box containing hundred small matchstick boxes which would be difficult and costly to handle separately. Containment is also required for the products such as powders, liquids, granules etc.

3) Logistics : 
It also helps in grouping numerous products together in one pack for ensuring easy handling, efficient delivery, usage, and storage. Thus, secondary package should:
  • Be capable of holding considerable number of primary packaged products. 
  • Ensure case of safe shipment to the retailers/consumers. 
  • Be capable of protecting the primary packaging during storage.

Tertiary Package or Shipment Package 

Tertiary package holds the secondary packages which meant for shipment purpose. Such packaging is especially intended for recognition. storage, or shipment of the product. 
For example, a big cardboard box containing 12 small boxes, each containing 10 packets of Parle-G biscuits.

Functions of Tertiary Package

Following are the basic functions of tertiary packaging : 

1) Protection : 
The main function of tertiary packaging is to ensure the safe shipment of the products Almost every mode of transportation may face unanticipated accidents, shocks, jerks. etc.; the tertiary package protects the product against them. It also safeguards the product from the weather elements such as moisture, high temperature, rain etc.

2) Versatility : 
Tertiary packaging should be designed by keeping in mind that the product would pass through several points before reaching to its end user. Hence, it experiences loading-unloading. reloading. re-packaging. storage, etc., several times. Therefore, tertiary packaging should be versatile in nature so as to ensure smooth movement of products through these stages.

3) Customized Solutions : 
Tertiary packaging of certain product should be customized as per the product's specific needs such as its size, dimension, and consistency. The intention here is to make packaging light weight, strong, easy to carry, and compact.

Types of Packaging 

There are different types of packaging used by the manufacturers while packing the final product depending upon the consumer segment and type of customer. They are as follows : 

1) Consumer Package : 
Such type of packaging is used to pack the household consumer products like cream, talcum powder, tooth paste, etc.

2) Family Package : 
This type of packaging is used in case of distinct products having similar characteristics or if they are associated with each other. Here, similar kind of packaging is used for the products based on type of packing material, packing style, and appearance.

3) Re-Use Package : 
Here, the products are sold in such packages which can be reused by the consumers for other purposes, after using the product. Common examples for this type of packages are of coffee bottles, glass jar of pickles, airtight containers for packing chocolates, etc. The re-use packages are also known as 'dual package'.

4) Multiple Packages : 
As the name suggests, using same pack or container for packing different units of a product is known as multiple packaging. For example, set of baby products by Johnson & Johnson, Synergy Skin Care Set, etc.

Requirement of Packaging

Following are the requirements of good packaging : 

1) Package Design : 
The design is a key factor in any packaging. The package design including its shape, size, color, material, etc., Influences the reputation of the organisational products as well as the consumer beliefs. Design plays a very important role in attracting the customers. Therefore, an attractive design is required for pod packaging.

2) Packaging Materials : 
The selection of right packaging material is very crucial for good packaging. The protection intentness of the product depends on the quality of the packaging material. Several types of materials like plastic, glass, paperboard, cellophane, metal, styrofoam etc. can be considered by a a company for packaging Certain compromises are required to be made before taking the packaging decision: paperboard package is difficult to open but it is quite cheaper whereas cellophane aids to showcase the product in an attractive manner but can easily be ripped off.

3) Placement of Label : 
Label placement is also a key requirement in good packaging. The organisation should decide the importance, size. content and place and presentation style of the label provided on package. The names of the brand and organisation need to be correctly displayed on the label. The information related with packaging and of useful data required under the legal code must be clearly displayed on the label. In few cases, the redeveloped label can confuse the regular customers and thus affect the sales ratio of the product.

4) Convenience of Usage : 
Every stakeholder, including the producer, distributor and lastly the consumer, should find the product packaging comfortable and beneficial. Packages which are simple to operate and use are most favorable among-st consumers.

5) Guarantee of Economy : 
A good package should be economic in nature. The organisation can determine per unit cost and total cost of packaging. The purpose and level of packaging determines the total cost as well as per unit cost of packaging. Therefore, packaging should not result in any sort of problem for the organisation.

6) Assurance of Adjustability : 
Adjustability in packaging is also a key requirement. A perfect package is one which can contain any form of product, i.e., solid or liquid.

7) Package should be Pollution-less :
Corporate social responsibility of a company should always remind it to take into account any negative impact caused by its packaging on the environment. Packaging made of gold or silver reflects quality and builds a good image of the firm. Few packaging inks made of metals are non-biodegradable and thus hazardous for the environment. A new concept of green packaging. less injurious in nature, is being evolved by companies to curb environmental pollution.

Role of Packaging

Packaging performs very important roles, some of which are discussed below :

Role of Packaging

1) Utilitarian Role : 
Packaging helps in enhancing the utility value of the product to its customers in the following ways :
  • Eases brand identification. 
  • Enhances convenience of using product by keeping the product clean and intact.
  • Helps in protecting the product against spoilage, damage, spilling, and evaporation while it travels from manufacturer to end user. 
  • Facilitates easy handling and safety of stock present in the retail stores.

2) Profit Role : 
Packaging also helps in generating revenues in the following ways : 
  • As the effective packaging prevents the products from damaging. This helps in cutting down the unnecessary costs that may have been incurred in these activities; therefore, it, indirectly helps in increasing profits.
  • Those customers who generally give more value to the packaging do not mind paying a bit extra for it. Thus, package helps in bringing in more funds.

3) Buying and Marketing Roles : 
Packaging is an integral component of the marketing function and should be considered during the initial stage of the marketing plan. Apart from this, it is involved in the buying function and many other functions of the organisation. It also plays an important role in enhancing the sales of the brand or products.

4) Communication Role : 
Packaging serves as a medium of communication by becoming a part of communication mix, especially through sales promotion and advertising, in the following ways :

i) Product Identification and Differentiation : 
Packaging helps in product identification and differentiation. In today's world of cut-throat competition, where it is difficult to differentiate two physical products, the distinctive packages help in differentiating one product from another.
There are various brands of talcum powder, cream, hair oil, soap available in the market and it is the unique color and design of the container/wrapper which helps the consumers to identify and differentiate the products. Thus, packaging is an essential part of the product and nowadays people choose the products which are available with attractive and striking packaging.

ii) Communicate Product Message : 
Package conveys the message of the product and encourage people to buy it, for example, attractive package of few leading brands, such as Cadbury's fruit and nut chocolate, Real Fruit Juice, Kellogg's Chocos, Dove Soap, etc. This role is especially true in the case of edible products and medicines. because necessary information is mentioned on it, such as, ingredients, directions for use, precautions, nutrition value etc.

iii) Implementing the Repositioning Strategy : 
Packaging also plays a major role in product repositioning strategy. The labeling and packaging of the product can be altered in order to implement its repositioning in market. This strategy is most effective for the products which are used on regular basis by the consumers, such as, baby soap, talcum. powder, tooth paste, cooking oil, washing powder, hair oil etc.

iv) Reiterate the Sales Message : 
It helps in conveying the sales message printed on the package of the product repeatedly. Whenever the product is picked by the consumer for use, the message is conveyed to the user. It motivates repetition and replacement buying It is specifically relevant in case of household and FMCG products such as, Maggi, Noodles, Ponds Talcum Powder etc.

v) Product Promotion : 
It helps in promotion of the product when the customer is about to make a purchase and also influence the buying decision of the consumers. With the help of packaging, new products can easily be identified after which the customer can ask about the product from the dealer and make the purchase. Some new products could easily be located by their unique packages, such as, Dove Beauty Soap, Kitkat Chocolate, Kinder Joy etc.

vi) Enhances the Attractiveness of of the Product : 
Packaging plays an essential role in enhancing the attractiveness of the product. The products which look attractive in the display at the retail store immediately attract the attention of the people due to their pleasing appearance, for example, Pond's Dream Flower Talcum Powder, Lux Beauty Soap, Hide and Seek Biscuit etc.