In this guide, you are going to learn about the ultimate and topmost benefits that a strategic plan in terms of marketplace products packaging offers plus a few steps to do it right. Considerably, one cannot transport eggs from a poultry farm to the retailer without packing them in an egg tray as they might crack even before reaching the final consumer.
Similarly, a white shirt might get stains if transported and sold without packaging, and a retailer might not be able to sell perishable milk products after a day if there were no Tetra Pak. Think of paper wrappers, corrugated boxes, plastic films, polybags, rollbags, etc., that enclose a product and have a lot more value than a customer can imagine.
But, what is packaging, why is it important, and what are its types and functions? Well, in layman’s language, this is the preparation of a product or commodity for proper storage and/or transportation. It may entail blocking, bracing, cushioning, marking, sealing, strapping, weather-proofing, wrapping, etc. But, there’s more to it than that meets the eye…
The history of packaging dates back to the year 1035, when a Persian traveller, visiting markets in Cairo, noted that vegetables, spices and hardware were wrapped in paper for the customers after they were sold. With the passage of time, attempts were made to use the natural materials available, such as Baskets of reeds, wooden boxes, pottery vases, woven bags etc.
Understanding What Products Packaging Entails
To enumerate, Products Packaging is the act of enclosing or protecting the product using a container to aid its distribution, identification, storage, promotion, and usage. And, since you already know what products are, it’s now worth defining the main packaging role. Packaging is the act of enclosing or protecting the product using a container to aid its handling.
More so, in terms of distribution, identification, storage, promotion, and usage. So, in simple terms, product packaging (as a process) means the wrapping or bottling of products to make them safe from damage during transportation and storage. It keeps a product safe and marketable and helps in identifying, describing, and promoting the product.
Naturally, the use of cardboard paperboard cartons was first done in the 19th century. There was a revolution in Packaging in the early 20th century due to several modes of packaging designed such as Bakelite closures on bottles, transparent cellophane overwraps and panels on cartons, which increased processing efficiency and improved food safety.
As additional materials such as aluminium and several types of plastic were developed, they were incorporated into packages to improve performance and functionality. In reality, packaging plays a crucial role from the time a product is designed and developed to the time a product is fully marketed, bought, and consumed by the potential consumer.
Some of these functions of packaging products include:
- Containment: Most products need to be contained either during transportation, storage, or consumption. Packaging makes sure the product is contained as and when required.
- Protection: Packaging protects the product and its quality, features, utility, etc. from being damaged or contaminated during transportation, storage, and consumption.
- Handlement: Proper packaging aids product handling and makes it easy to transport, ship, and even use the product.
- Differentiation: Packaging makes it easier for the customer to identify and differentiate it from other products. Moreover, attractive packages have a property to stand out and attract customers towards it.
- Marketing: A quality packaging design plan forms a part of the product marketing strategy to drive more impressions. An attractive and/or informative package makes the product stand out and have a promotional appeal. Packaging also acts as the final touchpoint that helps in product promotion and sale.
- Convenience: Packaging is also a convenient tool that makes it convenient for the customer to carry, transport, and use the product.
- Communication medium: Packaging along with labelling helps communicate the brand identity, brand message, and product and company information to the customer.
- Adds to the aesthetic value: Packaging can make a simple product look attractive or a unique product look ordinary. It’s an important aesthetic touchpoint that can make or break a sale.
In a nutshell, the product packaging process is the science, art, and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages.
How Packaging Benefits The Marketplace Seller
- Distribution: Good packaging makes it possible for the seller to transport the product from the manufacturing unit to the final selling point and then to the customer. The seller uses different packaging for the same – transport packaging to transport the products and consumer packaging to aid the consumer in consuming the product.
- Storage: Warehousing comes with its own risks of product spoilage, spillage, and mishandling. Proper packaging helps the seller store and assort the products better.
- Promotion: Packaging forms a vital marketing element that the brand uses to differentiate the product using attractive, colourful, and visually appealing packages and inform the buyer about the product’s performance, features, and benefits.
- Safety: Good packaging aids in product safety before it reaches the final consumer. For example, a Tetra Pak prevents the milk from getting spoilt before its expiry date.
For product sellers, packing means packing or wrapping goods to look attractive as well as secure safety i.e., (a) holding together the contents and (b) protecting the product while passing through distribution channels. Again packaging refers to “all the activities involved in designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product.
How Packaging Benefits The Marketplace Buyer
- Identification: Packaging and labelling help the customers identify the product and differentiate it from other products in the market.
- Usage: Often, packaging, like that of toothpaste, that forms a part of the product aids in its usage and consumption.
- Safety: It also protects the consumer from the dangers that the product comes with. For example, an acid bottle protects the user from getting acid burns.
For your information, Michigan State University was the first to offer a degree course in “Packaging Engineering.” Since then, there has been no looking back. The packaging industry boomed as more than the content, it is the ”packaging” which attracts the attention of the buyer.
The Best Practices To Consider In A Products Packing Plan
To begin with, various materials can, generally, be used for product packaging. Including but not limited to wood, metals, plastics, papers, glass, polythene papers (banned in various countries), 3D printing, and the like. There is also a new technology that allows for 360-degree shrink-wrapped labels to surround containers with bright graphics and more on-pack information.
While, in the end, replacing paper labels glued onto cans and bottles. In the same fashion, different kinds of products need different kinds of packaging too. For example, liquid products are packed in barrels and bottles; whereas, solid products are wrapped. Markedly, the organizations use special containers for fragile products, such as glassware.
Oftentimes, according to Kadolta, the terms packing and packaging are used synonymously. But, there is a certain amount of difference between the two. On one side, packaging means covering the product itself so that it is protected from damage, leakage, dust, pollution, contamination etc. Examples are chocolates packaged in a thin sheet, milk packaged in sachets, etc.
On the other side, packing means putting all the packages in a big box, container, chest, crate etc. for the purposes of storage, transportation, handling etc. Moreover, the functions of packing and packaging, in the present context have gone beyond the basic expectations of protection of the product. This far, we can clearly note the benefits of product packaging, right?
Packaging comes with its own set of advantages such that it:
- protects the product from any physical harm and damage
- helps increase sales as it adds to the aesthetic value of the product
- keeps the product hygienic by preventing adulteration and hampering
- Some specialised packaging also prevents the products from going bad
While packaging forms an important element of a product, it comes with its own disadvantages such that:
- It can be deceptive and may trick the customer into getting a wrong perception of the product
- Adds to the cost of the product, which the customer eventually bears
- At times, it adds to the waste that can turn hazardous, especially if it is plastic
All in all, the main objective of packaging is to make products and goods a little easier to transport — heavy loads or large quantities of a product — as well as easy and secure handling. While also, facilitating the best storage for long durations.
Recently, the term packaging is being used interchangeably to mean both ‘packing’ proper as well as ‘packaging’. Traditionally, ‘packaging’ referred to retail or consumer container and ‘packing’ to transport containers. Consumer packaging has significant marketing implications while transport containers are more important from a logistics standpoint.
In short, packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end-use. Eventually, a quality products packaging strategy contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs and sells in many countries. Whereby, it is fully integrated into government, business, institutional, industrial, and personal use.
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That’s it! A basic guide to learning and understanding how a strategically done plan — per products packaging context — usually works. So, do you think that there is still something else that we can add to this guideline? Kindly let us know in our comments section. And, if you’ll need more support, you are free to Contact Us and let us know how we can sort you out.