Packaging: Meaning, Functions and Levels

Meaning of Packaging

Any product of any company can be exported or imported to any country of the world. The products need to be exported or imported from or to far off countries. So, products are packed to make easy to do so. Generally, packing or parceling products is called packaging. This is an important task of marketing. It plays an important role in this competitive
business age. So, packaging is also called fifth ‘P’ of market mix. Packaging means putting any product safely in a pocket or pot or envelop. This makes the products more attractive, safe and trouble-free. This also works as effective communication.

Packaging also provides information to the consumers about features, quality, using method etc. This also plays a great role in maintaining quality of products. This also forms good impression on customers towards products. There are some products which may lose even their existence if they are not nicely packed. For instance, gas, camphor, alcohol, liquid medicines, kerosene, petrol etc. So, the products should be suitably as well as properly packed according to their nature. Liquid medicines, alcohol, beer, soft drinks like CokaCola, Fanta etc. are packed in glass bottles. Juice, meat, fish, oil, etc. are packed in tin cans. Similarly, fruits are packed in wooded boxes, ghee, water and other similar natural things are packed in plastic cans.

According to the nature of products, biscuits, breads, chocolates, etc. are packed in paper. Pulse, rice, etc. are packed in sacks or clothes. Nowadays products are packed in reusable materials. Packs should also be protective from environmental pollution. Plastic packing has negatively affected and dirtied the cities like Kathmandu. The government also can prohibit such materials used in packing. So, society and environment related matters also should be considered to use packing materials.

Packing can be done using different methods. Mostly there are three levels of packaging. Keeping the products in any port or bottles or bag is primary packaging. For instance, putting oil in a pot or can, cream in tube, etc. are primary packaging. Putting primary pack in any bag is called secondary packing. Generally such bag should be made of thick paper. After secondary packaging, the products are kept in wrappers, in cartons or cans. This is called shipping packaging. In such types of packaging, the products can be put in each packet such as one dozen, two dozens, twenty units, thirty units etc. This makes easy to supply, store, or transport the products.

Different writers and experts have defined packaging in different ways as follows:
According to Prof. Philip Kotler, “Packaging is the activity of designing and producing the container or wrapper for products.”
According to David J. Schwartch, “The package that contains protects and identifies the basic products.”
According to Prof. William J. Stanton, “The packing may be defined as all the activities involved in designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product.”
From the study of the above definitions, we can make out conclusion that packaging is the task which protects the products and gives identity. In other words, it keeps the products safe, makes attractive and easy to handle. It also helps in sales promotional activities.

Objectives of Packaging

Packaging is done to facilitate distribution and use of products. Its importance is growing day by day. The business companies have remained engaged in improving packaging how it can be made attractive. For doing such important task, some objectives are also ascertained. They are as follows:

1. Product protection

Most of the business firms produce quality goods. Packaging is done to protect quality, features, utility etc. This also saves products from different risk or damage. After the products have been produced, they need to be transported to target markets. For this purpose, they are properly packed according to their nature. If packing could not be properly done, they may be damaged, ruined or broken. So, the main objective of packaging is to protect products.

2. Product prestige

Every product needs packaging for carrying to sell or market from production place. Then the customers like to keep them secure until they use it. On the other hand, unpacked products do not look attractive. Packing is necessary for making product attractive, winning the heart of customers and increasing prestige of the products.

3. Easy in handling

Packaged products/ goods become easy to take from one place to another. On the other hand, packed goods can be used at any time when needed. Products are also packed with the objectives that the customers feel easy to handle and use them easily. So, proper packaging methods are devised by the producers.

4. Promotional appeal

Effective packaging gives information about the feature, quality and using methods. The producers give such information so that the customers accept the goods. So, good packaging is also called silent salesman. It effectively advertises the goods in markets. So, the producers include appealing information for the promotion of the products.

5. Reasonable cost

Good packaging should also have reasonable cost. Packaging cost should not be high burdening the customers. So, packaging of the products should involve reasonable cost so that the customers do not feel burden. So, packaging should be done with reasonable cost.

Functions of Packaging

Packaging involves many activities. This function gives protection to products keeping in packs. It also makes easy to transfer from production place to markets. The main functions of packaging can be mentioned as follows:

I. Basic functions

Basic functions of packaging are of different kinds. They are mentioned as follows:

  1. Product containment: At first packaging design should be prepared and produced. After this task is completed, the products are put into covers. The covers, containers or wraps or packs become different according to the nature of the products. In order to keep the produced goods in safe, bottles, containers, bags, tubes or drums or plastics, tin boxes or wooden boxes are used according to the nature of the products.
  2. Product protection: The second important function is to protect the products. This plays an important role to keep the quality and feature of the products fresh. It becomes impossible to supply goods to the customers without proper packaging. Packaging protects products from damage, breaking, leaking, or moistening or ruining. Any product should not get mixed with other products. Packaging protects products from such possibilities.
  3. Product identification: Besides brand, other instructions and information are also written on packs. Producer’s name, production date, usable duration, expiry date, suing methods etc. are written on packs. Composition of the packed products is also given on it. So, important information about the product can be obtained from pack. In this way, every packaging gives introduction of the product with which the customers feel easy to take decision to buy or not to buy.

II. Selling function

Packaging performs different activities related to sale. These activities are mentioned as follows:
  1. Promotion: Good packaging itself advertises the products. Good packaging attracts the customers and makes them confident about the quality of the product. Multiple packaging becomes successful to win the heart of customers in competitive situation. Such attractive packaging can be seen at super market, big shopping centers etc. So, it is said attractive packaging plays a role of silent seller.
  2. Creation of public image: Dependable and attractive packaging creates positive attitude of the public. If positive public image is created towards the products, the customers buy such products regularly. They also tell their relatives, friends, neighbors etc. about the products and suggest them to buy it. This plays an important role in the achievement of the objective of the company.
  3. Communication: Good packaging gives information about quality and features of the products to the customers. Together with this, the customers get every information about products mix, manufactured date, duration of the use of the products, method of use, keeping safe the product etc. from the packaging. Such information or notices motivate the customers to buy product.
  4. Product differences: Nowadays, many products of various companies can be found in markets. In this age of market competition, it is necessary to know which product belongs to which company. This becomes possible only from packaging. From this customers can take buying decision to the best product only by reading the information about quality, feature, price, mix etc.
Functions of Packaging

Levels of Packaging

Packaging should be done on the basis of nature and lastingness of the products. Packaging can be done at different standard and levels. According to the modern method, packaging can be classified as follows:

1. Primary package level

After the goods have been produced they are put in any container, bottle or wrapper. This is called primary packaging. The products are packed in such way that their quality and features do not get declined or damaged. This also creates convenient value for the customers.

2. Multiple package level

If the primary packed products are again packed in any other container, box or packs or anything, this is called multiple packaging. Different decorative and cosmetic goods can be packed in a single box. It makes the customers easy to use different goods taking out from a single box according to necessity. As it becomes easy for the consumers, sale of such products can also increase.

3. Distribution package level

Any product produced by any company needs to supply, send to target markets and even foreign countries. This needs transport and distribution packaging. Such packaging is also called shipping package. To transport them by bus, truck, plane, train etc. only packing in thick paper bags cannot be safe. The products to be transported in such way should be packed in tin or steel can or wooden box. Keeping products in these types of container is called distribution package. Such packaging becomes very safe and dependable.

Essentials of a Good Packaging

Good packaging is an important tool/ equipment for selling products. It gives short information about product and services. Besides, it also gives introduction of product and makes transportation easy. This is also taken as an important means for advertisement of the products. This motivates customers for impulse buying i.e. they buy products without plan. The following things should be studied to understand the necessity of good packaging.

1. Protection

Good packaging keeps safe the quality of the products when kept in warehouse or transported. Keeping safe quality, feature and utility of the products is the basic activity of packaging. So, packaging should be compulsorily done for the safety of the products.

2. Dependable

Producers sincerely mention true information on the package. Products in such package become good in quality. So, the customers confidently decide to use packed products. While buying such packed products, the customers are not confused. So, packed products become dependable and believable.

3. Easy in handling

Produced goods should be supplied to different target markets. They should be taken to or from warehouse. Taking out or in or supplying to far off places, the products should be easy in handling. Packed products become easy to handle or distribute.

4. Convenient

Design, shape, or form of packaging should be good. Good packaging becomes easy for middlemen, retailers, wholesalers and customers to handle, use or distribute. Such products become easy to store in warehouse, showrooms, and sell from sale centers, or to use by the customers.

5. Reasonable cost

Products should be made safe and attractive with effective packaging. But is should not be much costly. Much packaging cost increases price of the product. On the other hand, cheap packaging also should not be used. It causes decline in quality and utility of the products. So, packaging should be done with reasonable and balanced cost.

6. Easy to identify

Good packaging gives clear introduction of the product. One of the important tasks of good packaging is to provide clear introduction of the products. Manufactured/ production date, quality, features, price, utility, using method etc. should be compulsorily mentioned on the cover, can, bottle, or box. Everything should be clear to the customers about the product from the introduction written on the package.

7. Attractiveness

Packaging products should be attractive to the customers in looking. While packaging any product, much attention should be paid to its size, form, design, figure, printing etc. on the cover-pack. They are important tools for product sale. So, attractiveness should be taken as a necessary.

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