The package is the producer’s last chance to communicate product message to the consumer. After all the advertising and public relations work has been done, the package must frequently stand on its own in a face-to-face confrontation with customers in the market place. Hence, the need for a good packaging policy, which should give attention to the following points:
- Package design.
- Package size.
- Package cost.
- Package material.
One of the important ingredients of a package policy relates to its design. Package design is largely related to the function it wants to serve when it is primarily used as a promotional device and should attract and hold customer’s attention and stimulate them to buy. And product packaging depends on the size and shape of the product. All are equally important and, therefore, a decision on these elements should reflect the preferences of the target customer group. When it is primarily protective, design decisions are, by and large, protective and should give due weightage to the cost of material, the product’s shape, etc. It must give consideration to product handling, both by middlemen and consumers, and should facilitate easy display in retail outlets.
Package size decisions arise from a number of interrelated factors, but the most pressing and important ones are the rate of consumption and consuming units. For instance, bread, butter and cakes are consumed by households; so they are required for group consumption. In contrast, cigarettes, chocolates and cosmetics are packaged in units for individual consumption. Similarly, eatables like wheat, sugar, salt, etc., are required to be packed in large packages, for they are meant for family consumption. Sometimes, packages are required to be modified when a customer has a strong liking for a particular package size; for example, in the case of washing soap, people prefer to buy a package of 4 or 6 cakes. Therefore, the manufacturer must decide on the form of packaging.
While framing their packaging policy, manufacturers should bear in mind the cost of packaging. The protection required to deliver the item to the user in good condition determines the cost of packaging; but quite often, consumer preferences and likings increase the packaging cost. A cardboard container or a tin may be less expensive, but because of customer choice, the marketer at times uses them as containers for certain products. Similarly, a re closable package, although more expensive than the throwaway, allows customers to retain their products for a long time. Again an empty container, such as that of vegetable ghee or powdered milk, can fetch a good price when sold. When a package is used as a promotional tool, its cost is higher than that of a package solely meant for protection.
As packaging performs different functions and meets different requirements, manufacturers
must consider the question of the importance they attach to packaging in their overall marketing strategy.
A variety of material containers are used in packaging. Color can be used to identify sizes, models, flavors and qualities.
Packages are often selected on prima facie grounds of cost, international practice, type of product to be packaged, the quality of the product, the conditions of display, likely consumer appeal; and this often done without regard to the true economy of packaging, operation, filling, selling, storing, handling and distribution.