Packaging, Packing and labeling

Although the terms packing and packaging are generally used in a broad sense and as synonymous, they are distinct in the marketing parlance.

Packing is also known as transport packing refers to the protective covering used for shipment of the goods, while packaging is also known as product packaging or consumer packaging refers to the package in which the product reaches the consumer.

In export marketing, packaging, including packing, is a factor which demands very careful attention. It has been widely accepted that poor packaging is a serious handicap from which the exports from developing countries suffer. There are reported to be many instances where the exports were handicapped due to defective packaging although the quality of goods was very satisfactory.

Packaging in international marketing is a much more serious problem than in domestic marketing because of the varying physical conditions and situations the cargo is exposed to and subjected to: difference in the tastes, preferences and practice; differences and peculiarities in packaging requirements and regulations; etc.

Functions and Importance of packaging:

Packaging has grown in importance over the years. Apart from the basic functions of packaging, certain developments in the marketing system and market characteristics have enlarged the role of packaging. The important functions and reasons from the growing importance of packaging are given below:

1. Protection: Protection to the product is an essential function of packaging. Handling requirements and methods of handling, climatic and weather conditions, etc, are therefore among important consideration in packaging decision making.
2. Preservation: The packaging should preserve the quality of the product. The packaging material should not pass or absorb any flavor or odor to the product or react with it. This is particularly important in cases like food and pharmaceutical products. The interaction between the product and packaging should be totally eliminated.

The following developments have increased the importance of packaging and the need to make packaging very impressive.

(a) Self- service: The method of self service has spread in the advanced countries. Under such a marketing environment, “instead of confronting salesman, the consumer first confronts a package. The package must now perform many of the sales tasks. It must attract attention, describe the product’s features, give the consumer confidence and make a favorable overall impression.
(b) Consumer Affluence: The steady rise in incomes, particularly in the developed countries, has caused the consumers to attach increasing importance to non-price features. They are willing to pay a little more for convenience, appearance, dependability and prestige. Packaging is an important vehicle for protecting these qualities.
(c) Integrated marketing Concept: Companies are increasingly trying to endow their brands with distinctive personalities. These personalities are conveyed through the general company image though advertising messages and media, and through the choice of brand name. It does not make sense to stop short at packaging. Packaging must support and reinforce the brand personality the company is trying to build.

Packaging has been widely recognized as an independent and potential selling tool. In other words, packaging also performs a promotional function. The increased use of branding and the public’s rising standards of health and sanitation have contributed to the growth of packaging. The major factor, however, is the importance of packaging as a real competitive force in today’s struggle for markets. The widespread use of self service and automatic vending methods of selling means that the package must do the selling job at the point of purchase. It is no simple task for manufacturers even to get their products placed on display in retail. Shelf space is at a premium and retailers are inclined to cater to producers who have used effective packaging. The need to make packaging attractive and acceptable is thus obvious. These can be achieved by giving proper attention to packaging features like shape, design, size, surface-graphics, color schemes, labeling, branding, packaging materials etc.