There are a number of factors that influence decisions in respect of packaging features like size, shape, design, surface graphics, color schemes, labeling, materials etc.
(i) Physical Characteristics: Packaging decisions are influenced by certain physical characteristics of the product like the physical state, weight, stability, fragility, rigidity, surface finish etc.
(ii) Physical characteristics: Certain physio-chemical factors like the effect of moisture, oxygen, light, flame, bacteria, fungi, chemical action etc., on the product are vary important factors to considered while making packaging decisions.
(iii) Economy: While packaging is very important in marketing, it is costly too. Indeed, there are a number of cases where the cost of packing is more than the cost of the content. The rising cost of packaging has become a matter of serious concern. Every effort should therefore, be made to reduce the packaging costs as much as possible without impairing the packaging requirements.
(iv) Convenience: packaging should also necessarily possess the quality of convenience from the point of view of consumers, distributors and producer. Hence, apart from the functional needs, a good package should possess certain features like ease to open and close, ease to dispense, ease to dispose of, ease to recycle, ease to identify, ease to handle, convenience to pack, convenience to stack, convenience to display etc.
(v) Miscellaneous Factors: Apart from the factors mentioned above, packaging decisions may be influenced by a number of other factors. For example, if there is any statutory rule in respect of packaging, it will have to be abided by. The socio-cultural factors could influence packaging decision. Consumer attitudes also have to be given due consideration. The growth of consumerism in a number of countries, interalia, also suggests that packaging decisions should be made with meticulous care.
Special Considerations in International marketing:
In addition to the general considerations in packaging mentioned above, there are certain special factors to be considered in export packaging decisions. Important among them are the following:
Regulations in the Foreign Countries:
Packaging and labeling may be subject to government regulation in the foreign countries. Some countries have specified packaging standards for certain commodities. The trend toward requiring labeling in a countryâ€™s native language is growing. If such regulations are not strictly followed, the goods may be confiscated or may attract some other punitive action.
Buyerâ€™s Specifications: In some cases, buyers like the exporters to give packaging specification. While incorporating such specifications it should also be ensured that packaging satisfies other requirements like the statutory requirements.
Socio-cultural factors: While designing the packaging for a product, socio-cultural factors relating to the important country like customs, traditions, beliefs etc, should also be considered.
The nature of retail outlets is a very important consideration packaging decision. For instance as pointed out earlier, in some of the foreign markets as a result of the spread of supermarkets and discount houses, a large number of products are sold on a self-service basis. The package has, therefore, to perform many of the sales tasks and hence it must attract attention, describe the productâ€™s features, give the consumer confidence and make a favorable overall impression.
Environmental factors: Packaging decisions are also influenced by certain environmental factors like weather and climate factors. The impact of such factors in the place where the product originates, while the product is in transit and while in the market etc., should be considered. The package should be capable of withstanding the stresses and hazards of handling and transportation, stacking, storing etc., under diverse conditions.
Disposability: Attention should also be paid to the aspects relating to the disposal of the packaging. One of the qualities required for good package is that it could be easily disposed of or recycled. In some of the developing countries like India many packaging materials easily find some other use or are recycled. But the situation is different in other countries. Indeed, the disposal of packaging materials is causing environmental problems in a number of countries Reusable packages the risk of misusing it for selling bogus products.