What is the Purpose of Product Packaging

The 16 Reasons why we package our products

Every commercial product is packaged in one way or another. Regardless of where you come from, regardless of where you live, regardless of how it was made, packaging is a huge part of our culture, how we behave, and how we live our lives. As a product packager, the question as to why do we package our products may seem obvious. However, the answer may not be as obvious as you think! You will be surprised by all the reasons as to why we package our products.

By the time you have finished reading this write up, you will never look at packaging the same again. Once the reasons are seen, they cannot be unseen. So let us dive into the many elusively obvious reasons as to why we package things. Below are our 16 reasons why we package our products.

Reason 1: Serving your Customers

What is the Purpose of Product Packaging Serving your Customers
Serving your Customers

If there is one thing that we want you to take away from this article is that the sole purpose of your packaging is to serve your customers. Your customers are the ones who use your products which is why every package must be designed and produced with the customer in mind. How you package your products says a lot to your customers. It tell them how much you value them. It tells your customer how thoughtful you are of them. It tells your customer how much you care. It tells your customer how competent you are. Your packaging can change the emotions of you customers. This is your first and perhaps the last chance to improve customer experience. Your packaging is your chance to serve your customers. If you serve your customers well, they will return the favor.

Reason 2: Tell a Story

Your packaging is your chance to tell a story. What kind of story you want to tell is up to you. You can tell a story about yourself or your company. You can tell a story about the origins of your company. In fact, you can tell a story for your customer. You can tell a story about the past, present, or the future. Where your customer is heading, what she is looking to do with the products inside. Your packaging tells the intentions of the customer. Your packaging always says something. This is why you must be clear about the story because if you are not, someone else will.

Reason 3: Description and Representation

Telling an intangible story is one thing, your packaging can also tell facts. Packaging is an opportunity to properly label your products. It is an opportunity to correctly describe the ingredients, features, and benefits on the contents. Packaging enables you to list the ingredients. It give you a chance to accurately represent the contents inside. You can show how to use your products. You can show how to store your products. You can inscribe the expiration date of the products. There are legal messages which must be placed on the packaging. Packaging is an opportunity to correctly describe and represent your products.

Reason 4: Preservation and Protection

Certain type of packaging will preserve and protect the contents. Packaging will extent the shelf live and expiration date of the insides. Not only will packaging protect your products, your packaging will protect the end user as well. Certain type of packaging materials and processes are better than others. Sometimes the packaging is intended to protect the structure of your product. Other times package sealing is performed in order to minimize of prevent exposure to air which can degrade or alter your product. Some packaging is used to protect the electronics from electrical discharge damage.

Reason 5: Safety

Packaging is critical to consumer safety. Improperly packaged products can spoil the insides. Not only is the safety of the end user to be considered, but the safety of everyone involved in the product lifecycle. The safety of the raw material supplier, to producer, the carrier, to wholesaler, and finally the end user is examined and scrutinized. Safety is just as important, if not more, as all the stake holding parties of the product.

Reason 6: Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Since packaging is so important, it cannot be left to chance. This is why in order to serve specific markets, the rules and regulations of the corresponding governing agency must be followed. There are packaging requirements, labelling requirements, description requirements, and advertising requirements that must be strictly followed. Purposefully or consistently failing to follow these regulation will result in closing of your business or even imprisonment in some cases. Some of these requirements are nothing short of Ludacris, while others do make sense and must be followed and incorporated into your packaging.

Reason 7: Transportation

What is the Purpose of Product Packaging Transportation

Some products are packaged to be easily transported, others on the other hand, are made to make them difficult to transport long distances. This is done consciously. There are several reasons as to why the packager would make their products difficult to transport, but the main reason is to influence the behavior of the end user. Sometimes the packager does not want the end user to transport their products in order to encourage the end user to contact the manufacturer to dispose the product. The producer will know the best way of disposing a product which may be harmful to the end user or the environment if disposed incorrectly.

Reason 8: Storage

Every product out there has a specific end use. Packagers know that, this is why packaging is used to influence the end user on how the user will store their products. Some products have resealable seals or caps because they are meant to be consumed in parts. Other products on the other hand, do not have a resealable caps or seals. Many times this has been done by the packager deliberately because the producer does not want you to store their products but consume it in one sitting. There are several reasons the packager does this. Sometimes is it because their products, once opened, spoil easily and must be consumed within a certain time. Other times it’s because the producer want their products to be consumed right away because it changes the experience of the user if it is consumed. Whether a product is packaged to be stored easily or to be impossible to store is most of the time a mindful decision made by the packager.

Reason 9: Convenience

Products are packaged in a way to make them more convenient to the customer. Some products are consumed a certain way in certain environments at a certain time. A good producer will know this and design the packaging accordingly. Packaging can be also made more convenient for the transporter or producer as well. Convenience to the end user will make them more likely to buy your products again. Convenience to the producer will improve the efficiency of operations. Convenience to the transporter will decrease shipping damage and increase delivery times. Packaging is done for convenience and this done to benefit all involved in the product lifecycle.

Reason 10: Bundling

Bundling products together is a way to deliver multiple products to the customer at once. Oddly shaped items may take up too much space and therefore increase transportation and handling cost. Cleverly bundling products will enable the producer to correctly decrease the space required for multiple items – this means that the space, or box size required to house a dozen items may not be a dozen times larger but smaller due to bundling. Other times bundling is done because the product is intended to be consumed in multiples or multiple steps.

Reason 11: Brand Visibility, Marketing, and Advertising

Your packaging is just another chance to make your brand seen by more eyeballs. The way you package things will improve your brand image or hurt it, and if it does not improve your brand, it is certainly hurting it. We all recognize many brands by their packaging. These brands constantly pop up into our field of vision and that is not a coincidence. The producer knows how you will behave, think, or feel during a certain moment and will therefore design their packaging to make you aware of their products. Sometimes other products from the same producer are advertised on the package. Other times the way a product is packaged is part of their marketing campaign where they are trying to influence you to go from inquiry to interested to a happy customer.

Reason 12: Placebo

Our opinions, perceptions, and impressions are more subjective than we want to admit to ourselves. This is why packaging is one of our greatest placebo effects out there. How a product is packaged, seen, touched, opened, and consumed can be greatly influenced by the placebo effect. Placebo effect will improve the taste of a product. It will improve the perceived physical quality and value of a product. It will improve your trust in a product. It will improve how you behave with that product. Placebo effect of packaging will manipulate you into buying less product while paying more money for it and still make you glad that you did it. The Placebo effect when it comes to packaging will allow you to sell less candy when you put it into a candy looking wrapper for a bigger price; hence increasing profits. Furthermore, the placebo effect will fool professional wine tasters if the bottle looks like the wine came from a superior winery.

Reason 13: Theft and Counterfeit Prevention

What is the Purpose of Product Packaging Theft and Counterfeit Prevention
Theft and Counterfeit Prevention

Products are packaged in order to make them harder to steal. Some products are hot items which get stolen more times than others. This increases the cost of all stake holding parties involved in the product life cycle. In order to decrease that cost, the producer therefore is incentivized to make the product harder to steal. This is done by changing the way the product is packaged to allow magnetic strips to be placed onto the package.

Counterfeit products are a major economical, safety, and security issue. The main example that comes to our mind is medicine. Counterfeit medicine can be deadly! This is why the packager must be aware on how their products can be counterfeit and to respond to that. Counterfeit prevention is done in several ways. It can be done by serializing the products. It can also be done by clearly indicating whether the box was opened; think of “warranty-void-if-removed stickers”

Reason 14: Environment

Many packagers are moving away from materials detrimental to the environment to bio-friendly and bio-degradable materials. Whether this move is a purely a PR stunt or whether the packager is doing this because it is “the right thing to do” is up to individual producer to answer. In some industries, environmentally friendly, easily disposable, bio-degradable packaging is a must. Packaging materials will affect the environment in one way or another. It is our philosophy that you should always consider the environment when investigating your packaging materials. Reason being is that should your product increase in volume, your packaging volume increase will follow as well, so will the impact on the environment.

Reason 15: Entice a Potential Customer

Packaging has the ability to kindle our desires and emotions. How many times have you walked by a product, saw the packaging, and got enticed to just look at the box? How many times has the way a bag felt, kindled a certain emotion inside you? How often do you get nostalgic, impatient, impulsive just because of the triggers packaging sparked in you? Why do you think shopping is so fun? Do you think soy milk would sell as it does without the packaging?

Well, soy milk is actually soy juice, mixed with water resulting in this light beige color. How many soy drinks would sell if the packaging was not done right? If soy juice was not called soy milk? If the carton was a glass jar instead? How about without mentioning the health benefits? Look, “Silk” for Soy Milk. Silk is also a soft, beautiful fabric, this is not a coincidence. Do you see what the soy industry did to you here? Do you see how many of us were enticed to go from “jeez, why would I ever drink a ground up soy bean mixed with water?” to “I put Silk into my coffee each morning due to its health benefits – it helps with digestion too”

Reason 16: To Change our Culture

Packaging is marketing, sales, compliance, and science, engineering combined! And packaging changes everything including our culture! It inspires us to happily drink beans; think soy milk. What looked like a brown pile of grain, is now a healthy snack; think of all the energy, protein, and weight loss bars. Take corn, add sugar, add a tiger who talks like a pirate, and you have the world’s favorite cereal breakfast. And while we are at the subject breakfast, how do you think were we able to bring one of the most fragile packages, the chicken egg, the every household of the Western World? You guessed it, it was packing. The egg carton is the most clever packaging ever designed! More on the egg carton later… But think about it, the fact that the chicken egg could be distributed so well, influenced our culture in so many ways.

This is why packaging changes our culture and the world we live in. It becomes a huge part of who we are and what we do. Product packaging changes our behavior, it changes the way we think. It changes everything.

To Conclude

What is the Purpose of Product Packaging Conclusion

The purpose of packaging is to serve the customer, tell a story, correctly describe and represent your products, to preserve and protect your product, to make transportation, handling and storage of your products easier, to keep everyone involved in your products safe, to follow the law, to sell, to market, to entice, to enhance, to trick, to fool, to prevent trickery and fooling and thieves and counterfeiters, to take care of the environment, to entice and inspire action, and to change the culture.

If you have gotten the point of our article, your shopping experience will never be same again. You will be a different person entering a grocery store. You will look at a package and be able to appreciate the effort the packager has put into their products. You will be able to notice things such as colors, placement, box size, etc and finally see that all the details were never a coincidence but thoughtful design. You will be more aware of your emotions and thoughts are you look and interact with a package.

You will be forever changed.

Our Favorite Packaging

If we were able to keep your attention this long, we would like to tell you what our favorite packaging is. It is the egg carton. Reason being because the egg is very fragile item that breaks easily. The egg carton was invented by Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia in 1911. The initial egg carton was made from newspaper. He later patented his design under the US Patent: 1,895,974.

The egg carton is a clever package for several reasons. The excellence of design comes from its ability to store and protect oddly shaped eggs of various shapes and sizes in to a simple 12 count box. First, it is made from cheap and environmentally friendly and recyclable material. Second, it protects the egg during transport and handling better than anything else out there; even plastic trays are not a good alternative. Third, the eggs can be stored easily. Fourth, the product is represented nicely, you open the box and check the eggs; look at the side of the box and check for smears or damage.

What is your favorite packaging? Who do you think produces the best packaged items today?

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