Packaging, Leveraging The Utility Of A Package

Recently had an argument with one of the high level buyers in a corporate organization. This buyer was placing an order for a set of fashion accessories. The volume was fairly large and the buyer was trying her best to pull down the price as much as possible. After taking off whatever seemed like not being absolutely essential to the products, we arrived at a figure that included a 1$ package. The buyer was quick to jump on that and started criticizing the 'expense'. One of her most immature statements was that, the package did not effectively add any value to the actual product. Her argument was that reducing the 1$ and eliminating the need for a package would, make the price of her products more competitive in the market. Really do not know how she got to be a senior buyer, but it is a living example of how a buyer with no knowledge about selling can ruin an organization.

After a lot of explaining and debating, our team had to finally use brute force and insist that the package and package costs be retained. While we did get our way, it would have been better if the buyer cared to listen to our explanations and suggestions. She ended up looking small but, that was better than allowing her to do something that she had no kowledge about. In this report we will talk about the true utility of a package, why do you need a package, does the package only protect the product? Can a package directly or indirectly be responsible for increasing net sales of an organization. 

Let us try to understand what can be achieved by effective packaging, and also look at how an effective package can actually increase net sales for the organization. Here are the benefits that you could derive by providing the right package for your product.

Product Protection: We all know this, a package is supposed to protect the packaged product from various physical conditions. For example, a product that needs to be kept dry should be packed in a waterproof package. A product that is relatively fragile and can break easily, should have a package that is soft and padded. When packing a product that is in the form of a gas or vapor, it is necessary to ensure that the package does not allow the material being packed to leak out.

Product Value: The value of your product is already defined by the function that it is supposed to perform. For example, a watch is meant to show the time of the day. This will remain the primary objective of a watch that is priced under 50 U.S$ or even above 10,000 U.S$. The packaging of a product can enhance the percieved value of the product too. For example, if you purchased a pair of slippers from the street side vendor, he would most probably, shove the slippers in a cheap plastic bag and give them to you. But what, if you purchased a pair of Levis Shoes for 400 U.S$. The shoes would technically remain the same if the shopkeeper, packed them in a piece of newspaper or instead, placed them in the colorful branded box that was designed and provided by Levis. Here is where the factor of percieved value comes in, you expect a product that cost you 400 U.S$ to be well packaged.

Product Information: When you buy a television set, the salesman does not tell you that, the set should be turned off and the power cable unplugged from the socket before the set is opened for repair or inspection. However, there will surely be a well written and presented instruction manual that comes with the television set. The outside of the box in which the set is packed might, provide some useful suggestions too. All this is part of the package, and performs a very important task.

Still on this issue of product information and packaging. There is a particular tablet prescribed to relieve allergic conditions. The tablet comes in a strip, and is white in color. For some reason, the tablet gets a slight yellowish tint after a month or two. If you had to buy a sheet of these tablets, and noticed the color change - you would very likely throw the entire sheet into the dustbin and curse the company that made the tablets. Or you might be tempted to accuse the medical stores of selling outdated or substandard medicines. If you read the note that comes printed on the sheet, it clearly states that such a color change is normal and does not affect the quality of the tablet in any way. If you have read and understood this note, you will realize how important product information can be. And remember that it is the package, that delivered this information. 

Package and Branding: The design, colors and shape of a package can make your branding strategy much stronger. If you have noticed, there was a time when most tootpaste tubes and their packages made use of two colors - white and red. The external package, any pamphlet or card that is put inside the package - are opportunities for branding your product. In a world where there are generally more products than buyers actually need, differentiation can be a big market puller. Keep in mind that this mode of branding need not be very expensive. The exact amount that you allocate for packaging your product, would depend on the price of the product and your margin in the sale price.

Package Attracts Buyers: A package need not be a box, in our discussion it could mean a plastic grocery bag and even a simple paper bag. When you make an attractive package that has the possibility of being re-used, you not only help the environment but also, ensure that your message, logo or brand display on the bag gets a longer life span.

Packaging Not Expensive: The cost factor of a good package keeps many businesses away from the benefits that packaging can bring. The fact is that packaging need not be expensive. If you sell products that are merely purchased by your company, you could request your suppliers to provide the package for you. Since your production is very likely to come from a low cost center, the cost of the packaging would be quite reasonable too. When adopting this strategy remember to, have complete control over the packaging material, content and also the type of paper, plastic or other material used to make the package. Simple mistakes like spelling mistakes and substandar paper, could negatively affect the reputation of your organization.

Package Design: While the package for your product needs to be attractive, it could also provide more information of the specific product being packed in it or about, your overall product range. Businesses generally go to the biggest printing press, to get such a job done. The problem is that such printing houses are expensive, they also require large volume orders to have interest in your requirement. On the other hand, if you go to a small printing outfit, the place might not have professional designing services. An ideal option is to work with a professional designer to get the package layout worked out. Once that is done, decide on the dimensions that will be required for the package. Now assign a cost element for packaging that, seems logical for the price that you will selling the product. The professional designer could even act as a consultant, when working with the printing press. Technology has taken tremendous strides, and you should harvest the benefits.

This report has given you a fair amount of insight into the packaging aspect for your products. Understand the suggestion and gauge their relevance to your line of business. This could develop into a marketing plan that gives excellent ROI.