Marketing Research About “Packaging”

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Executive Summary

Before the customer knows what is in the product, he is first attracted by the packaging of the product; on the other hand, the packaging ensures that products are free from malfunctions. Some products need to be packed in certain way; thus packaging is both an element of production and marketing. Since the success of an organization is dependent on these two departments, the importance of good packaging cannot be overemphasized. Sweet spot and Arab Medical Food Company are two companies in Saudi Arabia that are doing well in their businesses as a result of good packaging. H.P and Nivea are two international companies that have employed good packaging methods. It is obvious that good packaging is what attracts consumers in the first ranks, this is why descriptive mini-marketing research is needed to find out whether nice packaging is indeed what attracts the consumers most of all.

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Introduction

In today’s business environment, the consumers are pushing the trend in which companies are producing and marketing their products. The choice of market segment, which a business targets, defines the mode and the way the business will be conducted. Customers are increasingly influencing many aspects of the business; the area that is highly influenced is the marketing department. Marketing in itself has some elements that it has to consider to ensure that they are able to effectively persuade the client; they include advertisement and promotions. Packaging is an element then to consider because first impression that the customer will get is on the outer package that can persuade him to buy or not. There is thus the need to invest in the quality of packaging.

Definition

Packaging is the mode of presentation that a product comes with. It goes further than the outer covering to involve the inner protection made on products. It has two objectives; to protect the sanity of the product from outside elements that can affect the quality of the good or damage the goods in any way, it aims at providing a product with an appropriate covering which would protect it from being wasted, rotten, damaged, or broken, in other words, in defective condition, due to the influence from the outside. Second it is the first impression that the customer gets when he comes with the products, with this the drawings and the language used, though are advertising tools they form part of packaging.

Functions of Packaging

As lightly stated above, packaging has various functions that play they are:

Maintaining Product Integrity

Packaging is aimed at ensuring that the qualitative and quantitative form of the good is maintained from the time it leaves the final production stage to the time that it reaches the customer. This is the only way that the customers will gain confidence that the standards of the good as stated in the package are the same. It avoids spillover, bending or contamination. Environmental protection is another work done by packaging such as protection from heat, water, extra existence of oxygen, or other chemicals.

The figure shows the external factors affecting a product.
Figure. 1. The figure shows the external factors affecting a product.

It Carries the Brand Identity

The name of the product is a very important marketing tool, how strong the brand name is the better for the company. The name identifies the product and is part of the packaging. At the time of purchase, customers search for a specific product or brand items and it helps them to find the suitable product because it forms the brand name.

Display/ Storage Tool

Different products need to be displayed and stored in different ways; the way a product is packaged will assist the customer either at the shop or the final consumer. The way that soft drinks are packaged is in a way that they can be kept in a freezer. Good packaging should be sensitive to the probable way of displaying or storing the product.

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Measure of Quantity

Depending on the product at hand, the container or the package that is used to pack something can determine the quantity of the product. For example in liquid products, the container is mostly of the volume that the product is expected to have. On the other hand, some products can only be sold together and thus the package is the one that holds them. For example groundnut (Marshall, 2007).

Advertisement and Promotional Tool

The package has some information for the buyer that defines the product. When the buyer knows what is contained, he is put in a better position to choose. Secondly, the company gets a chance to display the promotions that the product may be having at a certain time. All this can be written on the product. It is the only advertisement tool that the company does not pay directly.

Tool of Giving Instructions

The instructions of use and disposal can be written on the package and thus help the user in making the correct use of the product. It can be useful for those consumers who bought the product for the first time and do not know exactly how to open it or its exact function. Most of the packages contain descriptions of how to open the product in the right way and how to use what’s inside of it as well as cautions in case the product is misused (Domnica, 2010).

Local Examples

For the research in this term paper, two companies i.e. Sweet Spot and Arab Medical Food Company have been selected. They are both in Saudi Arabia.

Example 1; Sweet Spot

Chocolates are human food that must be packed in an attractive way and one that ensures that they are not contaminated from the outside environment. Saudi Arabia is a hot country; since chocolate melt at very low temperatures then there is the need for a packaging system that will ensure that there is no heat that gets into them making them melt. They are packed in a way that they can be stored in freezers and during transportation they are put in cartoons that do not absorb much heat.

sample of some of the products of Sweet Spot.
Figure 2: sample of some of the products of Sweet Spot.

Example 2; Packaging of Arab Medical Food Company

The company was incorporated in 1986 as a subsidiary of ACDIMA (The Arab Company for Drug Industries and Medical Appliances) it was incorporated in Saudi Arabia and has a branch in Egypt an area called Abu Sultan- Fayed-Ismailia it covers an area of 50,000 square meters. The products that are made by the company are human health foods. These are sensitive products that require special packaging. They are products like Baby Food, Sugar-free soft drinks, No added sugar or fructose Jams, Pudding, Chocolate drink, Vanillin, Baking powder, Tomato soup, Sugar-free wafer, Crispbread, Fiber enriched Crisp Bread and different powder products. The products can be found in supermarkets, shops, and chemists that deal with food products. In their manufacture, there is a lot of emphases put on packaging to ensure that the entire transportation, shelf stay that the product will have will not lead to any contamination. On the other hand, the packages give the instructions of the persons to use the products and what proportion. Some of the products are liquid, they are packed in containers that have the same volume as the one required for the product. Some of the medical food has some descriptions or prescriptions to the customer (Arab Medical Food Company website, 2010).

International Examples

Example 3; Packaging of Nivea Product

This is an international German company that manufactures beauty products; it has over 125 years of experience in beauty products. Among the products that the company produces are lotion, jerry, deodorants, perfumes, and colognes. These are liquid and semi-solid products that need special packaging. They are affected by sunlight, the gasses, and any contamination. To ensure that this is well dealt with, the kind of package that is adopted for every product depends on the use and the form of the product. Plastic packages are used to pack lotions and jerry because they are not reactive. They have strong rid that allow the products to be well protected from licking and contamination. Perfumes are on metal cans that can hold the highly pressured contents. On the products packages, there are specializations on the use of the products. For example it will specify which are the product for a dry skin and the ones for an oily skin. Which product is meant for men and which is made for women? The base of the containers is made in a way that it can be placed on the shelves for display and is easily squeezable by the final customer. They are shaped in a way that the contents will be fully used without leaving some in the container. There is coloration between the photo that is posted on the packages and the target segment of the product. The colors are eye-catching and related to the gender that the product target. For example most of the products that are targeting men are blue in color and those that target women are pink (Nivea website, 2010).

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A sample of Nivea product.
Figure. 3: A sample of Nivea product.

Example 4; Packaging of H.P. Company

HP is the initials of Hewlett-Packard; a company that is incorporated in United States of America as an information and technology company. It has its headquarters in Palo Alto; California. It is involved in the business of developing hard wares and software for computers. In the world, it is ranked among the largest information and technology firm. Other than the personal and corporate computer devices, it also provides and makes other computer preferential devices like the printers. Computers are highly fragile products that require special packaging for their effective transportation. They can easily be spoilt if they come into contact with water or any other liquid. But these products are transported on water and air from United States to other countries in the world but they reach their destination safe and combat. The packaging adopted is in line with the products; they are packed in hand cartons with a hard shock absorber. The shock absorbers are to prevent the computer from being crashed in case of any force exerted on it, in transportation. As if this is not enough they are wrapped in pylon-fitting bags that cannot allow water in them. When they are being transported from the factory, they are put in larger cartons; the carton is waxed that no water can penetrate it (Malone, 2007).

Mini Marketing Research

Problem identification: Find out perceptions consumers have about packaging of products.

Steps of Mini Market Research for Packaging
Figure 4: Steps of Mini Market Research for Packaging

Objectives: The Objectives of This Mini-Research Are

  • To find out what consumers expect from packaging
  • To explore the connection between a packaging and the customers
  • To illustrate the effects of packaging on consumers consumption process
  • To demonstrate the effect of packaging for getting a strong position among consumers
  • To identify the major packaging facilities preferred by most of the consumers
  • To evaluate the effect of good packaging on brand name of the product.

Research Methodology

A keen observation can be used to learn the behavior of the customers. The time they use to stare and admire the product can be seen. Thus observation will be one of the research methodologies. The print media is another place that the opinion of the customers can be gotten so as to get more understanding of the feeling of the customer. Since the research is going to be conducted in order to describe the consumer perceptions about the packaging, another method that can be applied is descriptive research. Descriptive research means doing activities to describe characteristics of certain facts. It has to be done for finding answers to the questions stating who, what, when, where, and who did something. The ‘what’-question was the biggest problem here. The main objective of this research is to find the factors of perception which consumers have on their minds about packaging.

Types and Sources of Data

Primary and Secondary sources of data will be used here. The main sources will be observation, websites, blogs or e-books retrieved from the internet and the use of print media.

Consumer’s Perception through Packaging

Of late, companies are continuously becoming sensitive to the needs of their customers. Quality and meeting the customer expectations is the bottom line of success. Consumer preference is upheld at all stages of the production. From time to time, both service and product industries become consumer-oriented. In every stage of production consumers play the leading role.

Considering the medical food industry discussed above, continuously fine-tuned product packaging is the only issue to surpass customer satisfaction and expectations. The consumer wants to see an attractive package; that can persuade him, depending on the segment type of the customer. The type of the customer is dependent on the age and lifestyle. They want to take packaging as a protector of the bought product, which will prevent the product from being damaged or being spoiled and save the key nutrients and features of the product. Most of the consumers are price-sensitive, so consumers expect the packaging to reduce the cost of not only buying but also carrying, preserving, and consumption of the product. Environment-friendly nature of packaging is also of a great importance for the consumer. Consumer prefers the packaging that is not hampering or disturbing to the environment. The after usage stage is the closest to the environment. Packaging is the way to present the product. Consumers want the presentation of the product to be hygienic as well as attractive. If the product’s package does not correspond to these standards, the consumers may refuse to buy the product or will give preference to another manufacturer. Another important demand of the consumers is the presence of relevant information on the packaging. Consumers want all the information regarding the product to be given through packaging system. Price, production and expiration date, key ingredients, way to use, process of preserving and so on are important pieces of information that consumers normally want to know. Convenience is one of the most important factors. Consumers want to buy products that have convenient packaging. Ease of opening, ease of disposal, ease of getting the product, ease of searching, ease of buying, ease of carrying and ease of consumption are the key issues, in which the food industries are now paying their concern regarding consumer needs.

Findings

The finding of this study has seen that the customers have a certain expectation. The major objective of research and marketing department is to know these expectations and advise the company respectively. Those companies that have aligned themselves with the need of the customers are doing well in business.

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Consumers have a meaning of packaging in a way that reflects the integration of qualitative presentation of quality products, presence of relevant information, convenient features, availability, and variety, safety of the product and combination of healthy and environment friendliness.

The target customer and the segment of the product also should be put in mind when designing the kind of package to use. Consumers keep to the point that packaging should be convenient to use and it should contain necessary information about the product. The consumption process is also affected by the packaging of the product. A consumer is likely not only to buy a product but also become a regular customer if the packaging is appropriate and can draw the attention of the consumers. Consumers never pay any attention to a simple or unattractively packaged product (Kotler & Keller, (2006).

Conclusion

From the discussion above, it is clear that there is much in packaging that meets the eye. It is an art and having mastered this art, the company can reach unbelievable success in the market. The need for good packagers is not limited to a certain industry but it works overboard. The products packaging is made in different ways according to the product and the target customer. As much as the consumers are seen to dictate the packing mode the nature of the products should be considered.

Reference List

  1. Arabian Business staff writer (2007). Sweet Spot.
  2. Arab Medical Food Company (Medifood) (2010). The Company’s Official Website.
  3. Domnica, D. (2010). Review Concerning the Functions of Packaging. Revista Academiei Fortelor Terestre, 15(1), 44-48. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database
  4. Kotler, P., & Keller, K. (2006). Marketing Management, 12th edition, Prentice Hall, NJ, ISBN: 0-13-0336297.
  5. Malone, M. (2007). Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company. Portfolio Hardcover. pp. 39–41
  6. Marshall, J. (2007). Packaging, unwrapped. New Scientist, 194 (2598), 37-41. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database
  7. Nivea website (2010). The Company’s Official Website. Web.

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BusinessEssay. 2021. "Marketing Research About “Packaging”." December 3, 2021. https://business-essay.com/marketing-research-about-packaging/.

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BusinessEssay. "Marketing Research About “Packaging”." December 3, 2021. https://business-essay.com/marketing-research-about-packaging/.