The packaging component of a product includes elements such as packaging, labelling, trademarks, brand names, quality, and price. As is the case with the physical product, packaging is subject to influences favouring standardisation on the one hand and adaptation to specific market needs on the other. In deciding whether to standardise or diversify the packaging, there is again a need to take into account mandatory requirements (especially in respect of product labelling), as well as both protection and promotional considerations.
Whether or not the same package can be used for a product in both the domestic and foreign markets will depend on a number of factors:
- The kind of product protection needed in one market may differ from that required in another, e.g. a hot, humid climate will probably necessitate a different type of packaging from that which would be suitable in a cooler, drier climate. The kind of transportation and handling the product is subjected to can also influence the design of the packaging. Package ought to provide greater protection if the product is likely to be subjected to poor road conditions, long distances, and frequent or rough handling.
- Furthermore, the length of time the product is likely to spend within the distribution chain will increase the demands on the packaging, as will the way in which the ultimate buyer uses the product. If the buyer uses the product at a relatively slow rate and the product is likely to be stored for a considerable length of time, a more durable form of packaging will be required.
- The promotional aspects of packaging also tend to vary from market to market, e.g. a country with a large number of very small retail outlets will probably require a type of packaging that is different from that which is suitable in a country where large supermarkets are common.
- Packaging size is also likely to be a key factor, e.g., a high level of car ownership and a developed supermarket/hypermarket retail system will normally signify the use of relatively large packages, whereas a low per capita income might suggest the use of small, or even individual, packages for items such as cigarettes, chewing gum, razor blades, etc.
- Similarly, the cost of packaging is likely to vary according to the purchasing power of a market’s population – an elaborate package can add on a significant amount to the price of the contents.
- Cultural factors will have a considerable influence on the types of packaging that are likely to attract consumers, particularly in respect of features such as colour, shape, material used, and so on. If it is the intention that a product should be recognised throughout the world, universally recognisable standard packaging must be used.
- The widespread concern about pollution has also become an important consideration – more and more consumers are now avoiding products sold in ‘non-environment friendly’ aerosol cans because of the publicity surrounding the contribution made by aerosols to the deterioration of the ozone layer.
- Mandatory packaging requirements are increasingly being imposed in some countries, where specific bottle, can and package sizes are stipulated by law as are certain units of measure. In many countries laws exist that require packaging to be environmentally friendly. Packaging material may also have to be removed and recycled by the manufacturer or distributor. Facilities and additional costs must be catered for.