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How is the product to be packaged?

Ugg the caveman probably used packaging of some sort, perhaps a soft dinosaur skin, to wrap his stone wheels in what the purpose of it was simply to protect this product against the trials and tribulations it would experience along the rough road between the place of manufacture and the ultimate consumer. Things have changed a little since those days.

Product packaging is coming under severe criticism these days because more and more it is used to help to sell a product, rather than protect it from physical damage or despoilation by liquids or contact with the air. Only too often we buy a half dozen screws from the hardware shop and take it home only to have to use something akin to blowtorch to extract them from the hard plastic packaging and in these days when disposing of rubbish is such an emotive subject, with no room left in landfill sites, and public opposition to the incineration of plastics owing to the toxic fumes that can be created it is little surprise that there is a public backlash against manufacturers who use packaging products with inbuilt environmental hazards.

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This is a factor that has to be borne in mind by all marketing departments and there is a growing concern that any materials used should be at least biodegradable but it is difficult to reconcile this with many of the sales aspects of a good packaging policy. For instance, it can be a very good characteristic of the product can actually be seen within its package; and to increase impulse purchases it is very useful to have a product which can be easily displayed on a stand or rack and it has to be accepted that clear plastic meets most of the requirements here. Leaving aside the materials of manufacture, it is also advisable that the product should stand out from the rest particularly if it is an impulse purchase an item; far fewer will be sold if it merges into the background amongst all the competitors' products. A negative aspect of packaging is that it can very often be quite expensive; if the product is again a half dozen screws in a thick, transparent plastic container that container could cost far more than the screws themselves and so a careful evaluation of the market should be taken before decisions are made for products like these.

One of the most important aspects of packaging is that it should be convenient for, and acceptable to, wholesalers and retailers. Many distribution systems these days are automated and so it is important that products fit smoothly into packing cases of, often, arbitrary sizes and a retailer will want to know that the product can be displayed on the shelves racks in the shop or store in a safe manner which will not take up too much display space. Finally consumer expectations must be met; no young lady would expect to buy a bottle of perfume or a stick of lipstick which was wrapped up in a paper bag, and a wise choice of packaging materials and design can enhance a product substantially in the mind of the consumer, which could lead to greatly increased sales.

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