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What is packaging?

Packaging is the act of wrapping or enclosing a product for the purpose of protection, preservation, storage, identification and, or promotion. It can also refer to the material itself that’s used for wrapping the product, like a cardboard box or plastic bag.

Packaging of both physical and digital products has a big impact on the marketability of a product. When it comes to physical products, a lot of money and effort is invested in innovative packaging ideas, design and labeling. As a result, we often identify items by their packaging alone.

The three levels of packaging

  • Primary Packaging is the layer of packaging that is closest to the product. An example is a bottle of soda. The bottle serves as a container for the liquid; has a promotional value in the form of a label or attractive design; and probably has a barcode to facilitate a smooth purchase.

  • Secondary Packaging is the layer outside the primary packaging. Its main use is to protect, display or transport the product within its primary packaging. An example is the plastic crate containing 6 bottles of soda.

  • Tertiary Packaging is a layer of packaging normally not visible to the consumer. It’s used for transporting products in bulk. An example is the industrial shipping container that holds the crate that holds your bottle of soda.

How to create a good packaging

When putting together a packaging strategy for physical products, there are three main elements you’ll need to consider:

  • Labeling. Make sure your label is clear and stands out from a crowded shelf. It should also give customers the information they need to help them make the right purchase—such as allergen and expiration details for consumable items.

  • Opening. If your item is meant to be opened and resealed, make sure the mechanism is efficient and, or leak-proof. If your item should only be opened once, like a can or medicinal product, make sure it’s sufficiently tamper-proof.

  • Durability. If your item needs to be transported across long distances, your packaging needs to be robust and damage-proof, and primary, secondary and tertiary packaging should be considered.


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Packaging in digital marketing

Despite being originally used only to refer to physical products, the concept of packaging is increasingly prevalent in digital marketing. In this world, packaging may allude to two main concepts:

  • The way in which digital products are outwardly represented or branded.

  • The practice of combining products or services into a single offer—sometimes referred to as a “bundle”.

Digital products these days are equally carefully packaged. A new suite of tools from an innovative tech company, for example, will be packaged in a way that reflects the company’s unique style. If it’s done well, the product branding will be instantly identifiable and neat slogans will seamlessly wrap the suite up as a glossy, digestible, must-have package.

Family packaging

Family packaging is the name given to a group of products are enclosed in matching packaging to identify them as part of a set. For example, think of a skin care set including a face wash, a toner and a moisturiser which are intended to be used one after the other.


Related Term


Related Term

Business-to-Business (B2B)

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