Packaging refers to the container or wrapper that holds a product or group of products. Most commercial packaging serves two basic functions: protecting the product from damage during shipping, and promoting the product to the ultimate consumer. Some common types of packaging include shipping cartons, containers for industrial goods, and bags, boxes, cans, and other holders for consumer products.
Packaging is of great importance to both sellers and buyers of products. It can prevent spoiling, breakage, tampering, or theft; enhance convenience in use or storage; and make products easier to identify.
A significant improvement in packaging can even create a "new" product by expanding the ways in which it can be used, and thus its potential markets. For example, a soup that is packaged in a microwavable bowl might suddenly increase its sales to working people. Prior to World War II, packaging was used primarily to surround and protect products during storage, transportation, and distribution. Some packages were designed with aesthetic appeal and even for ease-of-use by the end consumer, but package design was typically left to technicians.
After World War II, however, companies became more interested in marketing and promotion as a means of enticing customers to purchase their products. As a result, more manufacturers began to view packaging as an integral element of overall business marketing strategies to lure buyers.
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