The Importance of Packaging Attributes

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The importance of packaging attributes: a conjoint analysis approach Pinya Silayoi
Department of Packaging Technology, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand, and

Importance of packaging attributes 1495
Received January 2004 Revised October 2004, April 2005

Mark Speece
School of Business, Public Administration and Information Systems, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, Alaska, USA Abstract
Purpose – The importance of packaging design and the role of packaging as a vehicle for consumer communication and branding are necessarily growing. To achieve communication goals effectively, knowledge about consumer psychology is important so that manufacturers understand consumer response to their packages. this paper aims to investigate this issue. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines these issues using a conjoint study among consumers for packaged food products in Thailand, which is a very competitive packaged food products market. Findings – The conjoint results indicate that perceptions about packaging technology (portraying convenience) play the most important role overall in consumer likelihood to buy. Research limitations/implications – There is strong segmentation in which packaging elements consumers consider most important. Some consumers are mostly oriented toward the visual aesthetics, while a small segment focuses on product detail on the label. Originality/value – Segmentation variables based on packaging response can provide very useful information to help marketers maximize the package’s impact. Keywords Food products, Food packaging, Purchasing, Consumer behaviour, Market segmentation Paper type Research paper

Introduction Food products brands use a range of packaging attributes, combining colors, designs, shapes, symbols, and messages (Nancarrow et al., 1998). These attract and sustain attention, helping consumers identify with the images presented. The importance of packaging design and the use of packaging as a vehicle for communication and branding is growing (Rettie and Brewer, 2000), as packaging takes on a role similar to other marketing communications elements. One reason for this is simply the fact that consumers may not think very deeply about brands at all before they go into the store to buy. One recent study estimated that 73 percent of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale (Connolly and Davidson, 1996). Consumer intention to purchase depends on the degree to which consumers expect that the product can satisfy their expectations about its use (Kupiec and Revell, 2001). But when they have not even thought about the product much before entering the store, this intention to purchase is determined by what is communicated at the point of

European Journal of Marketing Vol. 41 No. 11/12, 2007 pp. 1495-1517 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0309-0566 DOI 10.1108/03090560710821279

EJM 41,11/12

1496

purchase. The package becomes a critical factor in the consumer decision-making process because it communicates to consumers at the time they are actually deciding in the store. How they perceive the subjective entity of products, as presented through communication elements in the package, influences choice and is the key to success for many food products marketing strategies. To achieve the communication goals effectively and to optimize the potential of packaging, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers must understand consumer response to their packages, and integrate the perceptual processes of the consumer into design (Nancarrow et al., 1998). In the design process, marketers and package designers must take account of consumers’ past experiences, needs and wants; understand how packaging design elements get consumers to notice the package and notice messages on the package; and, broadly, evaluate packaging design and...
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