1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In nowadays competitive marketing environment the role of package has changed due to increasing self-service and changing consumers’ lifestyle. Firms’ interest in package as a promotional tool is growing increasingly. Package becomes an ultimate selling proposition stimulating impulsive buying behaviour, increasing market share and reducing promotional costs.
According to Rundh (2005:672) package attracts consumer’s attention to particular brand, enhances its image, and influences consumer’s perceptions about product. Also package imparts unique value to products and works as a tool for differentiation, i.e. helps consumers to choose the product from wide range of similar products, stimulates customers buying behavior. Wells, Farley & Armstrong, (2007:680) opined that package performs an important role in marketing communications and could be treated as one of the most important tools of promotion. The primary function of packaging is to protect the product against potential damage while transporting, storing, selling and exploiting a product and to ensure the convenience during performance of these activities. Grundvag&Ostil, (2009:220) indicates the importance of packaging in the case of grocery, when consumers buy unbranded products. Seeing that most consumers tend to touch products before purchasing, they treat product packaging as a tool for protecting consumers from contamination, for allowing them to touch products without restraint, without need to avoid smudging their hands. They propose to use packaging with a “window”, in order to allow consumers to evaluate product by its appearance at the same time reducing “consumer uncertainty regarding quality by branding the product and labeling it” i.e. to communicate to consumer adequate message about product. It could be stating that in length of time a function of identification and communication became of vital importance especially for consumer products in the group of convenience goods.
Packaging as a tool for communication was investigated by Gonzalez et al., (2007:63) Taking into consideration that impulsive buying is proper to many consumers it could be maintained that “packaging may be the only communication between a product and the final consumer in the store”. Consequently the role of package in marketing communications increases: it must attract consumer’s attention and transmit adequate value of product to consumer in the short period right in the place of sale.
The role of packaging has evolved from the traditional function of protecting the product against dirt, damage, theft, mishandling, and deterioration. This functional role is a requirement of all packages. In the modern era, packaging is also utilized as a marketing tool to promote the product, to increase visibility of the product on the shelf, and to provide information to the customer (O’Shaughnessy 2005:105). In spite of packaging use as a growing marketing tool, marketers still view packaging as a container. Known marketing guru, Philip Kotler (2000, 418) defines packaging as all activities of designing and producing the container for a product. Packaging draws the attention of the consumer at point-of-sale through its attractive design and color, gives an indication of its contents, package can be a tool in educating the customer. Finally, the package contributes to the overall image of the brand. It is important to remember, however, that packaging is not the only marketing and promotional tool. Meyers (2001:25)
The increasing importance of packaging in the marketing mix has equaled and occasionally surpassed product advertising and sales promotion in the past thirty years.
The physical packaging of a product can be used for many purposes, from the manufacturing point to the end users, such as the protective and promotive functions where it is called as a “silent protector” Long (2002:52) and a “silent salesman” Pilditch (2003:102). The packaging not only delivers product information and brand identity, it also visually appeals to consumers and due to its protective function delivers the product undamaged. Besides, Packaging plays an important role in helping consumers to recognize and understand the products.
When consumers go to retailers, they usually see the packaging of products before they can see the products themselves. Therefore, the packaging of products can be an effective tool for promotion in real shops Stewart, (2006:208).
According to Cateora (2002:405), a poorly packaged product conveys an impression of poor quality. Supermarkets have many products on the shelves each containing many items of information and there are very few sales people in a supermarket hence most selling is done through packaging. The modern marketer should then see packaging beyond its traditional role of holding contents together but as a promotional tool for his products which is the purpose of this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the increasing popularity of packaging in the promotion of goods and services, one cannot but agree that there are areas of problems which need to be studied. Though some business organizations are now using packaging to promote their wares yet many business organization in Nigeria concentrate their marketing effort on the traditional elements in the marketing mix in the performance of their marketing activities. The rate at which wares or products are being advertised, one may be forced to ask questions bothering on the use of packaging.
In the application of marketing mix, many organizations are faced with packaging problems. Some of the packaging problems include; the need to know whether packaging is a good promotional tool. In this regard, packaging alone is not enough for promotion of goods and services. There is a great need to look at other marketing mix elements which usually comes first before packaging, despite the fact that good packaging promotes sales; wrong packaging can lead to the total rejection of goods.
Again, packaging affect consumer buying decision, because wrong\bad packaging can make a consumer not to buy a particular product. In this aspect packaging needs to be suitable for each product in order to attract the attention of the consumers and also make them buy. Good packaging also protects the image of the organisation, but some organisations do not have good packaging system, thereby making their products to appear cheap and of low quality. Packaging is not a good compliment or substitute for advertisement though good packaging helps in advertisement.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this research work is to analyze the role of packaging as a promotional tool in the marketing of weavon.The specific objectives includes:
- To analyze the extent packaging influences buying behaviours.
- Find out the impact of a change in package on the sales of the product.
- To ascertain whether brand packaging promote the company’s image.
- To know the extent producers consider packaging in their product decisions.
- To determine if consumers associate the appearance of a product to its quality.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions will guide this study:
- To what extent does packaging influence buying behaviour?
- What is the impact of a change of package on the sales of the product?
- To what extent does brand product packaging promote the image of the company?
- To what extent do producers consider packaging in their product decisions?
- Do consumers associate the appearance of a product to its quality?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
In analyzing the role of packaging as a promotional tool in the marketing of weavons some tentative statements have to be tested hence the following hypothesis is put forward for this study:
- H0: There is no relationship between packaging influence and buying behaviour.
H1: There is relationship between packaging influence and buying behaviour.
- H0: There is no impact of change in the package of a product.
H1: There is impact of change in the package of a product.
- H0: There is no relationship between brand packaging and company’s image.
H1: There is relationship between brand packaging and company’s image.
- H0: The producers do not consider packaging in their product decisions.
H1: The producers consider packaging in their product decisions.
- H0: The consumers do not associate the appearance of a product to its quality.
H1: The consumers associate the appearance of a product to its quality.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will solve the research questions mentioned earlier and show the importance of packaging as a promotional tool to both the manufacturers and consumers.
To the manufacturers, it will make them adopt a better approach to taking packaging decisions; help them promote the image of the organisation and the brand.
To the consumers, it will show that package is part of the product they buy and may help to reduce dissatisfaction felt after buying a product, stimulate their buying behaviour and help them choose a product from a wide range of similar products.
Also, academic community will not be left out, because this work will serve as a fertile ground for researchers who wish to carry out a study on this topic.