Designing For Success: The 6 Core Functions of Packaging

Designing For Success: The 6 Core Functions of Packaging

Packaging can influence consumer buying decisions. Two-thirds of people say that packaging has an effect on their buying decisions. Packaging serves more than the core function of securing products during transportation. The quality of packing has the potential to influence the customer base and, thereby, the sales and growth of a business. Customised packaging can help differentiate a brand's products from its competitors. The more unique the packaging, the more attention the brand gains. This is a major tactic used by luxury brands to compete with their rivals, gain more customers and expand the market.

Along with the core function, material and design, packaging should also be eco-friendly. In a study conducted across ten countries regarding the importance of considering the environmental impact of packaging,  80% of Indian consumers cited it as an extremely essential factor. So, packaging should be designed to match all these perceptions, be it style, design elements, or environmental friendliness of the material.

Discover more about packaging and its functions to leverage its benefits by partnering with a capable logistics partner.

Types of Packaging

Packaging plays multiple roles in the journey of products from manufacturer to consumer. It protects a product through hundreds of points of interaction. Attractive packaging catches the customer’s attention and creates a brand identity. In special cases, like iPhones, it contributes to a unique unboxing experience. Apart from all of these functions, packaging plays a crucial role in gaining customer trust. 

The packaging industry typically produces three types of packaging. These are primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. 

1. Primary Packaging:

Also called the consumer unit, this layer is in direct contact with the product. This is the product protection layer and preserves it from dust, contamination, scratches and other external impacts. This layer is created for the product end-user for easy handling.  Commonly, this layer is used for primary branding and marketing purposes. As a result, information that the manufacturer wants to communicate to the end user is printed on the primary packaging

2. Secondary Packaging:

This layer of packaging is used on top of the primary packaging for product branding and display. Here, it is a stock-keeping unit (SKU), with the various components of the product in a single pack for buyers to handle with ease. Secondary packaging also becomes an additional layer of protection. In eCommerce, secondary packaging using bags, paper, reinforcements, boxes and paddings is common. 

3. Tertiary Packaging:

Also called transit or bulk packaging, it can safely transport SKUs in large numbers. When products are in tertiary packaging, they are considered as distribution units and are easily transported, stored and handled. Most products are shipped in tertiary packaging.

Functions of Packaging

Packaging is important to businesses for many reasons. They are as follows:

  1. Protecting Products From Damage

  • Providing physical protection: Packaging can protect products from breakage as a result of being dropped, crushed, or vibrated during transport.
  • Guarding against environmental effects: Packaging can protect products from changing temperatures, humidity, and light.
  • Using edge protection: Edge protection can reinforce the corners of boxes, pallets, or the sides of packed items.
  • Using cushioning: Cushioning can protect products from bumps, scratches, or scrapes from rubbing against each other.
  • Sturdy outer materials: Sturdy outer materials ensure the protection of packages from external pressure, preventing denting or collapsing.  
  1. Packaging Carry Key Information

  • Nearly sixty percentage of buyers make buying decisions on the basis of the key information shared on the packaging.  
  • The information shares the ingredients, contents or  nutritional value of the product
  • Directions to utilise the product are included in the packaging
  • Packaging itself becomes a part of marketing 
  • Packaging reflects the value of the product
  1. Packaging Multiple Items 

  • Multiple packaging is an age-old technique used to place several units of a product in one container. 
  • It helps in increasing total sales or introducing a new product 
  •  It aids in winning consumer acceptance
  1. Packaging to Promote the Product

  • Packaging can promote a product: When different colours, sizes, fonts, shapes, and graphic designs are used in packaging, brand identity is created. 
  • Distinguish brands: Packaging can help customers differentiate a product from similar commodities.
  • Communicating features: Packaging can include key communicating features depicted graphically or as printed text
  • Creating shelf impact: Packaging can create a better customer experience and encourage consumers to buy the product often.
  • Building a brand narrative: Customised packaging can help build a brand name and communicate that to the target audience.
  1. Improving Storage Efficiency

  • Modified atmosphere packaging: This packaging system alters the atmosphere inside the package and then allows it to change over time during storage. When combined with refrigerated storage, it can extend the shelf life of meat products.
  • Barrier packaging: This packaging can contain foil, metalised barrier films, or a clear barrier that protects the product from oxidation, moisture, and other risks.
  • High-performance plastic packaging: This packaging is effective for maintaining the shelf life of the product until expiry.
  • DLC: This coating material is ideal for prolonged storage of beverages in plastic bottles.

Thus, these functions highlight the importance of choosing a strategic partner to handle product packaging.

Considering the Environmental Impact of Packaging

Certain packaging materials are identified as a major source of environmental pollution. Plastic packaging has the largest negative impact on the environment as it has the potential to alter the ecosystem. They pose a great risk to human health. 

In order to overcome these negative issues with packaging, a number of packaging manufacturers are shifting to sustainable packaging materials. These providers are switching to recyclable materials, minimising the use of additional packaging materials and designing them for reuse.  

SR Packaging: The Packaging Experts

As an eCommerce business, you must address the need to have a professional packaging partner for the products you retail. The key is the packaging design. It strongly influences the buyer’s choice. Ideally, high-quality box designs are recommended for this industry. When you choose a packaging partner, you need to ensure that you provide exact information about the variety of products you offer at your store. This will be essential to design the SKU and determine the likely dimensions. Third-party providers need such information to generate the most appropriate packaging material. 

Shiprocket is one of India's largest tech-enabled logistics and fulfillment platforms. Their shipping solutions are available across 24,000+ pin codes within India and 220 countries worldwide. 

Features of Shiprocket's Packaging Designs: 

  • Optimise fulfillment
  • Reduce weight discrepancies
  • Provide quality packaging material
  • Map SKUs with packaging material
  • Simplify order management

Shiprocket offers a number of packaging solutions to meet the needs of diverse industries. Common options include the following: 

  • Courier bags with POD sleeves in various dimensions like 8×10, 12×16, and 14 x16.  
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes ranging 9 x 4.5 x 3.5, 6 x 4 x 3 and 10.5 x 7 x 4.

These are 100% recyclable, sustainable, environment-friendly, cost-effective, and high-quality.

SR Packaging addresses weight disputes with courier partners by offering a special feature. You can lock the dimensions of the packaging material to an SKU, ensuring uniformity across your inventory. 


As eCommerce becomes increasingly competitive, businesses need to stand out by offering great value to their customers. SR Packaging is an end-to-end service provider that steps up the game for retailers to have better-packaged products and a great unboxing experience for their customers. You can build value in the product services your business offers by choosing environment-friendly quality packaging materials. 

A part of the full-suite logistics services of the Shiprocket platform and international shipping giant Shiprocket X, SR packaging is your green-packaging partner to meet the needs of your consumers.


What are packing peanuts?

In eCommerce, a common protective packaging is called packaging peanuts or popcorn. These are small foam particles used to protect fragile items during shipping. They are available in the form of popcorn foams, foam peanuts or packing noodles. These can be easily recycled. 

Is a third-party packaging partner cost-effective?

Yes, if you are a small or a mid-sized company, then it is highly recommended that you choose a third-party packaging partner. Their expertise in handling products of various types and sizes gives you an advantage over handling the packaging in-house. Depending on the volume of your orders, you will find that packaging partners are better value for money.

How to choose the right packaging design for your business?

It is recommended that you test and evaluate your packaging design. This can be done by considering data provided by focus groups or surveys regarding consumer feedback on packaging in your industry.