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The Layers of Packaging

Proper packaging is essential for any business that deals with selling and shipping retail items. You want your packages to do more than look great — you want them to get to their final destination in one piece. To accomplish this, you need to use correct packaging throughout every stage of the product’s journey to its buyer.

Packing should be so much more than a generic container for your products. There are actually three layers of packaging you should know about, each with its own specific purpose and opportunities for custom benefits.

What Are the Three Layers of Packaging?What Are the Three Layers of Packaging?

The three layers of packaging are:

  • Primary packaging
  • Secondary packaging
  • Tertiary packaging

All three of these layers are essential for a proper shipping strategy. Learn more about the difference between the three layers of packaging so you can make sure you’re packaging, shipping and selling your products the best way possible.

What Is Primary Packaging?

Also called retail packaging or consumer packaging, primary packaging is the layer of material that most closely touches the actual product. The two main purposes of primary packaging are to protect the product and to provide essential information to consumers about the product itself.

The specific material used in primary packaging will differ depending on your product. For instance, the primary packaging of potato chips is the bag used to contain them. The primary packaging of shampoo is the bottle, and for a digital camera, it’s the box containing the camera, cables and other accessories.

One good way to remember the definition of primary packaging is to understand that it’s the primary way consumers interact with products when they buy them. When buying potato chips at a grocery store, the customer would need to buy them in the bag, reading the bag to choose their preferred brand and flavor. Customers must buy shampoo in a bottle, and a new digital camera can come in a corrugated box that contains its accessories.

What Is Secondary Packaging?

Secondary packaging can take many forms depending on the product, but it can have different purposes:

  • To provide branding and protect products during shipping: Businesses must ship products in bulk to the retail stores that sell them. These businesses are responsible for using correct secondary packaging. Examples of secondary packaging using the previous product examples are a branded box containing many bags of potato chips, a case containing many bottles of shampoo and a corrugated box holding several smaller boxes of digital cameras within.
  • To act as display packaging for products at retail locations: Once your products get to retail locations, you can use secondary packaging to catch the attention of more buyers and set your products apart from the competition. Cardboard display stands, endcap decals, custom containers surrounding the primary packaging and shelf product holders are all examples of secondary packaging that can make your products look better in stores while solidifying your brand image.

Secondary packaging can be either customer-facing or more utilitarian for the shipping process. When your secondary packaging faces the consumer, it should catch their attention, solidify your brand and encourage a sale. So you might package bottles of shampoo and conditioner in a secondary packaging box to sell together. When secondary packaging is more for transportation purposes, it should protect your products while showcasing your brand to all who may see it.

What Is Tertiary Packaging?

The final layer is tertiary packaging. Warehouses use tertiary packaging to ship products packed in secondary materials. The main goal of tertiary packaging is to protect a product’s secondary packaging on its way to its final destination. Examples include:

  • Custom cardboard boxes containing packaged products
  • Wooden pallets that hold secondary packaging
  • The corrugated cardboard layers used to protect and separate layers of products
  • The stretch wrap that surrounds a fully stacked pallet of secondary packaging

Consumers rarely see tertiary packaging, so branding is often minimal. Some companies may stamp their logo on a pallet or have a custom tarp or wrap that covers the completed pallet of product in its secondary packaging for identification and organization purposes. For retailers that store pallets of products outdoors, like hardware stores, it can be in a company’s best interest to use custom tertiary packaging. This detail allows consumers to grow more familiar with the company’s brand while also knowing the retail store stocks their items.

Why Are the Three Layers of Packaging Important?

Packaging is important, regardless of the layer you’re focusing on. But you can understand the three layers of packaging so you can use each of them to their fullest potential. Your business has goals, and the right packaging strategy should be part of achieving them.

Here are some of the main reasons why the three layers of packaging are important:

  • Product safety: There are many ways your products can get damaged both in stores and in transit, so you want to make sure they stay as safe as possible. Secure materials prevent product returns and maintain customer satisfaction. It’s important to acknowledge how all three layers of product packaging work together to keep your goods safe.
  • Brand recognition: Brand recognition is the foundation of any successful company. By customizing the three layers of packaging, you can make your brand stand out from the rest. When people are ready to buy a product in your industry, they’ll sooner think of your company because of the strong branding on your packaging, particularly of your primary layer.
  • Customization: Customization is key when it comes to packaging. Customized packaging can help increase brand recognition while keeping your products safer by choosing the perfect-sized packages for your needs. You can also take care to choose the proper filler at each packaging stage when necessary to secure your goods during transport.
  • Increased sales: Product safety, brand recognition and the benefits of customization — these three factors point toward the potential for increased sales for your business. By taking greater control of the three layers of packaging, you can open up more space in your budget while also encouraging more sales, leading to higher profits and more success for your business.
  • Cost savings: By choosing the right sized packages through every stage, you can save your business money on materials and damaged products. If you make each level of packaging as small as possible, you can save on packing material costs as well as shipping fees, all on top of earning more sales.

Start Your Packaging Strategy the Right Way With BuyBoxesStart Your Packaging Strategy the Right Way With BuyBoxes

BuyBoxes exists to help redefine the limits of what product packaging can be. We offer services to help you meet your shipping strategy goals while keeping your packaging completely customized along the way. We also offer a proprietary app on our website called BuyBoxes Studio to help you design your own custom shipping elements. It’s easy to use, so you can get started customizing your packaging right away.

Are you ready to start your custom packaging strategy? Contact us online today to take the next step!