The Leader of the Pack : A Service Perspective on Packaging and Customer Satisfaction

Abstract: Almost everything we as consumers buy in a store has a package. Packages have many functions – some, if not all, present marketers with the opportunity to gain competitive advantages. The packaging influences the usage behavior long after it has influenced the purchase, therefore it is an interesting empirical context to study within the field of marketing. Nevertheless, academic attention to packaging has been sparse over the last two decades even though the industry focus on packaging as a strategic tool has grown over that same period. Exceptions in the marketing literature are investigations of packaging and brand communication, advertisement-package coordination, and packaging size and shape. In contrast to the traditional approach that views packaging as a complimenting non-product-related attribute, it is suggested in this thesis that packaging is a product-related attribute that does affect the customers’ experiences of products.The overall aim of this thesis is to develop and test theoretical models and provide empirical evidence of customer experiences in the context of packaging from a service perspective. To study packaging from a service perspective is relevant for several reasons. One reason is that packaging can have several functions, which include more than the physical package. Another reason is that packages are carriers of information that is interpreted by customers. The combination of function, information, the physical package, and its content creates the total customer experience.The results of this thesis provide increased knowledge about packaging and customer experiences from a service perspective. On an attribute level, quality attributes such as protection and usability are categorized according to Kano’s theory of attractive quality. The results show that customers’ evaluations of packages are multi-dimensional. On a comprehensive or an overall level, structural equation modeling is used to investigate the consumption process. We conclude that the quality attributes of packages need to be designed to display quality both on the shelf in a store and during usage and consumption at both the attribute and comprehensive level.