Types of Products
When we go into the market, we see different types of products. But how do we know actually what types of products they are or what we are buying?
Basically, products are classified on the basis of buyers – consumer buyers and industrial or business buyers. Consumers usually buy products for final consumption whereas business buys usually the products for further processing.
So, most popularly there are two types of products;
- Consumer products
- Industrial or business products
Let’s move into these consumers as well as industrial types of products.
Consumer products can be defined as those products that are designed in a way to satisfy consumers’ needs when they consume them. These are the products, consumers use for the final purpose, which means when they consume these products the product’s life ends. And, consumer products are purchased for final consumption for individuals, households, or family not for resale or reproduction purposes like done by retailers or businesses.
Just suppose you are an individual consumer, anything that you purchase from the market for the purpose of personal consumption not for resale purpose, are all consumer products. It may be fast food, pizza, watch, mobile, or anything you may like to use personally.
The consumer products are further classified into four categories:
- Convenience products
- Shopping products
- Specialty products
- Unsought products
Convenience products are those which we frequently used to buy such products do not require a lot of effort and are low priced. Sometimes, these are the products we purchase on a routine basis for daily consumption which satisfies our immediate needs. For such products, we do not need to make effort on gathering further information as we already know their features, use, price, benefits, etc.
The common features of the convenience product are:
- It is frequently bought by the consumer.
- Less price as compared to other products.
- Basically, convenience products are consumable in nature.
- Price and quality of products are normally ignored.
- High competition on the selling of such products in the markets.
Convenience products further can be subdivided into three categories like staples, impulse, and emergency.
Staples Products: These are actually those products that are used to buy regularly and routinely which require fewer efforts and time and also are low priced. Such as rice, milk, flour, salt, etc.
Impulse Products: Impulse products are those about which a consumer normally does have a plan or think to buy. Such products are motivated to make buy customers through advertisements, newspapers, etc.
Emergency Products: As the name suggests, we buy these types of products for our unexpected needs. For example, when we have a headache we may buy aspirin, walking – rain starts, we may immediately buy an umbrella, etc.
After understanding convenience products, what should a marketer do to market and make sell such products? Marketing considerations for convenience products are:
- Marketers should make convenience products available at the location convenient to their target customer.
- Marketers should keep the price of products relatively low and minimize purchase time.
- Since retailers do not take responsibility for promotion. The entire promotion campaign should be conducted by itself manufacturer. In this regard, the focus should be on mass advertising in-store displays, well-designed store layout, and so on.
While buying shopping products consumers lack some information about product alternatives and attributes, thus require to gather some information to make a purchase decision. In doing so, the consumer pays some considerable struggles to compare price, suitability, design, style, quality, etc. Such as bicycles, clothes, furniture, shoes, clothing, home appliances, etc.
The price of shopping products is comparatively higher than convenience products, as such the consumer becomes conscious about the price and quality of products because they have to meet their want from such products for some long period of time. The risk associated with shopping products, maybe both monetary and social, are fairly high so they become brand loyal, or at least brand conscious. In this regard, they may buy products or services from a particular shop/store rather than any convenience store.
The major features of convenience products are:
- It is infrequently bought by consumers.
- The price is high.
- In buying a shopping product consumers do a detailed study of price, utility, quality, design, etc.
- The buying of shopping products is normally time-consuming.
- The demand for shopping products is directly affected by fashion trends.
The shopping products can be further classified into four types.
Homogeneous Shopping Products: About these shopping products consumers feel very little difference between the competing brands. They may know only the difference between the competing brands on price and service of suppliers. e.g. washing machines, refrigerators, etc.
Heterogeneous Shopping Products: These are the shopping products consumers know the core products and benefits difference of competing brands. The difference may be in core benefits, style, design, taste preferences, etc.
Attribute-Based Shopping Products: About these shopping products consumers gather information regarding products features, quality, warranty, performance, design, options, and other aspects. And purchase that product that has the best combination of attributes.
Price-Based Shopping Products: In these shopping products, consumers are more price-conscious, they compare many brands and prefer the products which have comparatively low prices.
After understanding, what are shopping products, while marketing shopping products may the marketer consider the following aspects:
- Marketers should provide varied product features such as color, size, quality, price, and others.
- Customers should be provided enough and varied information to make a complete comparison of available brands.
- The marketer should deal in well-known brands – because consumers become more conscious of quality.
- Marketers should provide adequate customer warranties and follow-up service to reduce consumer perceived risk.
In simple terms, a specialty product is one that is very special to the buyer. Specialty products require a willingness to purchase and the buyers are ready to make an adequate effort on knowing about them.
Specialty products are very expensive, however, customers are ready to pay for them. Consumers are very loyal to a brand, and if there is no availability of product they want to purchase from, they do not move to another brand. Examples may be, a specific brand of cars, photographic equipment, high-end mobiles, watches, expensive suits, etc.
Features of specialty products are:
- Specialty products have unique characteristics.
- Specialty product prices and quality are very high.
- The specialty product is considered a luxury product.
- To buy specialty products, consumers need lots of money and effort, etc.
- Specialty products are not purchased often.
- Specialty products offer high status in mind.
- The consumers of specialty products are high brand loyal and can travel from long distances to buy one.
Marketing considerations for specialty products would be:
- The marketer should focus on maintaining product uniqueness and quality so that consumers be loyal.
- As consumers were willing to spend enough time, effort, and money in purchasing, marketers may use fewer retail outlets.
- Marketers should focus on product development, customer contact, and the performance of channel members.
Unsought products are those about which a consumer is unknown or such products purchased once in a lifetime. Consumers have no intention or do not want to purchase in the first place. Although the products are unknown to them, they don’t purchase them unless a need is aroused.
Maybe unsought products of two types, first, new product or unknown product such as telephone with video, a computer that speaks, etc. The second is, known product but not intended to purchase right now such as life insurance, encyclopedia, etc.
Some features of unsought products may be:
- Unsought products are normally not bought.
- These products require a lot of advertising, personal selling, and marketing effort.
- Consumers are either or not aware of the unsought product or they may be aware yet but do not think of buying it.
- The price of the unsought products varies as per product.
Marketing considerations for unsought products would be:
- The marketer should make the unsought product more quality, affordable, and reachable.
- The marketer should make more effort on the advertisement and personal selling.
Industrial or Business Products
Industrial or business products can be defined as the products purchased by the industry for further production or rendering services. Most commonly business makes purchases for reproduction, further processing, or for providing services, not for final consumption. However, at a particular time, businesses purchase products for both consumption and further processing purchase, e.g. when a business buys snacks for its employees.
But, especially, a business buys products for further processing.
Industrial products are also of three types:
- Entering products
- Foundation products
- Facilitating products
These are the products that are used as ingredients to produce other products. Entering products are parts that go into the product itself. The entering products also have two types:
Raw Materials: Raw materials are the unprocessed primary materials that originate from nature in a natural state such as minerals, land, and products of forests and seas, and from agricultural activities such as cotton, fruits, vegetables, animal products, etc. A business purchases raw materials frequently as they form the major ingredients for the final product.
Fabricating Materials: Fabricating materials are those products that are already processed to some extent as compared to raw materials. For example, processing cotton into threads, processing wheat into flour, etc.
Foundation products are the manufacturing machines that make production possible. They are not considered as part of the product rather they are used to perform the production process. Foundation products are also called capital products as they require a high volume of capital to purchase.
Foundation products are also of two types;
Installations: Installations are manufactured industrial products. These products are expensive, have a very long life expectancy, are durable, and are significant equipment for an industrial user. For example, printing machines for press, diesel engines for the railroad, etc.
Accessory Equipment: These are the products that assist the production operation of the firm without being part of the actual manufacturing process. Accessory equipment is cheaper than installations and have also short life expectancy. For instance, trolleys, small power tools, forklifts, storage racks, etc.
These products are operating supplies that are used up in the operation of the firm but do not become part of the product. They are usually budgeted as expenses and have a short life. The reason for employing such products is to keep the foundation products functioning correctly and to help in the handling and supply of the entering products.
Facilitating products are also categorized as convenience products of the industrial user. Facilitating products include lubricating oils, heating fuels, paints, soaps, repair and maintenance services, etc. Thus these products are also referred to as MRO items i.e. maintenance, repair, and operation items.