The definition of the word “product” is quite broad. However, in the grand scheme of things, our focus will lie in a simple category: consumer products. Consumer products, for those who don’t know, are the products with which you assign this term and meaning most often.
Whenever you go out to buy something, you are simply buying a consumer product. Anything that you eat, the furniture that you buy, the electronic items that you purchase, they all fall under the category of consumer products. However, you should know that consumer products can be further divided into four broad categories, and there are specific marketing considerations that apply to each of these different types of products.
Types of Products
Before we begin, let’s get the main definition out of the way. A consumer product is simply defined as a product that is brought by a final consumer for consumption. Essentially, if you buy something and sell it to someone, you are not buying a consumer product. However, if you buy something and consume it yourself, it can be classified as one.
But, not all consumer products have similar properties. Marketers broadly separate consumer products into four different categories, and each of these have different properties and characteristics. They also differ in the manner in which they are bought, so the marketing tactics used are obviously going to differ as well.
Let’s look at the most common types of consumer products sold in the market.
Out of all the four categories, convenience products are the ones that are bought most commonly. Simply put, these are products or services that consumers buy on a frequent basis. They don’t really make much of a buying effort, and hardly compare two products with each other.
As the name suggests, convenience products simply add convenience to the lives of consumers. For example, magazines, fast food, spices, laundry detergents, floor cleaners, and other similar items are all considered convenience products. They make simple things and tasks more convenient around the house, and most people don’t bother thinking twice about which one to get.
These products are also relatively low priced, and they are generally found in many locations. The aim for companies is to make these products as readily available as possible so that they are available at a whim whenever a customer wants one. The marketing strategies for such products are primarily focused on placement and ease of access.
Then, we have shopping products. These are products that the consumer is going to compare first before making a decision. For instance, they may compare the aesthetics, the quality, or the price before making a decision about whether to buy it or not. The difference in these properties is likely to become a major defining factor.
More importantly, these products are relatively less purchased in terms of frequency as compared to convenience products. Consumers like to spend a great deal of time in comparing different alternatives and gathering as much information as possible about these products.
There are several products that fall into this category. Common examples include airline tickets, clothing, furniture, and even cars. These items are obviously not available through as many outlets, but the sales support offered by most marketers and companies with such products is quite high. They want to foster brand loyalty as much as possible.
Specialty products are simply products that have unique brand identifiers, which is one of the main reasons why so many customers are willing to make a special effort to buy these products. These types of consumer products differ largely in terms of quality, and manufacturers try to make sure that their products are as unique as possible from others.
People don’t just pay for these products because they are different, but also because of the amount of effort that a brand or company puts into the manufacturing process. This eventually sets them apart and creates a marked difference in the quality of the product itself. For instance, designer clothing, high-end camera equipment, mobile phones, and computers are just common examples.
A high-end car, such as a Lamborghini or a Maserati, are also similar examples. These products, while serving a similar purpose, generally have such high build quality standards that consumers are willing to go the extra mile to upgrade them. These products are also not as frequently compared with each other as possible.
The Difference in Factors
Instead of comparison, buyers generally put in an effort to determine the differences in the products. For example, let’s talk about the Lamborghini. A person who wants a Lamborghini won’t need any convincing for it; they are going to buy it regardless of the number of comparisons that are carried out.
It is one of the main reasons why you don’t see as many ads for products such as Lamborghinis. They are simply catering to a different audience, and as a result of that, companies don’t have to invest as much money or time to market them. They already know that interested parties are going to show interest automatically.
Finally, we have unsought products. These are products that a customer doesn’t know about, or wouldn’t even know that they needed in ordinary circumstances. These are simply products that your average customer isn’t going to think about, not until they realize that they need it.
Most people will be convinced to add every new invention in this list if they can. After all, every new invention or innovation wasn’t needed until it was invented. However, examples of these products include funeral services, life insurance policies, healthcare policies, and other similar products.
Marketing efforts for these are generally quite high because of the nature of these products. These products are also targeted toward specific groups of individuals and demographics, and the marketing strategies used are generally tailored to invoke an emotional response.
As you can imagine, there is a major price difference between all of the products mentioned on this list. That’s simply because of the general needs of the public. For instance, there are some products that are going to be required by almost every member of the public. Sanitary and hygiene products are prime examples.
These products are then considered as essentials and are priced as low as possible so that every member of the public has access to them. Other products, such as mobile phones, while essentials, can be classified into two categories. If you just need a mobile phone to make calls and carry out essential functions, there are several options available.
However, as the pricing increases, the number of features start to rise as well. Special features are introduced that people didn’t know that they needed, and ultimately, most consumers are willing to pay a premium to use these features. Therefore, pricing is generally different based on the product itself.