What is a Product, and how you can understand and define a product?
We can define a product anything – goods, services and ideas – that can be offered in a market to satisfy customer needs and wants. A product has a bundle of tangible and intangible characteristics.
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Definition of Product
“Anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objects, services, persons, places, organizations and ideas”.
Kotler, Wong, Saunders, Armstrong
What is a Product
A Pair of Nike shoes, a mobile phone device, a Volvo truck, a Samsung LED, your bank account, and a doctor’s advice are all the products. The above definition of a product by Philip Kolter not only consists of tangible product attributes, for example, a car, an office, a book, or a mobile device but according to a broader view of a product, its consists of ideas, services, physical object, place, and even organizations and persons.
The above definition also covers the service in marketing. Those activities, benefits and satisfactions essentially intangible – one party offer to another for sale. Service activities include banking services, renting rooms in a hotel, doctor consolation, haircutting, repair and maintenance services.
Three Levels of a Product
The marketer must understand these three levels of classification. Each product level means adding more value.
Core Product. This is not a physical object but consists of problem-solving benefits that satisfy the consumer’s needs. Products are based on the consumer perspective. Lululemon deals in yoga clothes, Revlon combines chemicals to produce lipstick, and Coca-Cola uses chemicals to produce Coke Drink. Here Each product is based on core benefits.
Revlon is not selling cosmetics but Beauty and Hope. Coca-Cola fulfills consumers’ thirst, and medicine gives a cure and healthy life.
At the second level, the marketers must convert the core benefits into a physical or actual product that has the attributes to satisfy customer needs and wants. If the company wants to deliver its core benefits, it must have combined five attributes name, parts, packaging, features, and style.
After physical goods, the next level is augmented products, including after-sales services, installation, and warranty. For example, if you purchased a split air conditioner, many brands may offer you free installation and a one-year warranty. Other benefits may include an instruction manual and a toll-free number to call for a quick repair.
Characteristics of a Product
- Utility: A product must serve a purpose or fulfill a need of the customer.
- Features: A product may have unique features that differentiate it from other similar products.
- Quality: A product must meet or exceed the expectations of the customer in terms of quality.
- Brand: A product may have a brand name that helps customers recognize and identify it.
- Packaging: A product may be packaged in a way that attracts customers and protects the product during transport.
- Price: A product must be priced in a way that is attractive to the customer and competitive in the market.
- Availability: A product must be available when and where the customer wants it.
- Design: Any product may have a design that enhances its functionality or appeal to the customer.
- Warranty: A product may come with a warranty that provides the customer with assurance and protection.
Types of Products
When someone goes to a market, he/she can find a variety of products, whereas some are for the end users while others are for resellers. In the following lines, we will be discussing different types of products.
Do you know products are labeled based on their users? If the end-user is a consumer then it is a consumer product but if the end-user is a business then it will be classified as a business product. For instance, a printer is either a consumer or business product, depending on who is the consumer.
Furthermore, consumer products fulfill personal needs and desires. There are two categories of consumer products, consumable and durable. For instance, you can purchase a bottle of Coca-Cola that can quench your thirst. A good example of a durable product is a bicycle. Once you purchase it and you can use it for a longer period of time.
Industrial products are those products that are purchased for further processing in a manufacturing or business process. The main difference between consumer and industrial product lies in the usage for which it is bought. For instance, if a person is buying a lawnmower for his personal use then it is a consumer product. But if he purchases the same product for his landscaping business then it is a business product.
A service is an intangible part of a product. It is an action or effort to fulfill a demand or satisfy customer needs. It is unable to store or own it and consumed at a point of sale. For instance, if you visit a doctor, he offers his services to cure a disease. Other examples of services are banking services, postal or educational services and many more.
A digital product is created in a digital format as a file which might be for sale or not. A person can download and stream it by using a computer or other electronic devices. Any digital product might include audio video files, ebooks, desktop or mobile applications, downloadable templates graphics, fonts and PSD files. Consumers who purchase these digital products are known as digital buyers.