What is a Product? Discuss the Product Characteristics and its classification with suitable examples.

A product is any offering that can be marketed to fulfill a need or want.

It can be a tangible item or an intangible service, designed and produced for exchange in the marketplace. Products can be categorized based on various characteristics and classifications:

Characteristics of Products:

  1. Tangibility: Products can be physical goods like smartphones, cars, or clothing. They are tangible and can be touched, felt, or seen.
  2. Intangibility: Services, on the other hand, are intangible products. They include things like education, healthcare, consulting, and entertainment, which are experiences or performances rather than physical items.
  3. Durability: Some products are durable and have a longer lifespan, like appliances or furniture. Others, like perishable goods such as food or consumables, have a shorter lifespan.
  4. Use:
  • Consumer Goods: These are products meant for personal consumption. For instance, smartphones, clothing, and household items.
  • Industrial Goods: These are products used as inputs or in the production of other goods and services. Examples include machinery, raw materials, and components.

Classification of Products:

  1. Consumer Products:
  • Convenience Products: Goods or services consumers buy frequently with minimal effort. Examples: toothpaste, newspapers.
  • Shopping Products: Items consumers compare before buying, usually less frequently purchased. Examples: clothing, appliances.
  • Specialty Products: Unique products with specific characteristics or brand identification, often requiring special efforts to acquire. Examples: luxury cars, designer clothing.
  1. Industrial Products:
  • Materials and Parts: Raw materials or components used in manufacturing. Examples: steel, computer chips.
  • Capital Items: Products used to aid in the production process, like machinery or buildings.
  • Supplies and Business Services: Consumables used in operations, such as office supplies or legal services.

For instance, a smartphone (tangible, consumer convenience product) falls into the category of consumer goods, while a software subscription (intangible, consumer shopping product) is also a consumer product but falls into the shopping product category due to the decision-making involved.

Understanding product characteristics and classifications is crucial for marketers to strategize their marketing mix, distribution channels, and positioning to effectively reach and satisfy consumer needs.

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