There are three types of products
Consumer Product: A product bought and sold by final consumer for personal consumption
These are products that appeal to a very large market segment. They are generally consumed regularly and purchased frequently and bought by final consumers for personal consumption.
Because of the high purchase volume, pricing per item tends to be relatively low and consumers often see little value in shopping around since additional effort yields minimal savings.
From the marketer’s perspective the low price of convenience products means that profit per unit sold is very low. In order to make high profits marketers must sell in large volume. Marketers attempt to distribute these products in mass through as many retail outlets as possible.
Shopping Product: A product that the customer, in the process of selecting and purchasing, usually compares on such attributes as suitability, quality, price, and style.
These are products consumers purchase and consume on a less frequent schedule compared to convenience products. These are purchased less frequently and are the ones which customers compare carefully on suitability, quality, price, and style.
Consumers are willing to spend more time locating these products since they are relatively more expensive than convenience products and because these may possess additional psychological benefits for the purchaser, such as raising their perceived status level within their social group.
Since the consumers are purchasing less frequently and are willing to shop to locate these products, the target market is much smaller than that of convenience goods. Hence, marketers often are more selective when choosing distribution outlets to sell their products.
When buying shopping products, consumers spend much time and effort in gathering information and making comparisons.
Speciality Product: product with unique characteristics or brand identification for which a significant group of buyers is willing to make a special purchase effort.
These are products that tend to carry a high price tag relative to convenience and shopping products. Consumption may occur at about the same rate as shopping products but consumers are much more selective.
In fact, in many cases consumers know in advance which product they prefer and will not shop to compare products. But they may shop at retailers that provide the best value.
In addition to the three main categories above, products are classified in at least two additional ways:
- Emergency Products
- Unsought Products
Emergency Products – These are products a customer seeks due to sudden events and for which pre-purchase planning is not considered. Often the decision is one of convenience (e.g., whatever works to fix a problem) or personal fulfillment (e.g., perceived to improve purchaser’s image).
Unsought Products – These are products whose purchase is unplanned by the consumer but occur as a result of marketer’s actions.
Such purchase decisions are made when the customer is exposed to promotional activity, such as a salesperson’s persuasion or purchase incentives like special discounts offered to certain online shoppers.
Image Source: Principles of Marketing (14 Edition): Kotler