Meaning and Definition of Product
In a narrow sense, a product is a set of tangible physical attributes assembled in an identifiable form. Each product carries a name, such as car, iron, building etc. But in marketing, a product is anything which can satisfy a need, want or desire of consumers and can be offered in an exchange process. Hence, a product can be commodity, service, idea or a combination of all these.
When buyers purchase a product, they decide to buy after considering both tangible and intangible attributes of the product for example a car is a tangible product but its after sales service, durability, colour, manufactures reputation etc. are intangible part of product. Good products are key to market success and therefore products should be produced as per the needs and wants of target market.
In the words of W. Anderson, “A product is a set of tangible and intangible attributes including packaging, colour, price, quality and brand plus the services and reputation of the seller. A product may be a tangible goods, service, place, person or idea” “A product should be considered as a bundle of utilities consisting of various product features and accompanying services”.
In the words of Philip Kotler, “A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objectives, services, person, places, organisation and ideas”.
Characteristics of a Product
The product concept is a management orientation that assumes that consumer will favour those products that offer the most quality and other features for the price and therefore producers should efforts for continuous improvement of product quality and other features of product. From the above definitions, some of essential features can be identified as given below :
(a) Tangibility: To be a product, it should have a tangibility character such as it can be touched or seen, for example a car, building, cloth etc.
(b) Intangible Attributes: The product may also be intangible in the form of services for instance, banking, insurance, music composition, repairing, nursing etc.
(c) Associated Attributes: A product may have number of features which differentiate it from competitor’s products. Associated attributes usually cover the colour, package, brand name, installation instruction etc
(d) Exchange Value: A product may be tangible or intangible but it must have exchange value. It must be capable of being exchanged between seller and buyer at mutual agreed price.
(e) Consumer satisfaction: A product should have the capacity to satisfy consumer’s real or psychological needs and wants. At the same time, it must have capacity to generate profit for the satisfaction of sellers.
Classification of Products
Broadly products can be classified into following categories.
(A) Products based on uses :
(i) Consumer Products : These are the products or services that are meant for final consumers for their personal, family or house hold use. These products are used by buyer for their consumption or selling but not for further processing. For example pen, watch, books, newspaper etc. Consumer products are further classified as below:
(a) Convenience goods: These products or services are purchased with minimum efforts. For example bread, newspaper etc.
(b) Emergency goods: Goods required meeting the urgent needs and so the purchasers do not get time for selection. For example needs of umbrella during raining season, repairing of T.V. during world cup cricket etc.
(c) Impulse goods: The consumer is not usually pre-planned or predetermined to purchase such goods but during shopping all of a sudden he decides to purchase this type of goods because of product exposure or attraction. For example chocolate, balloon, a new type of ball pen etc.
(d) Shopping Goods: These goods are consumer durable item and so he/she selects or purchases these goods only after making comparisons on such bases as suitability, quality, price, style and durability. Examples: T.V., Furniture, mobile hand-set etc.
(e) Specialty Goods : These products are particular brands, stores and persons to which consumers are loyal. For Example - Branded surgical instruments for doctors, life saving drugs, Bhupen Hazarika as a singer, Peter England dresses etc.
(f) Unsought Products: The buyers do not know about the existence of product or they do not want to purchase. It may be regularly unsought product such as service of life insurance company, a layer’s service, safety alarm etc. or/and new unsought products which are completely new products and unfamiliar to consumers.
(II) Industrial Products: Goods which are used for commercial production or in carrying of some business activities are known as industrial goods. It is for commercial use not for personal use. The same product may be consumer product as well as industrial product depending on its purpose of use. For example: Rice when we cook and eat at home, it is consumer products and when the same is sold in a restaurant or hotel, it is treated as industrial goods. Industrial buyers are mostly rational buyer, i.e. they are cost, quality and standard conscious.
The various types of industrial goods are discussed below:
(a) Installations: These are capital goods which determine the nature, scope, capacity and efficiency of production as well as company. These are non portable and heavy goods. Examples are plants and machinery, major equipments, building, assembly lines etc.
(b) Raw Materials: These are the main inputs to the final products. These are the part of the final products. Some of the raw-materials are required processing before incorporated in the final products and there primary materials from extractive and agricultural industrials-minerals, petroleum, iron ore etc do not require any process.
(c) Fabricated materials and parts: These are semi processed goods but they may require further processing before being the part of final products. For example pig iron for the production of steel.
(d) Operating Supplies: These are not the part of final products but these are required to continue the production process such as light bulbs, pen, paper, computers etc.
(e) Accessory Equipment: These are portable goods which are necessary to keep the capital goods fit for operation. These are relatively less expensive. These neither become the part of final product nor change its form. For example bearing of a plant, wheal of a machine etc.
B. Products based on durability:
B. Products based on durability:
(I) Perishable products : These are the products which have very short life and can not be stored for long time such as newspaper, a particular service for one day or limited period.
(II) Non-durable products: When the consumers start consuming or using the products, the products last for few uses and get depleted on consumption are non durable goods. For example, tooth paste, powder etc.
(III) Durable products: These are products which have a long life and consumers may use it for several years. For example - T.V., watch, furniture, mobile hand-set etc. The consumers usually take long time to take the decision of purchasing.
C. Products based on Tangibility :
(I) Tangible products : It must be capable of being touched, seen, verified its quality etc. For example pen, pencil, book.
(II) Intangible products: A product may be intangible also but capable of providing satisfaction through its service. For example repairing, consultancy service, nursing etc.