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Consumer Products, types and characteristics

Based on the type of customers, products are classified into two categories which include consumer products and industrial products. The consumer products are the products that people buy for personal consumption. The consumer products have been classified on the basis of the shopping habits of people. Apart from the difference in how people buy them, there is also a difference in how the four different types of consumer products are marketed. The four types of consumer products are convenience products, shopping products, specialty products, and unsought products.

Convenience Products:

Consumers but such products and services frequently. Moreover, they buy them immediately and with a very little amount of comparison or buying effort. Apart from being available widely, such products are also less expensive. For example, soaps and newspapers. The convenience products are classified further into three categories which include staples, impulse goods, and emergency goods. 


The staples are the goods that the consumers buy regularly like milk, newspapers, bread, toothpaste, soap, etc. 

Impulse goods: 

Impulse goods are the products that people may not buy as regularly but still seek them out seldom. Moreover, customers buy them with little planning or search effort. These products are also widely available since consumers keep buying them now and then. Retailers place such goods like chocolates and magazines, next to the check-out counters which is so that people can see them. Otherwise, people would not think much about buying them.

Emergency Goods: 

Emergency goods are the goods that the consumers buy only when they need them urgently. For example, if not for heavy rains, consumers would not be interested in buying an umbrella. However, when you need an umbrella, you can find it easily in a store next to you. Companies selling emergency goods make them widely available so that consumers can find them easily when they seek them.

Shopping products:

Shopping products are the products that people buy less often and with a lot of consideration. They consider several factors before buying shopping products. Consumers spend considerable time and effort on gathering information about these products and their alternatives. They compare alternatives brands and products for quality, suitability as well as price and style. Some of the leading examples of shopping products include furniture, used cars, and clothing. After considering several alternatives and gathering information about them, consumers buy the ones that they believe suits their needs the most. The shopping products have also been divided into two categories which include homogenous products and heterogeneous products.

Homogeneous products: 

Pricing is an important consideration in the purchase of homogeneous products. The customer views such products as similar in quality. However, it is the difference in price that matters the most for him. For example, cookers and fridges.

Heterogeneous products:

Quality is an important consideration for the consumer in the purchase of heterogeneous products and he considers the features of the product above the pricing when shopping for a heterogeneous product. Rather than the small price differences, the consumer would consider the cut, fit, and look when buying a new suit. It is why a seller of heterogeneous products must keep a wide assortment of such products in order to cater to the varying tastes of the individual consumers. Apart from them, he will also need salespeople who can inform the consumers about the available choices and their features. 

Specialty products:

These products are consumer goods with unique characteristics or brand identification and a significant buyer group is willing to make extra purchase efforts for buying them. It means the demand for such products may be high among a specific buyer group. You can find several examples of such products in the luxury segment. For example, various types of brands of cars, or high priced music and home entertainment systems. Sports cars are highly popular among a set of consumers and they are willing to make extra efforts to buy them. Similarly, people are willing to go to some extra distance to buy a jukebox or a nice home entertainment system. Generally, the consumers do not invest much time when buying specialty goods in comparing products and only invest the time in going to the dealer who they know has the product. These dealers generally do not need convenient locations to attract sales but still, they should make their location publicly available so that buyers can reach them easily.

Unsought products:

Unsought products are the products that the consumers do not seek normally. They are either unaware of these products, or do not have much knowledge about or even if they have the knowledge they do think much about buying it. Most of the latest innovations remain unsought products until consumers become aware of their features and benefits through advertising. There are other types of unsought products also which consumers know about but do normally think of buying them. For example, life insurance. People have knowledge about life insurance schemes but do not seek them much. It is why in the case of unsought goods, there is a need for a lot of advertising to make the consumers aware of their benefits. Apart from advertising, they also require a lot of personal selling and other types of marketing efforts. Many types of advanced personal selling techniques have developed out of the need for marketing unsought goods.

Other Sources: Principles of Marketing: Kotler.