Marketers have traditionally classified products on the basis of characteristics: durability, tangibility, and use (consumer or industrial). Each product type has an appropriate marketing-mix strategy.
Durability and Tangibility
Products can be classified into three groups, according to durability and tangibility:
1. Nondurable goods are tangible goods normally consumed in one or a few uses, like beer and soap. Because these goods are consumed quickly and purchased frequently, the appropriate strategy is to make them available in many locations, charge only a small markup and advertise heavily to induce trial and build preference.
2. Durable goods are tangible goods that normally survive many uses: Refrigerators, Machine tools, and Clothing. Durable products normally require more personal selling and services command a higher margin and require more seller guarantees.
3. Services are intangible, inseparable, variable, and perishable products. As a result, they normally require more quality control, supplier credibility, and adaptability. Examples include haircuts, legal advice, and appliance repairs.
Consumer Goods classification
The vast array of goods consumers buy can be classified on the basis of shopping habits. We can distinguish among convenience, shopping, specialty, and unsought goods.
The consumer usually purchases convenience goods frequently, immediately, and with a minimum of effort. Examples include tobacco products, soaps, and newspaper. Convenience goods can be further divided. Staples are goods consumers purchase on a regular basis. A buyer might routinely purchase Keinz ketchup. Crest toothpaste, and Ritz crackers. Impulse goods are purchased without any planning or search effort. Candy bars and magazines
are impulse goods. Emergency goods are purchased when a need is urgent— umbrellas during a rainstorm, boots and shovels during the first winter snowstorm. Manufacturers of impulse and odd emergency goods will place them in those outlets where consumers are likely to experience an urge or compelling need to make a purchase. Shopping goods are goods that the consumers, in the process of selection and purchase, characteristically compare on such bases as suitability, quality, price and style. Examples include furniture clothing, used cars and major appliances. Shopping goods can be further divided. Homogeneous shopping goods are similar in quality but different enough in price to justify shopping comparisons. Heterogeneous shopping goods differ in product features and services that may be more important than price. The seller of heterogeneous shopping goods carries a wide assortment to satisfy individual tastes and must have well-trained salespeople to inform and advise customers.
Specialty goods have unique characteristics or brand identification for which a sufficient number of buyers are willing to make a special purchasing effort. Examples include cars, stereo components, photographic equipment, and menâ€™s suits. A Mercedes is a specialty good because interested buyers will travel far to buy one. Specialty goods do not involve making comparisons; buyers invest time only to reach dealers carrying the wanted products. Dealers do not need convenient locations, although they must let prospective buyers know their locations.
Unsought goods are those the consumer does not know about or does not normally think of buying, like smoke detectors. The classic example of known but unsought goods is life insurance, cemetery plots, gravestones, and encyclopedias. Unsought goods require advertising and personal-selling support.