The hostility in the marketing environment suggests that the producers have no option other than to employ aggressive marketing drive in order to survive competition in the face of the declining purchasing power of the consumers. It is in the light of this, that product classification become one of the most potent technique for determining the survival or extinction of products in the hand of the producers. Consumers at times may want to minimize the shopping time. This should] be -a signal to the producer on the retail outlet to adopt, that is, whether door step delivery or supermarket sales is necessary.
It is the responsibility of the producer to fish on out a channel of distribution that tit make the product accessible to the consumers. This again pre supposes that the buying behavior of the consumers must be studied for appropriate channel selection. Goods that are bought infrequently is “used up” quite slowly. This explains why consumers can afford to allot a considerable amount of time and effort to the buying decision so as to consider the gains and costs of the time and effort devoted to buying the product.
The implication of the buying behavior on the part of the producer is that the retail outlet should be minimized for the products. There are other cases of products in which the consumer already has a rand in mind; the special purchasing effort is just to know where it is on sales. Producers will do well to ensure that such products retain the quality the consumers want. Since price of the items are secondary to the consumers, producers can afford to jack up the price so as to obtain some level of margin of profits.
PRODUCT CLASSIFICATION: Product can be classified into two groups, they are as shown below: L] Durability and tangibility C] User type Durability and tangibility: It can be divided into three types. Those are ; Non Durability goods ; Durability goods ; Services User type; User type can be classified into consumer goods and industrial goods. Non durable goods: Non durable goods are tangible goods that are normally consumed in one or few uses. Examples are Beer, Toothpaste, Sugar, Soap and Salt. These goods are consumed fast and purchased frequently by the consumers.
Many fast foods fall into this category. Durable Goods: These are tangible goods that normally survive many uses. Goods that fall under this category include, Furniture, Refrigerator, Clothing, Rug etc. They are not frequently purchased as non durable goods because they are used up slowly. Services: These are activities, benefits or satisfaction that are offered for sale. Examples are Haircuts, Repairs, Banking Services and Dry cleaning. Services are. They are usually produced and consumed in the same time frame unlike durable goods or non-durable goods that can be produced and shelved.
The producer Of goods may be far away from consumers, but service providers often work in the presence of the customers. A comprehensive classification of goods is shown below: Durable Goods, Non durable, Services, Consumer Goods, Staple Goods, Raw Installation Supplies,Underemployment’s, Ineffectiveness’s, Emergency Goods, Material and parts CONSUMER GOODS: Edward and Richard (1971) identified three classes of consumer goods namely convenience goods, shopping goods and specialty goods. A. Convenient Goods: These refer to items that the consumer buys with minimum shopping effort.
Essentially these are goods that are habitual with the consumers. They are bought frequently but not in large quantities because they are non-durable good. In other words they are ‘used” goods. The buying decision of the consumers for convenience goods is ignited by habit and he knows all the retail outlets. Gender this category are Biscuits, Newspaper, Toilet Soap, Cigarettes etc. Consumers want to minimize the time and effort devoted to buying convenience goods, therefore the consumers are not interested in comparing the prices and quality of convenience goods with other related products in the market place.
This is because the gain of such exercise is not high enough to justify the cost involved in the exercise. But in case, the price of a convenience good like bread is abnormally higher than competing brands, consumers tend to change their buying decision on the product. In an attempt to buy convenient goods, consumers buy nonviolence goods at a convenient location or retail outlets situated very close to their residence. It is the recognition Convenience’s. onsumerGoodsSpecialtyGoodsUnsoughtGoo desiderata& Parts Capital items Supplies& Set-vices 3 this consumers minimum shopping time that makes marketers of such products to have the products available in large quantities in numerous Marketers of convenience goods must therefore be sure that they have adequate inventories of the convenience goods. This is because inadequate supply of such goods will create extra search time on the part of the consumers which hey may not want to embark upon. There are three types of convenience products-staples, impulse and emergency products.
These sub-categorization of convenience goods are based on how the consumers think about the product and not on the characteristic features of the product. (I)Staple products: These are products that are bought often in a routine manner without much thought on regular basis. A typical example is with paste or milk for breakfast. Staple products are usually sold in convenient location like food stores and supermarkets. Branding is important with staple products. (ii)Olympus Products: These are products that are purchased without any planning search effort.
They are usually purchased because of a strongly felt need. They are that consumers had not planned to buy but decide to buy on the spot. An example is an ice-cream seller who rings a bell, if the children do not buy the ice cream as the seller is sighted, the need goes away and the purchase will not be later. This implies that if the buyer does not see an impulse product on time the sale may be lost This explains why retailers display impulse products conspicuously where they will be seen and bought. (iii)Emergency These are products that are circumstantially purchased when thinned is great.
For example, the price of ambulance service will not matter if an accident occurs. So also is the price of umbrella during a rainstorm. Different marketing mixer required to meet customers’ emergency needs especially the place. Some stores open from 7. 00 a. M. To 11 . 00 p. M. Just to satisfy some of these emergency needs of the consumers. (b)Shopping Goods These set of product are selected by consumers based on certain yardsticks such as suitability, quality, price and style. All, products that involve shopping comparison before selection fall into this category.
Such goods are, furniture, rugs, dresses, computers, shoes and household appliances. Before a consumer makes up his mind to buy a shopping good, a lot of exercise must have been carried out to know the different prices of the various stores that sell the product. Shopping goods are more durable than the convenience goods. This is why a lot of parameters must be considered before procurement. The rate of the ‘use up’ of shopping goods is quite slow compare to convenience goods. Shopping products are products that a consumer feels are worth the time and effort to compare with competing products.
Kettle (1991) identified two classes of shopping goods: o homogeneous and o Heterogeneous Shopping goods. (I)Homogeneous Showing Product: These are products that the consumers see as basically the same and want at the lowest price. Some consumers feel that certain sizes and types of television sets are similar, so they shop for the best price. This is true of many products. (ii)Heterogeneous Shopping Product: These are products the consumers see as different in features and would want to test and inspect for quality and suitability.
For this category of shopping goods, quality and style matter more than price. This is also true when service is a major part of the product, as in a visit to a mechanic for car repair service what is of interest to the car owner is the quality of service of the mechanic and not the charges. This is why branding may be less important for heterogeneous shopping products because the more customers compare price and quality the less they rely on brand names or labels. This explains why retailers carry competing brands so that consumers won’t go to competitor to compare price. C)Specialty Goods: These refer to goods for which consumers are habitually willing to aka a special purchasing effort. These categories of goods possess unique characteristics or high degree of brand identification. Examples include specific brands and types Of fanny foods, cars, stereo components, photographic equipment and suits. Specialty goods do not involve buyer in making comparisons buyers invest time only to reach the dealers of the specialty goods. (d)Unsought Goods: These are goods that the consumer does not know about or know about but does not normally think of buying.
Examples are insurance, cemetery plots, coffin and encyclopedia. For consumers to be attracted to hose products substantial marketing effort is required in form of advertising and personal selling. William D. P. (1996) identified two types of unsought products: (I)New unsought products: These are products offering new ideas that potential customers seem not to know anything about. Sales promotion aimed at informing and the customers can be carried out to end their UN sought status. Many of the electronic gadgets that we have in the market today were once unsought goods because they were new innovations.
The erratic power supply in Africa sub-region has made available television set that uses battery. Ii)Regularly unsought products: For this category Of unsought goods potential customers are not motivated to satisfy the need. Examples of products under this category are gravestones. For these kind of products personal selling is very important. Although every consumer product may be classified into any of the four classifications. For product classified as convenience and shopping, this may be easy to do. But items coming under the headings of specialty goods may not be easy to identify.
The buyer of a Mercedes Benz for example may have made his choice only after comparing Mercedes Benz with other makes or he ay be attracted to purchase it because of certain unique features or the brand name or it may be because of the dealers convenient location. In which case, the Mercedes Benz qualifies as convenience, shopping and specialty good. The product classification strategy enables the producers to know that people buy products for different reasons and that their buying attitudes are not the same and therefore the pattern of buying behavior vary from are person to the other.
IMPORTANCE OF PRODUCT CLASSIFICATIONS FOR MARKETING DECISIONS: Product classification has implication on marketing decision both to the reducer as well as to the consumers. For durable and nondurable goods, there is a reflection on the life expectancy of the product. These classifications have strategic implications to the producer. Durable products are purchased infrequently and require personal selling. Perishable products need speedy distribution and luxury goods can be priced highly.
Convenience goods could be staples like food items bought on regular basis often by habit. It could also be impulsive items which are purchased, not because of planning but because of strongly felt need. It could also be emergency products which re needed to solve an immediate crises. Brand Name would be very important for staple products while impulse products require a captivating packaging signal that will attract the consumers. For emergency products the consumers are less sensitive to price, therefore it is a circumstantial product.
The understanding, of the buying behavior of the consumers for each of these subcategories of convenience goods and the product characteristics will inform the producer on the appropriate marketing strategy options to be taken for higher returns. Shopping goods are bought rather infrequently and are used up very slowly. For homogeneous shopping goods the prices should be relatively in the same range with other products in the same homogeneous shopping goods category. For heterogeneous shopping goods consumers should consider the tangible features of these products and the associated services on offer before making a buying decision.
Consumers are not usually sensitive to prices of heterogeneous shopping goods provided the product has some demonstrable advantage over its competitors. According to Elizabeth Hill (1996), promotional activity for this category of shopping goods should focus on pointing out unique attributes of the reduce rather than low prices. Specialty goods are products that have no acceptable substitutes in the mind of the consumer. Tarry O. (1996) opined that the uniqueness and superiority of the Specialty product stems from unrivalled quality superiority or design exclusivity.
Specialty brands is what should be created. Producer should be encouraged by this superiority complex of the buyers and should not demean the quality. Consumers of such products are insensitive to price. Hence the mark up could be high for the targeted market, For unsought products, the consumer has no felt need for it. Many new products fall into this category. Until their usefulness are known the consumer is not disposed to buying. Personal selling and wide advertisement is required for unsought goods. There may be need to even launch the product officially in the market place.
These are the parts that go into the product itself. Entering goods can also be categorized into two main sub groups: raw material and fabricating materials. (I)Raw materials These are goods that have been produced only enough to make handling convenient and safe. They enter the manufacturing process basically their natural state. They originate either from agriculture or from industries such as mining and lumbering. Examples are cotton, man cue, crude oil and sot farm produce. (ii)Fabricating materials: These undergo some degree of initial processing before they enter the product manufacturing process.
It ranges from government sector with its courts, hospitals, loan agencies, military services, police, fire departments and post office to private non profit sector with its museums, charities, churches in the service business. A service according to Kettle (1988) is any act or performance that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in ownership of anything. Its production may or may not be tied to a physical product. Services like nonuser goods can be classified using several approaches. But we need to bear in mind that while goods are testable services are not.
For example a consumer cannot test drive a bank like you do for an automobile. Services are so important that all products require service commitments and this is reflected in the purchase price. Services are consumed as they are produced unlike consumer goods that could be stored in inventory. Services have four major characteristics that affect the design of marketing programs intangibility inseparability variability and perish ability. These characteristics are discussed in turns below: a)limitability: Services like other physical products cannot be seen, fell or tasted before they are bought.