What Is the Consumer Product Classification System, and Why Is It Important for Your Business Marketing Strategy?

3 Mins read

To achieve efficient marketing today, entrepreneurs must have a user-friendly website and use available marketing tools, first of all, to understand the general principles of the TA’s buying behaviour. And this is where consumer product classification comes into play as one of the most efficient tools.

It is only obvious that some goods are bought more often, others rarely or from time to time, and then there are also spontaneous customer decisions. Why do they happen, and is there any pattern in this? Australian marketing research pioneer Hume F. Winzar started studying this topic back in 1991. 

Consumer Product Categories

All products intended for personal use are called consumer products. They differ in purpose, characteristics, cost, etc., but are grouped into four categories based on the buyer’s general attitude towards them. These consumer product classifications include:

Convenience goods

Everyday goods are bought most often. Without any motivation or thought, except for wasting time on the best choice from among competing yet similar offers.

When comparing convenience products, minimal purchasing effort is required. These consumer goods have comparatively low prices. Due to their wide distribution, they are available in accordance with the wishes and needs of consumers. These include:

  • food products;
  • personal care products;
  • alcohol and tobacco;
  • drugs;
  • newspapers, magazines, etc.

In this group, we can also highlight the most “impulse purchase”-type goods that are usually bought without prior planning. Since most of them have low prices, pricing and discounts are not major factors. The buyer won’t switch for another brand for a few cents in savings. At the same time, brand awareness is a key aspect, so boosting brand awareness is a key marketing effort.

For the impulsive category of buyers, manufacturers use mass promotion strategies. Mostly through consistent and long-term advertising tactics.

Shopping goods

“Pre-selected items” are purchased less frequently. As a rule, the consumer plans to purchase in advance, comparing them in terms of the basic properties, design, and cost.

It is advisable to divide such goods into similar and dissimilar ones since different market research approaches are used when selling them. The buyer considers the first ones to be of the same quality but differ significantly in cost, which the seller must certainly justify.

The latter differ sharply from each other in terms of consumer properties (color, style, shape, etc.). When organizing the sale of these products, a wide assortment is needed to suit various tastes, along with a staff of sellers capable of providing expert advice.

The most common examples:

  • clothes and accessories;
  • furniture; 
  • electronics;
  • household appliances;
  • communication and other on-demand services.

Consumers must spend more time and effort gathering information and comparing alternatives. Such products have higher prices and are sold through fewer outlets. These are more one-time purchases, which, as a rule, have a bigger impact on the budget. Marketers promote such products through personal sales and various advertising campaigns.

Specialty goods

Special demand goods – products with unique properties or exclusive brand items, on which people are willing and ready to spend extra time and money. As a rule, providers of such goods don’t need much effort to organize sales. Often, the seller only needs to inform consumers about the essential product/service descriptions.

Such products have distinctive characteristics and brand identity but require significant purchasing decision-making efforts. These product categories examples include:

  • legal and other professional services;
  • jewelry and luxury products;
  • elite cars;
  • designer clothes;
  • elite perfumery, etc.

Such products are often designed or prepared for specific customers. Typical examples are some of the most expensive cars in the world: Mercedes-Benz Maybach Exelero and Bugatti Veyron. These products are distributed exclusively and are available in fewer outlets. The buyer is ready to expect an opportunity to get such cars for years, spend time negotiating with dealers, overpay, and travel to other countries.

For instance, Bugatti can only be officially purchased in a limited number of countries. Promotional strategies for these products are precisely targeted to meet the specific customer needs.

Unsought goods

Passive demand goods are products that the buyer doesn’t know about or rarely think about under normal circumstances. That is, consumers only care about buying them when a particular need arises.

Vivid examples include: 

  • health insurance;
  • educational materials; 
  • household alarms and sensors; 
  • planned maintenance of various systems, etc.

The prices for these products and the ways they are distributed vary, and promotion strategies require more aggressive marketing efforts than with other types of products. Product category marketing, in this case, is considered most effort-intensive as it is difficult to interest a vast number of buyers in one’s services/products if they don’t have the specific need for them at the moment.

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As people get used to living in a pandemic, their buying behavior adapts to their essential needs. While “panic buying” may have slowed down in some countries, consumers continue to build up inventories. 

This change in behavior has led to a dramatic increase in demand for a number of product categories. On the other hand, marketers continue to try to use product classification schemes to develop a universal marketing strategy. However, the approach must be comprehensive.

It is important to consider current demand, customer feedback, and product life cycle in order to manage sales successfully. In addition, in different life periods, people have different attitudes towards the same categories of products.

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