What is Product? Types and Attributes

What is Product? Types and Attributes

7 mins readComment
Chanchal
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Apr 15, 2024 17:34 IST

A product is a tangible good, service, or digital offering crafted to fulfil specific consumer needs and desires. Its types—from daily convenience goods to exclusive speciality items—cater to various consumer demands, while its attributes, like quality, functionality, and brand reputation, define its unique identity and value in the marketplace.

What is Product

What is Product?

The product is the solution that consumers buy. It can be a handy app on a mobile phone that organises daily tasks, a reliable car that gets you to work, or comfortable shoes that don't wear out. It's the practical, ready-to-use result of innovation tailored to fit into your life. Products are crucial from a business perspective for creating offerings that stand out in the market and drive profitability. From a consumer perspective, a product is necessary for making informed purchase decisions that meet needs and provide satisfaction. 

Table of Content

What is a Product?

A product is a solution that addresses a specific customer need or demand. It is the final item available for use- a tangible good, digital item, or service that delivers value by fulfilling a purpose. It can be simplifying a task, providing entertainment, or solving a problem in the consumer's daily life.
A product concept is the process of envisioning and detailing the potential features and benefits of a new offering. When fully developed and launched in the market, this concept manifests as the product.

Types of Product

Convenience Goods are items that consumers purchase regularly with minimal effort or comparison. They are typically inexpensive and widely available.

Example: Everyday items like toothpaste, bread, or bottled water.
Shopping Goods: Consumers buy these less frequently and often compare quality, price, and style between different products and sellers before purchasing.

Example: Apparel, electronics, or furniture.
Speciality Goods: These goods have unique characteristics or brand identification for which a significant group of buyers is willing to make a special purchasing effort.

Example: Luxury cars like a Tesla, high-end watches like Rolex, or designer clothes.

Unsought Goods: Goods that the consumer needs to learn about or normally consider buying, usually requiring a good deal of advertising or personal selling.

Example: Life insurance policies or pre-planned funeral services.

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Core Attributes of a Product

A product attribute is a characteristic that describes a product or service and influences consumer choice. It provides shoppers with information that they can use to find, compare, and make a well-informed purchase decision. 
These attributes include tangible features such as size, color, and functionality, as well as intangible qualities like brand reputation, user experience, and perceived value, all of which contribute to a product's appeal and market success. Product attributes come into play during the consideration and evaluation stages of the consumer journey, where they influence the decision-making process.

Tangible attributes of a product include:

Tangible Attributes

Explanation

Example

Quality

Refers to the build, durability, and materials of the product

The heft and finish of a Rolex watch indicate high quality

Design

The aesthetic, functionality, and physical appeal of the product

The sleek body and intuitive interface of a MacBook

Packaging

The exterior wrapping or box that holds the product, which also serves marketing purposes

The iconic Tiffany & Co. blue box with a white ribbon

Features

Specific, measurable characteristics of the product that deliver functionality

The water-resistant feature of an iPhone

Price

The cost to the customer, reflecting the product's monetary value

A $20,000 price tag on a new Toyota Corolla

Intangible attributes of a product include:

Intangible Attributes

Explanation

Example

Brand Reputation

The perceived image and quality of a product based on the reputation of the brand

Apple's image as a leader in tech innovation

Customer Service

The assistance and advice provided by the company to those people who buy or use its products.

Amazon's 24/7 customer support and easy return policies

User Experience

The overall experience of the user when interacting with the product, including ease of use and satisfaction

The intuitive swiping mechanism on Tinder

Perceived Value

The customer’s perception of the product’s worth often influenced by brand, marketing, and personal preference.

The luxury and status symbol perceived by owning a Mercedes-Benz

Environmental Impact

The effect that the product has on the environment, including factors like sustainability and carbon footprint

Patagonia's commitment to sustainable materials reduces environmental impact

Why are Product Attributes Significant for Customers?

Product attributes matter for several key reasons:

Consumer Decision-Making: These are the criteria consumers use to differentiate between choices when deciding what to purchase. Attributes like quality, features, and design influence buying behavior.

Competitive Advantage: Distinctive attributes can set a product apart, giving a company a competitive edge. Unique features or superior quality can be a selling point that drives sales.

Brand Identity and Perception: Brand attributes contribute to the overall brand image and how consumers perceive it. A brand known for durable products, for instance, will attract customers looking for longevity in their purchases.

Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: When product attributes align with customer expectations, they enhance satisfaction, leading to repeat business and customer loyalty.

Pricing Strategy: Pricing strategies like advanced features or high-quality materials can justify a higher price point. At the same time, a lack of desirable attributes may necessitate a lower price to attract buyers.

Market Positioning: How a product is positioned in the market is based mainly on its attributes. They help in targeting the right audience and creating marketing strategies that resonate with potential buyers.

Value Proposition: Attributes are central to a product’s value proposition—the promise of value to be delivered. They are the tangible and intangible benefits that convince customers to choose one product over another.

Integral Role of Product Management and Product Manager

Building upon the significance of product attributes for customers, it's the role of product management to ensure that the conceptual vision for these attributes is brought to life effectively. Product management is the strategic business function tasked with planning, forecasting, producing, and marketing a product at all stages of the product lifecycle. It's about translating customer needs and market opportunities into products that deliver satisfaction and drive business growth.

Must check: Online Product Management Courses

The product manager is the linchpin in this process, advocating for the customer's needs while balancing the business's objectives. They lead the charge in identifying which product attributes will most resonate with the target market—innovation in design, excellence in quality, or breakthrough functionality. The product manager collaborates with cross-functional teams, including designers, engineers, and marketers, to develop and refine these attributes. They must have a finger on the market's pulse to anticipate trends, gauge competition, and pivot product strategies accordingly.

Explore: Skills Required by Product Manager

Conclusion

A product is far more than an item on a shelf; it's a carefully designed solution characterised by its attributes, whether tangible or intangible. These attributes shape consumer perception and decision-making, defining the product's market placement. From everyday conveniences to exclusive specialities, the diversity of products reflects the myriad needs and desires they fulfil.

Top FAQs on Product

What defines a 'product' in product management?

In product management, a 'product' is any item or service that meets the needs of a customer. It can be tangible, like a physical item, or intangible, like software or a service, designed to provide value and solve specific problems.

How do you determine the right features for a product?

Determining the right features involves understanding customer needs, analyzing market trends, and prioritizing features based on strategic value and feasibility. Continuous feedback from user testing and stakeholder input is crucial in this process.

What is the role of a product manager in defining a product?

A product manager is responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the product. They define the product goals, develop a roadmap, prioritize features, and work cross-functionally to ensure that the product meets the market needs and business objectives.

How important is market research in product development?

Market research is essential as it provides insights into customer needs, market demand, competitive analysis, and emerging trends. This information helps product managers make informed decisions about product features, positioning, and marketing strategies.

What is the difference between a product and a project in product management?

A product is an outcome that delivers value to its users continuously, whereas a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create the product or a specific enhancement. Product management focuses on the lifecycle and success of the product, while project management focuses on the successful execution of development tasks and timelines.

About the Author
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Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio