The core product

For the most we place a great deal of emphasis on ‘product management’ when it comes to retail marketing.  When considering product, the retailer distinguishes between variety and assortment.  Product variety refers to the number of lines a store carries (i.e. the ‘width’). Product assortment refers to the ‘depth’ of product within a line (# of SKUs = colours, sizes etc.)

Your product offer is the key to determining the success of the store’s offer to the market. On the following pages we illustrate all the considerations that go into formulating a product offer for a market.

Notice how the offer (your response) assumes that:

  • There is a market

  • That is large enough & close enough & interested enough

  • With discretionary funds available to purchase.

These assumptions are significant, and retailers must go through a proper profiling process (backed by some research) before committing to an offer.

But the most important consideration when selling a product or a service, is that the customer does not simply buy a ‘product’ = “teddy bear” when they buy a toy. They are buying a gift, they are buying happiness, they are buying forgiveness. When customers go to a restaurant, they don’t only buy the steak, the are buying the ‘sizzle’ – everything else that goes with the steak: romance, entertainment and not having to do the dishes!

So, to summarise:

  • Core product: A night out

  • Actual product: Steak and Chips

  • Augmented product: Playroom for the kids

It isn't actually easy to articulate the core benefit. Or rather it is easy to getting rather 'wanky'. (Or should I say esoteric?) The acid test is whether your definition of the core product/benefit is actually helpful. For instance if you say ' we sell self-expression' then you could be a car manufacturer or a card manufacturer.
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