PRODUCT-MEANING, FEATURES, LIFE CYCLE AND CLASSIFICATION—BY INSTRUCTOR MRS. ASAKPA, P.E.
MEANING OF PRODUCT: Product can be defined as anything that can be offered to a market that satisfy a want or need. A product is good, idea, method, information, object or service created as a result of a process and serves a need or satisfies wants. Kotler  says the term product covers physical goods, services and a variety of other human requirements.
CHARACTERISTICS /FEATURES OF PRODUCTS: The following are the features of product.
PERISHABLE PRODUCT. This feature connotes that some consumable products are prone to rotten if not preserved. Examples are common with agricultural/farm produce such as tomatoes, vegetables, fruits, orange, pawpaw, mango etc.
DURABILITY: Some products are durable whether preserved or not and can last longer though may required maintenance. Examples include industrial products, machineries, computer etc.
BULK OF THE PRODUCT: This requires channel arrangement that minimize the number of handling in the movement from producer to ultimate consumer.
UNIT VALUE OF THE PRODUCT: Most product of high value are often sold or disposed via an organisation or producer’s sales force rather than through the middlemen/intermediary.
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE: Product life cycle can be defined as the stages that a product passes through from idea generation[conception/birth] to the time when the product ceases to exist [extinction, decline/death]. That a product has a cycle means-
>Products have a shorter life span.
>Each cycle stage a product passes through possesses peculiar features or characteristics.
>Products succeed and fail at different levels and cycle due to various reasons
>That different marketing strategies and techniques/actions are required to resuscitate/revive existence at a different level or cycle.
1. STAGE/CYCLE 1: Birth/introduction stage: This is when an organisation gives birth to a business idea or introduces and produces a product into the market.
2. STAGE/CYCEL 2 : GROWTH STAGE: This is when a business or product is getting a kind of stability or recognition by the consumers or clients.
3. STAGE /CYCLE 3: MATURITY STAGE: This is the stage of ‘’explosion’’ that is when the product or service has become a house hold item or product. At this stage, the business has expanded and everybody wants to associate with their product or service.
4. STAGE/CYCLE 4: DECLINE STAGE: This is the stage when awareness, fame and popularity of a business, product or services begin to fall or reduce gradually and if care is not taken it may eventually cease to exist.
CLASSIFICATION OF PRODUCT: Traditional, products can be classified and grouped into two which are:
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: These are products which are consumed immediately by the customer. Their life-span of consumption is shorter. They are frequently procure, less expensive, need no special technical expertise intervention. Consumers products are classified into the following.
A] Convenience products: These are goods and services that consumer purchases conveniently, frequently, immediately and with minimal efforts. E.g. toothpaste, bread, milk, butter etc.
B] Shopping products: These are more expensive than convenient products and the decision is important. Consumers spend more time and extra effort in collating vital data that could laid and assist them in buying decision. E.g. home appliances, furniture, expensive designer shoes and clothes, jewelries and gold, perfume, wristwatches etc.
C] Specialty product: This is when a consumer favour a particular brand that would not buy a competing brand except the favourite one. Examples include Italian shoes and belt, Rolex watches, Nike products, Nokia products, Samsung products etc.
D] Unsought products: These are unknown product which consumers do not prepare to purchase but only come across to fulfill one of the reasons for holding money. Consumers do not seek out unsought product until they come across them through advertising, sales promotion, exhibitions and fair etc.
E] Emergency products: These are products that are produced when there is urgent need for them either as a result of natural occurrences such as cold, hot, change in weather
F] Impulse products: They are products that consumers produce without any planning or search effort. Examples include Newspaper, magazines, popcorn, roasted corn etc.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS: These can be classified into the following:
A] Installations: These are expensive goods which are not produce often. e.g. cars, laboratories building etc.
B] Accessories: These are short-lived product. They are standardized products which are procured more frequently than installations. E.g. handset, computer, photo copiers etc.
C] Raw materials: These are unprocessed products, component which are actually become part of the buyers’ final products. E.g. beef, cotton, eggs, milk, poultry etc.
D] Supplies: These are products that are used in support of business operations but are not part of the finished products. E.g. paper, paper clips, pencil, biro, calculator, brooms, filters etc.