From consumer goods to luxury products: how can marketing help?

Whenever we enter a store, either pushing a shopping cart down the aisles or surfing the web and e-shopping, we rarely think about how many different product categories exist. That is perfectly normal, and it would be odd otherwise.

However, marketing explains that all these products belong to different macro-categories, each with specific characteristics and methods of purchasing. Therefore, we decided to take you on a journey, exploring several possibilities to make you aware of your purchase habits as well as your business offerings.

Which are the three product macro-categories?  

  1. Convenience goods
    Convenience goods are consumer goods that are regularly purchased—such as foodstuffs, home products, and products for personal care—or, sometimes, impulsively bought—like potato chips or a newly discovered snack. Therefore, their distinguishing characteristics are rapid and frequent re-purchase, low customer emotional engagement, and lack of interest in finding detailed information and potential alternatives.
    Think about the numerous types of cornflakes you can have for breakfast. How many are there? Although there are hundreds, you probably do not spend much time in that specific aisle.  
    We rarely look for information about cornflakes before leaving for the store. In addition, even though people are increasingly becoming more aware of how and what they eat, we decide rather quickly, right in front of the shelf.
  2. Shopping goods
    The easiest way to define them is as consumer goods with a much more reasoned and less frequent purchase. In other words, we are willing to search for information before purchasing shopping goods, as we are interested in assessing their quality and comparing them to find the best alternative. For instance, consider what you do before buying a household appliance, a professional camera, a new air-conditioning unit, or clothing.
    The list goes on, and you can probably think of many other products.
    These goods are all linked to a certain degree of risk. When buying them, we ask ourselves whether they will meet expectations, work well, and last enough. There are endless questions for the products in this category, as shopping goods are connected to an emotional engagement due to their infrequent purchase.
  3. Specialty goods
    Specialty goods are emotional products someone usually dreams of buying for a long time. Usually, they are luxury items standing out for their refined quality, as well as the prestige that potential buyers associate with them. Different from the other product categories, specialty goods have a highly symbolic value, and customers are willing to pay for it.
    Think about luxury cars, jewels, artworks, and haute couture: all these goods are indirectly associated with a particular social position.
    Purchase is even more infrequent as these products are significantly more expensive, display unique characteristics, and are not that immediate to buy. Because of what they represent and how they make the buyer feel, they carry a high emotional engagement. Quality is taken for granted, but the experience of having them becomes paramount.

Macro-categories and marketing: find the best strategy based on your products.

Marketing is such a vast field, and so are the strategies it offers. Let's only consider the three macro-categories discussed and focus on them.
How often do cashiers ask you if you have a loyalty card?
That is one of the strategies most used with convenience goods; it is a fundamental step in customer loyalty management and offers plenty of benefits. 
Among the many types of cards, here are two:

  • Check-in cards allow the possessor to get points and access advantages by entering the store without purchasing. This way, customers are encouraged to visit a shop and favor it compared to competitors.
  • Instead, check-out cards give points based on purchases so that the customer is encouraged to come back and benefit from them and spend more to collect points.

When talking about consumer goods, one of the factors to consider is that people tend to select the store first and think about their shopping list only later, which does not take into account impulsive purchases.
This results in two additional strategies: brand loyalty, improved through advertisement to increase the business visibility, and shelf marketing, which refers to how products appear on the shelves. Nothing should be left to chance, as the display can affect customers and make them buy what is most convenient for the store. Have you noticed that new and discounted products are at eye level, not too high, and not too low?

Shopping goods, just like specialty goods, require completely different strategies. In place of fast and frequent purchases, research and reasoned choices entail information content (such as product info sheet, the more detailed, the better) and storytelling. Since the products in the two categories are different, storytelling needs to adapt in two diverse ways: on the one hand, it will focus on product quality, usage, and characteristics (especially when it can make things easier and quicker); on the other, it will highlight the emotions linked to the luxury item, what it conveys and how it makes the buyer feel.
A simple but effective example is car advertising. Accessories and characteristics are rarely the focus of such ads—one can discover them with the dealer or online. What matters is where you can travel to, the soundtrack playing in the background as you return from a perfect date, and the impression you will make on neighbors thanks to your roomy trunk.

Do different macro-categories require diverse communication channels?

Absolutely! Every product category has its strategy and privileged channels.
Then, what are they?

Convenience goods are perfect for TV commercials: brief, in a row, straightforward, between your favorite programs. A quick purchase needs a quick communication strategy.

Shopping goods require further details. Therefore, the channels change dramatically, shifting toward online and printed articles, posts, and newsletters. Speed is not necessary, but immediacy in obtaining the desired information is.

What about specialty goods? Emotional products are something else. Even though they often use channels typical of other product categories (TV commercials, for example), their preferred one is online communities: people sharing similar passions, news, solutions, reviews, and tips concerning the products they care for.

Have you identified the macro-category related to your business yet? Start devising the most appropriate strategy for your products! Tell us all about it: we cannot wait to accompany you and your brand on this wonderful path!

We made it simple

Let's talk about it!

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