Product Augmentation Meaning
Product augmentation refers to adding special features and benefits to a product in addition to its actual design and features. It simply means to expand or enlarge something for giving it a distinguished identity. Product augmentation is a marketing strategy under which brand offers a set of associated services and other benefits to their clients along with the actual product they are buying. The additional benefits or features which come along with actual purchases are intangible in nature. The augmentation makes brand’s product unique which enables them in standing out among large no. of competitors in market. An actual product does not change its form under the augmentation but only come up with a lot of value. Customers get more value for their money than what other competitors are offering.
Product augmentation serve as a useful tool for marketers to develop competitive advantage over other competitors existing in industry. Also, the additional services offered are inexpensive which does not overly add to unit costs. This way without a significant variation in cost structure, the overall value of product offering gets enhanced. Augmented product provides seller a right to command premium price due to the higher value perceived by consumers for such range of products.
Intangible Benefits for Augmenting Products
Various additional benefits which are associated with products for enhancing their value are as discussed below: –
- Free delivery: The overall value of money paid by customer get enhanced when a brand promises to handle the delivery of product at customer’s doorstep. He is happier and more satisfied by availing the free delivery service offered by a company.
- In-home installation and configuration: Under such benefits, a brand sends a technician at buyer’s house for proper installation and explanation of product configuration. Customer get to know about instructions for safe usage of product from technician.
- Warranty: Warrant is one of the major intangible benefits provided with a product by company. It is simply a promise from company to sort out the issues or fault which may be faced by customer within the specified period of time.
- Updates: Updates is an intangible feature which is applicable mostly on software products. Consumers get periodic updates for the software they are using from company without paying anything for it.
- Customer service and customer experience: Product augmentation also comprises of things which in some way improve the customer experience with brand. Having a contributory retail outlet wit fantastic ambience results in providing more satisfaction to peoples. Also, offering free coupons and gifts, ticket to events, product trials, financing and free snacks at outlets form the part of product augmentation.
Levels of Augmented Product
There are three basic level of an augmented product which are as follows:
- Core product: The core product is the key concept that need to be well-understood as it reflects the main motive of purchasing an augmented product. Core product as the name defines tell us the original purpose for which the product was designed or purchased. It is not a physical object but an intangible benefit which the customer gets by using product.
For example, a movie theater is built for showing movies to people. Picture quality, good sound and comfortable chairs form part of core product.
- Actual product: Actual product is composed of basic features of a product which are its physical component. These features are in presence due to the product existence and it is not possible to avoid them. It constitutes the build quality, color, packaging, design, brand etc. of product.
For example, in a car its physical attributes like no. doors, tire size, whether it is SUV or sedan will be considered under the actual product.
- Augmented product: Augmented product refers to all ‘over and above’ benefits a consumer gets by purchasing product. It includes each and everything which is offered extra along with good. They provide distinguished identity to a product and do not change its original form.
For example, while buying a car you may get additional benefits from dealer such as free service for first 2 years, reasonable interest rate, warranty, guarantee etc. which all benefits covered under augmented product.
Examples of Product Augmentation
- Laptop + carry bag: Whenever you go for purchasing a laptop, there are various brand offering a laptop carry bag free of cost to customers. Moreover, they also provide free cleaning kit, mouse and keyboard. Here laptop is actual and all other benefits offered along with it are what we called as product augmentation.
- E-commerce shops: E-commerce does product augmentation for driving their sales volume. The e-commerce sites provide free shipping services to their clients on making purchases up to certain price level or offers free accessories on purchase of a mobile phone.
- Television warranty: Various television manufactures such as Samsung, L.G., Sony or Realme provide warranty on their products. Whenever a customer is purchasing an LED Tv, the brands are doing product augmentation via giving 1- or 2-year warranty on each LED television. The buyer is paying only for the actual product but in addition without any cost gets a benefit of warranty period.
- Telecom operators: Many times, the telecommunication companies provide free data and SMS services to their customers on purchase of voice call plans. The customer only pays for the voice call and avail additional benefits provided by company with no cost. It is a perfect example of product augmentation.