When it comes to marketing a product, many businesses think primarily of either the consumable product or the idea of the product. The actual product is often a secondary thought, and sales may suffer if the business does not deliver on this aspect. An actual product is what the consumer holds in his or her hand when the product is purchased. This is the packaging, brand name, logo and all tangible aspects of the product that can be seen without opening or using the product. While the tangible aspects of the product may not help the quality, it can lead to increased sales if properly used.
In any type of store, consumers will find different products that have similar designs and offer similar experiences or uses. For example, when a consumer is looking at different brands of orange juice, most of the cartons will have similar appearances. While similar, there will be differences in the style of the design, and each one will have a different brand name. These aspects are all part of the actual product. An actual product is only what the consumer can see and touch — the part that can be observed without actually using the product.
The actual product will normally help the idea of the product. A consumer is not buying orange juice because he or she wants a carton, but because he or she wants the juice inside the carton. If there is a ripe orange on the front, or a brand name the consumer trusts, he or she will be more likely to purchase the product, because the design enhances the idea of the product.
Conversely, poor actual product design can decrease sales. If the design alienates the intended audience, either by looking too modern or not working with the product, then consumers will move on to other products. If a design is dull or poorly conceived, consumers will be more likely avoid buying that product and purchase a product with a better design.
Along with the actual product, businesses have to work on the consumable product to ensure it meets the customer’s demands. The carton of orange juice is the tangible product, and the idea of the juice is that it is sweet and slightly tart, but the consumable product is the juice itself, which is what the consumer is really looking to buy. If the juice is low quality, then consumers will be turned off the product and will likely refuse to buy products from that company, regardless of the tangible aspects.