There are four distinctive types of consumer products: Convenience products, Shopping products, Specialty products and Unsought products. We take a closer look at convenience products and in particular shed light on appropriate marketing strategies for convenience products.
What Are Convenience Products?
Convenience products are characterized by a number of criteria. These characteristics require specific marketing strategies for convenience products. Firstly, convenience products are bought most frequently. It is typically a product or service that customers buy frequently, immediately and without great comparison efforts.
Examples include bottled water, laundry detergents, fast food, sugar and magazines. These products are usually low-priced and placed in many locations to make them readily available when consumers need them. Let’s now take a closer look at some specific marketing strategies for convenience products.
Marketing Strategies for Convenience Products
The characteristics of convenience products require specific marketing strategies. As many of these products are quite generic and easily replaceable, competition is extremely high. At the same time, product differentiation is difficult. Think of e.g. sugar: how do you make your sugar brand stand out, while sugar is more or less the same across brands? Consumers typically do not make major comparison efforts for these products, so how do you get their attention?
The primary marketing strategy for convenience products is extensive distribution. This means that the product must be placed in many different locations – across distribution channels, across retailers, and also within shops. You would need to place your sugar brand as prominently as possible in supermarkets, mini-shops, convenience stores, and so on. You would not want to be on the lowest shelf but be as visible as possible. In addition, ideally you would want your product to be located in different spots within the supermarket: think of e.g. chocolate bars which are both in the sweets section and at the cash register. There may be one convenience product located at the cash register that is also located in the grocery aisle, as well as in another grocery aisle or front of aisle display. Your product should be the one which is closest to the consumer at any point whenever the consumer feels the need or want to buy the product.
Another common one of the marketing strategies for convenience products is coupons. The distributor may place coupons in the local newspaper or on a frequented website that the customer will trust. Also, sometimes a business will market their convenience product by placing it in a vending machine or kiosk.
In order to stand out, the packaging is of huge importance. Think again of a pack of sugar. How would you differentiate your brand from those dozens of other brands that are on the shelf offering the same products? The packaging on a convenience product is generally very brightly colored or contains images that will easily attract the customer. Examples of this include Fanta soft drinks that come in bright colors, as well as gum. The packaging is a very important aspect of marketing strategies for convenience products because it is what initially attracts the customer to the product for the first time that they make a purchase of this particular product. Once a consumer has bought your product, he or she is likely to buy it again if the consumer is satisfied – so you want to get that first impression right.
Finally, in order to get consumer attention, think big. Most companies selling this type of product are quite large and can afford high marketing expenditures. Why? Because in such a competitive market, scale is important to stay price competitive.
As a consequence, it will be often necessary to compete in big terms to keep up. This may include high expenditures for online advertisements, but also print and even TV ads.