Invention design focuses on the development of various consumer products. The target customer uses these products to satisfy personal needs or simplify routine workflows. The industrial design company optimizes every feature of the end product to ensure the target customers do not resale or extend their production. Consumer products are those things the customer picks off convenience stores, online marketplaces or vending machines.
When working on new consumer products, innovators must conduct due diligence to understand the preferences of the target markets to maximize product value chains.
This article describes the different types of consumer products, the role of digital technologies in the product development process and regulations for controlling the production, packaging and distribution of different consumer products.
Availability of product information is vital for decision-making
Types of consumer products
Customers should understand the different types of consumer products available in the market before going shopping. Products in each category have specific prices. Some of the products are readily available, while others are rare to find. The marketing efforts required to popularize each product depend on customers’ availability and willingness to purchase the said products. Here is a broad look at the different types of consumer products.
Convenience consumer products are bought frequently by different customers and at random locations. The products are distributed in multiple outlets and are often cheaply priced. These products often appeal to a wider population. Some companies use mass promotion to popularize these products. One common marketing strategy is placing the consumer products at convenient locations like gas stations, stores or vending machines.
Customers purchase convenience products to meet daily needs. They do not pay much attention to when and where they buy them. Things like detergents, toiletries, beverages or cleaning supplies qualify as convenience products.
Convenience products are easily accessible. Companies can distribute several units once without investing heavily in marketing activities and promotions. Customers do not need to make several decisions to purchase the product. These products are picked off the shelf without making detailed comparisons between brands.
Shopping products are different from convenience consumer products. These products are found in specific outlets and are a bit costly. Before purchasing these products, customers make comparisons between brands. They settle on a particular brand after evaluating product quality, price differences, physical appearances, usability and similar features.
The selective distribution of shopping products means companies must invest in relevant marketing activities. It is necessary for creating customer awareness and increasing brand visibility. It helps customers make informed choices when dealing with similar products having different qualities or prices.
Shopping products are located in specific outlets. Therefore, customers spend more time before they pick the product. Examples of shopping products include household electronics, clothes and furniture.
Clothes are an example of shopping products
Products under this category have a unique brand identity. Most consumer products in this group are highly priced and are usually considered luxury brands. These products are available in specific outlets. Customers often spend less time comparing similar products. However, the customer requires more effort to source the product. These luxury brands are often sold in authorized outlets. It could be a single outlet in the entire country, or customers must place orders before production begins.
Marketing strategies for specialty products are also unique. Companies organize targeted promotions to reach a specific category of customers. Some companies offer special distribution of limited edition products.
Specialty products possess unique qualities, product features and prices. Customers who purchase specialty products identify with particular luxury brands. Typical examples of specialty products include limited edition sports cars, designer clothing and perfumes and artistic paintings.
Customers of specialty products develop certain brand perceptions. They are willing to spend a fortune on unique products, even though they may have to wait longer before receiving their orders.
Other consumer products are rarely bought or utilized by consumers. Customers will purchase these products only when a need arises. The absence of such products under normal conditions does not affect routine workflows. Mostly, these products are not a top priority for customers.
Unsought consumer products are priced differently depending on their criticality, availability when needed and quality. Companies must engage in aggressive marketing activities to popularize these products. Some companies will enlist the services of experienced personal sellers to approach potential clients. They passionately explain the benefits and features of a particular product to attract more customers.
Examples of unsought products include exotic jewelry or life insurance policies.
Digital technology and consumer products
Digitalization is significantly revolutionizing the consumer products space. Everything from invention design, market research, rapid prototyping, marketing and consumer feedback is now possible, thanks to enhanced internet connectivity and improved computing technologies. As a manufacturer, it is crucial to make customer-sided decisions and consider their preferences. On the other hand, the customer requires information about different products in the market, including their chemical or physical composition, price and availability. That way, consumers can compare different market options and make informed choices on the right category of consumer products to purchase.
Digital technology is at the center of innovations in consumer markets. The possibilities of digitalization are endless and can help companies to scale up their operations efficiently and sustainably. Adopting the right technology assists companies optimize their value chains and increase their market presence.
Practical applications of digital technology when dealing with consumer products include:
- Advanced data analytics for optimizing supply chains and predicting consumer demands
- Digital marketing to increase product visibility
- Digitization of global supply chains
- Designing innovative consumer products (prototype design and testing)
- Optimizing pricing models
- Personalizing consumer products
Digital technology is pivotal for companies specializing in fast-moving consumer goods. Companies fight for a tight market segment, each eyeing a reasonable share. The FCMG market experiences rapid disruptions, similar to those experienced during the pandemic. Slowed down production saw customers lose access to frequently consumed products, something that saw prices of some commodities rise exponentially. Luckily, companies that leveraged digital technology were able to reshape customer experiences, predict demand and adapt to frequent changes effectively.
Regulating consumer products
Companies distribute consumer products to millions of customers daily. These products are manufactured using different materials possessing diverse chemical and physical properties. Different countries have regulatory authorities that monitor the quality of consumer products. They continuously evaluate chemical content in products, type of packaging used and quality of manufacturing materials and processes.
Companies dealing with fast-moving consumer goods keep abreast of the changes made by federal, state and international regulatory authorities. For instance, in the US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has established several regulations to ensure different product categories are safe for consumption and safe for use by the end customer. The commission enforces different standards and statutes. They enforce standards that can significantly affect supply chains. Consumers can access multiple resources regarding product recalls, potential hazards associated with using certain products, product testing and certification standards, and safety education resources.
Regulatory authorities ensure consumer goods are safe for consumption
Some regulatory authorities have limited jurisdictions. Such entities can control consumer products within state or federal borders. However, some products are distributed beyond regional borders. Under such circumstances, regional consumer product safety authorities collaborate under the statutes of entities like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which enhances information sharing to guarantee the accuracy of product safety information globally.
Consumer markets keep changing daily, with customers seeking real value for their money through high-quality products. Evolving consumer behavior, marketing technologies and advancing supply chains are continuously changing regulatory frameworks and enforcement measures. There is a growing demand for companies to adopt sustainable manufacturing processes and streamline their supply chains. Additionally, consumers must be protected from sub-standard products containing toxic chemicals or pose direct physical risks to the users. Companies and innovators must ensure their products comply with the consumer protection regulations of their areas of operation.
Consumer Products Consultants
It takes time for new products to penetrate consumer markets. There is stiff competition as global companies produce similar goods. It presents a challenge to new entrants in the market. This can dim the prospects of innovative companies and individuals. Luckily, several consulting companies provide legal advice, technical support and market research to ensure new products see the light of the day. These consulting companies conduct preliminary market research, suggest effective marketing strategies and tailor technological solutions for maximum returns on investment. Often, these companies charge a fee to provide these services. They offer legal advice around the regulatory standards guiding the production and distribution of particular consumer products.
Consumer products are sophisticated given the complexity of production, packaging and distribution processes. These goods are distributed to different locations to serve customers whose preferences and economic muscle vary. There are several categories of consumer products, each with unique features to satisfy the needs of a particular demographic group. Manufacturing and distributing consumer products adhere to multiple standards and regulations. These legal provisions protect consumers from defective products. It also ensures the goods are safe for human consumption and do not threaten the environment. Companies working on new products can increase the success of their brands by leveraging relevant digital technologies and engaging experienced consumer product consultants. They should also review consumer regulations frequently to avoid violations that may jeopardize company businesses.