Consumer and Industrial Goods (Encyclopedia of Business and Finance)
The classification of goodshysical productsis essential to business because it provides a basis for determining the strategies needed to move them through the marketing system. The two main forms of classifications are consumer goods and industrial goods.
Consumer goods are goods that are bought from retail stores for personal, family, or household use. They are grouped into three subcategories on the basis of consumer buying habits: convenience goods, shopping goods, and specialty goods.
Consumer goods can also be differentiated on the basis of durability. Durable goods are products that have a long life, such as furniture and garden tools. Nondurable goods are those that are quickly used up, or worn out, or that become outdated, such as food, school supplies, and disposable cameras.
Convenience Goods Convenience goods are items that buyers want to buy with the least amount of effort, that is, as conveniently as possible. Most are nondurable goods of low value that are frequently purchased in small quantities. These goods can be further divided into two subcategories: staple and impulse items.
Staple convenience goods are basic items that buyers plan to buy before they enter a store, and include milk, bread, and toilet paper. Impulse items are other convenience goods that are purchased without prior planning, such as candy bars, soft drinks, and tabloid newspapers.
Since convenience goods are not actually sought out by consumers, producers attempt to get as wide a distribution as possible through wholesalers. To extend the distribution, these items are also frequently made available through vending machines in offices, factories, schools, and other settings. Within stores, they are placed at checkout stands and other high-traffic areas.
Shopping Goods Shopping goods are purchased only after the buyer compares the products of more than one store or looks at more than one assortment of goods before making a deliberate buying decision. These goods are usually of higher value than convenience goods, bought infrequently, and are durable. Price, quality, style, and color are typically factors in the buying decision. Televisions, computers, lawnmowers, bedding, and camping equipment are all examples of shopping goods.
Because customers are going to shop for these goods, a fundamental strategy in establishing stores that specialize in them is to locate near similar stores in active shopping areas. Ongoing strategies for marketing shopping goods include the heavy use of advertising in local media, including newspapers, radio, and television. Advertising for shopping goods is often done cooperatively with the manufacturers of the goods.
Specialty Goods Specialty goods are items that are unique or unusualt least in the mind of the buyer. Buyers know exactly what they want and are willing to exert considerable effort to obtain it. These goods are usually, but not necessarily, of high value, and they may or may not be durable goods. They differ from shopping goods primarily because price is not the chief consideration. Often the attributes that make them unique are brand preference (e.g., a certain make of automobile) or personal preference (e.g., a food dish prepared in a specific way). Other items that fall into this category are wedding dresses, antiques, fine jewelry, and golf clubs.
Producers and distributors of specialty goods prefer to place their goods only in selected retail outlets. These outlets are chosen on the basis of their willingness and ability to provide a high level of advertising and personal selling for the product. Consistency of image between the product and the store is also a factor in selecting outlets.
The distinction among convenience, shopping, and specialty goods is not always clear. As noted earlier, these classifications are based on consumers' buying habits. Consequently, a given item may be a convenience good for one person, a shopping good for another, and a specialty good for a third. For example, for a person who does not want to spend time shopping, buying a pair of shoes might be a convenience purchase. In contrast, another person might buy shoes only after considerable thought and comparison: in this instance, the shoes are a shopping good. Still another individual who perhaps prefers a certain brand or has an unusual size will buy individual shoes only from a specific retail location; for this buyer, the shoes are a specialty good.
Industrial goods are products that companies purchase to make other products, which they then sell. Some are used directly in the production of the products for resale, and some are used indirectly. Unlike consumer goods, industrial goods are classified on the basis of their use rather than customer buying habits. These goods are divided into five subcategories: installations, accessory equipment, raw materials, fabricated parts and materials, and industrial supplies.
Industrial goods also carry designations related to their durability. Durable industrial goods that cost large sums of money are referred to as capital items. Nondurable industrial goods that are used up within a year are called expense items.
Installations Installations are major capital items that are typically used directly in the production of goods. Some installations, such as conveyor systems, robotics equipment, and machine tools, are designed and built for specialized situations. Other installations, such as stamping machines, large commercial ovens, and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan machines, are built to a standard design but can be modified to meet individual requirements.
The purchase of installations requires extensive research and careful decision making on the part of the buyer. Manufacturers of installations can make their availability known through advertising. However, actual sale of installations requires the technical knowledge and assistance that can best be provided by personal selling.
Accessory Equipment Goods that fall into the subcategory of accessory equipment are capital items that are less expensive and have shorter lives than installations. Examples include hand tools, computers, desk calculators, and forklifts. While some types of accessory equipment, such as hand tools, are involved directly in the production process, most are only indirectly involved.
The relatively low unit value of accessory equipment, combined with a market made up of buyers from several different types of businesses, dictates a broad marketing strategy. Sellers rely heavily on advertisements in trade publications and mailings to purchasing agents and other business buyers. When personal selling is needed, it is usually done by intermediaries, such as wholesalers.
Raw Materials Raw materials are products that are purchased in their raw state for the purpose of processing them into consumer or industrial goods. Examples are iron ore, crude oil, diamonds, copper, timber, wheat, and leather. Some (e.g., wheat) may be converted directly into another consumer product (cereal). Others (e.g., timber) may be converted into an intermediate product (lumber) to be resold for use in another industry (construction).
Most raw materials are graded according to quality so that there is some assurance of consistency within each grade. There is, however, little difference between offerings within a grade. Consequently, sales negotiations focus on price, delivery, and credit terms. This negotiation plus the fact that raw materials are ordinarily sold in large quantities make personal selling the principal marketing approach for these goods.
Fabricated Parts and Materials Fabricated parts are items that are purchased to be placed in the final product without further processing. Fabricated materials, on the other hand, require additional processing before being placed in the end product. Many industries, including the auto industry, rely heavily on fabricated parts. Automakers use such fabricated parts as batteries, sun roofs, windshields, and spark plugs. They also use several fabricated materials, including steel and upholstery fabric. As a matter of fact, many industries actually buy more fabricated items than raw materials.
Buyers of fabricated parts and materials have well-defined specifications for their needs. They may work closely with a company in designing the components or materials they require, or they may invite bids from several companies. In either case, in order to be in a position to get the business, personal contact must be maintained with the buyers over time. Here again, personal selling is a key component in the marketing strategy.
Industrial Supplies Industrial supplies are frequently purchased expense items. They contribute indirectly to the production of final products or to the administration of the production process. Supplies include computer paper, light bulbs, lubrication oil, cleaning supplies, and office supplies.
Buyers of industrial supplies do not spend a great deal of time on their purchasing decisions unless they are ordering large quantities. As a result, companies marketing supplies place their emphasis on advertisingarticularly in the form of catalogueso business buyers. When large orders are at stake, sales representatives may be used.
It is not always clear whether a product is a consumer good or an industrial good. The key to differentiating them is to identify the use the buyer intends to make of the good. Goods that are in their final form, are ready to be consumed, and are bought to be resold to the final consumer are classified as consumer goods. On the other hand, if they are bought by a business for its own use, they are considered industrial goods. Some items, such as flour and pick-up trucks, can fall into either classification, depending on how they are used. Flour purchased by a supermarket for resale would be classified as a consumer good, but flour purchased by a bakery to make pastries would be classified as an industrial good. A pickup truck bought for personal use is a consumer good; if purchased to transport lawnmowers for a lawn service, it is an industrial good.
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