What Is an Augmented Product?
An augmented product has been enhanced by its seller with added features or services to distinguish it from the same product offered by its competitors. Expanding a product involves including intangible benefits or add-ons beyond the product itself.
Examples of the features used to create augmented products include free delivery or in-home installation of a service. Cosmetics companies offer free makeovers and travel-size samples to increase their effects.
How an Augmented Product Works
To marketing professionals, every product comes in at least three versions: The core, the actual, and the augmented.
The core product is not a physical object. It is the product’s benefit to the consumer. For example, lipstick will make its buyer attractive; a pair of sneakers will make her healthier; a new phone will help you communicate more efficiently.
The actual product is the item for sale, including the unique branding, design, and packaging that is attached to it. The development and features must deliver on the core expectations consumers want from the product. A car, for example, should function seamlessly with all of its features to provide the core product and create customer value.
The augmented product adds features and services that distinguish it from similar products the competition offers. The add-ons don’t change the actual product and may have a minimal impact on the cost of producing the product. However, an augmented product may have a perceived value that gives the consumer a reason to buy it. The added weight may also allow the seller to command a premium price.
Examples of Augmented Products
It’s no secret that companies that can effectively create augmented products create a positive buying experience and have the best chance of developing a loyal base of repeat customers.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) launched its video and TV streaming service in 2019. To boost awareness of the new product and increase sagging iPhone sales, the company created an add-on or augmentation for anyone purchasing a device, as stated below from the company’s website.
Discounts and Freebies
A discount coupon for a future purchase is a product augmentation, as is an offer of a refund if the customer is dissatisfied. A free recipe book with a kitchen appliance such as a crockpot creates an augmented product.
More expensive purchases often come with enhanced augmentation. In-store financing for furniture purchases, a free trial, or delivery all augment the product offered. A cable company competing for new business might offer a more convenient home installation schedule to attract customers.
Good customer service and store ambiance are augmentations that brick-and-mortar retailers add to their entire range of products. A generous return policy and in-store demonstrations are others. A retail store that sells cooking supplies might offer free cooking classes with each purchase. Apple, for example, provides teaching and guidance on how to use its products through its retail locations.
An engaging website to help customers learn about a product or service and an online support team are product augmentations. In considering almost any purchase, consumers have a wealth of options. An augmented product has been made to stand out from other products or the same product offered by other sellers.
Many brands give away travel-sized samples of products for the customer to try. They can also be a way to gain feedback from customers on a new product.
A popular augmentation is offering discounts. However, some businesses only provide them to new customers. Try to reward loyalty with discounts for repeat customers so they feel valued.
A popular choice for e-commerce businesses, free delivery is a great way to add value. If you offer it when customers spend a certain amount, many will increase their basket spending to reach the threshold.
Quality customer service
Another intangible product is exceptional customer service. Putting the customer at the forefront of the business and ensuring they feel valued is a crucial way to augment your product and set it apart from the competition.
Some products, such as software, require updating frequently. Offering previous customers free updates provides a good user experience.
An extended warranty can be included or purchased for a longer time for high-value items. Providing security in case of faults or issues with the product helps show your customers that you stand behind your products.
Again, free installation can be a huge time saver for the customer for more oversized household items and tech products. It means the customer can relax, knowing an expert is setting up their product.
For most products, it’s a common courtesy to provide refunds or exchanges. Faulty goods should always be refunded, but credit notes and exchanges can be suggested for other returns. Read more at https://abbotcrafts.com/
Another popular augmentation for software is a free trial. Many customers like to sample a product before subscribing, so let them try out your full software for a short time or create a pared-down version people can try for free.
What are some of these additional (intangible) values that can be augmented?
Warranty: This is a very common example of intangible features a product can be augmented with. A warranty is your promise to a customer, that if there is a fault on a product (within a specified period), it will get sorted out.
Free delivery: A promise to handle the delivery of a product to a customer can increase the value of the money the customer is paying for it.
In-home installation and configuration: Sending your technician to the customer’s home to install a product bought.
Updates: This applies mostly to software products. It involves providing periodic updates to the software, which the customer won’t pay for.
Customer service and customer experience: Some things like having a conducive retail outlet with great ambiance and amazing customer service, also form part of product augmentation.
- Free gifts
- Free snacks while at the retail outlet
- Ticket to events
- Free product trial, etc.