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Product Types, Service Types and Selling Them

Updated on January 31, 2011

Marketing terminology associated with products and services

Raw materials, such as wood, iron, cotton or oil, are used to to make or manufacture other products. A group of related products marketed by a manufacturer are called a product line. This grouping of different products is almost always logical. For instance Noxzema is a skin cleaner and beauty product line sold to Alberto-Culver Co. by Procter & Gamble. Originally developed as a sunburn remedy, it is popular among women as a facial cleanser and make-up remover. It can also be used for cleaning chapped, sunburned, or otherwise irritated skin. Since the introduction of Noxzema, the brand name has appeared on shaving cream, razors, and skin-cleansing cloths.

A product type, on the other hand, is a group of technically similar products offered by different companies with variations in price, appearance, marketing etc. Cosmetics and make-up is a good example of product types.

Products that may be considered as substitutes for one another are grouped in a product class. Zara and H&M clothes are in the same class, however, Christian Dior is the same product type, but not in the same class.

Diamonds is one of the most sought-after raw materials in the world. However, there is a new product type that presents stiff competition for diamonds - artificial gems. Artificial diamonds are attracting as much interest from jewellers as genuine articles do. But diamond trading companies deny claims that artificial diamonds are in the same product class as natural ones.

Excedrin product line
Excedrin product line
Generic products cost less then their brand name counterparts.
Generic products cost less then their brand name counterparts.

Product types

Convenience goods / fast moving consumer goods (FMCG): goods having a high turnover and low price such as table salt or shampoo.

White goods: common household electrical goods named after their white color such as dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.

Brown goods: common household electrical goods that are not white such as televisions, DVD players, printers, etc.

Perishable goods / perishables: goods with a limited shelf life that must be consumed quickly such as fresh meat, fruit, eggs, etc.

Durable goods / durables / hard goods: goods that are not meant to be easily worn out or used up. They have a longer life such as cars, furniture, white and brown goods etc.

Non-durable goods / non-durables / soft goods: goods used up within a span of three years or less such as perishable goods, fuel, ink for printers, consumable supplies (DVD ROMs) etc.

Green products: eco-friendly and environmentally-friendly products that are not harmful to the environment such as certain washing powders.

Generic products: products having no brand name, sold as alternatives to brand name products of the same class such as certain drugs, etc.

Healthcare products: products beneficial for the health and well-being of the consumer such as vitamin supplements, plasters, etc.

Service types

A service is a non-material good provided by a company or an individual. Some common service types are:

  • childcare (childminders, kindergartens, baby-sitting)
  • cleaning and maintenance (gardeners, office cleaners)
  • consulting (financial and business advisors)
  • education and training (private schools, adult colleges)
  • entertainment (cinemas, theaters)
  • financial services (banking, insurance, real estate)
  • healthcare (doctors, hospitals)
  • marketing and advertising (consultancies and agencies)
  • telecommunication (fixed lines, mobile phones)
  • tourism (hotels, airlines)

Selling products and services

Products and services are sold by the sales force otherwise known as people whose primary goal is to close a deal. The seller or salesperson is a professional trained to deliver a sales pitch and argument for and against it in an attempt to make a sale.

Salespeople working in a shop or store are called shop assistants. When working for a company that sells to another company they are called sales executives, sales managers and sales directors. Sales representatives or sales reps travel from door to door or company to company to try to sell their product or service. Sales agents sell insurance, estate agents property, car dealers cars. Financial advisors sell all kind sof financial services.

Buying / purchasing products and services

There are basically three types of selling: business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C).

In business to business (B2B) trade a purchaser, buyer or procurement specialist is employed by a company to negotiate the best deal with the company's suppliers. This includes the lowest price and most favorable payment terms possible.

Retail buyers, purchasers working for retail outlets like supermarkets, negotiate retail listings with suppliers, which means that the retailer agrees to list the supplier's product as something they sell. From the supplier's perspective this is called securing shelf space to the product they want to supply, so that it gets displayed and sold in the retailer's store.

In business to consumer (B2C) trade, a shop or online store sells their goods to individual customers.

In consumer to consumer (C2C) trade, individual people sell to other individuals through classified ads in newspapers or other means of advertising. As more and more people use the Internet on a daily basis the volume and importance of C2C trade is rising thanks to websites such as eBay.

Packaging, combining and selling services

Services are intangible and are best sold by companies when they can package them and make them look like a product. Giving your service a physical presence is a popular and frequently used marketing trick.

Services can be packaged in several different levels. Customers' needs and budgets vary greatly, so creating high-end packages, low-end packages and in-between makes the service more easily sellable by making it cater to every customer's needs.

By combining services you can create new, attractive offerings. For example, as a copywriter you can join forces with a graphic designer and a marketing consultant to create an attractive business startup package.

Books on product management


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    • profile image

      perassanna 5 years ago

      nice hub, specially using examples for each category made me interesting to read.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for this great list of breaking down products. This will be helpful in the future.