What is an Augmented Product?
An augmented product is a product that is augmented or enhanced by a maker by adding additional features, benefits, or services to support and enrich the value of the original product. Makers of products use this method to distinguish their products from the competition while providing their clients with valuable benefits.
Any additional feature or offering can be considered as part of an augmented product. The goal here is to attract more customers, clients, or buyers by providing flashy incentives and add-ons that the competitor's product lacks. The concept of the augmented product is a way for creators to survive in a competitive marketplace.
A product goes through many cycles and changes presenting different versions in the product cycle. In general, a product can have 3 versions - the core product, the actual product, and the augmented product. We will be defining the core product and the actual product in the further parts of the article. Let’s first focus on defining what an augmented product is.
The process of augmenting a product doesn’t fundamentally change the actual product but aims to increase the value of the overall product in the consumer's eyes. The augmentations are not meant to change the function of the product or any of its core features. Since there are no core changes made to the actual product, the augmented product is also sometimes known as an extended product.
Typically, an augmented product includes attributes like warranties, credits, return policies, additional benefits, or custom packages. We will explore specific examples of augmented products in the upcoming sections of the article.
What is an Actual Product & Core Product?
As mentioned above, there are 3 main versions of a product. The actual product, as the name suggests, is the actual physical product with all the core features and functionalities that is offered by a company. An actual product is the piece of service or product that most users will think of when they think of a product.
The actual product goes through all the development stages to finally enter the distribution stage. The actual product is the main offering that adds value to consumers. Consumers mainly pay for the actual product.
The core product on the other hand is not the physical product a customer pays for. The core product is defined as the benefits a customer receives in using the actual product. So the core product is not a tangible product but is more the offering that is tied to the actual product.
For example, a physical soap that a consumer pays for can be considered as an actual product. The benefits of cleaning is the core product or benefit provided by the soap.
What is the goal of Product Augmentation?
The goal of an augmented product or product augmentation is to allow marketers to distinguish their products from the competition. In a generic marketplace, this product augmentation strategy becomes essential to derive the sales that a company desires.
It’s often difficult to create a completely unique product that your consumers buy only for the benefits of the actual product. The augmented product helps create a better consumer experience. This goes a long way in contributing to brand loyalty and creating a positive buying experience for the customer.
In a nutshell, the goal of product augmentation is to effectively create a significant competitive advantage for the actual product so it performs well in the market.
How does Product Augmentation work?
Product augmentation can be performed by adding a number of different add-ons to the actual product. We discuss these possible add-ons or benefits in detail below.
1. Warranty- The most common, popular, and expected augmentation is a simple product warranty that goes a long way in instilling trust in consumers. It is a simple promise that the product will function as expected for a period of time. Generic appliances usually come with this add-on, which is preferred by customers.
2. Free delivery- A hefty purchase when comes with a free delivery can really brighten up a customer's day. A free delivery benefit is again a very common augmented product strategy that most companies use. It is especially popular in consumer-oriented industries. Some retailers also provide this benefit if the purchase exceeds a certain amount.
3. Free Installation- In the case of electronic or highly technical products, a professional installation offer can also work as a good augmentation. A one-time installation by a professional can also help with the optimal functioning of the product.
4. Routine Updates- A product that keeps up with the latest trends of the market is always preferred by the user. So having routine software updates especially for digital products can work very well in adding to a good customer experience.
5. Free Trial Periods- A product that can turn out to be a financial commitment must come with a free trial period so users can first test it out to make sure its up to the mark. It also comes under a common augmentation strategy.
6. Free Samples- Who doesn't love a free sample? For physical products that are generic, most customers already loyally purchase their favorite brands. In this case, making sure users switch to your product can be difficult. Providing free samples can enable that initial push.
Examples of Augmented Products
The augmented products strategies mentioned below are all very popular ways of marketing a product. Most companies have at some point used one of these strategies.
One notable example of augmented product is the launch of Apple TV. When the product was first launched in 2019, to create that initial buzz for the TV, Apple allowed customers to customize their experience by adding their own favored add-on or augmentation to their purchase. It naturally, worked as a marketing strategy.