What are Product Attributes?
Product attributes are all the tangible and non-tangible attributes of a product that wholly define and completely define a product. Like most things in the world, products also have a set of main characteristics that together contribute to their overall functions. For the purpose of marketing, product attributes must be informative and accurate.
Product attributes can be the individual product features, the design, price, aesthetic, weight, color, size, ingredients, material, among others.
As mentioned before the product attributes can be both
- tangible (physical) - any characteristic that is perceptible to touch; has a physical form
- intangible (non-physical) - characteristics that are not perceptible to touch; they don’t have a physical form.
More importantly, product attributes are all the little characteristics of a product that influence the consumer’s buying decision. So product attributes directly add value to the consumer and hence even might prompt a purchase from them.
The product attributes together to serve the customer needs. And since the customer needs are at the center of all product development or brand development decisions, understanding product attributes becomes essential.
This article very well defines product attributes with this statement - “I sell and promote my product’s features based on how they benefit the lives of my customers”. This points to the fact that a good marketing strategy ties up product attributes and customer needs very cleverly to not only promote the features of their products but also influence their customers’ lives in a meaningful way.
Now that we have covered what product attributes are, theoretically, let’s take an example to understand the concept better.
Let’s consider these JBL earbuds as an example. The website has listed down all the product attributes in the product specification and features sections. The section mention information about the dimensions of the earbud piece, including values about the weight of the product and the charging case weight.
It also includes information about audio specifications like the driver sensitivity, dynamic frequency response range, impedance, and the number of drivers per ear. Apart from that, the site also includes information about the control and connection specifications, general specification, battery life info, and features.
Here they have mentioned an extensive list of features, we have mentioned below a few of them.
- Active Noise Cancelling
- Built-in Microphone
- Charging Case
- Google Assistant
- Hands-Free Call
- JBL Signature Sound
- Rechargeable Battery
The company JBL mentions all the product attributes on their e-commerce website so customers can make an informed decision about which product best suits their needs. The specifications also attract smart buyers who love to research all the differentiators between new products to aid their purchase decision.
Role of Product Attributes in Marketing
To efficiently sell online, product attributes are essential elements that marketing teams usually utilize. The product attributes help customers get all the information about the product that they might miss from just an image of the product on the e-commerce site. So, in a nutshell, with product attributes listed, marketing teams can use them to tell a more compelling story about the product.
To help create a strong branding and marketing campaign requires a lot of market research to understand the customer needs precisely. Once that information is collected, teams can work to relate customer needs with the product attributes.
Types of Product Attributes
Technically, we can categorize product attributes into different types to understand them better. The three main categories of product attributes are options, properties, and extras. We will expand on each of these categories below.
Option attributes are all the physical attributes that can be assigned to a product. These features are something that shoppers can tangibly evaluate, like the size of the product, color, weight, etc.
Product options are also defined as a specific type of variation that customers can choose between while buying a product. Like for example, the same shirt can be available in a number of different sizes and colors, which are variations. Such attributes come under the options category. Option attributes are very commonly used on e-commerce websites.
The property attribute refers to the inherent properties of a product that might be tangible or intangible. These attributes cannot be configured by customers as they form the core parts of the product.
Property attributes can be the material or brand of the product. It can also be all the basic parts of the product. This category can be used by marketing teams to track their sales progress, as they more or less remain the same and make for a good way to segment product types.
Extra attributes are all the add-on attributes that are additionally added to the augmented product. These attributes can include all the customization options that can be added to the product. For example, extra attributes can be a gift wrapping option, a gift card, a custom monogramming option, among others.
The extra attributes are added to the core product to increase the value of the product. With more configurable options and benefits, customers would be tempted to opt for a company's product over the competitors.
Interestingly, an extra can also be another product that can come at a discounted price with the main product. For example, selling a laptop cover along with a laptop can be a smart strategy. E-commerce also has an option of suggested product groups that all match together. Consumers can choose to purchase one product or the entire group.
Apart from these main categories, there are other commonly used attribute buckets that can be used to categorize the product attributes. Some of the examples include.
- Quality - This category will include all the basic attributes of the product that add to making the product a high-quality piece. Marketing teams can use the quality attributes to smartly point out why the product is of high quality. Terms like “Made with Premium Material...”, “Original Quality...”, “Real...” can help do this.
- Product Specific Attributes - These include all innovative features that are specific to your product. Even though the actual products are generic there can be specific attributes that make the products unique. All such attributes will be included in this category.
- Verification - A verified or certified product is a domain that is more trusted by the customers. It points to the fact that a professional authority has tested the quality of the product. The certification itself can be a product attribute that indirectly adds value to the product.
How to Manage Product Attributes
It’s very apparent that product attributes are very important to not only the product development cycle but also all the marketing, branding, and sales initiatives. So naturally, the product attributes for all product groups of a brand need to be managed very carefully. Some ideas to manage these product attributes are listed down below.
- List down all the attributes - The first step to managing product attributes is to first list all of them down. Listing them down will help teams to understand the relative importance of each attribute.
- Create segments and categorize - Once all the attributes are outlined, teams can go ahead and categorize them into segments like quality, physical dimensions, material attributes, etc. You can refer to the JBL earbud example to learn more about the possible categories. In the case of the earbuds, battery life, features, specifications were the categories.
- Organize all the data - Now that you have the segments, you can arrange them in a readable document so they can be referred by all the teams. The purpose of organizing the data is so that teams can understand all attributes of the product at first glance.
- Create cross-functional teams - To derive significant value from the information of product attributes will require collaboration between different product teams. Cross-functional teams can work together to help with market research, product development, modeling, etc.
- Study the competition and product reviews - Next goal here is to make improvements to the existing product. So, reviewing the attributes of your competitor’s product can be useful. You can also refer to user feedback to learn about any pain points or customer needs. With this information, a plan can be developed to improve the existing product by reconfiguring attributes are adding new ones.
Examples of Product Attributes
Attributes are very simple to understand and are actually very easy to identify. But some product attributes might not initially come across as an attribute. So we have prepared a list of product attribute examples.
- Product ID
- Product Name
- Materials used in preparing the product
- All the custom features
- Content accompanying the product
- Price of the product
- Educational content relevant to the product
- Feel of the product (this is an intangible attribute)
- Safety measure
- Marketing claims
- Augmented additions or add-ons
This list sort of highlights the generic product attributes.