There are numerous ways to classify consumer products and one of them is to determine the consumer buying behavior for a particular product and subsequently classify the product as per the buying behavior. The classification is not between products, rather the classification of consumer products is based on the differences between the consumers who buy the product. This is mainly because it is the consumers behavior which is important.
So as per this understanding what can be shopping products? Shopping products generally involve more time, cost and efforts from the consumers part as they are considered as a higher risk proposition by the consumer.
Lets take a TV for example – Before buying a TV, a customer will have a look at all different brands, products and product features. Once the customer knows what kind of features he is looking for, he would compare the costing of each brand. Finally after he has been convinced of one particular product and its value for money, he will go ahead with the purchase.
Even in shopping products, there are two types. Heterogenous products as well as homogenous products. Lets have a look at both the types of products individually and understand how they are bought as well as consumer buying behavior towards these shopping products
1) Homogenous products
Homogenous shopping products are ones which fall in same product categories. As they are in the same category, they are considered by the customers to be quite alike. Thus there are only certain features which can differentiate between 2 homogenous shopping products. The consumer is always on the lookout for such features so that he can come to a decision. These features are therefore considered as USP’s – unique selling propositions. In case of homogenous shopping products, the more USP’s a product has, more is its competitive advantage.
An example of Homogenous shopping products was mentioned above – Television. Similarly there are several product categories which fall under homogenous shopping products. Electronics like television, dvd players as well as home theater systems are perfect example. On the other hand, durables like refrigerator, cupboards etc can be a second example.
Each of these products has the same basic qualities, however they are differentiated by some extra features incorporated by the company in the marketing mix of the product. Due to these features the consumer can make a decision of what kind of product he is looking for and what should be its features. Therefore in case of homogenous shopping products, consumers are always on the lookout for differentiating product features.
2) Heterogenous products
To understand heterogenous shopping products, just imagine yourself shopping for clothes. How many options do you have and how much they vary just on the basis of price vs quality. There’s informal clothes, formal clothing, ethnic clothing, mens clothing, women clothing so on and so forth.
The difference between homogenous and heterogenous shopping products is that, where in homogenous the product features vary, in heterogenous the product itself keeps varying. There is still a possibility of comparing price vs quality. You can compare a Raymonds with a Peter England. But the quality of cloth even in these 2 brands will be different.
Thus, heterogenous shopping products are products which are considered to be unlike and non standardised. There is no one particular standard for clothing. A college going kid and an adult will buy a similar television (homogenous) but their choice of clothes (heterogenous) will be completely different. Some other examples of heterogenous shopping products includes jewellery (varying quality of same product), cars, furniture etc. Each and every one of these products belongs to one category, but every product is different from each other in not only features but the basic make as well.