Product category marketing involves the specific promotion of one or more shopping categories. It helps your brand to stand out, provide you with clear insights on the behaviour of your customers and the popularity (or not) of your products. It also helps to display and promote more than one product and provides customers with a sense of direction when they are shopping.
A product category is a group of related products which have been placed together. Within your online store, by organising your products into categories you can help customers to explore their product options, navigate your store easily, increase sales and improve their shopping experience. It's also a great way to demonstrate the expertise you have within your retail industry and gives a clear reason why the customer should choose to shop with you.
Once you are confident that your product category SEO and organisation is done well, you will need to allocate it to a consumer product type to use the most appropriate marketing strategies.
4 Types of Consumer Products
The product categories you have created within your retail website can be figuratively placed into one of four types of consumer products which each have their own best marketing practices:
- Convenience products - these are the products that a customer buys the most frequently. They spend little to no time checking the product out and will buy without hesitation. Examples are products such as bread, sugar and toothpaste.
- Shopping products - these are products that the customer will actively compare with other similar products and are not purchased often. Types of products include pieces of furniture and clothing.
- Specialty products - specialty products are those which have highly specific characteristics that a customer is happy to make a specific effort to buy. A lot of time is taken to research not only the products themselves, but the product brand and the businesses which sell them. There is less comparison against similar products, as the customer is almost certainly confident that it is the product they wish to buy. Types of products here include luxury cars, designer clothing and high end musical instruments.
- Unsought products - unsought products are those which the customer either doesn't know about, or does know but it is not something they would usually consider purchasing. These types of products are not something the customer thinks about until they need them. Examples include life insurance, tyre puncture repair, new luxury cars and new innovative products.
This next task is not done through your website, but rather something you make a decision on and action through your marketing strategies. It's to choose which consumer product type each of your categories is best placed in. Once you have made that decision, then it is on the the creation of your product category marketing strategies.
Marketing Strategies for Individual Product Types
Depending upon which consumer product type each of your product categories best fits will in a way dictate which marketing strategies to use. Below are suggested marketing strategies for each of the four consumer product types:
- Convenience products - products within this category require mass marketing techniques. Generally they are manufactured for a wide audience and the marketing is more about continuing a relationship with existing customers and encouraging new customers to switch brands to buy their product instead. You want these products to be available for purchase in multiple locations, so wholesale is a large part of your marketing.
- Shopping products - with this higher priced product category, you want to be more selective as to where you sell these, including who your wholesalers are. Direct advertising and selling one-on-one is recommended as customers are seeking out more information about the brand and its products.
- Specialty products - generally there is only one or very few places that sell these products, and they are quite pricey. All marketing promotions are highly targeted at individuals who already know they want to buy the product.
- Unsought products - people don't know they need these products until they do need them or until you explain why they need them. Therefore aggressive marketing is required to get front and centre of your customers.
There are several different ways of implementing the strategies above, each of which will also depend upon the types of products within your categories. Here is a collection of related articles to help you gain further understanding, or explore your options for professional help.