There is a pressing need for business firms to bring about changes in the physical attributes of their existing products periodically, to retain the customer base as well as to tide over the competition in the market. A number of factors may prompt the manufacturer to modify his product.
- To make best use of the technological advancement for the benefit of the firm
- Modification in lieu of competition
- To regenerate a product suffering from sales decline
What could be modified, it may be anything, the color, size, material, functional features, styling and engineering, etc., or a combination of these could be considered for modification. Ultimately these modifications should result in products emerging with better quality, features and styling. Consumer goods are offered with a wide range and variety to appease the different taste of the consumers as well as to stand unique in the market. Bathing soaps, talcum powders and cosmetics to name a few. Even producers, who are involved in core industries like textiles and garments, come out with a range of products to cater to the specific requirements of the customers.
Product modification is different from product specialization that applies to high end customers whose specifications are based on the end use of the product and the target market. For example, melange yarn is a specialized product used for producing better color shades for knitted fabrics (hosiery sector). Product modification concentrates more on increasing the appeal of the product by presenting it with attractive and improved attributes like, better packing and features.
The strategy of quality improvement aims at increasing the functional performance of the product- its durability, reliability, speed, taste, etc. The added advantages would be versatility, safety and convenience. The benefits of feature improvement includes,
- Builds company’s image
- Can aid in winning over the target market
- Gives free publicity for the firm
- Infuses enthusiasm in the internal environment of a firm, amongst the sales force and distributors
Style improvement aims at improving the aesthetic appeal of the product. Why do you think automobile manufacturers are in the process of introducing new models of cars periodically? It is a strategy that amounts to style competition rather than quality or feature competition. This kind of style modification has to be done after extensive market research to gauge the preference of the people in the target market and to avoid colossal monetary loss if in case there is a negative feedback from the market. Manufacturers of house hold products can always take the risk of going for small modifications in terms of texture and style as new features can be adapted quickly, dropped quickly and often made optional at the least expense.
A firm has to mix and match its product modification strategies to maintain its competitive position and to keep itself abreast of the latest developments in the market scenario.