What Is an Augmented Product?

An augmented product has been enhanced by its seller with added features or services in order to distinguish it from the same product offered by competing retailers. Free service, fast delivery, and in-home installation are examples of add-ons that a retailer might offer to create an augmented product.

[Important: Augmentation adds nothing to the actual product and little to the cost of producing it; it may, however, add value to the purchase.]

How Augmented Products Works

To a marketer, every product comes in at least three versions: The core, the actual, and the augmented.

The core product is not a physical object. It is the product's benefit to the consumer: A lipstick will make its buyer attractive; a pair of sneakers will make her healthier; a new phone will help her communicate more efficiently. The actual product is the item for sale, including the unique branding, design, and packaging that is attached to it.

The augmented product adds on features and services that distinguish it from the same or similar products offered by other sellers. The additions do not change the actual product, but they add value to the purchase. An augmented product may have a perceived value that gives the consumer a reason to buy it and may give its seller an opportunity to command a premium price.

Examples of Augmented Product

By definition, augmentation adds nothing to the actual product and little to the cost of producing it. The product may be augmented by its producer or by the retailer who sells it.

A discount coupon for a future purchase is a product augmentation, as is an offer of a refund if the customer is dissatisfied. A recipe on the side of a box, an engaging website, or an online support team are product augmentations.

More expensive purchases may come with more significant augmentation. In-store financing for furniture purchases, a free trial, or free delivery all augment the product being offered. A cable company competing for new business might offer a more convenient home installation schedule to attract customers.

Good customer service and store ambiance are augmentations that brick-and-mortar retailers add to their entire range of products. A generous return policy, free samples, and in-store demonstrations are others. Cosmetics companies offer free makeovers and travel-size samples to augment their products.

In considering almost any purchase, consumers have a wealth of options. An augmented product has been made to stand out from other products, or from the same product offered by other sellers.

Key Takeaways

  • To a marketer, every product comes in at least three versions: the core, the actual, and the augmented.
  • The augmented product adds features and services that distinguish it from the same or similar products offered by other sellers.
  • They do not change the actual product, but they add value to the purchase.
  • An augmented product may have a perceived value that gives the consumer a reason to buy it and may give its seller an opportunity to command a premium price.