What Is an Augmented Product?
An augmented product has been enhanced by its seller with added features or services to distinguish it from the same product offered by its competitors. Augmenting a product involves including intangible benefits or add-ons that go beyond the product itself.
Examples of the features used to create augmented products might include free delivery or in-home installation of a service. Cosmetics companies tend to offer free makeovers and travel-size samples to augment their products.
- 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.
- Product augmentation doesn't change the actual product, but instead, adds value to the purchase.
- An augmented product may have a perceived value that gives the consumer a reason to buy it and may allow the seller to command a premium price.
How an Augmented Product Works
To marketing professionals, 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. For example, a lipstick will make its buyer attractive; a pair of sneakers will make her healthier; a new phone will help you communicate more efficiently.
The actual product is the item for sale, including the unique branding, design, and packaging that is attached to it. The actual product and its features must deliver on the core-product expectations that consumers want from the product. A car, for example, should function seamlessly with all of its features to deliver the core product and create customer value.
The augmented product adds on features and services that distinguish it from similar products offered by the competition. The add ons don't change the actual product and may have a minimal impact on the cost of producing the product. However, an augmented product may have a perceived value that gives the consumer a reason to buy it. The added value may also allow the seller to command a premium price.
Augmentation doesn't change the product being sold. However, augmentation adds value to the experience for the consumer and can lead to brand loyalty.
Examples of Augmented Products
It's no secret that companies that can effectively create augmented products create a positive buying experience and have the best chance of developing a loyal base of repeat customers.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) launched its video and TV streaming service in 2019. To boost awareness of the new product and increase sagging iPhone sales, the company created an add-on or augmentation for anyone purchasing a device as stated below from the company's website.
"Starting today, customers who purchase any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free."
Discounts and Freebies
A discount coupon for a future purchase is a product augmentation, as is an offer of a refund if the customer is dissatisfied. A free recipe book offered with the purchase of a kitchen appliance such as a crockpot creates an augmented product.
More expensive purchases often come with enhanced 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 and in-store demonstrations are others. A retail store that sells cooking supplies might offer free cooking classes with each purchase. Apple, for example, offers teaching and guidance for how to use their products through their retail locations. An engaging website to help customers learn about a product or service, as well as an online support team, are product augmentations.
In considering almost any purchase, consumers have a wealth of options. An augmented product has been made to stand out from other products, or the same product offered by other sellers.