What’s a Product
“There are no mature markets, only immature minds” – Philip Kotler
Product is something we all buy. Physical products like cars, machines etc. Then there are non-physical products like software, health services, financial services etc. Every company produces these products – physical or non-physical and organisations are identified by the products that they sell. Until now.
Just consider the products that the following companies offer – Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Uber or Airbnb. Facebook or twitter do not own or produce any of the products (i.e. the content) that you read or see on them. Uber does not own any cars that you ride in nor does AriBnb own any places where you go and stay. Amazon which handles 6 crore products on its site does not design, manufacture, own or service any of those 6 crore physical products listed there.
It is time to redefine the product as a concept in this new era of ‘marketplace and sharing economy’. What then is the definition of product in the new era?
Product in the marketplace and sharing economy is all that surrounds the physical or the non-physical product that is bought by customers from these marketers. It is bringing in experiences and choices meshing with tools and service that the customer eventually experiences. To put it mathematically, the product purchased by the customer is 100 units, 50 units are the physical or non-physical product and the balance 50 units are value additions embellished by the marketer.
Zappos.com is a site dedicated to sell footwear, clothing, accessories, housewares, beauty products and more. Nothing great or different about it. They were the products that we available for sale on the site. Is that their product? Zappos asked itself this question, “we should concentrate on what we sell or on how it is sold?” By focusing how they sell, Zappos created a new product. A product called superior customer care and service. You can buy shoes anywhere, but to “experience a new way of buying shoes” come to Zappos. The differential experience is the product that Zappos created.
Technology is another tool used as a layer to create a differential product without offering anything different. Taxi cabs were booked for decades but Uber made cab booking easy with an app and advantageous pricing and convenience. Amazon brought in discounts, doorstep delivery, buy anytime facility and more to the same old products. AriBnB added choice to travel enthusiasts by connecting hosts with guests.
New product idea is to both broadcast and narrow cast at the same time. Offer a wide gamut of choices in a narrow area of interest. E.g. if you go to a furniture store you can see a small range (depending upon the physical size) of the outlet. You will be shown an old worn out catalogue with grainy images to select from. Switch to a furniture marketplace. You get full range of furniture products (broadcast) with wide range of sofas (narrow cast).
Redefining product is the lynchpin of the strategy at SabRentKaro. At SabRentKaro we are putting together the best in technology with human interface to meets customer choices that are continuously evolving. We believe we cannot build the future based on past but only with future as a drawing board. As a marketplace we are limited by the physical products available in some spaces but have a great leverage in other areas. Curate, create and communicate are the three 3C’s we follow in SabrRentKaro to meet the needs of a new breed of customers. Technology has given the edge to us to create new products to cater to the unexpressed needs of customers. New products create new customers and we are creating and serving them every day.
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