How a Product Range Benefits a Business
Many companies have a flagship product that helps launch the business and build brand awareness. But the product lifecycle will eventually run its course, and sales will either level out or drop off.
There’s also the matter of expansion. A single product will grow your business to a certain level, but more products are needed to continue the growth.
That’s why having a product range is important.
A product range is relatively low-hanging fruit for a business that’s already carved out a niche for a specific type of product. Instead of creating something entirely new to attract more customers you just have to come up with variations of your existing product. It could be as simple as adding additional features to create a premium version.
Another benefit is you don’t have to invest as much in research and development. Your existing user behavior data can provide insight into which additional features, upgrades or changes are likely to generate the most interest. You also already have a brand to work with so things like logos and packaging are easier to create.
In short, having a product range can significantly expand the market of a core product, and it’s easy to discover which product variations will be the most successful if you’re already collecting user data.
How Product Range Compares to Product Mix
A product range and a product mix are two strategies for expanding reach and sales, but they do so in different ways.
A product range is a variation on one product with each variation designed to appeal to a unique market segment.
A product mix is different products that are complementary and appeal to the same target market.
You can think of it this way. A product range of 20 products can attract 20 buyers that each purchase a single product, whereas a product mix of 4 products can attract 5 buyers that purchase all four products for a total of 20 sales.
Product Range Examples
There are many examples of product ranges from top-performing companies. These companies understand that they have a product that’s highly popular, but they can sell even more with a little variation.
Even a business as large and successful as Coca-Cola has a product range. Their flagship product, regular Coke, is wildly successful and has been for over 125 years. But they’ve expanded with a product range that includes:
- Diet Coke
- Coke Zero
- Coke Life
- Cherry Coke
- Vanilla Coke
- Orange Vanilla Coke
Coca-Cola even takes advantage of special events to expand their product range with limited production products. For the holidays they’ve created Coca-Cola Cinnamon. The company’s marketing says the “festive new flavor is the perfect way to spice up the season.”
But Coca-Cola products go well beyond beverages these days with a healthy product mix. They have a whole range of merchandise emblazoned with their logo in the Coca-Cola online shop. They also give customers the ability to purchase customized bottles with a person’s name in place of the Coca-Cola logo.
And did you know Coca-Cola also now owns GLACÉAU Smartwater and Vitaminwater? Those aren’t part of the branded Coca-Cola product range but it’s an example of how the company is expanding to serve more markets.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo
Johnson & Johnson has one of the largest product mixes in the world. But the product they are probably best known for today is baby shampoo. The J&J baby product line started way back in 1894, but when they introduced the “no more tears” shampoo in 1953 it was a clear winner.
The company has taken that one extremely popular product and created a range of shampoos for babies that includes:
- The original Baby Shampoo
- Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo
- Calming Shampoo
- Clean and Fresh Shampoo & Body Wash
Of course, this is just the current selection. Over the years Johnson & Johnson has relaunched their baby shampoo line. The original is always available, but the company uses feedback from mothers to develop new products based on the most recent needs and concerns. It’s a great example of how a product range can change over time as consumer behaviors and desires change.
The iPhone may be the biggest invention of the 21st Century, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a product range. To begin with, Apple released just one iPhone model every year or two. It was so innovative and there was such a lack of competition that Apple didn’t need other versions to attract different market segments other than adding two different finishes in 2008.
All that changed in 2013. That year Apple released the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The 5S had three metallic finishes, greater storage and more features compared to the cheaper 5C that came in five vibrant colors.
Then in 2014, Apple introduced the Plus version of the iPhone. It had a notably larger screen than the regular iPhone and a bigger price tag. But the Plus was able to attract the market segment that wanted more screen space and could compete with competitors like the sizeable Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
The latest round of iPhones now includes a Pro model and a Pro Max version with a larger screen. Another addition is six color choices for the regular iPhone 11.
Creating one amazing product is just the start. Finding ways to expand the product with variations can help you capture an even larger market share and attract new customers. Once you have a successful product the next step is to begin building a product range that will maximize profitability.