An augmented product is a product that has been designed by its seller to include several additional benefits and features beyond just the physical product. Usually, these additional benefits come in the form of intangible features and services that accompany the purchase of that product.
Product augmentation is a marketing strategy that brands and businesses use to distinguish their products and offers from those of competitors and to make them more valuable than what competitors are offering. To the customer, it is like getting more value for their money.
An augmented product is not a different kind of product; the actual product doesn’t change. Rather, product augmentation just means the product comes with a lot of added value.
Intangible Benefits for Augmenting Products
What are some of these additional (intangible) values that can be augmented?
Warranty: This is a very common example of intangible features a product can be augmented with. A warranty is your promise to a customer, that if there is a fault on a product (within a specified period), it will get sorted out.
Free delivery: A promise to handle the delivery of a product to a customer can increase the value of the money the customer is paying for it.
In-home installation and configuration: Sending your technician to the customer’s home to install a product bought.
Updates: This applies mostly to software products. It involves providing periodic updates to the software, which the customer won’t pay for.
Customer service and customer experience: Some things like having a conducive retail outlet with great ambiance and amazing customer service, also form part of product augmentation.
- Free gifts
- Free snacks while at the retail outlet
- Ticket to events
- Free product trial, etc.
Examples of Augmented Products
When Apple launched its video and TV streaming service earlier in 2019, it devised a way to create awareness about it and get people to start using the service. What it did was to offer Apple TV as an augmentation for the purchase of certain Apple devices. The message on their official website stated thus: “Starting today, customers who purchase any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free.”
What that meant was that Apple products, such as Apple TV, iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad, would become augmented with Apple TV+ for one year. So, when a customer buys any of these devices, the customer gets to enjoy the benefit of using the Apple TV+ service for free for a period of one year.
Laptop + carry bag
Sometimes, when you go to buy a laptop, some companies offer a laptop carry bag along with it, and you don’t have to pay for the bag. It may not be a carry bag, but maybe a wireless keyboard or mouse. But whichever one it is, what you have is an example of an augmented product. The laptop is the actual product, but the other items are the augmentation done by the company.
Different manufacturers give a warranty on their products. For instance, a television manufacturer who chooses to give up to 5 years warranty each LED television purchased augmenting the products with the free warranty. The actual product the buyer is paying for is the LED television, but in addition to that (and for the same price), the buyer gets a warranty.
One of the ways many e-commerce platforms drive more sales is through product augmentation. An e-commerce site offering free shipping for products from a certain price level, or a free phone accessory with the purchase of a phone, etc., are examples of augmented products.
You should be familiar with this one. Telecom operators often provide free SMS and free data alongside voice calling plans to their customers. This is a good example of an augmented product. The customer only pays for the voice calls (the actual product), while getting data and SMS for free.