Product Modification

An adjustment in one or more of a product's characteristics. It is most likely to be employed in the maturity stage of the product life cycle to give a brand a competitive advantage. Product line extensions represent new sizes, flavors, or packaging. This approach to altering a product mix entails less risk than developing a new product.

There are three major ways of product modification, i.e. quality modifications, functional modifications, and style modifications.

(1) Quality modifications: These are changes that relate to a product's dependability and durability and usually are executed by alterations in the materials or production process employed. Reducing a product's quality may allow an organization to lower the price and direct the item at a larger target market.

The quality of a product may give a firm an advantage over competing brands and may allow the firm to charge a higher price because of increased quality. Or the firm may be forced to charge more because of higher costs to achieve the increased quality.

(2) Functional modifications: Changes that affect a product's versatility, effectiveness, convenience, or safety are called functional modifications. They usually require redesigning the product.

Functional modifications can make a product useful to more people, which enlarges the market for it. This type of change can place a product in a favorable competitive position by providing benefits not offered by competing items. Functional modifications can also help an organization to achieve and maintain a progressive image.

(3) Style modifications: Style modifications are directed at changing the sensory appeal of a product by altering its taste, texture, sound, smell, or visual characteristics. Since a buyer's purchase decision is affected by how the product looks, smells, tastes, feels, or sounds, a style modification may have a definite impact on purchases.

Through style modifications a firm can differentiate its product from competing brands and perhaps gain a sizable market share for this unique product. The major drawback in using style modifications is that their value is determined subjectively. Although a firm may modify a product to improve the product's style, customers may find the modified product to be less appealing.