The Total product concept refers to the bundle of services offered by a product/service. As an example for fitness equipment total product can be explained can be explained as all the benefits customers receive by using the product, from good health to the psychological feeling associated with using the product to the time saved by purchasing the good online to the after sales services provided by the manufacturer.
Total product concept is used by the customers when evaluating the products among different brands and they distinguish benefits and go for the product which provides them with best value for the money paid. Due this reason, companies use total product concept to differentiate their products from competitors and create a unique position for them in the market.
The total product concept can be analyzed using four levels:
The Basic Core
The basic core can be defined as bundle of functional benefits. Basic core includes all main benefits that a firm promises to deliver. Mainly the customer expects core needs to be satisfied with basic core features of a product and customer satisfaction greatly depends on the functional benefits. If the basic core fails in a product, the product is going to be a failure as it is the core benefit customers expect and failure can be resulted in a major dissatisfaction in the mind of the consumer.
For fitness equipment basic core can be analyzed as follows:
As an example Aerobic exercise machines contributes to a good health of a person by delivering oxygen and nutrients due to increased blood circulation. This can be identified as the core action of above mentioned type of fitness products. Some of the exercise machines promises burn more calories and lose weight and thereby make the body healthy. This also can identified as a basic core for the product as customers purchase fitness products with the intention of losing weight, burn unwanted calories. Apart from examples provided exercising muscles of whole body, building strong and flexible muscles and making the body to sweat more can identified as ways in which fitness equipment makes the body healthy.
Another core benefit expected from a fitness equipment is to provide a good body shape while burning all the unwanted calories and by shaping up muscles. Men prefer to build their muscles where as women prefer to maintain a slim figure.
Accessory ring include added-value benefits which are not directly paid for but yet received. Accessory ring includes benefits which customers receive as extra value added services apart from the main benefits promised. Organizations use these benefits to build competitive advantage by differentiating products from the competitor.
For a fitness product accessory can be identified as follows:
Portability of fitness equipment makes it easier to use it anywhere the customer wants but this would not be the main benefit that a customer expects from the product. This is an added value which motivates customer who is traveling place to place very often to purchase the product as the product can be used anywhere.
Edge Fitness Manufacturing warrants its products against defects in material and workmanship. (Anon 2009d) Some manufacturers offer life time warranties where as some manufactures offer warranties based on no of years. Some warranties cover any kind of damage where as some product cover only defects in materials. Customer does not pay directly for the warrant he receives and this is an extra service provide by the manufacturer
Some fitness equipments provide an opportunity to get a help from instructor or trainer as to how to use the equipment in a proper way. This services are provided free of charge when a new customer purchases a product.
Fitness equipment sellers provide after sales services such as maintenance of the equipments, providing solutions via hotline or some other means for the problems that customers face when using the product and suggesting fitness tips for customers to enhance the performance of the product. These services may persuade customers to recommend the products to others as it enhances the customer experience.
Some exercise machines provide information about the current performance and the amount of calories burnt and as an advanced option, some equipment provides the facility to store these data and retrieve those whenever needed to perform an evaluation.
Psychological ring is formed by benefits resulting from the consumer’s feelings associated with owning/using the product. This includes all emotions and thoughts of a customer regarding the ownership of the product and it may differ from customer to customer hence it may be little difficult to obtain it as we have to analyze the consumers’ minds to obtain information.
For a fitness product psychological ring may include:
The customer’s knowledge and thinking that he will gain a good health may persuade him to use the equipment which makes him mentally healthy.
In countries like Sri Lanka only high income earners can afford to buy a fitness product. Due to this using a fitness product gives a social status of high income earner and this leads to a mental satisfaction derived from owning a fitness product.
Time is taken or saved when products/service are purchased; this can be good or bad. This relates to time consumed when purchasing and using the product. These benefits can be important factor for customers who have busy life styles.
Time for a fitness product include:
Since most fitness products are being sold via internet and teleshopping and delivered to the doorstep this reduces the time spent in customer travelling from store to store to find out the best fitness equipment suits their requirement. Just by a click or a telephone call customer can make the purchase and pay for the service using credit cards. One best example is teleseen marketing found at www.teleseen.com .
People spend hours and hours in going to gyms and this time can be saved by purchasing personal fitness equipment. This can be identified as a important benefit for customers with busy lifestyle.