What is the Augmented Product?

Each product has a specific purpose: To cover an original need, for which it was designed.

The concept Augmented product refers to everything a product offers that is not directly related to its original purpose.

 

For example:

  • The “buying experience”.
  • The delivery.
  • Customer service.
  • Side products or services included.
  • etc.

 

Depending on whether the characteristics of a particular product cover that original purpose (for which the product was designed) or not, they can be classified into 3 levels:

3 Levels of a Product

Augmented Product

3 Levels of a Product.

 

The 3 Levels of a Product are generally divided into:

  • Core Product.
  • Actual Product.
  • Augmented Product.

 

Let’s explain them in more detail:

Core Product

As its name indicates, in this level we find the original purpose for which this product was designed.

Nothing more.

 

For example:

The Movie Theater was designed just for showing movies.

  • Popcorn, Coke, and the whole family experience were not part of its original purpose.

Its Core Product would be:

  • A good image.
  • A good sound.
  • Comfortable chairs.

That is all.

  • A nice entrance, good Popcorn or cheap Coke… are not part of this Core Product.

Actual Product

Usually, there is much confusion with the difference between Actual and Augmented products.

In the end… If something is not the Core Product, why is not considered to be Augmented product?

  • Why do we have this “intermediate” category?

 

The Actual Product includes the basic characteristics of a product: the features all products have (in different ways).

  • It is impossible not to have these features.

 

For example:

  • Design.
  • Quality.
  • Color.
  • Brand.

These characteristics exist because the product exists.

  • All products have color, design, brand…

Augmented Product

The Augmented product is everything “extra” a product offers.

  • Everything that could not be included but it is included.

 

For example:

  • An experience when buying or consuming the product.
  • Side-products included.
  • Customer service.

 

Sometimes, these “additional features” are included by all manufacturers and then are confused with Actual product characteristics.

  • But they are not.

 

For example:

When you buy a Mobile phone all companies include a warranty.

  • But you are purchasing a mobile phone.
    • You want to phone your friends and family.
  • A 2 years warranty is something “extra” you receive.

 

* You could also regard the warranty as part of the Actual product, and if the warranty was exceptionally good, consider that “extra-good” as the Augmented product.

Things always have different interpretations.

  • However, we don’t recommend to do it this way since it can get very confusing.

We know that all this seems a bit “useless”.

 

Why should you worry about these “Augmented characteristics”?

How can be this useful?

Why should you care about Augmented Products?

Focusing on your “Augmented product” is a good (and sometimes easy) way to attract customers.

 

Improving the technical characteristics of a particular product is difficult.

  • Think about how little; bags, shirts, burgers… have changed over years.
    • They’re all mature products, where it is almost impossible to innovate.

 

However, the are an infinite number of ways in which you can innovate with “Augmented Products”.

 

For example:

  • With a new innovative customization service.
  • With a new buying experience.
  • With an innovative shop.
  • With cool side-products (for free).

 

Example of “Augmented Product”: Teppanyaki “artistic” Chef.

 

If your product is difficult to promote or innovate, think about your “Augmented Product”.

Now that you understand why is it so important, let’s talk about how to Improve it.

How to develop a successful “Augmented Product”.

How to improve Augmented Products

According to our professional experience and the different studies that we’ve carried out, there are 3 key aspects that you must take into account to improve your “Augmented Products”:

1. Think about your Customer Experience

People are not attached to products, but to experiences.

 

When you literally “love” a product, what you love, is the experience you have when:

  • Buying this product.
  • Consuming this product.
  • Having this product.

 

If you focus in your Customer experience, you’ll be able to create new and pleasant experiences for your customers.

 

We also talked about “Customer Experience” in our “Branding” page.

  • If you are interested about it, you should check it out.

Example of Customer experience in "Augmented Products": Christmas.

 

If you regard “Christmas” as a product, it is the perfect example of Customer Experience (we are talking about Christmas from a pure commercial standpoint, not a the religious perspective).

 

Everybody loves Christmas.

But… Why do we feel that “Christmas warmth” in those days? (again, we are not talking about religion).

  • In all shops you can hear Christmas Carols.
  • The City is decorated with beautiful lights.
  • There are dozens of Santa Klaus sculptures everywhere.
  • You can enjoy Christmas sweets.
  • etc, etc.

And, most important: every year is the same.

 

All that, makes you remember when you were little, the magic of Christmas…

  • It is the perfect emotional Customer Experience.

 

That is why we are all so attached to those wonderful days.

2. Relief consumer Pain Moments

Pain moments? What is that!?

A “Pain moment” is any situation that is not comfortable for the Customer.

 

For example:

  • The time to pay.
  • Queues.
  • Any “waiting” moment.

 

If you find a new and “successful” way to reduce a “Pain moment”, you’ll have an important advantage over your competitors.

 

But… How can you relief a “Pain moment”?

  • Be imaginative.

 

For example:

  • Facilitate the “payment process”.
  • Entertain your customers while they wait.
  • etc, etc.

Example of "Pain Moment" relief: UBER.

 

The reasons why UBER has succeeded are diverse.

However, one key factor has been the “payment process”.

 

When you take a cab, you (we all) are afraid that the driver doesn’t take the shortest way.

 

With UBER, that fear disappeared.

  • You know in advance how much your ride will cost and which way will the cab follow.

 

Moreover, you don’t have to pay it “in hand”.

  • For some people, it is a bit uncomfortable.

 

It is a perfect example of “Pain moment” relief.

3. Remember: Your Customers must Return

This is the most obvious advice but the least taken into account.

 

Since we live in a global marketplace, people often think they’ll always find new customers.

  • Therefore, there is no need to worry about clients returning or not (some people think).

 

It doesn’t matter how many clients you can reach or how big your market is: If your clients don’t return, you’ll fail miserably.

 

It is very common to use the “Augmented Product” only to “squeeze” customers.

  • And that is a big mistake.

 

Your clients must feel that, their experience, their satisfaction is your number one priority.

Augmented Product examples

Let’s now look at some examples of “Augmented Products” designed  successfully:

Disney World - Augmented product example

 

Disney World is the closest thing to Christmas you can find.

  • It is a wonderful place where you can enjoy unique experiences with your family.

 

Let’s analyze why Disney World is so successful: :

 

Customer Experience:

Without a doubt, Disney World is a 100% focused on Customer Experience.

  • The environment.
  • The music.
  • The Disney characters all over the place.

 

Pain Moments:

You can find some of the best examples of “Pain Moments” relief at Disney World:

  • Futuristic shuttle buses.
  • Queues very well managed.
    • With soundtracks, TVs, sound effects…
  • You pay up-front.
    • You don’t pay at attractions.
  • There are multiple promotion that make things easier
    • With hotel included, shuttle bus, and even flights.

 

Do people return?

  • Yes, of course.
  • Nobody is glad to leave Disney World.

Super Bowl - Augmented product example

 

How is it posible to improve a (American) football match?

  • In the USA, they are experts.

 

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events in the world.

And why is it a good example of “Augmented Product”?

 

Customer experience:

  • When someone watches the Super Bowl, he is watching a big show.
  • The Super Bowl, is not a simple match.
  • Inside the Stadium, there are famous actors, nice food, drinks…
  • There is music and show everywhere.

 

Pain moments:

  • In the Halftime, there is a massive show with the best Pop stars.
    • In Europe, there is nothing similar in the Champions league final.
      • There is much more show culture in the USA.

 

Do people return?

  • People love it. No doubt.

Happy Meal - Augmented product example

Image courtesy of McDonald’s – Source: Happy Meal

 

We couldn’t talk about “Augmented Products” and forget about Happy Meal.

 

It is the epitome of “Augmented Products”.

  • If you are still not sure what exactly an “Augmented Product” is, think of a Happy Meal.

 

Core Product:

  • A burger menu for kids.
    • With McNnuggets, fries, etc…)

Actual product:

  • How it tastes.
    • With/ without pickle, tomato, etc…
  • Size and portions.

Augmented Product:

  • The Box containing the burger.
  • The Toys.
  • The Experience.
    • As it is not the healthiest food option, parents take children to McDonalds on special occasions.
      • It improves the experience even more.

 

Now, let’s analyze the 3 factors we mentioned before:

The Customer Experience:

  • There is no debate: Having a Happy Meal is a nice Experience for every Child.

 

The Pain Moments:

  • McDonald’s usually has a playground for children.
    • While parents are ordering the lunch, children can play there.

 

McDonald’s playground.

 

Do people return?

  • There is no need to answer this question.

Summarizing

All products can be conceived according to 3 levels:

The Core Product:

  • Its original purpose.

The Actual Product:

  • The basic unavoidable characteristics of this product.

The Augmented Product:

  • Everything that is not directly related to its original purpose.

 

Developing a good “Augmented product” is a good way to attract customers.

If you want do develop a successful “Augmented Product” you should:

  1. Think about your Customer Experience.
  2. Relief consumer Pain Moments.
  3. Remember: Your Customers must Return.

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