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Tangible and intangible product attributes

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 A Level/AS Level/O Level

Your Burning Questions Answered!

Discuss the role of intangible product attributes in customer decision-making and brand loyalty.

Analyze the impact of tangible product attributes on consumer perception and purchase behavior.

Compare and contrast the strategies used to market tangible and intangible products in different industries.

Evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with managing product attributes across multiple product lines.

Explain how advances in technology have influenced the evolution of product attributes and their impact on business strategy.

Product, Tangible and Intangible Attributes: What Makes a Product "Good"?

Every day, we're bombarded with products, but what makes us choose one over another? It's not just about the physical object itself, but also the features, feelings, and benefits it offers. This is where the concepts of product attributes come into play.

1. What is a Product?

A product is anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy a want or need. It can be:

  • Physical goods: These are tangible items you can touch and see, like a smartphone, a car, or a pair of shoes.
  • Services: These are intangible actions or activities performed for a customer, like a haircut, a flight, or a financial consultation.
  • Experiences: This encompasses the feelings and memories associated with a product, such as a concert, a theme park visit, or a vacation.

2. Tangible Product Attributes

These are the physical characteristics of a product that you can see, touch, or measure. They are crucial for the functional aspects of a product.

  • Features: These are the specific functions and components of a product. For example, a smartphone might have features like a camera, a large screen, or a fast processor.
  • Quality: This relates to the durability, reliability, and performance of a product. A high-quality product will last longer, perform well, and require fewer repairs.
  • Design: This encompasses the visual appeal of a product, including its form, shape, color, and materials. Good design makes a product aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.
  • Packaging: This is the container or wrapping that protects the product and provides information to the consumer. It can also play a role in brand recognition and product appeal.

Real-World Examples:

  • Tangible attributes of a car: Features like airbags, GPS, and parking sensors; Quality of the engine and build materials; Design of the exterior and interior; Packaging in the form of the car's brochure or website.
  • Tangible attributes of a pair of jeans: Features like pockets, zippers, and stitching; Quality of denim material; Design in terms of style and fit; Packaging in the form of the jeans' label and hang tag.

3. Intangible Product Attributes

These are aspects of a product that are not physical but still influence our perception and value. They relate to the emotional, social, and psychological benefits associated with the product.

  • Brand: This is the perception of a product or a company developed through marketing and customer experience. A strong brand can evoke feelings of trust, prestige, or exclusivity.
  • Image: This is the overall impression a product creates in the mind of the consumer. It is influenced by factors like design, advertising, and media coverage.
  • Value: This refers to the perceived worth of a product relative to its cost. It can be based on factors like quality, functionality, and emotional appeal.
  • Reputation: This is the collective perception of a product based on customer experiences and reviews. A good reputation can increase trust and drive sales.

Real-World Examples:

  • Intangible attributes of a luxury watch: Brand like Rolex or Cartier; Image associated with wealth and sophistication; Value based on craftsmanship and exclusivity; Reputation for reliability and prestige.
  • Intangible attributes of a mobile game: Brand like Supercell or Niantic; Image associated with fun and community; Value based on entertainment and user experience; Reputation for engaging gameplay and updates.

4. Importance of Both Tangible and Intangible Attributes

Both tangible and intangible attributes are crucial for a product's success. While tangible features address the basic functional needs, intangible attributes contribute to emotional connections, brand loyalty, and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

  • Synergy: The best products are those that skillfully blend tangible and intangible attributes, creating a compelling experience for the customer.


A high-end coffee machine might have excellent tangible attributes like a powerful motor, a sleek design, and various brewing options. But it also needs strong intangible attributes like a well-established brand, a positive image associated with quality and luxury, and a reputation for making delicious coffee.

Understanding the different attributes of a product is essential for businesses to develop successful marketing strategies. By focusing on both tangible and intangible aspects, businesses can create products that meet customer needs and desires, building strong brand loyalty and driving sales.

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