Expansions of Product Lines: What are they? Examples and tips for forming your Strategy
Coca-Cola is the most iconic brand of all time. It has a market share of approximately a>>>%20of-leading soft-drink companies in the United States since 2004. It accounts for more than 43% of the soft drinks market and sells approximately 1.8 billion bottles each day.
You might be one of these consumers who has grown tired of the original Coca-Cola flavor. Perhaps you prefer a vanilla-cherry flavour. Perhaps you prefer a lighter version of the classic soda pop.
This problem can be solved by creating line extensions. This is a marketing strategy in which a company creates new products within one of its existing categories to target a particular customer group. Coca-Cola Vanilla is a flavor version of its original product that may be the best strategy to reach you.
Our goal? To keep you interested in the brand and keep you buying Coke.
Both large and small brands use product line extension to reach a wider audience and increase their revenue. This guide will provide tips and examples on how to create an extension strategy for your brand.
What is a product extension?
Line extension refers to expanding an existing product range. This happens when a company that is well-known introduces new products to a product line. This company takes the product’s value and brings new options to customers. Line extension is designed to satisfy a specific customer segment.
There are two types:
- Horizontal extensionsThese include maintaining the same quality and price of a product, but changing factors such as color or adding ingredients to differentiate it.
- Vertical extensionsThese include increasing or decreasing the price of a product in order to create a luxury or lower quality product.
There are many strategies for extending your reach:
- New flavors
- Different types of products
- New colors
- Different ingredients
- Different sizes
- Packaging innovations
Line extensions usually relate to products that a brand has already created. You could offer a hemp oil version in a line lotions, or introduce a new flavor to your soft drinks. This variant targets a particular consumer, while the core product stays the same.
What are the benefits of line extensions?
Every company should include product line extension in their marketing strategy. This is a low-risk method to satisfy the needs of different customer segments. It can also be used as a competitive tool to increase brand control in the market.
It enhances brand perception in a low risk way
Line extensions carry a lower risk than entering a new product line. Your brand is already a success so any products related to it will be appreciated by customers. Your brand may be well-known to shoppers, but they are still waiting for the right products.
NIM Marketing Intelligence Review’s latest findings show that line extensions of high quality improve brand perceptions more than they do harm.
Even though a product extension of lower quality could affect a brand’s perception, it had very little long-term impact. Because of the brand’s perception of innovation and positive variety, negative associations with quality were not noticed.
Customers have more options
One of the greatest benefits to line extensions is that customers have more options. One view of choice is that it is bad and that more options can lead to decision fatigue. However, this is not always true. You just have to find the right balance.
Customers expect multiple choices when they shop. Barry Schwartz discusses how people who have fewer options than they have can make faster decisions. Consumers with fewer options are more likely to be satisfied with their choices than those with unlimited options.
While line extensions can be beneficial to a brand, you shouldn’t offer too many options. You should ensure that the extensions you create are based upon audience research and trends, and they align with what people want.
It improves profits
Line extensions can be a cost-effective way to increase sales quickly. Lower upfront investment is possible for companies that have a proven production process and the ability to create new products.
To increase product demand and counter competitive threats, companies often expand their product lines.
The development of product-line extension is a competitive reality in many markets. Companies must adapt their product lines to keep up with changing product categories.
This strategy has proven to be successful for Bushbalm, an internet skincare retailer. CEO David Gaylord says that there have been huge changes in our business due to vertical and horizontal extensions. “Upselling new products in a category has resulted in an increase in average order value (AOV). We have also been able to reach new markets with new lines that allow us to address the potential total market (TAM) growth.
The expansion of a product line will increase sales, demand, market share, and profits. The increase in product offerings can keep customers interested and help to avoid losing them. This is described in ” Harmful upward line extensions: Can the launch of premium products result in competitive disadvantages?”
Brand extensions vs. line extensions
A company may introduce a new product in a different category to extend its brand line. This allows companies to expand their brand recognition by introducing new products in a completely different product category.
What do you know the brand Jack Daniel’s for, then? You are correct if you answered whiskey. Jack Daniel’s also offers other products in food and beverage, such as barbecue sauce, praline pecans and coffee.
Under the brand Jack Daniels Meats, there is also a frozen food line.
Jack Daniel’s brand recognition was used to sell other products. This is an example brand extension. If done right, products sold under brand extension initiatives may be easier to accept because they are more popular than the ones that already exist.
One example of Jack Daniel’s line extensions would be the creation of a new whiskey flavor. Jack Daniel’s has a variety of flavors to its core product, as you can see from the photo. Jack Daniel’s Old No. is the original. 7. These variants include every type of whiskey, such as Tennessee Apple, Gentleman Jack and Winter Jack, as well can cocktails.
A brand extension is simply expanding the company’s reach into new product areas that are less well-known. An extension of a line is when the brand creates an improved version of an existing product in order to reach new customer segments.
Extend your product line examples
Let’s take a look at two real-life examples to give you an idea of line extensions.
The extensive product range of skin care provider Bushbalm has grown over the years. The original focus of the brand was to make products that prevent ingrown hairs, such as oils and scrubs to soothe skin irritation.
It identified a need in the market for dark spot treatment and did a horizontal extension to increase its product range into this category.
Bushbalm sells both up-and downmarket products in each category. This means that they offer different quality and prices. You can shop online for a low-cost brush or a mid-priced scrub to soothe skin irritations. If you have the budget for it, you can choose a higher-quality oil that is more expensive.
This is a reminder that expansions do not have to be large-scale. Many of the examples that you will see regarding product mix and line extensions are linked to large brands such as Toyota and Colgate. Even smaller retailers can also find new product possibilities and reap the benefits of higher order values and greater market share.
Coca-Cola launched a number of new product lines over its 130+ year history. You’ll find a variety of Coca-Cola flavors on grocery shelves, including Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Life and Coca-Cola Vanilla.
Coca-Cola’s 1982 release of Diet Coke is the most famous example of a line extension. It was designed to appeal to the growing weight-conscious and calorie-conscious markets.
Diet Coke is still available today. To appeal to millennials, Diet Coke has expanded its product line by adding new flavors like Ginger Lime or Feisty Cherry.
Coca-Cola products are similar but target different markets. This allows Coca-Cola to expand its market share and increase sales.
Here are some tips for creating a product extension strategy
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict which product extensions will be most popular with your customers before you add them into your store.
This is a common problem that entrepreneurs can solve. It is important to remember that no one can predict what will work best until they start.
How can you get more information before making a major decision about your product? There are four main options:
- Describe your mission
- Use No-inventory-required Options
- Get audience feedback
- New product line extensions
Identify your mission
Shopify is interviewed by David Gaylord CEO of Bushbalm, who said that vision is the key to success. David explains that in order for ecommerce brands, to successfully extend their lines of business, they must strategically plan and build a mission.
David and his team should ask several questions when planning an extension for Bushbalm.
- Where are we going?
- What are our goals?
- What verticals are related to our mission?
- How can we avoid being pigeonholed into one product and instead expand into other categories?
“Without a mission you are swinging for money today, not in the future.”
Bushbalm was originally a brand for pubic health, with a single focus. David says, “This was a good thing because we were in a position to refine our value proposition and market plan.” It was bad because it put us in one group.
After the Bushbalm team had decided on their mission, they were able to expand into other categories that aligned with the brand. “Our slogan now is ‘Skincare, Everywhere” and we have a mission to solve all skin problems, no matter how niche they may sound. This pivot allowed Bushbalm to shift from treating pubic conditions to treating eczema, hyperpigmentation, sunburn, and other skin irritations.
Your brand’s mission is essential for product line expansion. Find your Purpose: 9 Best Visions and Mission Statements (+ How to Write One)..
Take advantage of no-inventory-required alternatives
You don’t have to make big investments or manage large quantities of inventory to test new products. There are other ways you can test them.
Marc Weisigner, former Director for Merchant Revenue Acceleration at Shopify, says, “These days, you can test stuff with a very cheap cost, and at a very high barrier to entry.”
When you are trying to determine your product inventory and product lines, choose something to try, and then test it to make sure it works. Double your marketing dollars and time investment if it works. Try something else if it doesn’t.
You could use Printful or Printify to print new designs while you are testing them out. This is a fast way to get your products out there. Once you’ve found the ones that work well, you can move to printing them yourself, or keeping inventory, without having to pre-order all of your original designs.
Dropshipping with Oberlo is also possible if you want to try out new product types or trends.
Pre-orders can be offered for new products you are considering as a manufacturer. You will only need one item to take product photos. Once you have your product page set up, you can market it online. This is a great way for you to gauge interest in your product designs before you invest your time and money crafting your inventory.
Get feedback from the audience
There is no better way of knowing if someone will purchase your products than by launching them and making sales. However, there are other methods to get valuable feedback from your audience.
You can ask them by conducting focus groups, surveys or connecting one-on-one.
Focus groups are a great way to learn about your target market, country, or audience. I know this because I have participated in them. Marc says that the wealth of information you gain about your audience is truly valuable.
Depending on the brand you are working with, it might be possible to recruit a focus group of people or to get them to complete a survey.
If you want to get feedback, give everyone $20 Starbucks gift certificates and ask them questions. Marc explains that if your audience is passionate about your brand, they may be open to participating if you just want to talk to them.
No matter how you set it up or what feedback method you use, it is important to get your audience’s opinion and input before you make your next inventory move. While you are thinking about how you can gather feedback from your audience, it is important to ensure that you have multiple sources of information.
It is better to have more perspectives and viewpoints than less. Because not everyone is the same, you should speak to several people in order to receive feedback.
In small quantities, you can test new product lines
There is no other way to avoid it. You need to purchase new product lines and keep them in inventory to obtain the information you need. However, this doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds on a product that isn’t tested.
It’s better to have a variety of products and double down on those that are successful if you do have the money.
You might pay more for smaller quantities, but it’s better to write a check for $20,000 to buy X quantity of the same product, even if you don’t know how they’ll sell.
This is especially important as there are not many situations in which you can have perfect data to make decisions about your next move.
Because entrepreneurs have limited market knowledge and a narrow view, it is crucial to have multiple inventory. We need to offer more options, let customers make the decision, and then capitalize on that information.
It all depends on what results you are seeing. Marc however pointed out that it is important to double down on a product that is moving quickly.
Expand your product lines to reach new markets
There are many ways to gather the information you need to make an informed decision for your business. You can save money by investing in research about your audience and trying out new products.
An experimental approach to profitability will allow you to look at the next steps with minimal risk. While there is always some risk in running a business it’s worth taking the time to manage and minimize that risk.