Rationalization of product features to optimize cost with a hypothesis that some features usage pattern of which are rare, if removed, will not affect a consumer choice of a brand could be a good idea. Manufacturer will have choice of transferring the gained value in the form of price to consumer in a high competitive environment. This strategy can be suitable for a brand targeting mid segment consumer to whom price matters. The limitation of this hypothesis is that the segment we define based on demographic variability is actually usage or need based.
Recently, few manufacturers thought in this direction, and they introduced new variants with rationalized features targeting a specific group on demographic and need based segmentation. Samsung and LG introduced refrigerators with lower size of freezer based on their findings of Indian consumer’s usage pattern of freezers. This helped them to charge 20% lower than the other premium brands. There are numerous examples in FMCG industry. To name a few, GSK’s “Asha”, a low cost substitute to Horlics for rural market, Maggie Masal–ae- magic and Maggie Rasile chow targeting population with low purchasing power.
Customer requirements can be translated into technical requirements of the product. However; a customer wish list does not always convert into a good business proposition. It’s important to understand cost of the customer’s wish. A customer of small car may wish for a power and safety requirements of a high capacity cars. So from a product manager’s point of view it is very important to understand target group and its actual need (not the wish list) from the product right at the time of conceptualization of new product. The right approach starts with segmentation which must be NEED or USAGE based than the other demographic parameters. The cost advantage will be the outcome if the product features are designed for specific needs or usage.