When a customer buys a new computer, it consists not only of the tangible computer, monitor and cables, but also the information provided by the computer salesperson, the instruction manual, the packaging, the warranty and the follow-up technical service. These are elements of the extended product. Smith and Chaffey (2005) suggest these examples of how the Internet can be used to vary the extended product:
• customer lists
• customer comments
• money-back offers
• customer service (see people, process and physical evidence)
• incorporating tools to help users during their selection and use of the product.
Figure 5.3 shows a site developed by Fisher-Price, which rather than just being a toy catalogue, instead shows how children develop through play and how their carers can assist in this.
The digital value referred to by Ghosh (1998) will often be free, in which case it will be part of the extended product. He suggests that companies should provide free digital value to help build an audience which can then be converted into customers. He refers to this process as 'building a customer magnet'; today this would be known as a 'portal' or 'community'. There is good potential for customer magnets in specialised vertical markets served by business-to-business companies where there is a need for industry-specific information to assist individuals in their day-to-day work. For example, a customer magnet could be developed for the construction industry, agrochemicals, biotechnology or independent financial advisers. Examples include resource centres at Siebel (www.siebel.com) and DoubleClick (www.doubleclick.com). Alternatively the portal could be branded as an 'extranet' that is only available to key accounts to help differentiate the service. Dell Premier is an example of such an extranet.
Extended product is not necessarily provided free of charge. In other cases a premium may be charged. Amazon (www.amazon.com), for instance, charges for its wrapping service.
Was this article helpful?