Explain product line and product mix

Product Line

A product line is a group of product items that can satisfy the same needs and wants, they have more or less similar features. For example, Bajaj Auto Ltd., in its two-wheeler product line, makes Discover, Boxer, Boss, Pulsar, Cub scooter, Bajaj Sunny, etc.

Philip Kotler:Product line is a group of products that are closely related because they function in a similar way, are sold to same customer groups, are marketed through the same type of outlets, or fall within given price range.” Thus, the product line is the group of similar products. The similarity may be seen in one or more ways. The product line consists of product items belonging to the same class.

The definition suggests following five ways the items are closely related:

  1. They function in a similar manner.
  2. They offer similar benefits or meet similar expectations.
  3. They are sold to similar customer groups.
  4. They are marketed by similar outlets.
  5. They fall within the same price range.

Characteristics of Product Line:

Main characteristics of the product line can be listed as:

  1. The product line consists of closely related product items. The difference is only found in terms of colour, size, shape, model, performance, weight, and capacity.
  2. It is a composed of various similar items.
  3. Product items are complementary to one another. For the tube, tire, and related materials.
  4. There is the difference in price. For example, Hero Honda charges the different price for different models.
  5. The purpose of offering similar items in each of the product lines may be to attract customers by offering more varieties and to create a good image or
  6. Different items of a product line can be manufactured using same technology and/or
  7. Product items in each of the product lines are distributed in same distribution That is, similar outlets market them.
  8. Product items in each product line function in the same manner. They need same technical skills to use them.
  9. They are sold to similar customer groups. They satisfy needs of the same groups.
  10. They have more or less same use or utility. They are used for the same purpose.

Product Mix

Philip Kotler: “A product mix is the set of all product lines and items that a particular seller offers for the sale to buyers.”

William Stanton: “The product mix is the full list of all products offered for the sale by the company.” Thus, product mix. means a total number of products items offered by the company. For example, HMT Company produces watches, machines, tractors, plants, tools, and equipment’s, and many other products. In each product group, a number of varieties are offered. The set of all these products (main range) and product varieties in each range can be said as product mix.

Product Mix Dimensions:

Product mix of a particular company includes major product lines.

The product mix has various dimensions, such as:

  • Product Mix Length:

It refers to the total number of items (in all the product lines) in product mix. For, example product mix of Bajaj Company has more than 100 items in various product lines, such as fans, bulbs and tubes, heaters, motorbikes, shooters, rich-show, processing machines, and many other ranges.

  • Product Mix Width or Breadth:

It indicates the total number of product lines a company carries. For example, two-wheelers (including various models) constitutes one of the product lines of Bajaj Company.

  • Product Mix Depth:

It refers to a number of varieties in forms of sizes, colors, and models offered within each product line. It can be said as the average number of product items offered by the firm in each product line.

  • Product Mix Consistency:

It refers to the degree to which different product lines are related in one or other ways. It indicates how closely various product lines are related. The ‘consistency can be judged on the basis of production requirements, uses of products, distribution channels, or some other ways. For example, product lines of Philips India Ltd., include radios, bulbs and tubes, different television sets, VCR, CD-DVD player, tape recorders, etc., can have higher consistency. While Hindustan Machines and Tools produce wrist watches as well as tractors, it is called inconsistent product mix.