Product line

A product line is a group of products that are offered for sale by a company. These are related to each other, but they are different products.

Product line

A product line, in other words, is a group of products, which are offered for sale by a company.

These products are usually related to each other. However, unlike a product grouping, the line is made up of independent and distinct products from each other. In other words, the products found in a line are independent and are not made up of a central product and a range of accessories, as occurs in the product group.

This product line is one of the levels that make up the product hierarchy, through which the company’s marketing strategy is worked.

It is called a product line because it encompasses a group of related products. That is, they present a series of similar characteristics.

Characteristics of a product line

A product line is made up of a series of products that have similar characteristics. However, there are another series of characteristics that motivate a company to develop a product line.

Among these characteristics, the following should be highlighted:

  • Similarity between the products offered.
  • The products offer similar functions.
  • They are offered to the same type of consumer.
  • They are distributed through the same distribution channel.
  • Its price is similar, it stays in a similar price range.

Marketing establishes these characteristics for the development of a product line. However, developing a line depends on the strategy of the company, its objectives and interests.

Classification of a product line

A product line can be classified based on a series of elements that allow the differentiation of one line from another. Since all product lines are not the same, a criterion must be established to determine the characteristics and elements that typify and classify the different product lines, either in the same company or in different companies.

In this sense, we can classify the product lines based on the following elements:

  • Portfolio length: The total number of products offered on the line.
  • Vulnerability of the line: The distribution, in percentages, of sales. All this, depending on the different products that make up the line.
  • Consistency of the line: The narrowness of the characteristics of the products to each other.
  • Line width: The number of lines that make up the line.
  • Depth of the line: The diversity of models offered by the line.

Difference between product line and range

Although both concepts have similarities to each other, they do not mean the same. Marketing distinguishes these concepts, since they present a series of differences that should be noted.

First of all, the line is a set of products within the same product range. These are offered by the company and present similarities to each other.

An example of this could be a line of diet yogurts: low-fat yogurt, low-sugar yogurt, unsweetened yogurt, skimmed yogurt …

Second, the product range is a set of products, which cover a certain market segment. These are offered, in the same way, by the company. An example of a range would be, and in relation to the previous example, the range of yogurts: diet yogurts, Greek yogurts …

As we can see, both concepts are similar, but we could say that the range differs from the line in the fact that the range brings together a broader list of products than the line.

The strategy in a product line

A product line is an element of a company’s product hierarchy. In this sense, the product line is defined and implemented by the company to maximize profits and capture as many sales as possible.

To do this, marketing experts are based on a series of strategies that are in charge of controlling and modifying the product line, in such a way that it is always adapted to the potential consumer of the company.

To do this, a series of actions are usually carried out that, such as those shown below, allow a continuous adaptation of the product line to the market:

  • Extension of the product line.
  • Expansion of the product line.
  • Modernization of the product line.
  • Creation of new product lines.

Although these are the most common, depending on the company, there are more methods that allow establishing strategic planning processes for a product line.