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Product attributes are key to getting your brand noticed in the increasingly crowded ecommerce marketplace. 

Companies need to offer potential buyers what they want in a format that makes it easy for the average person to find. With the flexibility offered by modern ecommerce platforms, it’s important to understand and take advantage of the opportunities within strategic product attribution.

Use product attributes to show up in search engines and speak to shoppers’ extremely specific needs and wants. When we match our classification of products on the product details page according to consumer behavior and habits, we’re in business.

Consumers look for and buy goods and services with specific product attributes. Ecommerce marketers must hone their target market and build product descriptions that capture customers' desires. Using product attributes in marketing is critical in attaining brand success. Each different attribute must be a positive selling point to create a lasting impression.

What Are Product Attributes?

Product attributes refer to the characteristics that define a service or product and influence customer buying decisions. 

Companies internally identify products using a unique code or SKU (stock-keeping unit) to help differentiate between products in their inventory management system. Still, customers look for products in very different ways.

Customers use natural language and descriptive words in their search queries, such as “large family tent” or “affordable waterproof jacket.”

Attributes are further defined as tangible (physical) or intangible (non-physical). 

  • Tangibles are characteristics such as size, color, smell, product design, weight, etc.
  • Intangible refers to things like price, quality, and aesthetics

Buyers use a combination of these various product attributes to make a purchase decision. They desire a product that meets their needs and wants. Needs are must-haves in a product, and wants are desired but not critical. Buyers select a product that best matches these needs and wants.

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Types of Product Attributes

When consumers look for a product, they need to readily obtain information about it and easily compare and find the right fit among all the available options. It is important to list the product attributes that will matter most to your prospective buyer.

Product attributes must be accurate and informative. Listen to customer feedback, take advantage of reading reviews (these also help with making product improvements), and understand how your product is meeting, or not meeting, customer expectations. 

Here are different product attributes that can describe your product, plus a few helpful examples.

Quality

This should be your brand's primary product attribute when pushing for market placement. People are drawn to products they know and they trust will work. Generating positive reviews and solid manufacturing data are two ways of demonstrating a product’s quality.

This requires work. Companies that ensure their chain of product development, production, quality assurance, and control, as well as customer service, are all consistent with producing a high-end product will win stellar reviews that validate its quality.

Quality is an attribute type that should not only be highlighted but needed if the product is to be discovered by consumers and trigger sales. Examples of quality-related attributes include:

Marketing claims

Marketing claims are those relating to your product's performance. They can be both objective and subjective. Businesses invest time and money into conducting research groups and customer surveys to create a persuasive stat to entice customers.

Examples of marketing claim attributes include things like:

However, it's important to be aware that false claims, or statements modified to twist attributes, can cause marketing problems. A dishonest or weak claim can devalue your product and brand. It may capture a consumer's interest once, but if the attribute claim is false and the product does not live up to expectations, loyalty and repeat business are lost—and you'll miss out on positive reviews.

Extensive testing to verify and support marketing claims will help avoid the problem of misidentifying product attributes and strengths. Consumers will find your products through solid marketing claims and become repeat buyers when those claims are verified through a great customer experience.

Innovative attributes

Some products and services in the marketplace have been around for generations. Items like laundry or cleaning products are perfect examples. However, if your company wants to stay ahead of the regular market brands, innovations can help reinvigorate sales.

Keeping products fresh, whether they are well-established or new to the market, can be achieved by mining the data of a product category to analyze, assess, and rework products. This allows you to create next-generation products built on a strong foundation of tried and true products with loyal customers.

Focusing on increased reliability, a new look, extended shelf life, sustainable materials, and other needed improvements can differentiate your product and attract new customers.

Verification and safety

While color or size attributes can be important in triggering a customer purchase, another important tangible attribute is a product’s proven safety credentials. This variant should not be ignored, as consumers value trustworthy and safe products

Examples of verification-related attributes are:

All these attributes are critical to making the consumer feel safe that the product can be trusted. Verification studies can be conducted at specialized labs to meet all safety needs. This works in any area of product and service support. 

Catching product and service issues before a product hits the market also means fewer negative reviews and reduces the chance of product recalls and returns. Verified safety attributes will help consumers find your products and feel good about buying them.

17 Product Attributes That Motivate Purchases

The list of tangible and intangible product attributes is nearly endless. Here's a comprehensive (but by no means exhaustive) list of product attributes:

  1. Quality: This refers to how well the product performs in relation to its intended purpose and its durability over time. High-quality products are usually made from superior materials, manufactured with precision, and have less likelihood of defects.
  2. Color: This relates to the hue, saturation, and brightness of the product. Color can also influence a customer's purchasing decision, as it often conveys certain emotions or meanings.
  3. Size: Size pertains to the physical dimensions of the product, such as length, width, and height. It also could include volume or capacity, depending on the type of product.
  4. Innovation: This refers to how novel or advanced the product is regarding technology or ideas. An innovative product often has unique features or functionalities that set it apart from its competitors.
  5. Design: Design encompasses both the aesthetic appearance and the product's functionality. It involves shape, color, texture, and ergonomic features that make the product comfortable and easy to use.
  6. Weight: This is the measure of how heavy the product is. Weight can impact shipping costs, ease of use, and even the perceived quality of the product.
  7. Content: This could refer to what's included in the product package or the actual information or features contained in a product, especially for digital or media products.
  8. Smell: For certain products like food, beverages, perfumes, and cleaning products, the scent or odor can greatly influence customer satisfaction.
  9. Taste: This attribute is crucial for food and beverage products. It refers to the flavor profile, which could be sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami, or a combination thereof.
  10. Feel: This relates to the tactile sensation when a customer touches the product. It could refer to the texture, hardness, temperature, or weight of the product.
  11. Quantity: Quantity pertains to how much of the product is sold in a single unit or package. This could refer to the number of items, the volume, or the weight.
  12. Material makeup or ingredients: This refers to what the product is made of. For food items, this would be the ingredients list. For non-food items, it could be the type of fabric, metal, or plastic used.
  13. Price: This is the cost to the customer to purchase the product. Price is often a key deciding factor for consumers and can reflect the product's perceived value.
  14. Reliability: Reliability pertains to how consistently the product performs its intended function without failures over a certain period.
  15. Verification and safety: Verification refers to the processes in place to ensure the product meets specific standards or claims. Safety relates to the product's potential risks or hazards to the user.
  16. Packaging: This involves how the product is presented and protected. Good packaging can enhance the product's appeal, provide important information, and ensure the product reaches the customer undamaged.
  17. Marketing claims: These are statements made by the brand about the product's features, benefits, or performance, used to persuade customers to buy. They should be truthful and verifiable (for example, through case studies or consumer research).

Use this list to highlight the right attributes and ensure they help consumers find the product and trigger them to buy.

This list can help marketers highlight a custom product’s attribute selection and ensure customers see these positives in their online product searches. Product attributes should be easy to find in product descriptions, under an attributes tab or menu, or on the main page.

If you're looking for ways to manage and optimize your product attribution list, check out the 10 Best PIM Software for Product Information Management.

Put Your Product at the Forefront

Marketing a product or service needs more than just promoting the same old features. Using product attributes that are strong, positive, and true can help you stand out in a crowded and competitive market.

Highlight your product positives, name a custom attribute that makes the product shine, and do everything possible to surpass every competitor's claim. Your ecommerce site (and your customers' search results) should emphasize what you sell and what sets you apart from the rest.

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By Francois Marchand

Francois Marchand is The Ecomm Manager's content strategist and editor. He is passionate about helping and educating business leaders, ecommerce professionals, and digital marketers grow their skill sets to stay ahead of the competition. Francois holds a BA Specialization in Communication Studies & Journalism from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and 20+ years of experience in ecommerce, marketing, traditional and digital media, and public relations, including The Vancouver Sun, National Post, CBC/Radio-Canada, Unbounce, and Vancouver Film School. He also hosts The Ecomm Manager Podcast, discussing ecommerce best practices, customer experience, branding, inventory management, shipping and delivery, and analytics with expert guests.