Product Characteristics: Relative Advantage, Compatibility, Complexity, Trialability, Observability

There are five product characteristics that influence how attitudes are created towards new products and services.

 Relative Advantages
 Compatibility
 Complexity
 Trialability
 Observability

Relative Advantage

This is the extent to which a given consumer sees a certain attribute of a new product or service to be better than the attributes of similar existing products or services. If a consumer sees the new product attribute as better than existing ones, it does not necessarily mean that that attribute is actually better. This means that this product characteristic is based on consumer perception.

There is a direct relationship between positive relative advantage and new product adoption rates. The more a consumer views a certain attribute as being better than those of existing product attributes, the more rapid the rate of adoption. A new product’s/service’s relative disadvantages (such as increased prices and the increased time it might take to learn how to operate the new product) will, of course, have an opposite effect on the adoption rate.


Compatibility is how the consumer perceives the new product or service into the person’s lifestyle choices. When the product or service closely matches the individual’s needs, wants, beliefs, values, and consumptions patterns, the innovation can be considered highly compatible with the consumer. For example even though a coke substitute might have an almost identical flavor to the real thing, consumer’s who are loyal to the Coke brand are unlikely to purchase the substitutes. This is because in the consumer’s mind the real Coke is the only Coke, and anything else is considered “junk” or worthless. In this case the coke substitute would be considered incompatible with the loyal Coke drinkers.


The extent to which the consumer considers the innovation to be difficult utilize in known as the innovation’s complexity. If the innovation has a high level of complexity, it will have a lower level of adoption. If the innovation is perceived as being less complex than it’s existing counterparts, a marketer can sometimes use the advantage to gain a price premium on the new product or service.


If the new product or service can be tried out for limited time period before an actual outlaying of money, the product adoption rates will rise substantially. Trialability reduces the consumer’s perceived risk of making a purchase of the product. By letting your customer try your product before the purchase, you are showing your customer that you are confident enough in your product to allow them to try it before they make a purchase. Of course, the trial offering has to be tailored to appropriately fit with your product offering. For example if you own a website that offers paid subscription based financial services, you might want to try to offer a free one month subscription.


The extent to which a potential consumer can observe the innovation and it’s positive effects is known as observability. The more the positive effects are sensed, the more observable the effects are to the consumer. For example, if you are running an online gaming website and you come out with a new edition of a game with that has 20 more guns than in the last edition, this addition would be considered an easily observable positive attribute; you can see them in the game when you are playing it. But if you made the little tree in the corner move a little, that would be considered a less observable positive attribute.

Below is a List of My Most Read Entries
Search Engine Optimization
Presentation Skills & Public Speaking Presentation Tips & Ideas
Sample Marketing Plan IMC Integrated Marketing Communications
72 Examples of Best Print Advertisements
Business Letter Format/ Formal Letter Writing