Are products striking back? : The rise of smart products in business markets

in Industrial Marketing Management, 90

Pardo, Catherine (19..-....) ; Ivens, Björn Sven ; Pagani, Margherita (1971-....)

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The business world is experiencing a shift away from ‘physicality’ due to the ubiquitous growth of the service sector and a progressive shift from selling product to offering service. Yet, at the same time, with regard to technology-based phenomena such as the Internet of Things (IoT), it is physical products equipped with sensors that are at the centre of the transformation. Our research seeks to understand how business products become smart products. It focuses on how product physicality ... (visibility of smartness; additional functions) and product ecosystems (product connectedness; degree of autonomy) are changing, and the resulting issues for marketing managers. We propose a typology of smart products along two dimensions: ‘Product Attributes’ and ‘Ecosystemic attributes’. We distinguish four categories of smart products: More Efficient Products (MEPs), Augmented Products (APs), Products as a Node (PN), and Products as a Hub (PH). In each category, a product acquires a certain degree of ‘digital enhancement’, ‘embeddedness’ and ‘transformativeness’, as we describe. We also discuss several implications of our work both at the theoretical and managerial levels.

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