Categories of Business Products

As discussed in the Business Buying Behavior Tutorial, the amount spent on business purchasing far exceeds consumer purchasing. Products sold within the b-to-b market fall into one of the following categories:

  • Raw Materials – These are products obtained through mining, harvesting, fishing, etc., that are key ingredients in the production of higher-order products.
  • Processed Materials – These are products created through the processing of basic raw materials. In some cases, original raw materials are refined while in other cases the process combines different raw materials to create something new. For instance, certain crops, including corn and sugar cane, can be processed to create ethanol which has many uses including as a fuel to power car and truck engines.
  • Equipment – These are products used to help with production or with important business operations activities. Examples range from conveyor belts used on an assembly line to large buildings used to house the headquarters staff of a multinational company.
  • Basic Components – These are products used within more advanced components and are often built with raw or processed materials. Electrical wire is an example.
  • Advanced Components – These are products that use basic components to produce products that offer a significant function needed within a larger product. Yet by itself an advanced component does not stand alone as a final product. In computers, the motherboard would be an example since it contains many basic components but without the inclusion of other products (e.g., memory chips, microprocessor, power connector, etc.) would have little value.
  • Product Component – These are products used in the assembly of a final product, though these could also function as stand-alone products. Dice included as part of a children’s board game would be an example.
  • MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operating) Products – These are products used to assist with the operation of the organization but are not directly used in producing goods or services. Office supplies, parts for a truck fleet and natural gas to heat a factory would fall into this category.