Product Line Extensions: What They Are, Examples, and Suggestions for Forming Your Technique

Coca-Cola is among the largest manufacturers of our time. It holds round 43% of the tender drink market and sells 1.8 billion bottles per day

When you’re a type of customers, you may’ve grown bored of the unique Coca-Cola taste. Possibly you need a vanilla-cherry taste. Possibly you need a mild model of the basic soda pop. 

Creating line extensions resolve this drawback. It’s a advertising technique the place an organization creates a brand new product in certainly one of its present classes focusing on a selected buyer group. For Coca-Cola, the technique to succeed in you could be Coca-Cola Vanilla, a flavored model of the unique product. 

The aim? To maintain you excited and within the model so that you’ll maintain shopping for Coke. 

Manufacturers each giant and small use product line extensions to succeed in a larger viewers and improve income. This information will stroll you thru examples and recommendations on creating an extension technique, so you can also prolong your model’s product line. 

Desk of Contents

Template Icon

Free Webinar:

Methods to Discover and Supply a Successful Product to Promote

In lower than 40 minutes, allow us to stroll you thru discover product concepts, validate them, and promote the product upon getting an concept you wish to pursue.

What’s a product line extension?

Line extensions refers back to the strategy of increasing an present product line. That is when an organization with a longtime model introduces extra objects in a product class. The corporate makes use of the worth of the present product to market and introduce new decisions to customers. The aim of line extension is to fulfill a refined buyer phase available in the market. 


There are two forms of product line extensions:

  • Horizontal extensions, which contain sustaining the identical value and high quality of a product however altering components like colour or including substances to distinguish the merchandise. 
  • Vertical extensions, which contain growing or lowering the standard and value of a product to create a lesser high quality or luxurious product. 

Methods for an extension could be:

  • New flavors
  • Completely different types of product
  • New colours
  • Completely different substances
  • Completely different sizes
  • New forms of packaging

These line extensions are sometimes associated to the merchandise a model already creates. For instance, providing a hemp oil variant in a line of lotions or introducing a brand new taste in your tender drink lineup. The core product stays the identical, however the variant targets a selected client via this strategy. 

What are the benefits of line extensions?

Product line extension is part of each firm’s advertising technique. It’s a low-risk technique to meet the wants of varied buyer segments and can be utilized as a aggressive weapon to extend a model’s management over the market. 

It improves model notion in a low-risk manner

Line extensions are comparatively low threat in comparison with getting into a brand new product class. You have already got a profitable model, so any associated merchandise you launch will seemingly be welcomed by buyer segments. Consumers might already know your model, however are ready for the correct merchandise to come back their manner. 

The most recent findings from NIM Advertising Intelligence Overview discovered that high-quality line extensions enhance general model perceptions way over decrease high quality extensions hurt them. 

Even when a lower-quality product extension decreased the notion of a model, there have been hardly any long-term results. The unfavorable high quality associations had been ignored due to the model’s perceived innovation and optimistic selection results.

It provides prospects extra choices

Maybe the obvious benefit to line extensions is that it provides prospects extra decisions. The normal view of alternative is that it’s a unhealthy factor and that having extra decisions can result in resolution fatigue. However that’s not at all times the case—you simply want to seek out the stability.

Prospects now anticipate to have a number of choices accessible to them when procuring. Within the TED Discuss on the “paradox of alternative,” Barry Schwartz describes how people who find themselves given a fundamental set of choices usually make choices sooner versus an expansive set of decisions. The customers with restricted choices normally find yourself extra glad with their choices versus those that have infinite choices.

Line extensions could be helpful for a model, however you don’t wish to provide too many choices. Be sure the extensions you propose to create are primarily based on viewers analysis and pattern, and align with what folks really need. 

It will increase earnings

Line extensions are a fast and low-cost technique to spike gross sales within the quick time period. An organization with a longtime manufacturing course of and capability to supply new merchandise means decrease upfront funding. 

Corporations usually broaden product traces to extend demand for merchandise and mitigate aggressive threats. 

In lots of markets, the event of product-line extensions is a aggressive actuality. As product classes evolve, an organization should repeatedly adapt its product traces.

It’s a technique that has labored for Bushbalm, a web based skincare retailer. “We’ve seen large modifications to our enterprise via horizontal and vertical extensions, CEO David Gaylord explains. “Upselling a brand new product in a class has led to progress in common order worth (AOV). And new traces have helped us attain fully new audiences to focus on the rising potential complete addressable market (TAM).” 

Extending a product line is more likely to elevate gross sales, demand, and market share. As a result of extensions improve the quantity of merchandise accessible to the market, they maintain folks and might help keep away from shedding buyer base, as described in “Dangerous Upward Line Extensions: Can the Launch of Premium Merchandise End in Aggressive Disadvantages?” 

Free Information: Methods to Discover a Worthwhile Product to Promote On-line

Enthusiastic about beginning a enterprise, however undecided the place to begin? This free, complete information will educate you discover nice, newly trending merchandise with excessive gross sales potential.

Line extensions vs. model extensions

Model line extension happens when an organization introduces a brand new merchandise in a very totally different product class. It permits an organization the chance to increase its model with recognition from its present merchandise. 

For instance, what do you instantly know the model Jack Daniel’s for? When you answered whiskey, you might be appropriate. However Jack Daniel’s additionally sells different merchandise within the meals and beverage sector, together with barbecue sauce, praline pecans, and even espresso. 

jack daniel's brand extension

The model additionally affords a frozen meals product line, underneath the title Jack Daniel’s Meats

Jack Daniel's Meats

Jack Daniel’s utilizing its model recognition to promote merchandise outdoors the alcohol sector is an instance of brand name extension. When performed appropriately, merchandise underneath a model extension initiative could also be extra simply accepted due to the recognition of present ones. 

An instance of line extensions for Jack Daniel’s could be creating a brand new taste of whiskey. As you may see within the photograph beneath, Jack Daniel’s affords a couple of totally different flavors of its core product. The unique model is Jack Daniel’s Outdated No. 7. The variants are each different kind of whiskey developed, together with Tennessee Apple, Gentleman Jack, Winter Jack, and even Can Cocktails. 

jack daniel's product line

Total, a model extension includes increasing the corporate into new product classes the place it’s much less recognized. A line extension is when the model creates a variation of an present product to focus on new buyer segments. 

Product line extension examples

Now that you’ve got an concept of what line extensions are, let’s take a look at two real-life examples.


Skincare supplier Bushbalm has an in depth product line that has expanded over time. The model initially centered on making merchandise for ingrown hair prevention, together with oils and scrubs for pores and skin irritation. 

bushbalm line extension example

After figuring out a market want for darkish spot remedy, it did a horizontal extension to broaden its product line into that class. 

Horizontal line extension from bushbalm

In every class, Bushbalm additionally sells up- and downmarket, which implies promoting totally different high quality and value merchandise. When you’re procuring within the model’s on-line retailer, you should buy an reasonably priced brush or mid-priced scrub to deal with pores and skin irritations. Consumers who’ve just a little extra price range can go for a costlier oil, which is a extra luxurious possibility. 

The lesson right here is that expansions don’t should be an enormous undertaking. Quite a lot of examples you’ll see about line extensions and product combine are associated to massive manufacturers like Toyota or Colgate. Smaller retailers can also discover new product alternatives and get the advantages of upper common order values, extra income, and extra market share. 


Throughout its 130+ years in enterprise, Coca-Cola has launched its justifiable share of product line extensions. When you look on any grocery shelf, you’ll discover a couple of totally different flavors and types of Coca-Cola, equivalent to Coca-Cola Life, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and so forth. 

Probably the most well-known instance of a line extension was Coca-Cola’s launch of Weight loss plan Coke in 1982. It was used to focus on the rising weight- and calorie-conscious market. 

Weight loss plan Coke nonetheless exists at the moment. It’s since expanded the product by introducing new flavors equivalent to Ginger Lime and Feisty Cherry to attraction to millennial customers.

Diet cokes

Coca-Cola’s merchandise are comparable, however totally different in that they go after totally different audiences. This offers the worldwide model an opportunity to take up extra market share and develop gross sales for the company.

Suggestions for making a product line extension technique

The unhealthy information is that there’s no technique to totally predict which product line extensions will resonate along with your viewers earlier than you add them to your retailer.

The excellent news is that it is a shared drawback, so entrepreneurs have discovered various methods to deal with it efficiently. An important factor to remember is that nobody is aware of what is going to work greatest earlier than they launch.

So how will you collect extra data earlier than you make a giant resolution about your product line? There are 4 predominant methods:

Determine your mission

“It begins with imaginative and prescient,” David Gaylord, CEO of Bushbalm tells Shopify in an interview. David explains that for ecommerce manufacturers to do line extensions efficiently, they should strategically plan and construct their mission. 

When planning an extension for Bushbalm, David and his crew ask themselves a number of questions:

  1. The place are we going? 
  2. What will we aspire to be?
  3. What verticals exist that revolve round our mission?
  4. How can we not pigeonhole ourselves into one product however quite broaden into different classes? 

“With no mission, you might be swinging for cash now, not cash sooner or later”

Bushbalm began as a pubic care model, focusing solely on one particular problem. “This was good as a result of we had been in a position to hone our worth proposition and advertising plan,” David says. “But it surely was unhealthy as a result of it positioned us in a single class solely.”

As soon as the Bushbalm crew selected their mission, they may broaden into totally different classes that aligned with the model. “Our tagline now could be ‘Skincare, In all places’ and our mission to resolve pores and skin challenges, irrespective of how area of interest they sound.” The pivot allowed the model to maneuver from pubic care to treating eczema, psoriasis, hyperpigmentation, solar injury, and different forms of pores and skin irritation. 

A mission will assist get your model on observe for a product line extension. When you need assistance deciding on one, learn Discover Your Objective: 9 Greatest Imaginative and prescient and Mission Assertion Examples (+ Methods to Write One)

Leverage no-inventory-required choices

There are methods to check out new merchandise that don’t contain putting massive bets or intensive stock administration.

“Lately you may take a look at stuff at a really low value, at a really low barrier to entry,” says Marc Weisigner, former Director of Service provider Income Acceleration at Shopify. 

“So while you’re making an attempt to determine your stock and product line, decide one thing, give it a go, and take a look at it to see if it really works. If it does, double down when it comes to your time funding, when it comes to hiring somebody, and in advertising {dollars}. If not, take a look at one thing else.”

When you’re testing out new designs, you could possibly set them up utilizing a print-on-demand service like Printful or Printify. It’s a fast technique to get these merchandise out into the world, and while you see which of them carry out effectively, you may change to printing them your self or holding stock with out the danger of pre-ordering your whole unique designs.

The identical goes for dropshipping with an app like Oberlo, in the event you’re trying to take a look at out the attraction of solely new trending merchandise or product classes.

You may as well look into providing pre-orders for a brand new product you’re contemplating as a maker. The upfront funding is only a single merchandise to take your product pictures, and you’ll arrange your product web page and promote it from there. This can be a nice technique to gage curiosity in your product concepts earlier than investing the money and time in crafting your stock.

Collect viewers suggestions

Whereas there’s no higher technique to know somebody will purchase your merchandise than launching and making a sale, there are different methods to collect invaluable suggestions out of your viewers.

Particularly, you may ask them for it by working focus teams or surveys, or by connecting one-on-one.

“I’ve seen firsthand how a lot enterprise homeowners be taught once they run focus teams for various goal markets, international locations, or audiences. The wealth of data that you simply get about your viewers is de facto invaluable,” explains Marc. 

Relying in your model, you may be capable of recruit a spotlight group or get your viewers to take a survey in a single of some methods.

“When you’re in search of suggestions, give everybody a $20 reward certificates to Starbucks and ask them questions. Or you probably have an viewers of people who find themselves actually enthusiastic about your model, they may be prepared to take part simply since you wish to speak to them,” Marc describes.

Nevertheless you set it up, and whichever suggestions technique you go along with, getting your viewers’s enter and opinions forward of time could be invaluable in terms of making your subsequent stock transfer. And when you’re eager about collect your viewers’s enter, you wish to ensure you’re planning to listen to from a number of sources.

You’re normally higher off gathering extra viewpoints or views on something, quite than fewer. You wish to communicate to a variety of individuals to get suggestions, as a result of not everybody thinks the identical manner that you simply do.

Take a look at new product line extensions in small portions

Typically there’s simply no manner round it: you want to spend money on new product line extensions and maintain them as stock in an effort to get the data you want. However that doesn’t imply your arms are tied and you want to spend a whole lot of {dollars} on an untested product.

When you do have cash to spend money on new stock, it’s greatest spent on getting a variety of recent merchandise in and doubling down on those that show profitable—versus taking a giant swing on a single product which may not work out.

When you’re ordering small portions, you may be paying extra per unit, however that’s preferable to writing a examine for $20,000 to herald X quantity of the identical product if you do not know how effectively they’re going to promote.

It’s particularly essential as a result of there are only a few conditions the place you’ve an ideal information set to make choices about your subsequent transfer, so that you wish to ensure you’re creating situations to get extra data.

Having a wide range of stock is essential as a result of, as entrepreneurs, we nearly at all times have a restricted scope and consider of the market. Until there’s actually good analysis, or it’s not our first time round, we have to present extra choices to begin with, let the shoppers determine, after which actually capitalize on that data.

The way you try this is dependent upon the outcomes you’re seeing, however Marc was fast to level out that in the event you see a product is shifting shortly, it’s essential to double down and provides the profitable product extra outstanding placement or extra advert spend.

Attain new markets with product line extensions

Lately, there are methods you may collect data to make a strong subsequent transfer for your corporation with out paying for costly market analysis. A small funding in studying about your viewers and testing new merchandise might help you keep away from over-investing in a product that finally received’t promote.

Once you’re taking a look at your subsequent steps towards profitability, an experimental mindset will allow you to strategy the issue with as little threat as doable. And whereas there’s at all times some threat concerned in working a enterprise, managing and mitigating it as a lot as doable is at all times a sensible strategy.

Illustration by Jon Krause

Able to create your corporation? Begin your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no bank card required.

Product line extension FAQ

Why is product line extension essential?

Product line extensions mean you can leverage an present model title to promote to new market segments. It provides manufacturers a aggressive benefit and might improve buyer loyalty by providing extra decisions to potential prospects. It doesn’t matter whether or not you might be promoting ice cream or toothpaste, line extensions must be a part of your advertising combine. 

What are the dangers of line extension?

Some dangers of line extensions are releasing a nasty product that confuses prospects and retailers. This might result in weakened model loyalty, decrease aggressive benefit, and a strained relationship between the marketer and commerce companions. 

What’s an instance of line extension?

Take into consideration the final time you actually needed ice cream from the grocery retailer. As you stroll by the freezer, you seek for a taste that you really want. You’re not feeling the usual vanilla at the moment. Happily, the model has made 20 different flavors so that you can select from. Making a chocolate chip model, a mint model, or ice cream sandwich model are forms of line extensions.