What are some of the main differences between products and services? And when are these relevant?
Tangibility versus Intangibility
Products are tangible. You can buy pork as a tangible product. You buy it, you ship it and sell it. In the same way as you buy stamps, cigarettes and cars.
Financial service companies however, make it possible to exchange pork bellies Futures, on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). A future is (not the most simple example of) a service with which you can hedge your risk. In this last case, most of the people trading on the CME will never see or smell the pork bellies.
The ownership between products and services is different. A stock could be called a financial product that you own. You can place a stock order which might result in a transaction later on. Your bank services a depot fee for saving you a lot of work. You cannot own a service.
Where the product is much more standardized, the service is tailor-made. Companies differentiate in offering products and services, but the variations between similar products of different producers are less prominent than the variations between services.
You can count products in the same way as you can count your money (or have your bank service you this information). A service is not countable, but is “leveled;” better than the best service is not possible. There is a limit in what a service can offer.
A product is produced by a manufacturing process. A service is offered by the utility element of companies; you subscribe to a service in the same way as you subscribe to your gas and electricity supplier.
And this brings us to the essential of these differences; changing from one (product approach) to the other (service offering) is very complex, because of the last mentioned differences. Not only the process is different but the style change you need to support this change… Good Luck.
© 2006 Hans Bool