Many will think that a product and a service are two easily differentiated terms. For example, it is very clear that when you buy a computer you are buying a product and when you ask the computer to fix it you are asking for a service.
However, the dividing line between the two concepts sometimes seems blurry. For example, when you go to a restaurant, buy a product or request a service?
In this article we will present the differences between product and service, In addition to giving examples to better understand it.
What is the difference between a product and a service?
Let’s take a closer look at how the services and products differ.
1. Tangible vs. intangible
This is perhaps the clearest difference. A product is something that is physically there that we can touch, taste, smell, see and even feel. Instead, a service is made of physical matter, since it is an action.
The difference between a tangible product and an intangible service is at the time of the sale. As long as the product was already there, service is only received after it has been received.
2.storable vs. perishable
This is another difference which is also very easy to understand. The products can be stored, at least for some time. however, services simply cannot be registered, Because these are actions.
For example. A car salesman sells products which, if not purchased, are parked in the garage. If the weekend arrives and the store closes, the product will still be there.
Conversely, if what is offered is a car rental service, if there is a day when you don’t rent them, you no longer offer the service. It is not that the service is saved, it is that it is not directly there.
The storage capacity of a product must be taken into account, Since aspects such as expiration date or surplus can lead to economic losses.
When it comes to services, it’s important to make sure that your offering is made to a market that is interested in it, and you also need to think about the best times to offer it. While this is something that isn’t going to expire, keep in mind that if it is offered on days when there are no customers, it is offered something that people just aren’t asking for.
3. Participation vs. acquisition
Services are not something physically noticeable, because they arise when someone wants to receive them. essentially there is service when there are customers. For example, a masseur does his job when there is a client who asks for it. Massages are not a material thing, since they are received.
Another aspect to consider about services is that they are highly customizable, unlike products.
For example, it is not the same thing to go buy a dress, a product, to go and have it done for you, a service. In the first case, although there may be different sizes and types of clothing, it is a product that is already made in the factory. Instead, have them do it so that you take action and take into account exactly what you want.
4. Need vs. trust
Products are manufactured with a basic function, which is to satisfy the need for which they were manufactured. If you buy a dishwasher and it cleans well, this is a good product.
This does not happen so clearly with services. When a service is received, the criteria for considering it as good are entirely subjective.. They depend on each person who receives it.
When you decide to go to a restaurant or a hairdresser, the trust you have in the professionals who work there will largely determine what happens in those particular establishments.
This is not to say that people choose products out of dire need before relying on their brand, past experiences with it, or other recommendations, however, the decision to buy a brand of milk or a brand. type of vending machine. long to decide.
5. Homogeneity Vs. heterogeneity
Products are usually the result of a mass production line. The object is designed, molds are created and several thousand are made per week. All practically the same. The products, in mass production, follow very specific standards. For this reason, if a product is defective at the time of purchase, it can be returned or repaired.
Instead, the quality and characteristics of a service will depend on many factors. Several people can offer the same service and yet do it in very different ways.
It is ideal for companies to have quality criteria when offering a service, or something so that in the event that the customer is not satisfied, he can be compensated in a way. or another.
6. Customer-supplier interaction
When a service is produced, at least two people must be made available: the customer and the supplier. This is why, to ensure that the customer acquires the service offered to him, the supplier must take great care of the business relationship.
In relation to the previous point, it is important that the company guarantees compliance with quality standards when offering the service.
Aspects such as the employee’s image and ability to communicate, as well as the physical space in which the action takes place, become very important when the offer is something intangible as a service.
- Breivik, I. (1995) Assessment of the differences between goods and services: the role of product intangibility. Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration Institute of Marketing. Bergen, Norway.