When thinking about the concepts of merchandise and merchandise service, many people have a hard time differentiating between the two. Merchandise is something bought in retail or wholesale settings. A service is something that must be performed by a person and may or may not require payment. While these two seemingly distinct concepts can seem confusing, they are actually quite distinct from each other.
A product is something that can be seen and touched. A product typically requires an input from a consumer to create it- for example, creating a car or iPhone requires the input of manufacturers. A product can also be shared among many users- for example, an iPhone can be used by multiple people at once. A product is often designed to function as a service for the consumer. For example, air travel is a service for consumers but is also an industry for airlines. Airlines are selling tickets, but they’re also providing transportation for their consumers.
A service is something that can be done but not seen or touched. A service may or may not have an end product resulting from it. For example, hosting services allow users to access web content while paying monthly fees for access. App development services allow people to create applications for their phones without owning the coding expertise themselves. Pest control services allow people to get rid of pests without directly interacting with them. A service is often associated with multiple products- such as pest control products that include insect control and animal removal as well as scheduling products for online businesses and residential customers.
A service may have multiple products associated with it. For example, hosting services typically have email accounts as part of their offerings, which are products associated with that service. To create these accounts, companies will often hire individuals to perform services for their consumers- known as service providers. These service providers often perform several different tasks for their consumers, such as setting up email accounts or domains for them. These account sets are often available as ‘products’ through service providers’ affiliate programs (where SPs get commissions on sales made by ASPs).
The concept of merchandise and merchandise service is essential in marketing and sales strategies since both are essential parts of business establishments. However, determining whether something is a product or a service can be tricky if one does not understand the underlying structure of these concepts.
A product is something that can be seen and touched; a service is something that can be done but not seen or touched. Since not all services are merchandise, there are many different ways marketers can appeal to both customers and potential employees alike through offering up products-service combinations in unique forms and quantities in order to meet the needs of all parties involved in the process of creating and maintaining profitable ventures in today’s society.