According to Marketing Insider a product can be defined as anything that we can offer to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that could satisfy a need or want.
Examples of products are: Phones, Laptops, and Books.
Services are processes, deeds and performances. It is an activity or benefit that is offered by one party to another.
Examples of services are: Hospitality, Tourism, Education and Banking.
According to keydifferences.com there are many differences between marketing product and marketing services.
Marketing Products can be owned as they are physical goods, such as a new phone or laptop, they can also be resold on to another party. Whereas marketing services cannot be owned, as they are non physical goods, such as a doctors appointment, which cannot be sold to another party.
Marketing products can be returned if the consumer purchases a product and it doesn’t work as it is supposed to. It is much easier to return a product as it is a physical good, whereas it is much harder to return a marketing service as a service is consumed as it is offered.
With marketing products, the quality of the product is easily measured, unlike with marketing services. It is much harder for consumers to evaluate the quality of the service received than the quality of a product purchase.
Products usually tend to fill the customer’s need or want, therefore companies can use this to sell a product. Whereas a service is more about selling a relationship between the buyer and seller of the service, the client needs to perceive the value of the service.
According to Cascade Business News the four key characteristics of service businesses are: Intangibility, Inseparability, Perishability, and Variability.
Intangibility: According to Business Dictionary intangibility is defined as a fundamental characteristic of services referring to the fact that a service cannot be seen, smelled, tasted, touched or stored. Marketing products are tangible, this means the customer can feel, see and touch the product before purchasing it. These are physical goods such as a new phone or laptop. On the other hand, services are intangible. There are non physical goods, they cannot be seen, felt or touched. This makes it difficult for companies to promote services.
Inseparability: Score New York City defines inseparability as the interaction that exists between the provider of the service and the customer receiving the service. Services are produced and consumed simultaneously. Therefore services cannot be isolated from their provider. For example, iphones and first manufactured and then stored at various distribution units around the world, they are then sold by local retailers both online and offline to customers. However, services do not work the same. Such as a doctors appointment, in which both the doctor and patient must be present when service is provided, this means the service cannot be easily isolated from its provider.
Perishability: According to MBA Skool perishability is defined as following: Services are intangible and cannot be stored as inventory, hence it can never get perished, because the service cannot be stored, demand forecasting becomes a major problem for the marketing managers, and a slight mismatch in the demand may lead to loss of potential sales and customers. Services cannot be stored, saved, returned pr resold once delivered to a customer. For example, if a hotel room is unoccupied for a week the hotel will lose their profits on that room for a week, as the service is perishable and it cannot be resold after that week.
Variability: Marketing Profs says services quality and consistency are subject to great variability because they are delivered by people, and human behavior is difficult to control. Personal performance and quality can vary by time of day, time of month or year, workload, experience, attitude, knowledge, and other factors. Therefore providers need to manage the service reputation both online and offline.