Product vs Service: Difference and Comparison

Products are tangible items with physical attributes that customers can purchase and own. Services, on the other hand, are intangible offerings characterized by actions, expertise, or experiences provided to customers. While products provide a concrete and lasting value through ownership, services deliver value through actions, knowledge, or temporary experiences.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tangibility: Products are physical items, whereas services are intangible activities or experiences.
  2. Ownership: Products result in ownership transfer, while services don’t have ownership transfer.
  3. Production and consumption: Products are produced before consumption, whereas services are produced and consumed simultaneously.

Product vs Service

The difference between Product and service is that product is an item produced by a company to market and exchanged for money. And Service is provided by the business to the customer on demand.

Product vs Service

A product is a tangible item that the organization produces to market and sells to a customer in exchange for money. The product has a physical presence, touch, smell, and taste. The products can be one-time use or used repeatedly.

Services are intangible; it is the service given by a person to another person on demand. People get attracted by the services they get from the organization.

Quality of service is one of the best strategies and approaches to attract customers.

Comparison Table

TangibilityTangible – Can be physically touched or heldIntangible – Cannot be physically touched or held
OwnershipCustomer owns the product after purchaseCustomer does not own the service, but pays for its use
Production & ConsumptionProduced before consumptionProduction and consumption happen simultaneously
InventoryCan be stored for future usePerishable – Cannot be stored for later
StandardizationCan have many variations and modelsMore standardized with less variation
Quality ComparisonEasier to compare quality due to tangible natureMore subjective and difficult to compare quality
DeliveryCan be delivered physically or digitallyDelivered through the provider’s actions or expertise
ExamplesSmartphone, clothing, furnitureHaircut, consulting, education


What is Product?

A product refers to any tangible or intangible offering that satisfies a need or want and can be exchanged for value. Products can range from physical goods, such as electronics and clothing, to services, software, and even ideas. Understanding the various aspects of a product is crucial for businesses and consumers alike.

Types of Products

1. Goods

Goods are tangible, physical products that consumers can touch, feel, and own. Examples include smartphones, cars, and clothing.

2. Services

Services are intangible offerings that provide value through actions or performance. Examples include consulting, healthcare, and education.

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3. Hybrid Products

Some products combine both goods and services. For instance, a smartphone not only includes a physical device but also various software services.

Product Life Cycle

1. Introduction

The product is launched into the market. Sales are typically low, and marketing efforts focus on creating awareness.

2. Growth

Sales start to increase, and the product gains acceptance. Profits rise, and competition may intensify.

3. Maturity

The product reaches its peak in terms of sales and market share. Competition is fierce, and companies may focus on differentiation or cost leadership.

4. Decline

Sales decline, and the product becomes less popular. Companies may decide to discontinue or revamp the product.

Key Components of a Product

1. Core Product

The fundamental benefit or solution that the product provides. For a smartphone, the core product is communication and access to information.

2. Actual Product

The tangible features and attributes of the product, such as design, features, and brand.

3. Augmented Product

Additional elements beyond the core and actual product, such as warranties, customer support, and packaging.

Product Development Process

1. Idea Generation

Generating and screening ideas for new products.

2. Idea Evaluation

Assessing the feasibility and potential success of the product ideas.

3. Development

Creating prototypes and developing the product.

4. Testing

Conducting market tests and getting feedback from potential customers.

5. Launch

Introducing the product to the market.

6. Commercialization

Implementing a full-scale marketing and sales strategy.

Branding and Positioning

1. Branding

Creating a distinct identity for the product through a name, logo, and overall image.

2. Positioning

Determining the product’s place in the market relative to competitors.

Marketing Strategies

1. Product Differentiation

Highlighting unique features that distinguish the product from competitors.

2. Pricing Strategies

Setting the right price to maximize profit and market share.

3. Distribution Channels

Determining the most effective ways to make the product available to consumers.

4. Promotion

Creating awareness and interest through advertising, public relations, and other promotional activities.


What is Service?

Defining Service

In the realm of business and commerce, a service is a broad term that encompasses a wide array of intangible offerings provided by one party to another. Unlike tangible goods, services are characterized by their non-physical nature and the experience they deliver. This comprehensive exploration will delve into various aspects of services, shedding light on their definitions, characteristics, classifications, and significance in the modern economy.

Conceptual Understanding

A service can be defined as an intangible act or performance that one party offers to another, often involving a specific skill, knowledge, or expertise. It is an economic activity that is not associated with the production of a physical product but rather focuses on meeting the needs and desires of the consumer.

Key Characteristics

Services exhibit several distinctive characteristics, including intangibility, inseparability, variability, and perishability. The intangible nature of services means they cannot be touched or held, making their evaluation and marketing challenging. Inseparability refers to the simultaneous production and consumption of services, while variability highlights the potential for inconsistency in service delivery. Perishability indicates that services cannot be stored for future use, emphasizing the real-time nature of many service interactions.

Classification of Services

Service Industries

Services can be classified into various industries, such as the service sector, which encompasses activities like financial services, healthcare, education, and hospitality. Understanding the diverse categories of services is crucial for analyzing economic trends and formulating effective business strategies.

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Consumer vs. Business Services

Further classification distinguishes between consumer services and business services. Consumer services target individual consumers, offering solutions to personal needs, while business services cater to the requirements of enterprises, supporting their operational and strategic goals.

Significance of Services in the Economy

Economic Impact

Services play a pivotal role in modern economies, contributing significantly to GDP and employment. The shift towards a service-oriented economy has become a global trend, reflecting the increasing importance of services in fostering economic growth and development.

Service Innovation

Innovation in services is paramount for staying competitive. The development of new and improved services enhances customer satisfaction, fosters business growth, and drives technological advancements.

Globalization and Services

The globalization of services has expanded opportunities for cross-border collaborations, enabling the exchange of services on a global scale. This interconnectedness has profound implications for international trade and economic interconnectedness.


Main Differences Between Product and Service

  • Tangibility:
    • Product: Tangible and physical, can be touched and seen.
    • Service: Intangible, often involves actions or processes rather than physical objects.
  • Ownership:
    • Product: Ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
    • Service: No ownership of a physical item; customers essentially purchase a benefit or experience.
  • Production and Consumption:
    • Product: Produced first, then consumed later.
    • Service: Produced and consumed simultaneously; production and consumption are often inseparable.
  • Customization:
    • Product: Limited customization options, especially for mass-produced items.
    • Service: Can be highly customizable to meet individual customer needs and preferences.
  • Perishability:
    • Product: Generally not perishable, can be stored for a longer time.
    • Service: Often perishable and cannot be stored; the opportunity to consume is time-sensitive.
  • Quality Assessment:
    • Product: Quality can be assessed before purchase through inspection or testing.
    • Service: Quality is often assessed after consumption, and it may be subjective based on the customer’s experience.
  • Inseparability:
    • Product: Produced separately from the consumer.
    • Service: Produced and consumed simultaneously, involving direct interaction between the service provider and the customer.
  • Ownership Transfer:
    • Product: Involves the transfer of ownership rights.
    • Service: No transfer of ownership; customers pay for the use or experience.
  • Return and Refund:
    • Product: Generally easier to return or refund if it doesn’t meet expectations.
    • Service: Refunds may be more complex, especially if the service has been partially or fully delivered.
  • Marketing Approach:
    • Product: Emphasis on tangible features, branding, and packaging.
    • Service: Focus on intangible benefits, customer experience, and relationship-building.
  • Customer Interaction:
    • Product: Limited direct interaction with customers during the sale.
    • Service: Often involves direct interaction and communication between service providers and customers.
Difference Between Product and Service


Last Updated : 08 March, 2024

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12 thoughts on “Product vs Service: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article discusses important aspects of the business world. Providing good quality products and services are keys to success in the market. The difference between products and services is well-explained.

  2. I found the article to be insightful and thought-provoking. It effectively differentiates between products and services, providing valuable knowledge for business professionals.

  3. The article offers valuable insights into the nature of products and services. It highlights the importance of quality and the impact on customer attraction. Well-articulated and informative.

  4. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the differences between products and services. The author also discusses the importance of tangibility and ownership. A well-written and informative piece.

  5. The article does a great job of explaining the characteristics and differences between products and services. The examples provided enhance the understanding of these concepts.

  6. I found the article to be informative and engaging. The distinctions between products and services are well-articulated, and the key takeaways are insightful.

  7. The article highlights the challenges faced by marketers in selling services before customers can experience them. It provides valuable insights into the marketing strategies for intangible products.

  8. The article provides a comprehensive understanding of products and services. It offers valuable insights into the differences, production and consumption, and the importance of quality.

  9. I appreciate the detailed explanation of products and services. The article effectively conveys the significance of tangibility, ownership, and the role of marketing. Well-done!

  10. This article effectively explains the characteristics of products and services. It’s clear and concise, making it a valuable resource for business professionals and marketers.


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