Products businesses and service businesses are different not only in what they sell but also in how they manage operations. The daily running and management, as well as startup costs associated with these two kinds of businesses, tend to be very different.
Products businesses are generally more expensive to get off the ground. This is due to costs associated with renting a space to sell the products, inventory, and more. Service businesses, on the other hand, don’t always even need a location to work out of. It could be more difficult to market service businesses, however.
Here is how you differentiate between products businesses and service businesses.
What is a products business?
A products business sells tangible products that often need to be manufactured or sourced. A products business may or may not manufacture all the products they sell. For example, a products business that sources stock from different vendors and then sells them in one location.
There are times when a products business both manufactures the products and then sells them themselves. There are various kinds of products businesses that create and distribute all kinds of physical goods and supplies. These include:
- Consumer products, such as makeup, clothes, shoes, and other items.
- Agricultural products, such as foods, grains, cotton, and all other crops.
- Raw materials, such as wood, sand, clay, and others.
- Technology-based products, such as smartphones, televisions, laptops, and more.
Products businesses sell their stock both online as well as in retail stores. You’ll often find products businesses highlighting the key features of their products as a way to draw people in.
Marketing a products business
Products are usually arranged in attractive displays in retail stores. In online stores, care is taken to ensure that high-quality images of the products are uploaded. In both cases, key features of the product are described. These features are deliberately written in a way where it’s designed to attract the attention of potential buyers.
When dealing with retail stores, potential buyers can often touch the item or otherwise interact with the product they are interested in. Take, for example, a customer who tries on multiple clothes at a store before selecting the one they want to purchase.
Online stores often allow for various products to be returned. This gives customers the time to interact with a product to see if it’s the right fit for them.
For customers with products businesses, they can quickly tell whether they like a specific product or not. They may also allow the opinions of other customers to influence their purchasing decision. A typical example of this can be seen in online shopping platforms.
Many of these platforms allow buyers to leave behind ratings, as well as reviews for the products they have purchased. People often pore through these reviews, and positive thoughts go a long way towards convincing people to buy a product.
What are the challenges associated with running a products business?
Running a products business can present some challenges, inventory management being the key one. Products businesses need to ensure that they have enough stock of their inventory at all times. This is as not having enough supply can upset customers, leaving them dissatisfied. When this happens, a customer often goes to a competitor instead.
This means that products businesses need to be aware of what the customers want and then provide them with adequate supply to meet their needs. Due to the condition for products businesses to arrange for places to store and transport their stock, starting a products business can take more startup capital. You’ll also need to deal with daily running costs, as well as costs related to replenishing your stock.
What is a service business?
Unlike a products business, a service doesn’t often have anything tangible to sell. Instead, in a service business, people leverage their expertise and experience in return for money. This can happen in various forms, from hairdressing to becoming a doctor.
A service business needs to ensure that every person working in the industry has the talents and skills necessary to make the business succeed. Due to the nature of their business, they also need to form trusting relationships with their clients. This is as service businesses often work closely with their clients to give the clients the service they need.
Unlike in products businesses, where you can’t always customize the product to meet the client’s requirements, you can do that with service businesses. This is as service businesses offer personalised services suited to each client’s needs and requirements.
A service business also has lower startup costs, as there may not be a need to rent office space at all. Some service businesses, such as caterers, can operate from anywhere where they have the right resources. This means that there may not be any costs associated with renting space. In addition to this, service businesses don’t have to worry about their stock as well. Instead, they need to ensure they have enough supply of everything they need to provide their service.
Service businesses are often divided into several categories. These include:
- Professional services, such as attorneys.
- Home repair services, such as those offered by painters, electricians, and more.
- Creative services, such as writing, graphic design, and others.
- Personal care services, such as hairdressers or makeup artists.
- Health care services, such as doctors, dentists, and others.
Marketing a service business
Service businesses often make use of subscriptions, such as monthly or yearly subscriptions, to provide potential customers with purchasing incentives. An excellent way to market service businesses is by providing consistent quality service. This is as referrals play a significant role in how service businesses find clients.
At the same time, it can be more difficult for service businesses to get ratings. This is as it often takes longer for clients to determine whether they gained value from the service they purchased.
What are the challenges associated with running a service business?
The biggest challenge for service businesses is to provide quality work consistently. Without doing this, it may not be possible to get referrals from existing clients. Service businesses use word-of-mouth marketing to bring in new clients.
They also need to ensure that they professionally address all customer concerns. There’s a need for service-based businesses to research what their customers are looking for and then provide them with that.
Products businesses and service businesses are entirely different, selling different things to customers. A products business sells tangible products, while a service business focuses on selling intangible services.
Running and operating a products business often costs more due to the logistics involved with purchasing and maintaining the stock and inventory. On the other hand, service businesses have a more challenging time with marketing their company. Their success is determined by the quality of the service they provide. Consistently maintaining quality service standards plays a prominent role in bringing in new clients for service businesses.
Whether you own a product or service business, consider protecting your business against common business risks. You can do this with the help of insurance. If you want to learn about insurance policies like errors and omissions insurance, then click here.