Product vs. Service

A service is the action of doing something for someone or something. It is largely intangible whereas product is tangible (material) since you can touch it and own it. A service is an experience that is consumed at the point where it is purchased, and cannot be owned since it quickly perishes. The nature of a service is:




  • Services cannot be transported.

  • Service firms tend to be smaller.

  • Service firms are labour intensive.

  • Demand for services is unpredictable.

  • Inseparable from the point where it is consumed, and from the provider of the service.

  • Perishable. Once it has occurred it cannot be repeated in exactly the same way.

  • Variable. Since humans are involved in the service provision no two services will be completely identical.

  • Right of ownership is not taken to the service, since you merely experience it. You cannot sell it on once it has been consumed.

  • Intangible. Cannot touch, store or exchange it.

  • Very difficult to get it “right” since you have no control over the value the customer attaches to your service. A GREAT example of a service is: A HAIRCUT. The service is comprised of knowledge, skills, experience; but the customer buys ‘a look’.


A Lotto ticket is the physical manifestation of the service provided, which raise the question: what is the service provided? It is simply access to an opportunity. For this service to be offered successfully, it will require the newsagent to offer it reliably, quickly, conveniently. (That is the nature of an opportunity.)