Do we have merchandise, product or service?

We will not go into the economic mumbo-jumbo, but let’s define the terms:

  • Goods are material objects for sale that can be owned, held in hands before use, etc.
  • Product is a tangible (merchandise, box, package) or intangible (website, program, service) object that meets the needs of the client. It can be both for sale and “free” for the end user.
  • Service – mass services to the public or performing some work tasks for someone.

In order not to get confused, it is necessary to determine exactly what kind of “product” we are creating. A tangible product, like goods, requires physical delivery, and a virtual service is very similar to a one-time intangible service. But these are all different types of products. They significantly differ from each other in production, and in consumption, and most importantly in making money!

If the tangible material (composition, components, consumables) is present in your product, it means, in addition to manufacturing in sufficient quantities, you also need logistics (delivery, return, warehouses). Most likely, the weak link of your business will be in a compromise: expensive delivery or produce many times more than needed to fill stores and warehouses.

Intangible product is easy to deliver around the world, but each country has its own language, rules and laws. That means that at the very least there will be a need for localization (translation of the interface, documentation) of the product under the most common languages. The same applies to support services.

A service is different from a one-time service, in that the performance of the service must be guaranteed at least during the working hours of your client. Different laws and cultural characteristics require major changes in business processes depending on the territory. A simple translation into the client’s language may not be enough; some parts of the service will have to be redone completely. And it may even be necessary to make a separate product in order to be competitive on the local market.

What is it all about? So that you can determine exactly what part of the created “product” is really its core and what you need to focus on. You can also determine which parts of the product, business processes, related services can be given “on the side”.

In business, it is possible (and sometimes necessary) to outsource any process other than actual money making.

Be clear about what makes money in your product – spend time and energy only on it. Everything else can be done by someone else, just earn enough money for that.

What is the “minimum set in a box”?

So what to pack “in a box” and how to deliver the product to the buyer?

Your task is to meet the needs of the client within the acceptable time for him (and not for you). No more, but no less! The product must be workable without shenanigans™, and the delivery time to which the customer has agreed may differ slightly from the claimed.

The “package” should contain the necessary minimum of what will allow the client to fully use the product. Everything else, including the “fascinating” unboxing process™, is already a “free prize inside”, “shooting at the sky” for getting the Wow-effect, and other marketing magic.

Delivery. The faster – the better. The pleasure of acquiring is inversely proportional to the waiting time. But we must understand that the cost of transportation cannot exceed the amount of profit. So be sure to warn the buyer about the actual delivery time, so as not to cause a negative attitude even if everything is done “quickly.”

For online products, delivery can (and should) be made instant, but do not spoil the “instant result” with all sorts of strange steps like:

  • Choose a stronger password.
  • Confirm your email by clicking on the link from the letter.
  • The phone must be entered without a plus, dashes or spaces.

You can insert additional information or correct incorrectly entered data later, but you cannot make a good “first impression” again…

Give the customer everything you need as quickly as possible. Bells and whistles™ can be added later, maybe your product can
be sold without them.

Why is packaging and shipping more important than content?

If you put solid feces in the wrappers from Snickers®, Twix®, KitKat®, etc. or pour tinted urine into cans / bottles of Coke®, Pepsi®, Red Bull®, packages with this product will still appear on supermarket shelves and in consumers’ refrigerators! Yes, perhaps those will be the last sales of such a product, moreover, a serious scandal may break out… But then again, sour milk in supermarkets is quite common.

The moral of the story is simple: People buy goods “package” of suitable size in the nearest “accessible place”, and only then expect the “fabulous content” inside.

You can try to argue with this, saying that the popularity of a product or brand was built precisely on “content quality”… Yes, most likely it was. But we are talking about the importance of packaging and delivery!

Stories about what kind of good, and most importantly cheap, grapes can be bought in the villages of the Mediterranean have nothing to do with business (well, except for the tourism business). Moreover, without proper packaging and fast delivery, the same grapes will not sell across the world.

The presence of prepackaged goods (packaging) in the consumption location (delivery) is more important than the content itself (product).

What’s next?

If you were not mistaken in the calculations at the “idea” stage and did not lie to yourself when choosing “your product” vs. “selling someone else’s” – you have a demanded product on your hands. This is a very valuable asset!

It’s simple: Deliver the product to everyone, improve and develop it. Bring customers joy and take money for it.

Later on you will be engaged in usual business, tasks of growth and optimization like:

  • How to sell ​​more and more expensive.
  • How to deliver faster and safer.
  • How to produce cheaper, easier to maintain, etc.
  • Rinse and repeat…

And after a while, but it will always happen sooner or later, the demand for your product or service will disappear. At this point, you will either create other products, or become a footnote in history…

It is because of the obsolescence of the product and / or the disappearance of the demand for the service that businesses do not live long. And those companies that exist on the market for more than 10 years often sell completely different products from which they started.

But whatever difficulties may be waiting for you on this business path, it is better to “meet the demand” somewhere and go down in history as a success than just look at the world from the safety of the passenger seat.

The life of any product comes to an end eventually, be prepared to create new products, more and more.