Difference Between Goods and Services: Visual Guide

People always struggle to differentiate goods from services. The key difference between goods and services is tangibility.

But, there’s more:

Service – It’s an intangible process. A service can’t be measured or weighted, and it doesn’t have a physical form.

Good – It’s a tangible process. A good can be measured or weighted, and it has physical dimensions.

One of the top reasons, why people take interest in this concept is the patent problem. 

For example, if you came up with an innovative product idea, making a patent isn’t a big deal. Though, if you came up with an innovative service idea, it can’t be patented.

So, a company with an innovative service, should expand rapidly because the competitors are sure to implement the same strategy.

Okay, let’s get back to the main topic.


  1. You can manufacture them
  2.  sell them
  3. Transport them
  4. Store them
  5. Market them


It’s quite different from goods.

Let me explain:

A service requires interaction to be called a service. We’ll explain it better a bit down.


Goods have a physical form. Goods can be used and consumed once. In certain cases, goods can be used repeatedly.

Examples of goods:

  1. CD
  2. Furniture
  3. Printer
  4. Dishwasher
  5. Coffee Makers (for instance, Keurig K50 or K55)
  6. Notebook
examples of goods


A service is a contract where the customer buys time, equipment or expertise  from a service provider.

Examples of services:

  1. Airlines
  2. Internet Service Providers
  3. Insurance Providers
  4. Medical Advice
  5. Financial Consulting
examples of services

7 Points to Better Understand The Difference Between Goods and Services

1. Intangibility

As we said, services are intangible objects. We can’t touch them, measure them and weight them. Apart from goods, you can’t smell, taste, try on and take off a service.

The main goal of a service is to meet the expatiation of a consumer and satisfy their needs.

The fact that a service can’t be inventoried, the quality becomes much difficult to asses.

2. Ownership

Let’s start with goods. For example, when you sell a good, after the payment is done, the consumer become the rightful owner of the purchased product. He can use it whenever he wants, wherever he wants and how many times he wants.

As for the services, for instance, you can use a hotel room, buy a ticket to New York, have a financial consulting. But, you don’t become the owner of the hotel room, airline company and the consulting firm. You’re just buying a service for a single use.

3. Perishebility

Perishability means that services cant’ be stored, returned and resold. Goods have bigger life spans and mostly, are nonperishable.

For example, you can store a good and use it in the future, but services have deadlines. If you don’t use it in time, it becomes useless.

For example, an airline ticket is useless after the flight takes off.

4. The Evaluation of Services

The evaluation is a difficult process because every service provider differently carries out its work. It’s hard to decide, whether service “A” is better than service “B”.

For instance, you can clearly see that Starbucks Coffee is better than the Cup of Joe because of its taste and market reach.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to evaluate, whether a barber will give you a proper haircut or not.

5. Quality Measurement

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is a mass manufactured product and there are millions of such phones around the globe. Unlike services, every Galaxy S6 is a same quality product. You can’t find a Galaxy S6 that has a lower RAM or smaller screen resolution.

As for the services, it involves lots of manual work and the quality of work is dependent on the person who does the work for you. So, each delivered work’s quality will differ from the rest.

6. Simultaneous Production and Consumption

Firstly, goods must be produced, then it must be sold or traded and lastly, consumed.

So, we have three steps:

  1. Production
  2. Realization
  3. Consumption

This is completely different from the structure of a service.

The difference?

99% of times, service is consumed as soon as it’s produced.

7. Punctuality In Services

This is one of the most important difference between services and goods. It’s vital to exclude the possibility of any delay while delivering a specific service. Time is really important and it’s a key factor to determine, whether a service is high quality or not.

Bottom Line

There’s a huge difference between goods and services. But they are still closely related and can’t be separated.

Sometimes, processes include both, goods and services. For example, the process of buying a car. The vehicle itself is the good and the after sale activities are the services.

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