In an effort to increase revenue and balance cash flow, many service businesses are now attempting to mix products with their services. Customers for services ranging from personal trainers to web designers are big on the personalization and convenience factors. Hybrid solutions—products and services combined into original offerings—can help your business attract new customers and ramp up demand among existing ones by providing exceptional value.
Why offering physical products matters
Now that the economy is starting to reopen, service businesses need to stand out from the competition. Offering physical products along with your services is a great way to differentiate your business, and if you already provide a stellar service, people are more than likely to return.
In other words, if you’re looking to switch up the way you go about providing your services, offering physical products is an avenue worth exploring for a few key reasons:
One of the benefits of offering physical products with your services is that it can help to increase customer loyalty, but first, you have to make sure your products go hand-in-hand with your service. For example, when you walk into a hair salon, what do you see? Most hair salons have physical products they sell to their clients: shampoo, conditioner, styling mousse, hair spray, etc. These products align with what customers are looking for when they come into hair salons for hair maintenance. If the client is offered a specific product that works well for them, the chances of them returning to your salon are going to be higher.
Once you’ve decided to sell physical products, it’s smart to find ways for your customers to continue purchasing them. This is where loyalty programs and discounts come into play. Businesses can create loyalty programs such as “Once you spend x amount of money, you get a free service,” or “Buy 2 products, get one free.” This will entice customers to continue to use your services in order to get future products or services for free. Another idea is to promote discounts for product purchases. For instance, during a client’s birthday month, you can offer a free product and 20% off a future product. This will help to persuade the client to return and purchase products with their discount code as well as increase the likelihood of continuing to use your services. Learn more about successful discount programs here.
Additional marketing and awareness
When a customer leaves your place of business (whether physical or virtual), one of the best ways to help them remember their visit is with a unique product that has your brand on it. If used regularly, the product will consistently remind them of the positive feelings and associations with your company. Let’s say you’re running a yoga studio, and you decide to start making and branding your own yoga mats and water bottles. For every new customer that comes in for a class, you offer them a free yoga mat and water bottle as a welcome gift. Your customers start using these products outside of class and telling their friends about the cool new yoga studio that they’re going to, and all of a sudden you have new clients walking through your door.
The decision to offer a physical product along with your services has given your business additional word-of-mouth marketing without any extra effort from you. No need to invest in pricey online or print advertising – having your logo on products outside the studio is helping to create a buzz around your business. In other words, it is free advertising triggered by positive client experiences, and usually goes beyond what you expected.
Diversifying your income
Not only does offering physical products increase customer awareness and loyalty, but it will also help to diversify your income. When you first offer a product for free or for a discounted rate with your services, you’re introducing your clientele to another business offering that you have. If they like the physical product(s), they will be more likely to purchase them on their own the next time they return for your services. If your products are successful, you’ve opened up a whole new avenue for additional income.
On the other hand, many service businesses rely on repeat customers to stay in business, and selling physical products can get customers “hooked” as they start to use your products and services together. For instance, as customers come to rely on your expertise, it’s more difficult for them to abandon the knowledge they’ve gained about your product(s) or service and how to use them, and start over from scratch with a completely new business. Customers might also be more willing to buy from you if they know they are not on their own after the sale, and can communicate with you via social media, text message, etc. This type of added-value strategy helps to give you an edge over the competition if they are offering similar products or services.
So why do the products themselves matter?
It’s simple: Because products have the ability to solve customer problems or fulfill instant gratification, they tend to have some sort of emotional impact. Customers will continue to buy a product that satisfies them over and over. You have to offer the best products available to achieve this kind of loyalty (and remember, your target market is people who are willing to pay extra for quality), so avoid discount brands for this type of customer and focus on providing only the best.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s important to ensure that all runs smoothly when launching these physical products, so considering using an integration platform as a service, or iPaaS, to keep all of your offerings integrated so you don’t get in over your head.
In short, selling physical products in addition to your services will not only lead to an increase in revenue if done correctly, but it’s also an excellent way to promote your business, grow your clientele, and create loyal, repeat customers. Find fun ways to endorse physical products within your business – 2022 is your year to evolve!