Hardware Reference
In-Depth Information
hard drive. You may get your products directly from a producer, or you might go through a
distributor to get them, but you will produce the service yourself.
2. You must also have a place from which to sell your services. The concept of place can
sometimes be very vague. For example, in e-commerce a website is the place. If your cus-
tomer is in need of a laptop screen repair and places an order on your website for this ser-
vice, if you fulfill this service then the website is the place where the customer purchased
it. For most physical products we tend to think of the place as a store or shop of some sort.
But if you think about it a bit more you realize that the place for your sales to occur might
primarily be on your website.
3. You need to figure out a way to get people to come to your place. This process is known
as marketing. If no one knows that your place exists, you will never sell anything. Locating
your place in a busy shopping center is one way to get traffic. Sending out a mail-order
catalog is another. There is also advertising, word of mouth, and even the guy in a Statue
of Liberty suit who stands by the road waving at passing cars.
4. You need a way to accept orders. At a grocery store this is handled by the checkout line.
In a mail-order company, the orders come in by mail or phone and are processed by em-
ployees of the company. Ideally your website will check out the customer for you.
5. You also need a way to accept money. If you are at the grocery store, you know that you
can use cash, check, or credit cards to pay for food. Businessto-business transactions often
use net terms purchase orders. 6. You need a way to deliver the service, often known as
fulfillment. At the grocery store, fulfillment is automatic. The customer picks up the item
desired, pays for it, and walks out the door. In mail-order businesses the item is packaged
and mailed.
7. Sometimes customers do not like what they buy, so you need a way to accept returns.
You may or may not charge certain fees for returns, and you may or may not require the
customer to get authorization before returning anything. This is up to you, but to obtain a
merchant account from your bank, they will require you to have a return policy in place.
Additionally, it's just good customer service.
8. Sometimes a product breaks or you make a mistake in its installation, so you need a way
to honor warranty claims. Since you're the producer of the service, the warranty claim falls
onto you.
9. Many products today are so complicated that they require customer service and technical
support departments to help customers use them. Computers are a good example of this
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