What single word describes these things that my employer sells?
May 21, 2013 5:48 AM   Subscribe

I need one word, in singular form, that is synonymous with product, service, and experience (experience as in, taking a tour, sitting for a lecture, watching a live band..) The company I am working for provides many products, services and experiences for their customers, and I need a single, general noun that describes all of these. Help!
posted by Glendale to Education (21 answers total)
I have often used "offering" to cover a range of products, services, etc.
posted by sueinnyc at 5:57 AM on May 21, 2013

You do realize that many companies use these terms interchangeably, yes? Particularly when they deal in things which partake of more all three of them?

For one thing, there is some legal distinction between "product" and "service", but that distinction has mostly to do with things like excise/sales taxes and employment classification. There is no distinction between a "service" and an "experience" in legal terms. The line between "product" and "service" is blurring though, as there are many things which were previously one-time sales which are moving to subscription models, e.g., software. But the line still exists, even if it is increasingly arbitrary.

If you're just looking for a term to use internally, in marketing materials, etc., something like "offering" might be broad enough to encompass all of that.

Still, without more details, it's hard to come up with terms. What exactly are we talking about? And does the company observe any kind of distinction, rigorous or not, between the things it offers?
posted by valkyryn at 5:57 AM on May 21, 2013

'product or service' pretty much includes everything that any company does. You'll have to be more specific. Do the products, services and experiences involve a particular industry category or something like that? For example, a company that designs and sells and installs networking gear would be a 'network integrator'. A company that sells food and catering would just be a caterer or food services, etc.
posted by empath at 5:57 AM on May 21, 2013

It's a non-profit conference center. So, guests will come and stay at a hotel, and will purchase a "package" that includes a stay for any number of nights. While they are there they can also purchase tours of the surrounding area. They might decide to buy food at the snack bar.. They could hire someone to watch their kids while they go to happy hour.. There are any number of things they could purchase, ranging from room & board to specific physical wares, to a provided experience.

I am designing a scalable billing module for their current database that takes the dynamic nature of their business into account. I've designed a relational database that takes all of their business needs into consideration, but I'm stumbling on the last little bit, the naming of the table that describes all of their products and services..
posted by Glendale at 6:06 AM on May 21, 2013

Given the context you've described, "Products" or "Offerings" would be intuitive to someone looking at the table later on.
posted by cranberry_nut at 6:08 AM on May 21, 2013

With all that to cover, I'd nth "offerings" as the best term.
posted by brilliantine at 6:16 AM on May 21, 2013

posted by Rock Steady at 6:19 AM on May 21, 2013

Yeah, it sounds like Offering might be the best word here... I just wish it was slightly less abstract..
posted by Glendale at 6:21 AM on May 21, 2013

Trying to fit diverse items into a single category is the very essence of abstraction.
posted by valkyryn at 6:24 AM on May 21, 2013

I know, Valkyryn.. Ironically enough, I've had no problem abstracting the data, which should be the most difficult part.. I'm just fumbling on the perfect name for this final table...
posted by Glendale at 6:29 AM on May 21, 2013

If it's a package and you're looking to describe the parts that are in addition to the accommodation, what about 'add-ons', 'extras', 'additions' or 'options'? or something like that. Bonuses? Specialities?...
posted by billiebee at 6:30 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think products is a fine word - don't get stuck on the idea it doesn't at first conjure non-physical objects.

As an example, GEICO refers to the different types of insurance they offer as 'products'.
posted by Dragonness at 6:30 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know, Valkyryn.. Ironically enough, I've had no problem abstracting the data, which should be the most difficult part.. I'm just fumbling on the perfect name for this final table...

Final table, eh? If this is just "What do I name the database table," yeah, grab Offerings and go with it. If you decide later that you'd rather provide "products" or "services" or "billyboat cuddles," you can easily change what you print on receipts and display on your websites, without touching the database itself.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:47 AM on May 21, 2013

I know that ultimately not many people will actually know what the table is named, but all of the objects in my code are going to wind up with the same name as this table (using the Entity Framework..) In case the team grows in the future, I would like the code be readable and accurately reflect the data contained within.

I'm leaning hard towards Product at this point, although "billyboat cuddles" does pique my interest.... ;)
posted by Glendale at 6:51 AM on May 21, 2013

If it's for the database, I'd say "Item" is short and to the point.
posted by grog at 7:04 AM on May 21, 2013

posted by b33j at 7:10 AM on May 21, 2013

I'd name it the PSE table. That way, when people encounter it, they know they need to go learn some stuff about the system. And when they're talking about it amongst themselves, they know they don't constantly need to state that the defn. includes P's, and S's, and E's, ... and Extras, and Specials, and Add-Ons, and Courses, and Classes, and Consultations, and Packages of PSE's, and Supplies. And Food.
posted by at at 7:11 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ahh, grog, I think you might have just nailed it down for me. What do you guys think about "BillableItem"?
posted by Glendale at 7:24 AM on May 21, 2013

posted by Mchelly at 7:25 AM on May 21, 2013

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:56 AM on May 21, 2013

Thanks for the help, guys!
posted by Glendale at 8:15 AM on May 21, 2013

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