We are preparing to launch our platform, The Merchant and the Flow which is designed to help merchants deliver Product Service System or PSS solutions to their customers. In this article we are going to help you understand what is a PSS and how it works. Overall, many of you guys want to launch businesses as a straight product or service which is outdated and too linear. Today, digitalized business offers a full array of products and packages to cater to their customers in complex and unique ways.
The Merchant and the Flow is very robust and have features that were engineered way before COVID-19 became a pandemic. Most of The Merchant and the Flow features were designed to help Black merchants in the hood have more robust business models to establish in our communities. This article is designed to help you understand what a PSS platform can do because we are going to be helping merchant launch rich complex services to increase and diversify revenue opportunities.
What is a Product Service System?
Product Service Systems is a platform giving you the ability to either sell a product, provide service or combine a product/service mix as a package experience. Products are tangible assets that is transferred to the customer as the new owner when the transaction is complete. Services are intangible results performed to provide value to the customer benefit. If you look at the Black merchant class, they either selling pure product like homemade soap or incenses or offering pure service like hair care or car washes – not trying to be funny, that’s a real problem with the Black merchant class offering either pure product or pure service.
Now if we look at a plumber, carpenter or painter in the hood, they provide both a service to work on your house and could provide you a product as the middlemen to buy the paint, pipes or wood/tiles but it is likely you buy that stuff from the hardware store yourself. The only reasonable true PSS system we can say operates in the hood is the funereal business where you buy from the funereal home the casket and memorial notices and they provide the service of embalming, casketing, delivery to church and cemetery and host the wake and provide body cremation or burial. Or a wedding where they can provide the florals, the banquet as products and provide the space and limo chauffer as the service. But in the hood, people go buy their own $199 casket for the funeral trying to be cheap and the marriage party rent their own cars and fashion and get their old head 2nd cousin to sing at the event for $35 and fix a plate for them as a token of gratitude.
Implementing a true Product Service System means the merchant owns the Pure Product and deliver the Pure Service but provide an experience of value by combining both product/service as their business model. For example, a merchant doesn’t have to just sell electric scooters, they can provide a maintenance agreement to perform routine service, they can offer training and have a scooter track to practice on for a fee or part of a PSS package. Or they can rent scooters for customers to use the scooter track or rent to customers to use per 15-minute interval charge. The merchant implements PSS to offer all of these possible combinations versus just being a scooter shop that sells a pure product.
It is very important to understand in the Black community that our businesses fail when we try to be simple Pure Product or simple Pure Service because the revenue model is one-dimensional and linear, just rent chairs at the barbershop or salon as the revenue model.
What about a subscription to a hairstyle mailing distribution and reserve an appointment for that particular hairstyle? What about selling products at margin to maintain a style just serviced? Or sell advertising spaces of the customer side-hustle or business on the barbershop walls? Black businesses have to focus on a product mix instead of a single pure product or service in our future models.
Think about all your black business models and see what never last and what is thriving. Lounges and food service are just pouring rate and per unit meal – is there PSS opportunity? Resale or thrift shops are just Pure Product but can there be a PSS opportunity? You can create your own house brand liquor to sell as a product and service the pouring. You can freeze food for the microwave to for people off work to take home and heat up as a product sold versus cook on demand. You can offer a 7-day frozen meal plan or pickup plan seeing how much money Weight Watchers be making.
That is what a PSS system is designed for, to go beyond simple selling and focus on providing an experience tailored to different levels of customers. Some customers just want to buy sneakers – some customers want to get first dibs on the next shoes that are coming out and get them before everybody else and will pay for that perk. Some customers just want to buy a resale luxury purse, some customers want access to a line of rental luxury purses to look different at each social gathering. Some people want to go to the gun range and fire off their handgun, some people want access to the automatic submachine guns for rent at the range or have their own firearm cleaned.
Social Credit Systems and PSS
In order to implement a PSS system properly, there need to be a social credit system in place. In China, social credit systems are used to drive PSS business models and the success rate is extremely positive. For example, in bookstores within China customers can browse books but if a person has a good social credit score, they can just use their mobile app to check out the book for 3 days to read at home if they like. You cannot rent/lease your products to just anybody, especially in the hood because people will think they can get over. What you need is either a member perks program or you can leverage our upcoming social credit system that will be part of Kossier platform. That way, you build a tighter relationship with your customers and the credible ones you provide PSS packages such as wait in a VIP area for private clienteling or express priority service.
As you read this, you should be looking at what is exactly looming on the horizon for the Black merchant class in the 21st century. We are going to focus on mobile-first, digitalization and social credit to drive our local economy. Gone are the analog days of just letting anybody show up and talking out the side of their neck or others acting shady. The best thing that can happen to a Black merchant is to have quality customers and be able to provide the level of service and delivery the merchant passionately want to achieve as an economic contributor within their community.
With our upcoming The Merchant and the Flow, you will be able to create multiple merchants, identify multiple products and services and create PSS packages to provide the best of both. You can offer products for sale, for lease, for short-term rental and you can offer services as a one-off, a subscription and make time slots available and reserved seating available to provide the service. This is how you going to have to compete against others in this world nowadays if you want to be a merchant entrepreneur.
Hope this helps you understand what a PSS system is and how you need to come up with product/services mixes to diversify your offerings. That will help you maximize your revenue streams and also help you keep different levels of customers with different levels of services and make your venture exciting to both you and your customers.