products are being reduced to commodities

Discussion in 'English Only' started by joh2001smile, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. joh2001smile Senior Member

    Beijing, China
    This is a sentence from a book about Return on Customer. What does it mean? or what is the implied difference between products and commodities?

    Your products are being reduced to commodities, as more competitors find their own opportunities in your section of the globe.
  2. bouncy.bouncy Senior Member

    WA, USA
    American/British English
    It implies that you make less money on your products than you used to.
  3. joh2001smile Senior Member

    Beijing, China
    Thank you, but could you tell me the literal difference of products and commodities here?
  4. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I don't think we have enough context to differentiate them. The only difference that I know of is that "products" could be services (ie. my service to consumers in my computer-tutoring business is my "product") whereas commodities are "things". Without knowing the context in which your book discusses the difference, we can't say what the difference is.
  5. joh2001smile Senior Member

    Beijing, China
    There is no context of much relevance about the implied difference between the two words. And I can see some of the implied meaning as expressed by bouncy, bouncy, but how does the meaning derive from the difference between the two words? although, obviously, according to the author, the commodities are less valuable than products.
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I think a more accurate way to say it would be "your products are being reduced to consumables." I hear "commodities" used in this way in business quite often. I believe the concept of a commodity in this context is that it is generic; a cellphone is a cellphone is a cellphone. The customer looks at the product as a generic consumable rather than an investment in particular qualities or features.

    That's just my interpretation from the way I've heard it used. As joh2001smile said, there isn't enough context here to be sure of the meaning.
  7. languageGuy Senior Member

    Kansas City, MO
    USA and English
    When a product is reduced to a commoditiy, it becomes extremely sensitive to price --- the lowest price wins. Product features, company support, marketing.... all become unimportant. There are many competitors making very similar if not the same product. Customers choose primarily based on price.

    A good example is the PC. At first, there were many kinds and features. Then the product was standardized, the competition became cut-throat, and consumers started making decision based largely on price.

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