SMEs and product mix decisions: fact or fiction

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Research over the years has shown that in order for any business to survive, the correct product mix must be offered to the market. If the product does not satisfy the needs of the market, its reason for existence can be questioned. This principle applies to all businesses – big or small. The question arises if SMEs adhere to this fact and, if so, how they go about doing this. SMEs over the world make huge contributions to economic growth and job creation and are seen to be a driving force for economic growth and development in any economy. In the highly competitive environment that SMEs operate in, selecting the right merchandise for the right customer is important and, in most instances, its ability to survive or perish. This study aimed to determine if SMEs in South Africa make decisions regarding the product mix and, if so, if they conform to different profiles regarding the decisions that they make. A questionnaire was used to collect the data and was sent to SMEs around South Africa operating in different industries. The results indicated that SMEs in South Africa consider product characteristics, consumer behavior and strategic aspects when making product mix decisions.

Keywords: merchandising, product, SMEs, product mix, business, South Africa.
JEL Classification: M00, M300, M310

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