A product mix consists of the various product lines that are offered for sale by a particular seller. Sometimes referred to as product assortment, it has to do with the number of product lines offered, the number and type of products offered in each line, and the relevance of those products to the consumers who are presented with the opportunity to buy the products. Retailers are often very concerned with the range of products they offer, since stock the right product mix helps to ensure that the target market of consumers will be reached and sales will be generated.
The goods offered in a supermarket are good examples of what goes into a viable product mix. Many of the product lines have to do with food. Fresh produce is one type of product line, while canned goods is another. Frozen foods represent a third line of products, while meats represent still another grouping of products. While food products make up the core product lines in the mix, other items help to make the store more appealing to customers. By including product lines like over the counter medications, cutlery, and food storage items, the supermarket is able to provide an added incentive for customers to buy more of what they need at the one location.
Businesses other the retailers also employ the concept of a product mix. Colleges and universities are a prime example. These types of institutions offer a variety of degree programs, which are essentially product lines in the overall mixture of products offered. Within those product lines, individual courses serve as the products themselves that are necessary in order to obtain the degree. By offering a wider range of degree programs, a university achieves a broader product mix and thus is likely to attract a larger number of students.
Developing a product mix is not simply a matter of selecting a random range of products and offering them for sale. Often, retailers and other businesses will look closely at how the various product lines are associated with one another. When products are sold alongside other products that can be used at the same time, the overall mix is seen as being unified and thus more appealing to consumers. For example, if a retailer sells two or three brands of mops, it is usually a good idea to also carry two or lines of products that can be used to mop floors, thus increasing the potential for sales revenue by meeting more than one customer need.