Very Small Enterprises as Professional Customers: a Qualitative Study



This paper discusses the findings of a qualitative study carried out in the French automotive, building-trade and hairdressing sectors about relationship expectations and behaviors of very small enterprises (VSE). While VSE represent more than 90% of European enterprises, little research has been done on these business customers. Defining VSE characteristics and the interest of relationship marketing to study this target, this research sheds lights on VSE buying behavior. The results of the qualitative study allow us to propose a relationship marketing model for the VSE of each sector and to identify relationships key components for this target (interpersonal, brand and offer). The paper concludes with a cross-sector model insisting on the necessity to develop our knowledge of individual characteristics of the VSE owner/manager as an area of future research.

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International Business Research  ISSN 1913-9004 (Print), ISSN 1913-9012 (Online)

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