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The report has been based on the critical identification and analysis of the marketing strategy of M&S in the retail sector in UK. In other words, it had identified from the existing market analysis that three significant issues in marketing that had affected so far in the business was based on the strategic issues in marketing. It was mainly:
Based on that digital scanning tools like SWOT were used and PESTLE and PORTER FIVE FORCES for critical evaluation of these tools into practice and managing it in an effective way. On the other hand, it was studied about the competitive market rivals where M&S was found in the position holding 9.7 compared by the year 2018, however; it declined in the last financial year for being in a tough competitive market.
Moreover, it was also thrown light on existing segmentation, targeting and position of the brand in terms of making it most effective in terms of enhancement of the market performance as well. It gave numerous types of challenges where customers’ state of mind change due to the nature and choice of market demands and making assurance on its good return. Apart from that it was suggested to follow strategic formula of Porter’s Generic and Ansoff Matrix and so in case of that it was finally chosen to mainly focus on cost leadership strategy for minimizing human material cost from the total budget at cheap labor. The retailer has always focused on design and after sales service to buy and how to sell.
The renowned retailer M&S has faced few marketing issues. The study would focus on the marketing issues that have hindered the enhancement of the progress of the organization. The key marketing issues as recognized are as follows: The outbreak of the pandemic has brought challenges to all the sectors globally and M&S is not out of the list (University, 2020). The M&S had confronted many marketing issues before and after the Covid 19 phase. On the other hand, an online review stated that the organization had to face a drop in the sale due to the lower demand, quality drop and high price, despite of this situation M&S took a drastic step of advertising to increase in the sale (Hammett, 2020). Apart from the cyber issues are other major marketing issues that have affected on loss of data of customers as well (Vizard, 2020).
M & S, the well known retailer brand of the UK, had held the market for a longer period of time as they had many strengths like the accepted brand as they had a diversity of products that could easily meet the requirements of the customers (Robinson and Hsieh, 2016). the regular surveys to gain the knowledge of the needs and the requirements of the consumers whereas the weaknesses faced by the M&S that were the diminishing of the brands, another major stress factor for the organization is the shift in the preferences of the customers. The opportunities that the organizations could bring are global augmentation and online store opening can increase the demand as present days customers rely on online shopping (Bolton et al.2016).
M&S being one of the largest multinational retail brands it faced a lot of manufacturing issues and resulted in less footfalls of the customers and a drop in the sale of the organization (Bocken.2017). With the help of the PESTLE tool the drawbacks of the organizations could be uplifted.
Political: through the free trading regulation the product cost decreases as result the cost of the end product decreases, on the other hand, Brexit puts a negative impact on the operations of the organizations as a major loss due to the UK’s decision to leave the European union.
Economic factor: The impact of inflation puts a negative effect on the sale of the organization as selling price increases bring down the demand for the product (Jaravel.2019). On the other hand to lower the manufacturing cost the company has to reduce the staff by job cutting resulting in the uplift of unemployment rate.
Social factor: The climatic change or the demographic change results in the fall in the demand that could be hard for M&S to be on the rank as the sale percent would lower (Guren et al.2018). Moreover the change in the living style of the customers due to the income and the change in the taste of the customers also decrease the sale.
Technology: The cyber issues also negatively impacts the marketing and brings forth a negative consequence for the firm, whereas lack of innovations also loses customers and hence decreases the demand (Vizard, 2020).
Legal: The negligence of the health and the safety of employees can be an issue as this may be consequent as the workers would be uncooperative and hinder the smooth working. Nevertheless, following an ethical tool can be a positive motif for the organization.
Environment: the use of the recycling and reusing process helps in the cost management of the product and services of M&S.
As per the Porters five force analysis, the M&S gets influenced by the five forces likewise:
According to review it is clear that the giant retailer brand has very low competitive issues as it would require a very high capital to compete with M&S as it is a huge multinational brand with diversity of products and services. It is a true fact that the capable challengers would get disheartened to learn about the strong brand loyalty of the M&S customers, their high quality products and a magnificent supply chain (Varelas and Georgopoulos, 2017). However, researchers also disclosed that competitor brands like Zara, H&M, and Gen and Next are still trying to distort the market image by attracting the young customers of the M&S by providing fashionable attires at a considerably low price.
It has been observed that the bargaining power of the M&S customers are high as the price of the products are high compared to other retail brands, increasing in the likings for fashionable items and the disloyalty of the customers. However the feeble consumer credence following the Brexit referendum affects the sale of the multinational brand compelling them to cut the cost of the products.
In the past the company had experienced a lot of bargains from their suppliers as they were truly dependent on them. However with globalization the company gained many new suppliers from other countries compelling the suppliers to reduce the suppliers cost.
The M&S being a large brand name with a high diversity of products range has always been a number one retailer group, nevertheless there have been substitute threats that become a major issue for the flow of business of the organization (Frenie, 2017). The food and the health sector becomes a threat due to the pandemic outbreak globally.
Another factor that challenges the UK retailer brand M&S is the new competitors that emerge with new innovations and technologies and ideas (Pantano et al, 2018). The new technologies and brands always attract customers and thus new entries like the Gen,NEXT, Zara and many more attract the younger generation customers with their new dazzling stylish attires lowering the customer demand drastically.
According to Tidd and Bessant.(2020), with the advancement of innovations and technologies the retail sector is facing a hard and neck to neck competition from its existing rival brands like Debenhams, Primark, Next Plc and Tesco. The rival competitors too are in a high demand as they are also attracting the customers with many new products and services at a reasonable price.
The graph gives a clear view of the position that the Marks and Spencer holds along with the other retail brands giving a tough competition to the M&S.
The marketing objective of the M&S is to accentuate the quality and the style of the products. The retailer brand has focused on technology like online advertisement, Twitter, face book and instagram socializing and collecting customer requirement data to execute works accordingly and increasing the sale of their product (Scandelius and Cohen, 2016). Records reveal that the retail group has grown its sale percent through online advertising. The objectives of the company to reach to their customers would get resolved with better planning and execution.
The STP analysis of the M&S plays a pivotal role in the marketing conduct of the organization. With the STP strategy the retail group can target the customer and know their preferences and work accordingly (Andrew, 2019). The proper positioning can help the organization attract new customers and get hold of new markets.
Marks & Spencer is one of the UK’s leading retailer organizations. It has many stores and outlets in different cities around the world. Marketing and management strategies are vital for the retailers to obtain higher income and place the company in a favorable and superior business position. It is being suggested to the organization that Marks and Spencer can implement the strategies of Porter’s Generic to analyze and discuss how the retailer attracts customers from different cultures and backgrounds by using different strategies in the world market (Scandelius and Cohen, 2016). There are three Generic strategies under Michael Porter’s analysis. Before considering which one to choose it is important to know the competency and strength of the Retailer. The retail as an industry faces threats from competitors. Porter identified five threat factors that may be a constraint for one of the leading retail industries in the world's market. The threats that are identified are entry threat, replacement threat, bargain power of suppliers, bargain power of buyers and existing competitors. For social development the retailer adapted Porter’s three generic strategies.
Differentiation strategy is where the business through its quality production makes their product and service unique and different from other competitors and consumers are willing to pay a higher price. This strategy can be implemented on the basis of differentiation of one organization's market position with the other enterprise. It can also run a company with its brand value or image (Fang et al.2018). To maintain the consistency and competition the retailer should not only establish a brand but also promote its brand through advertising campaigns and other means. Therefore, after the product establishes its uniqueness it is vital to maintain its brand image for a long period.
Cost leadership strategy is where the business pursues to lower down the operating cost or fees. However, becoming a cost leader an enterprise can effectively compete with other forces of competitions (Scandelius and Cohen, 2016). Retail business units are adapting the cost leadership strategy to become industries low cost firms that tend to have lower transaction cost and management fees, preferential supply of commodities, modern technology and other advantages.
The best and successful way to adopt this strategy is to reduce every cost with a continuous improvement of goods and services. Cost leadership is the main generic strategy that Marks and Spencer uses in various markets.
Pisano. (2017) rightly opined that focus strategy is the strategy where the retail enterprises or companies pursue to concentrate on a particular market with its dynamic understanding of that market and the unique customer needs in that market. The companies that serve their customers uniquely tend to build strong brand loyalty among their customers. The retailer using this strategy may make their market segment less attractive to competitors.
It is very important to identify where to make the strategy development of an organization for future plans. The strategy development of Marks and Spencer can be theoretically analyzed by using Ansoff Matrix (Loredana, 2017). The main motto of the retailer is to sell their own brands with exquisite quality and customer satisfaction. Since, long the retailer has been into the path of expansion through alliance with established suppliers and stores. This approach leads the company to expand their products in different areas.
Market penetration is the strategy where the business pursues to sell its existing products in existing markets. To achieve the growth through this strategy the retailer (M&S) needs to seek certain objectives like advertising their products, promotional sales, customize personal selling and increase the market share of the product (Scandelius and Cohen, 2016). The retailer is tending high and good quality clothes to their clients in and around the UK and Europe. In present days the threat of competitors is curving around, therefore to sustain with high quality, exquisite style and great value clothing in the existing market much more promotion activities or campaigns would be required.
Market development is the strategy where the business pursues to sell its existing products in new markets (Kotabe and Kothari.2016). This strategy may generate exploration of new markets in new geographical areas in order to fascinate new customers with their products. There are many possible ways to achieve growth. Marks and Spencer needs to seek ways of approaching the strategy like exporting their products into a new country or in other words penetrating into new geographical markets. The retailer opened the world's largest brand store at Dubai in 2008. This market development strategy will increase the range of customers from different parts of the world and parallel effect the growth of sales.
Product development is the strategy where the business pursues to sell its new products in existing markets (Visnjic et al.2018). Development of new competencies for new or modified products required alteration or improvement by the business to sue in the existing market. Financial and banking services are some of the new products launched by Marks and Spencer.
According to Harrison et al.(2017),diversification is the strategy where the business is pursuing markets in which it has no or little experience. In other words it is the most risky strategy. To adopt this strategy there must be a clear idea about what it expects to gain and an honest assessment of risk. Presently the retailer has reached many countries with its existing products of clothing, food and household items it met success even in new markets.
From the above recommendation of Porter’s Generic Strategy and Ansoff Matrix, Marks and Spencer had made lots of progress and covered up lots of hurdles or difficulties in the world’s retail market. In present time the scenario is threatening with a competitive market environment. Therefore, it can be suggested for the giant retail group of UK to adopt Porters’ cost leadership strategy to obtain strong competitive by reducing the cost of human and material by exploring cheap labor from different part of the world, low cost base materials and concentrating on improving their quality of goods and services along with maintaining their creativity of uniqueness.
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