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This report is pertaining to Marks & Spencer UK
Ref : 1) Identify and explain the different customer needs. Who are the three M&S clothing ranges aimed to serve? Assume that the Perfect and Classic ranges serve essentially the same customer segment.
2) Identify and explain the order winners and qualifier for these three different clothing ranges at M&S.
3) Apply the polar diagram to analyse and compare the different operations performance objectives for these three different clothing ranges at M&S.
Introduction: MARKS & SPENCER (UK)
Marks & Spencer (M&S) is a commercial organization and is one of the UK leading retailer of clothing and home product. Other than that, M&S also selling high quality of foods and at the same time also provided financial service.
M&S claim to have 21 million of customer that visit to their store weekly and have 600 stores in UK and the business is expanding globally. M&S have 2000 supplier and 75000 employees all around the world.
M&S also is the No. 1 women wear and lingerie provider in UK. Meanwhile the market share of men and children wear is expanding. Lastly, due to M&S Plan A, a five year eco plan, M&S is now more known for their green credential to become carbon free and no landfill waste by the year 2012.
1.0 Identify and explain the different customer needs which the three M&S clothing ranges aimed to serve? Assume that the Perfect and Classic ranges serve essentially the same customer segment.
1.1 Identify the Segmentation.
Market segmentation can be defined as the process of dividing a market into different segmentation by take in the consideration of the customer’s common needs or characteristic. (Schiffman & Kanuk, 1997,p.46)
In reference to the case study, the product agenda in the Marks & Spencer can be divided by understanding segmentation is Season, Gender, Age.
There are 4 seasons in United Kingdom, which is spring, autumn, summer and winter. By further reference to the case study, spring and autumn is the peak sales season of the Marks and Spencer. The clothing during spring and autumn is casual wear. And during this time, is when all the high-fashion wear take place as no heavy clothing is required. The figure below show the suitable clothing to be worn during spring and autumn season.
Marks and Spencer is targeted more on the women rather than man. This is factual that women are usually more into shopping and purchasing clothing than men. Take for instance; I usually go shopping for clothes once a year usually a few weeks before the Chinese New Year. It is Chinese tradition to wear new cloth during the celebration. Whereas my girl friend will keep on shopping whenever she likes together shopper impulse. The case study has a focus on women buying behavior pertaining to clothes.
Product needs and interests vary with consumer age. Marketers have found age is a very useful demographic variable for distinguishing segments. (Schiffman & Kanuk, 1997,p.53)
By referring to the case study, Marks & Spencer core and potential customer are women aged between 35 to 55. Where the women at this age are very active and the purchasing power is high.
1.2 Customer needs
Customer needs are defined, “XXXXXXXX”. In the case of Marks & Spencer the needs of women customer’s can be divided into the size, quality, design, pricing and also the services that are available to them in providing, them providing their personal and environmental needs.
1.2.1 The Size of the Clothing
The different sizes of the clothing are one of the most important issues towards customer needs. A cloth can be designed with a very supreme layout, the colour can be extremely beautiful, the price can very reasonable and the quality can be fantastic, however when customer wants to purchase a particular clothing but not available in size, will result in customer behavioral stress with a perceptional and altitude change towards the item. M&S should strategically consider in term of the size availability of the clothing that they wish to sell as compared to the women in Malaysia, the size are normally in the range S, M, L and XL as their body are relatively smaller if compare to the women in UK.
1.2.2 The Quality of the Clothing
The quality is important to the customer and required need. The customer wants his money worth when she wears the clothes. From the case study, one of the customer stated that the cloth she purchase must be value for money. The busy lifestyle of today, the customers now need to be met by M&S. They will preferred that the clothing that they purchase can be wash well and not require specialist washing and the cloth have to long last , colour not to fade and won’t shrink while in wash. This is same for all the customers around the world.
The customer is expecting the price will mirror the quality level of the product (Erickson and Johansson,1985 cited in Brassington and Pettitt, 2007,p.223). The quality of the goods and services accepted have to be equal to the money that they invested.
1.2.3 The design of the Clothing
Good design satisfies customer, communicates the purpose of the product or service to its market, and bring financial rewards to the business. The objective of good design, whether of product or service is to satisfy customers by meeting their actual or anticipated needs and expectations (Slack, et al., 2010)
The customers demand a good design of clothing and shall be not recognized as M&S on the first sight especially for the premium and high fashion clothing. Customer needs for something that is more presentable and different from the other brands. This is best described for the autograph range clothing. The design has to be supreme, outstanding. As what we understand that the hot sales season of M&S is during Spring And Autumn, and during this two season, heavy clothing is not required and this is the time when the people wear out fashion and trendy clothing. Therefore the design needs to be the main consideration of M&S while they make the purchase decision. Whereas, the customers in Malaysia especially for women, they will rather visit a boutique rather than a supermarket to buy their clothing even though the price is higher because of the design. As the cloth in the boutique are unique and rarely found in other shops and this will eliminate the chances to get embarrassed as 2 person wear the same clothing at a function or dinner.
1.2.4 The services
A good service usually helps to make sales successful. Customers who come to M&S expected to receive a good service, such as after sales service, consultant service and other basic services. However, in the case study, one of the customers stated that she would not make a special trip to buy a high-fashion item and rather to have an impulse purchase. The busy lifestyle today, purchase through the internet is becoming a common thing. M&S do have this service, and the customers do not have to go to the store to view and to purchase for the clothing. The electronic catalogue on the website and online purchase is available. This is one of the services that are demanded by the customer. This service is productive as customers now do not need to step out from their home to purchase. Especially in a critical weather condition, helps remove customer stress. As for the goods to be delivered, somehow, if M&S will set up a special department to deal with the delivery, the lead time will be reduced and the satisfaction level of customer on the service will be enhanced.
1.2.5 The Pricing
Price- the main consideration of customer on purchase. Form the case, the customer had stated that they would pay a high price but the design and quality must be there. But it is not applicable for all the customer as for the customer which comes from a middle and low income level, pricing will be an issue. As in Malaysia, if the product sell is cheap and worth, even though there is no advertisement, the store will have a lot of customers.
From the consumer perception, the price of a product reflects the value that they attach to whatsoever is being exchanged. While the customer is making purchase decision, the marketer is considered be making a promise to the customer about what is the product and what is the value of it. The consumer is then going to determine the promise against the price and thus decide whether it is worth paying (Zeithaml, 1988 cited in Brassington and Pettitt, 2007,p.223).
The same applies to M&S, if the prices are lower compare to the competitor, and with good quality, automatically the customer will be there to purchase. Thus, pull up the profit of the M&S. It will also create the loyalty of the customer towards M&S.
2.0 Identify and explain the order winners and qualifier for these three different clothing ranges at M&S.
2.1 Order Winner
Order winner are those factor which directly and significantly contribute to winning business. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.69) In a simply words, order winner is the characteristic of a firm that cause the customer to purchase the goods and services from firm. Order winner play an important role to not only to end sales but also to secure new business. The ability of a firm in the strategic initiative as cost, price, lead time, quality, reliability, brand equity and etc can enhance a firm order winner.
The order winner for classis and perfect range is for core customers with a busy life, versatility, fitness, reasonable price and quality
The order winner for Autograph range is its Fashionable, unique and exclusive designs.
The order winner for Per una range is Limited editions, special and more exclusive styles, competitive prices.
2.2 Order Qualifiers
Qualifier are those aspect of competitiveness where the operation’s performance has to be above particular level just to be considered by the customer. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.69).Order qualifier is the characteristic to be equipped by a firm to make it outstanding among all the other firm and competitors. In a simple words, order qualifiers make the firm differ from its competitors.
The order qualifiers for classis and perfect range are Timeless essentials reflecting one’s style and finesse.
The order qualifier for Autograph range is Collection with no more than 60 of each color and way and style.
The order qualifier for Per Una Range is its Superb designs at very affordable prices
3.0 Apply the polar diagram to analyse and compare the different operations performance objectives for these three different clothing ranges at M&S.
3.1 Polar Diagram
Polar diagram is a useful way to representing the relative importance objective for a product or services. This is called the polar representation because the scales which represent the importance of each performance objective have the same origin. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.53).
The polar diagram below can be used to analyse and compare he different operations performance objectives for the three different clothing range at M&S. The 5 factor in the polar diagram are Cost, Quality, Design, Size availability and also the Sales volume SKU.
Cost is the major performance objective especially for the firm which compete against each other in term of price as the lower the cost, the lower the price the firm can sell to customer. When the firm able to lower its cost but can maintains the quality, it is giving the firm the cost objective. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.40)
By referring to the polar diagram, the cost for the Autograph range is the highest followed by the Per Una Range, meanwhile the cost for perfect and classic range is the lowest among the three M&S Clothing range.
The cost directly reflect the selling the price of three M&S product range. The price of Autograph range is the most expensive among three as the product under this range use the design of top designer and high quality raw material. When the cost increases, automatically the selling price will be higher.
Quality is a major influence on customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Quality is consistent conformance to customers expectation, which also mean doing thing right. High quality of goods and services that is offer to customer will ensure the return of the customer. This will give the firm a quality advantages. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.40)
By referring to the polar diagram, the quality of the Per Una Range is the supreme follow by The Autograph Range then by the Perfect and Classic range.
The material use in Per Una range product is Superb quality materials while the material use in the Autograph and Perfect& Classic range is High quality and high quality fabrics material.
This had show that the high quality material had been used by M&S in producing their all range of clothing to ensure the quality of clothing is maintain at high level and ensure the customer satisfaction. By using the high quality material, the issue such as shrink colour fading will be eliminate.
3.1.3 Flexibility (The availability of Size)
The flexibility simply means that the ability of the form to change the operation in some way. It also means that the firm will be able to react toward different and unexpected circumstances. The ability of the firm to give individual treatment to the different customer will give the firm flexibility advantage. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.46)
The polar diagram show that the flexibility of the perfect and classis ranges in term of size is above the other two. This is due to the product available in this range are wide and quantity are large. Compare to the Autograph range, the product are unique and only limited number is available, those who miss the chances to purchase will be difficult to find another as it is purposely create the demand in a limited supply. Other than that the product in perfect and classic range is being sale in a wide range and in a large quantity.
A firm might want to do thing fast, thus minimizing the time form the customer order and receiving it in full. The speed advantages means that the faster the customer can get the goods, the more they will buy and thus, the more the firm can gain from it. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.42)
The product can be found almost all the outlet of the M&S. Mean while, the product in the Autograph range can be found in selected store only with a lesser amount. On the other hand, the product under per una range can only be found in a limited number in the specific store only. There polar diagram are clearly show the different sales volume SKU of the three different clothing range of M&S where the larger the volume of the SKU, the faster the customer can get the goods that they wish to purchase.
Dependability means that doing thing in time for customer to receive their goods or services exactly when they are needed, or at least when they were promise. When the firm able to perform this, it will give the dependability advantages to the firm. (Slack, et al., 2010, P.44)
The polar diagram show that the dependability of the Autograph range is superior of the other two clothing range. The design of the Autograph range is to a wider audience within a unique environment, which means a special design by the famous designer. The design of Per Una Range is slightly below the Autograph range where it is affected by the latest trend but will outdate very fast. When it comes to the perfect and classic range, the design is more to casual and return to basic.
Design play an important role in the expensive clothing range as they customer willing to pay just for the design, but when come to basic cloth, customer prefer value-for-money prices.
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