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Marks & Spencer p.l.c. is the largest British retailer with nearly over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specializes in the selling of clothing, food and home furnishings, with many of these items sold under M&S private-label St Michael brand. M&S was founded in 1884 by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. In 1998 it became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1 billion, through a few years later it plunged into a crisis which lasted for several years. It is also listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
This report is pertaining to Mark & Spenser organization and I will discuss the following question:
Identify and explain the different customer needs of which the three M&S clothing ranges aimed to serve? Assume that the Perfect and Classic ranges serve essentially the same customer segment.
Identify and explain the order winners and qualifies for these three different clothing ranges at M&S.
Apply the polar diagram to analyse and compare the different operations performance objectives for these three different clothing ranges at M&S.
1) Identify and explain the different customer needs of which the three Marks & Spencer clothing ranges aimed to serve? Assume that the Perfect and Classic ranges serve essentially the same customer segment.
1.1) Customer Needs
Customer needs is the problem of customers during the purchase of a good or service and they are tried to solve it. Beside that, different customers have different cultural, so the things they purchase might be different in the way of purchasing. For example, what, when, how, where and why things are they bought.
McClelland's theory of needs can be classed as achievement, affiliation, or power. A person motivation and effectiveness in certain decision are influenced by these three needs.
Why needs? "Man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them." Adam Smith, the wealth of nations, 1776.
1.2) Demographic and Psychographic Segmentation
Demographic is used to measurable statistics of a population, such as age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, etc. The data has recorded can easily to measurable and categorize the wants of the customers on the basis of demographic factors.
Psychographic is a method used to classify people according to their value, opinions, interest, personality characteristics and so on. Mean that, different customers have different opinion and personality, so when they are purchasing at Marks & Spencer might be different also.
According to the case of Marks & Spenser, it has three clothing ranges which is perfect and classic range, autograph range and per una range. The customer of the perfect and classic ranges is consisting of 35 to 55 years old men's and women's who are interested with reasonable price and good quality product because they just want to wear a good quality clothing to make them look good with cheap price. The target customers for autograph range and per una range were fashion-conscious women aged between 25 and 35 with providing high quality because they want to experience and follow the latest trend.
1.3) Geographic Segmentation
Geographic is very beneficial to the Marks & Spencer. It helps the marketing team to identify and segregate the market into units on the basis of language, climate conditions, size of metropolitan area and so on.
Since, Marks and Spencer is a UK retailer so that generally a year will divided into four seasons like spring, summer, autumn and winter in UK. So, most of the customers in UK will follow the climate to purchase clothing. For example, in winter period customers will purchase clothing which is thick and heat preservation. In other hand, customers will purchase clothing which is thin during the summer period.
When there are different climate in different country, the customer will having different needs. For example, in Malaysia there have no any season period like UK so some customers in Malaysia will purchase clothing without follow the latest trend and some will follow. It depends on their thinking and behavior.
According to the case of Mark & Spencer, there were just two main sale seasons per year which are for spring and autumn. Mean that, most of the customer from UK usually will purchase clothing during these two seasons.
1.4) Behavior Segmentation
In behavior segmentation is based on potential buyers of a products are based on their brand loyalty, attitude, knowledge and so on. A buyer's attitude toward a product is an important element in the buying decision because it will lead the buyer decides to purchase an item or not. Beside that, the knowledge of a buyer is important also because the buyers need to know how to use the product when it has been purchase.
A Howard (1963) developed a model of buyer behavior which included learning curve of buyer behavior. The curve was divided into three major phases which is initial stage, intermediate stage and final stage. During the initial stage, the buyer has limited information and experience of the product. They just get the information through the magazine or influence by friend only, so they do not know whether the product is the best or not. In the intermediate stage, the buyer more relies more on their own experience and less influence by others to make their purchases. In the final stage, the buyer already know what they wants, so they will buy the same product unless the product is bad and they will change to another brand.
2) Identify and explain the order winners and order qualifiers for these three different clothing ranges at Marks & Spencer.
Perfect and classic ranges
Per una range
Products with classic and mature style
Boutique product and designer collection
Products with latest trends and limited editions
Standard design changes
Design within a unique environment
Design rails in weeks not month
High street prices
High quality fabric
Sales volumes SKU
Small volume in selected stores only
Very small volume with limited editions
Reliable of the products
Quality and design of the products
Appearance of the products
Price and quality
Price and quality
Products speed and flexibility
(Table of three different clothing ranges at Marks & Spencer)
2.1) order winners and qualifiers
Order winners are those competitive characteristics that cause Marks & Spencer customers to choose their goods and over their competitors. Order winners also can identify as competitive advantages for Marks & Spencer. It's usually focus on one rarely more than two of the strategic initiatives such as price, quality, delivery speed and reliability, product design, flexibility and image.
Order qualifiers are those competitive characteristics that Marks & Spencer must show to be a competitor in the market place.
2.2) Perfect and classic ranges
These both ranges are emphasizing as timelessness. For example, they are not fashion offerings. A perfect range refers to quality and value for a reasonable price. The product with classic and mature style becomes an order winner because the product is reliable with standard design changes. Beside that, the price and quality become order qualifiers of the competitive characteristics.
2.3) Autograph ranges
The range is to offers the top designer collection products at high street prices. Thus, the fashionable product becomes an order winner because of the boutique product within a unique environment. Beside that, the prices become order qualifiers of the competitive characteristics.
2.4) Per una ranges.
The range is with the latest trends and limited edition products with highest quality at affordable prices. Thus, the appearance of the products and design rails in weeks not month becomes an order winner. Beside that, the price and quality become order qualifiers of the competitive characteristics.
3) Apply the polar diagram to analyse and compare the different operations performance objectives for these here different clothing ranges at Marks & Spencer.
3.1) Polar diagram
Perfect and classic ranges
Per una ranges
3.2) Quality & Cost
From the polar diagram, the quality and cost of the per una ranges is the highest. According to the case of Marks & Spencer, per una ranges using the best quality materials to design and follow the latest trend with limited editions. Mean that, per una items were presented in small numbers, making each style special and more exclusive. Because of the design is limited edition and with the best quality, so the cost automatic is very high.
The next highest quality and cost is the autograph ranges and the last highest quality and cost is the perfect and classic ranges. According to the case of Marks & Spencer, the product of the autograph ranges is design by the best designer such as Julien Macdonald, Philip Treacy and Sonja Nuttall within a unique environment.
In conclusion, quality of the clothing is important because most of the customers will look on the quality before they are purchasing. A customer perception of high-quality products and services means customer satisfaction and therefore the likelihood that the customer will return. Beside that, quality of goods may help the Marks & Spencer save the marketing cost such as advertising and promotion because the customer satisfied with the quality and they will return again.
3.3) Speed & Dependability
Speed is the time between customers ordering or requesting and receiving a product. The dependability means doing things on time for customers to receive their goods exactly when they are needed. From the polar diagram, the ordering or receiving goods of perfect and classic is faster than other ranges because the clothing has been display on the Marks & Spencer. Mean that, the cloth is more reliable because customer can get it on the spot. In other hand, the ordering or receiving goods of autograph and per una ranges is slow and the cloth is less reliable because the item presented in small numbers and with limited edition only. So, the customer can't estimate when they can get the goods.
Flexibility means being able to change for the products in some way. From the polar diagram, perfect and classic are more flexibility to change their products compare to other ranges because it has a wide variety of products to let their customer purchase. For the other ranges, the product is just presented in small numbers and with limited edition only, so they have less flexibility to change their products.