The retail establishment that I visited is a local chain of shops called Shopko. They sell a wide range of products including clothes, sports wear, toys, household items, electronics, greeting cards and candies. The section that I would like to concentrate is the clothes section for infants and toddlers.
What is Generic Marketing Strategy and its implications for Shopko?
Generic marketing strategies help an organization to gain competitive advantage in its line of business. “In the quest for competitive advantage, the foremost concern should be the likely market response to the proposed strategy. In order to be successful, the strategy — whether driven by cost, technology, distribution, service or other competitive advantages of the firm — has to be consistent with the consumer needs, perceptions and preferences.” (Wind, 1983, p.12).
In other words, Shopko should consider the market response for its toddler and infant clothing section besides cost and distribution factors. The line of clothes sold here are moderately expensive and the choices are highly limited. It faces severe competition from retail stores like Walmart and Target and also specialty stores like ToysRUs, TJMAX and Old Navy.
Revenue from the sale of its toddler and infant clothing forms only a small part of its total turnover and the retailer is looking to increase its share in the overall profitability of the company and also to increase the market share among its competitors. There are several stumbling blocks in this process. The first is that Walmart and Target sell a cheaper brand of clothes and a good section of the population prefer to spend less in the current business environment and market situation. Another section of the population who are in a better position to spend more money prefer to go to specialty stores like ToysRUs. As a result, Shopko is caught in the middle with nothing distinct to offer to its customers.
The first step that should be taken by Shopko to increase its market share in toddler and infant clothing is to assess its situation in terms of competitors. This will help the retailer to formulate a better strategy to gain competitive advantage. Shopko should look at providing more value for the consumers and there are four distinct ways in which this can be done. “Strategic management deals with the question of how firms create value in terms of achieving and sustaining competitive advantage. The market-based, resource-based, dynamic capabilities, and relational views identify different sources of competitive advantages.” (Dietl, Royer and Stratmann, 2009, p.26). Out of these, Shopko should follow the market-based perspective because it will help the retailer to position itself better in this market.
One possible solution is to increase the options available for customers by introducing a cheaper line of clothes along with its existing ones. Another solution is to reduce the cost and make revenue from large-scale sale of infant clothing. This can induce some shoppers to visit the store and over a period of time, Shopko can eat into the shares of Walmart and Target.
Shopko can also look at the options of creating a niche market like selling organic clothing. “The ideal niche product serves a small but well defined subset of the population and is sold through a market channel that can reach that segment profitably” (Lander, 2008, p.41). Environment-conscious people who want to protect the environment and yet offer good clothes to their children will flock to this retailer.
These are some of the options that Shopko can consider to increase its market share in the field of infant and toddler clothing.
Wind, Yoram. Robertson, Thomas. (Spring 1983). Marketing Strategy: New Directions for Theory and Research. The Journal of Marketing. Vol 47(2). pp12-25.
Dietl, Helmut; Royer, Susanne;Stratmann, Uwe. (Spring 2009). Value Creation Architectures and Competitive Advantage: Lessons From the European Automobile Industry. California Management Review. Vol 51(3). pp24-48
Lander, Jack. (September 2008). Niche Products Fly High. Inventors’ Digest. Vol 24(8). pp40-41
Hougaard, Soren; Bjerre, Mogens. (2003). Strategic Relationship marketing. Publisher: Springer.
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