El Corte Ingles, a retail outlet based in Spain, expanded into Portugal and other EU countries, and signed two home-shopping channels in Spain, besides having introduced the first virtual hypermarket on the Web for that country. Sainsbury, a UK major, entered into alliance with Esselunga of Italy, Docks d' France and Belgium's Delhaize. This alliance provided the four companies the "opportunity to pool their experience and buying power to expand into other European markets and face growing competition" (p.415).
The design of a retail organisation entails answering some critical questions regarding customers, competition, suppliers, intermediaries, and stakeholders. A marketing plan-of-action would be the perfect, simplified nuts-and-bolts assessment to leverage an effective strategy. Here, we provide a detailed assessment on what the marketing audit for a Retail design may look like :
It is important to classify your customer into demographic groups for the convenience of focused marketing efforts. The main categories being: Age, Sex, Ethnicity, Language, Income-level, Education, Occupation, Material possessions, etc. Most data can be garnered from Census agencies and Market Research firms.
What do they buy
Here, the objective is to run deeper into the lifestyle and behavioural pattern of targeted buyers. People have different tastes, prejudices and inclinations towards purchase decisions. The marketer's efforts should be directed at understanding the "pulse" of the customer. Amway, e.g., has different strategies for different world markets. In much of Latin America and Asia, for instance, it pushes for direct marketing. In Eastern Europe though, it's more focussed on enlisting individual sellers because people are always looking for ways to be entrepreneurs. It entered the Czech market, e.g. by signing up 25000 distributors and selling 40000 starter kits at $83 each in its first two weeks of business (p.420) .
When do they buy
The adage of Striking the iron holds true in retail business. It's very important for retailers to keep tab of what gets sold when, in order to maximise profits. In order to get the best out of the Christmas season, a group of Europe's best-known retailers organise E-Christmas online where shoppers can choose from six languages in all (p. 423). Discounts, promotion schemes, exchange offers, etc. are among several methods that can help retail business gain considerable volume.
What are the benefits to the customers of buying on the Web
An intelligent customer can avail tremendous discounts on the Web because of the sheer number of choices available to him at the click of a mouse. "Selling online allows retailers to establish a presence beyond their traditional markets" (p.422). As one customer from the Netherlands commented, he paid only $130 instead of the regular $190 when he purchased a mountain bike from