The author of this report has been asked to take on the role of a Chief Marketing Officer of a United States department chain that competes on the same level as Macy's and Nordstrom's. As part of the plan, the overall strategy will be enumerated and discussed, the product/market boundaries will be looked at, the marketing segmentation strategy will be identified, the customer relationship management strategy will be described, the general strategy of collecting information about potential customers will be given and all of the above will be buttressed and reinforced with three academic and scholarly resources. While taking on the role of marketing leader in a retail environment can be complex and difficult, there are several core strategies that should always be present and they are not hard to understand conceptually.
The overall marketing-driven strategy is going to be dictated in large part by the fact that the direct competitors of this theoretical store are competitors to Macy's and Nordstrom's. Those two stores are certainly not known for budget-priced items and this theoretical store would not be either. The marketing-driven strategy that shall be used for this new store is bringing a taste of the good life to more people without breaking the bank. This will be done through customer-focused campaigns like annual sales, private sales for repeat and/or signed up customers and no interest financing for higher-end items like the more expensive handbags and jewelry. Credit will not be extended liberally to high-risk credit profiles but medium to middle/high wage earners that want to frequent the store will be embraced and pointed to the goods they desire and not towards what is not desired. The rationale behind the above is that this third store needs to carry itself in the same general way as Macy's and Nordstrom's as they are direct competitors. However, taking a full-on copycat approach will not be the way to go and this third store needs to establish its own niche and identity as a brand. Imitation is the norm in retail stores and store brand items but this is not remotely the case with more expensive goods. In addition, there have been requested or enacted pieces of legislation that directly combat direct knockoffs (Port, 2012). Beats headphones, for example, are Beats headphones and anything else that is copying them is fairly obvious and a cheap way out. If this third store sold Beats headphones, they should absolutely not sell any of the knockoffs at any time or for any reason.
The product/market boundaries are the next subject and this has already been covered in part by the prior sentences. Certainly, most of the wares will in no way correspond or correlate to traditional discount stores like Wal-Mart or Target. There might be some scant shared products but it will not be that much. There will be some comparison to middle-range stores like Kohl's and Dillard's. However, while the price point for purses and handbags might very well start in the $50+ range, most shoes, clothes and handbags/purses will start mostly in the $75-100 range and go up from there. Goods that are not reputable and desired by more discerning shoppers will not be sold at this chain. By reputable, that would refer to goods that wear out prematurely and/or are clearly not of higher quality. The rationale behind the above is that this store will not sell goods that will wear out in short order as this is absolutely unacceptable and impermissible when this much money is being spent. This goes double for goods that are on the upper crust. For example, a high-end watch whose band breaks inside of a week is not something that can be left unanswered if it becomes a pattern. The rationale about the higher-end brands is that this store will not be a discount/bargain chain.
While the cheaper and lower quality goods will not be carried by this store, there is still going to be a clear segmentation of product lines. For example, some brand names tend to or always start at a high price point. One such example is Jimmy Choo. However, other brands like Coach and Burberry have more tiered offerings. Coach is a great example because their lower-priced purses and handbags start at roughly two to three hundred dollars but they also sell higher end purses that are one thousand dollars or more. There will be demarcated sections for each tier. The higher end goods will be secured in locked cases but there will be people present that will offer a full service experience. For the lesser priced good, they will be freely available to touch and inspect and staff will be on standby to offer assistance but not in a pushy or commission-driven fashion as this does tend to turn off people. A simple "can we be of any assistance" will be offered but nothing beyond that if the customer declines. The more "full service" option will appeal to people's greed and desires of being treated like a high-end customer and this is as it should be since those customers will bring more revenue to the store at the end of the day. To put the above in simple terms, there will be no lower-end goods but there will be middle-tier and upper. The former will be given support as needed or requested and the latter will get the full service experience. The rationale behind the segmentation above is that all of the goods will be of a higher price but some prices are higher than others and the level of service should adjust accordingly as the profit to be had is higher and so is the attractiveness to customers of experiencing that for themselves. Obviously, not just anyone can buy a thousand dollar Coach purse but it can be an occasional splurge for anyone that is willing to save their pennies and take a dive, if only one time in a great while.
Another form of segmentation will stem from the fact that the stores in question are going to be operating in different parts of the country. This means different cost of livings, different cultural and fashion trends and so forth. For example, the East Coast and the South are entirely different in terms of racial composition, income levels and brand preferences. Some brands are prolific in all metro areas like Coach and such but it can get murky beyond the normal mainstays. For example, the South contains one seismic fashion city in the form of Atlanta. The brand names and trends in Atlanta are going to be entirely different than, let us say, New York because the mindsets and trends are entirely different. One reason is race and ethnicity. New York is a cornucopia of a lot of different races and cultures and is roughly double the size of Atlanta. On the other hand, Atlanta proper is 2:1 black/white and black culture has sprouted up its own preferences and even its own brand names such as FUBU and Sean John. Taken even further, Air Jordan tennis shoes might be a bit out of place at a high-end store in some areas of the east coast and northern United States but they would fit right in within Atlanta stores as they are highly in demand and the resale market is off the charts. Some decry pointing this out as being racial or even racist, but the desire of stores is to cater to the customers and the customers generally expect or demand that anyway. Such segmentation should not be ridiculous but the individual regions of stores should be customized to fit what is desired for that region so long as it fits into the price point and image of the store. The segmentation rationale for this part is obvious and justifiable since different parts of the country have different cultures, preferences and favorite brands so not all of the stores should be identical. They will be similar but they will not be the same from region to region in most cases (Crockett, 2009).
The overall customer relationship strategy will be much more inclusive as it will make use of a "club" for people to sign up for. There will be no cost associated with the program and the people that participate will be rewarded for following the store's sales and items through the advertising of private sales and other offers that the rest of the buying public will not be aware of. While no money will be collected to join the club, the use of the card with every checkout will be wielded and used exactly like is done with other such clubs and websites like Amazon.com as the buying habits of each person will be used to customize the price points and brands that they like. For example, if someone buys a Coach purse, they can be presented with store-bound or even special order Coach wares like other purses, clutches, shoes and so forth. The non-cost and…