This paper concentrates on two main areas - the positioning of a furniture retail store using the added value of a two year guarantee on all products and a suggested typology of shoppers. In 1975 it was decided to position the Morkels furniture retail chain on a service platform. However, intensive research was not carried out and gut feel was relied on. The positioning chosen was that of a "two year guarantee store". For the next eight years this positioning was adhered to, but, in the absence of market research, the problems in communicating this positioning, as well as its credibility, were not fully realized. Morkels market share remained static. In 1984 it was realized that there had been a failure of the service focus. An intensive research program was embarked upon to establish the reasons for the failure of the positioning, and to help revitalize the program. Since then, the success of the positioning has been impressive. The research studies that contributed to this were ones designed to improve understanding of the lifestyle of consumers, in terms of the way they relate to their homes and their furniture, as well as studies designed to improve understanding of "serviceâ in consumer terms. An ongoing customer satisfaction study was also commissioned. Changing needs and perceptions were tracked at regular intervals. A service task force was created, focusing on the issues highlighted by the research. In addition, an operational restructuring took place in order to assist the organization to focus more fully on service and sales. It was found that demographics were inadequate in terms of target market definitions, and it was decided to investigate a typology of smart shoppers versus traditional shoppers. Simply put, the smart shopper is not store loyal, shops around for the best buy and puts little importance on customer service. The traditional shopper is one who is more store loyal, makes extensive use of credit and attaches more value to customer care. It is shown that this typology does have application in the furniture retail environment, but the typology differs according to the type of merchandise being bought.
Author: John Rice
June 15, 1982
Catalogue: Seminar 1997: The Changing Retail Scene
Author: Douglas Parker
Company: Douglas Parker Associates (Pty) Ltd.
June 15, 1997
- This could also be of interest