Introduction the company is women in their 50s

Introduction

Marks & Spencer is not a foreign brand as it has been in
business since 1884. However, in the recent years, Marks & Spencer was
caught in the economic stress. As the target market for the company is women in
their 50s now, they would need to make drastic changes before they will be out
of business. ‘Perhaps we are like Marks & Spencer before its recent
recovery: a declining number of loyal customer, some products seen as worth
buying, but overall perceived as out of date, out of touch and with products
which just won’t sell.’ (A. Lansley, 2004) Therefore, as a marketing
consultant, these are a few recommendations to bring Marks & Spencer out of
their decline.

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Should
Marks & Spencer Rebrand?

As Marks & Spencer are well known and have been in the
market for close to 140 years, the idea of rebranding is tedious. Moreover, if
Marks & Spencer rebrand their products, how could we possibly determine the
returns from the sales after the change has been made? Rather than rebranding,
I would suggest that they should reconsider to revamp the clothing line they
have in stores to the current fashion to stay relevant in the market.

As Marks & Spencer are known to bring quality products
and the brand itself are established in the market, marketing vigorously in the
different platforms available under the name of Marks & Spencer would minimize
the costs needed rather to publicize their makeover in Singapore. This also
would aid in minimizing the losses made by Marks & Spencer as at the
current situation. Rebranding would need extra effort and cost to market out
the new brand and products.

(Fig 1: Aaker’s Brand Equity Model)

By now, Marks & Spencer should already discover that they
have a very good brand equity amongst their loyal customers. They need use their
loyal customers to their advantage to find out what changes the loyal customers
would like to see in Marks & Spencer’s product line. From the customer’s
feedback, the management would then need to decide on the necessary changes
they need to make to stay relevant and prosper just like the old days.

(Fig 1: Service
Recovery Strategies (Zeithaml et al. 2008))

In UK, Marks & Spencer have proceeded to rebrand themselves
on e-commerce and working towards making Marks & Spencer successful after
they identify their downfall. By using this Service Recovery Strategies model,
Marks & Spencer are able to work on improving their relationship with their
customers if they plan to expand their services on the e-commerce platform.

Marks & Spencer in Singapore are not yet moving into the
e-commerce platform anytime soon from the looks of it, however, they could take
advantage on the physical store in the shopping centres by extending attractive
promotions to attract more customers in store and maybe could turn them into
loyal customers. Mostly those who shop in Marks & Spencer for the clothing
line are those who wear casual workwear and for their chocolates and biscuits
in the food line. Marks & Spencer’s customers in Singapore are also
inclusive of expats who are used to the brand in their hometown.

Marks & Spencer could also make use of the opportunity
of roadshows and mobile stores to engage the participation of customers in
buying their products. Marks & Spencer do have a very high chance to still
be in operation with their conservative clothing line as our society are still
conservative in their fashion and Marks & Spencer carries a decent casual
clothes line for daily workwear. However, Marks & Spencer needs to market
their brand widely to remind the customers that they’re still in business.

Multi-Channel
Platform

The clothing line is not the only change Marks & Spencer
have to consider. In the recent years, technology have taken over the lives of
people around the globe. Marks & Spencer have yet to follow suit with its
rival brands like H&M and Zara. H&M and Zara have followed up with the
changes in technology and understanding that their customers are having less
time to physically come to their store and purchase the clothes, they have included
e-commerce platform into their website to ease the customers.

So, what is Multi-Channel platform and how it could help
Marks & Spencer out? ‘Today, businesses need a multi-channel strategy that
offers consumers a seamless experience across all touch points, or they’ll miss
an opportunity for customer value generation.’ (Paterson, et al., 2010).
Multi-Channel platform would aid Marks & Spencer to interact with their
customers more and able to serve better with the ease of technology in place.

The benefits of multi-channel marketing are that they mimics
the customers’ behaviour, gives a mobile-first viewpoint, leverages existing
algorithms (to increase ROI), helps to unify messaging, overcome banner
blindness, lets Marks & Spencer target accounts instead of spray-and-pray and
influence sales when it matters most.

Marks & Spencer have established themselves in the Brick
and Mortar aspect, I believe it is time to move into the Click and Click or e-commerce
websites to enhance the sales and be closer to their customers. With just a few
clicks, customers are able to reach the customer service officer to enquire on
the products just like in the physical stores, but done virtually. This would
boost the confidence of customers of Marks & Spencer to keep patronizing
the brand and kept relevant in the market.

If Marks & Spencer would not want to take the high risk
into creating an e-commerce platform due to uncertainties, they could try to
sell their products on e-tailing websites such as Lazada, ebay, Qoo10 or Amazon
as a start. If Marks & Spencer could see a positive change in sales trend,
they could then make the move to add the e-commerce platform into their website
and sell out their products.

Recommendations

As explained above, Marks & Spencer should never rebrand
itself as it is their identity and through years of hard work to bring the brand
to where it is today, rebranding would mean to start all over again. In this
case, it is not advisable as it would take much effort and cost to manage the rebranding,
whereas the aim is to minimize the losses and maximize sale after all the years
of decline. Marks & Spencer should recognize the problem and rectify it
with the right approach and right decisions to stay apt in the market.

Marks & Spencer should work out a new marketing strategy
by working on their clothing line makeover to technology advancement in their
operations to stepping up on their services both virtually and physically. Marks
& Spencer should not be afraid of changes. By using multi-channel platform,
Marks & Spencer should look forward to increase of sales and recognition. Quality
product without proper introduction to the rest of the world would be left in
the dark.

However, Marks & Spencer also should focus on reviving
their sales with promotion and attractive marketing. By doing this, Marks &
Spencer could be widely recognized by customers of all ages. Even it the
attractive marketing does not bring the customer to buy any products from Marks
& Spencer, that marketing strategy does indeed gain recognition from people
to patronize the store.

Conclusion

With the recommendations above and as a consultant, I
believe Marks & Spencer would be able to pull itself out of their decline
and able to win back the trust of their customers. Marks & Spencer needs to
ensure that they are following closely to the changes in the market. They could
not be complacent and let themselves be left behind by the rivals. Technology plays
a very important part today. Even to purchase groceries, they have an online
store for it!

References:

1.     
Lansley, A. MP (2003). From values to policy:
the Conservative challenge, The
Conservatives in Crisis, pg. 224.

2.      Fig 1: Aaker, David A., The value of
brand equity, “Journal of Business
Strategy, Vol.13, Issue 4, Jul/Aug 1992

3.     
Fig 2: Zeithaml, VA, Bitner, MJ & Gremler, DD (2009).
Services Marketing. 5th edition,
Mc-Graw Hill, New York

4.     
Multi-Channel Customer Management: Delighting Consumers, Driving Efficiency by
Dr. Michael Peterson, Dr. Florian Gröne, Dr. Karsten Kammer & Julius Kirscheneder:
booz&co Online Available at: https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/media/uploads/Multi-Channel_Customer_Management.pdf
Accessed on: 22 Jan 2018