IntroductionMarks & Spencer is not a foreign brand as it has been inbusiness since 1884. However, in the recent years, Marks & Spencer wascaught in the economic stress. As the target market for the company is women intheir 50s now, they would need to make drastic changes before they will be outof business. ‘Perhaps we are like Marks & Spencer before its recentrecovery: a declining number of loyal customer, some products seen as worthbuying, but overall perceived as out of date, out of touch and with productswhich just won’t sell.’ (A.
Lansley, 2004) Therefore, as a marketingconsultant, these are a few recommendations to bring Marks & Spencer out oftheir decline.ShouldMarks & Spencer Rebrand?As Marks & Spencer are well known and have been in themarket for close to 140 years, the idea of rebranding is tedious. Moreover, ifMarks & Spencer rebrand their products, how could we possibly determine thereturns from the sales after the change has been made? Rather than rebranding,I would suggest that they should reconsider to revamp the clothing line theyhave in stores to the current fashion to stay relevant in the market. As Marks & Spencer are known to bring quality productsand the brand itself are established in the market, marketing vigorously in thedifferent platforms available under the name of Marks & Spencer would minimizethe costs needed rather to publicize their makeover in Singapore. This alsowould aid in minimizing the losses made by Marks & Spencer as at thecurrent situation. Rebranding would need extra effort and cost to market outthe new brand and products.(Fig 1: Aaker’s Brand Equity Model)By now, Marks & Spencer should already discover that theyhave a very good brand equity amongst their loyal customers. They need use theirloyal customers to their advantage to find out what changes the loyal customerswould like to see in Marks & Spencer’s product line.
From the customer’sfeedback, the management would then need to decide on the necessary changesthey need to make to stay relevant and prosper just like the old days.(Fig 1: ServiceRecovery Strategies (Zeithaml et al. 2008))In UK, Marks & Spencer have proceeded to rebrand themselveson e-commerce and working towards making Marks & Spencer successful afterthey identify their downfall. By using this Service Recovery Strategies model,Marks & Spencer are able to work on improving their relationship with theircustomers if they plan to expand their services on the e-commerce platform. Marks & Spencer in Singapore are not yet moving into thee-commerce platform anytime soon from the looks of it, however, they could takeadvantage on the physical store in the shopping centres by extending attractivepromotions to attract more customers in store and maybe could turn them intoloyal customers. Mostly those who shop in Marks & Spencer for the clothingline are those who wear casual workwear and for their chocolates and biscuitsin the food line. Marks & Spencer’s customers in Singapore are alsoinclusive of expats who are used to the brand in their hometown.
Marks & Spencer could also make use of the opportunityof roadshows and mobile stores to engage the participation of customers inbuying their products. Marks & Spencer do have a very high chance to stillbe in operation with their conservative clothing line as our society are stillconservative in their fashion and Marks & Spencer carries a decent casualclothes line for daily workwear. However, Marks & Spencer needs to markettheir brand widely to remind the customers that they’re still in business.
Multi-ChannelPlatformThe clothing line is not the only change Marks & Spencerhave to consider. In the recent years, technology have taken over the lives ofpeople around the globe. Marks & Spencer have yet to follow suit with itsrival brands like H&M and Zara. H&M and Zara have followed up with thechanges in technology and understanding that their customers are having lesstime to physically come to their store and purchase the clothes, they have includede-commerce platform into their website to ease the customers. So, what is Multi-Channel platform and how it could helpMarks & Spencer out? ‘Today, businesses need a multi-channel strategy thatoffers consumers a seamless experience across all touch points, or they’ll missan opportunity for customer value generation.
‘ (Paterson, et al., 2010).Multi-Channel platform would aid Marks & Spencer to interact with theircustomers more and able to serve better with the ease of technology in place.The benefits of multi-channel marketing are that they mimicsthe customers’ behaviour, gives a mobile-first viewpoint, leverages existingalgorithms (to increase ROI), helps to unify messaging, overcome bannerblindness, lets Marks & Spencer target accounts instead of spray-and-pray andinfluence sales when it matters most.
Marks & Spencer have established themselves in the Brickand Mortar aspect, I believe it is time to move into the Click and Click or e-commercewebsites to enhance the sales and be closer to their customers. With just a fewclicks, customers are able to reach the customer service officer to enquire onthe products just like in the physical stores, but done virtually. This wouldboost the confidence of customers of Marks & Spencer to keep patronizingthe brand and kept relevant in the market.If Marks & Spencer would not want to take the high riskinto creating an e-commerce platform due to uncertainties, they could try tosell their products on e-tailing websites such as Lazada, ebay, Qoo10 or Amazonas 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 websiteand sell out their products.RecommendationsAs explained above, Marks & Spencer should never rebranditself as it is their identity and through years of hard work to bring the brandto where it is today, rebranding would mean to start all over again. In thiscase, 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 yearsof decline. Marks & Spencer should recognize the problem and rectify itwith the right approach and right decisions to stay apt in the market.
Marks & Spencer should work out a new marketing strategyby working on their clothing line makeover to technology advancement in theiroperations 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. Qualityproduct without proper introduction to the rest of the world would be left inthe dark.However, Marks & Spencer also should focus on revivingtheir sales with promotion and attractive marketing. By doing this, Marks &Spencer could be widely recognized by customers of all ages.
Even it theattractive marketing does not bring the customer to buy any products from Marks& Spencer, that marketing strategy does indeed gain recognition from peopleto patronize the store.ConclusionWith the recommendations above and as a consultant, Ibelieve Marks & Spencer would be able to pull itself out of their declineand able to win back the trust of their customers. Marks & Spencer needs toensure that they are following closely to the changes in the market. They couldnot be complacent and let themselves be left behind by the rivals. Technology playsa very important part today. Even to purchase groceries, they have an onlinestore for it! References:1. Lansley, A. MP (2003).
From values to policy:the Conservative challenge, TheConservatives in Crisis, pg. 224.2. Fig 1: Aaker, David A.
, The value ofbrand equity, “Journal of BusinessStrategy, Vol.13, Issue 4, Jul/Aug 19923. Fig 2: Zeithaml, VA, Bitner, MJ & Gremler, DD (2009).Services Marketing. 5th edition,Mc-Graw Hill, New York4. Multi-Channel Customer Management: Delighting Consumers, Driving Efficiency byDr.
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.pdfAccessed on: 22 Jan 2018