Clearly, BHS and H&M compete on price, and aim to keep prices a s low as possible to boost demand. M&S’ and Debenhams’ prices are very similar but customers may be more obliged to pay Debenhams prices because a recognised designer produces them. In order to increase demand, therefore, M&S should either lower prices or change the products to give customers more value for money. (eg: contract new designers) Suggested Strategy. Clearly, M&S do not have time to change product lines in 3 weeks. Therefore, in order to increase demand, prices should be lowered.
If M&S is aiming to increase sales in areas which are already popular, changes to price need to be made to these products. Eg: 10 off all dresses in the Per Una’ range. This should appeal to women (the target market) and is relevant to the Christmas season, when these dresses are likely to be in higher demand. However, party dresses will not wanted in January so this is a good product to reduce the price of because M;S want to ensure as many dresses as possible can be sold when demand is high.
They do not want to be faced with a large amount of dresses in the New Year, which won’t sell and will lead to decreased profitability due to obsolete stock. M&S could also introduce promotions to sell more lingerie- eg: 20% off all underwear. This is a good strategy because all the underwear lines are popular so offering money off will hopefully appeal to women of all ages, leading to increased custom from a wider variety of consumers which should lead to increased profits.
The Manchester store has an advantage in the fact that it is much larger than the competitor stores and can display large point of sales displays in the window to attract consumers inside. Hopefully, these promotions should attract women who already buy their clothes in M&S, as well as new customers who will have heard of lines such as ‘Per Una’ current success and good reputation. Hopefully, if women are attracted into the store due to these offers, they may make other full-price purchases, eg: in the menswear section.
M&S could also offer 20% off menswear to further encourage these lines to sell. Of course, competitors, such as Debenhams are also likely to have similar advertising campaigns in the run up to Christmas. M&S could hold their advertising campaign at the same time as rivals to try and attract people away from their stores. However, this may mean that fewer people go to M&S as they have a greater variety of sales to go to. This is why it is particularly importing to sell items which customers actually want to buy, rather than giving money off their unpopular lines.
M&S will want to attract consumers from other firms into their store but may also want to appeal to their existing customers. They could do this by giving loyalty card holders an extra 15% off. Hopefully, this should make loyal customers feel that they are valued by M&S so they continue to bring repeat custom, even after the Christmas season is over. Review of Strategy. To decide if the strategy will be a success, M&S could compare their pre-Christmas sales to rivals’ figures, such as Debenhams. This means that they will be ensuring they keep up with the competitors in their market.
A problem with this is that Debenhams is not currently experiences a decline in sales so may have aimed for much higher increases in profit than M;S have. Alternaively, they could compare figures from last year to see if the promotional changes to some lines had any real benefit to he firm as a whole. An increase in profits would obviously indicate a success. They may want to carry out some market research in the New Year and ask customers what they thought of the promotional Christmas campaign. If results are generally positive, M;S could use similar tactics next year.