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Strategic Marketing Program for Schuler Books in Traverse City
Currently, Traverse City is in the growing book market. According to Pew research, the city is the sixth largest book market in the United States. As a result, numerous bookstores have commenced operations in the area. In addition to the local bookstores, several international bookstores have outlets in Traverse City. Thus, even though the region has the growing market for book products, there is a high level of competition in the area. Therefore, Schuler Books needs to implement various strategic management principles to enable it to acquire customers and thrive in Traverse City. This paper discusses how to improve the pricing strategy and distribution network of Schuler Books in Traverse City to attract customers in the highly competitive environment.
The company will implement a low pricing approach. The rationale for this pricing approach is to attract clients from the other bookstores by selling used books on the discount basis offered by the company (Mooradian, Matzler, & Ring, 2012). New books that are usually sold at approximately $25 will be sold at $20 whereas the used books that are sold at $12 will be sold at $7 in the store. The company will obtain profits through selling the increasing number books. Schuler Books will reduce the prices of new books, used books, gift items, and music CDs by $5. Since the used books provided by Schuler Books are in good condition, the customers in Traverse City will be enticed to purchase them. Nevertheless, the prices of the kids’ books will be slightly higher as compared to the prices of the other book items. The rationale for this pricing is the relatively higher cost incurred in producing kids’ books due to numerous pictures and colors. Furthermore, many parents feel obliged to purchase books for their children since they know it will help in their cognitive development. Therefore, pricing these books slightly higher than the other items, but still lower than the competitors, will ensure that the business obtains sufficient profits. The company will then give an offer when a client buys three kids books, he or she gets one used book for free. This pricing strategy will allow the company to attract new customers from the existing bookstores.
All the discounts and offers will be advertised during the product promotions that will take place in the community center available at Schuler Books in the downtown area. When clients feel that they are receiving a good deal from the business, they buy products that they did not plan to buy. This is because they receive higher value for less money. Usually, customers are willing to substitute the current products they consume for similar products that are cheaper (Verganti, 2009). Therefore, the cheaper products provided by Schuler Books store will quickly attract new clients.
Also, the music CDs will be sold at five dollars below the market price. This pricing strategy will help the firm to compete with local music vendors. Furthermore, the firm will have an offer where clients receive one free music CD when they purchase four books that are above $30 each ("Schuler Books & Music," 2016). Hence, the firm will attempt to utilize the attractive offer to sell more books at their physical stores.
The low pricing strategy will be accompanied by strategic product promotions that will provide information on the due dates of the promotions. Therefore, clients will be advised to purchase products and services from the company before the promotion ends. This strategic marketing plan will result in numerous customers buying products from the firm during the period of promotion (Mooradian, Matzler, & Ring, 2012). As the customers buy the books from the company, they will have access to other products and services of the enterprise. For instance, the clients will have access to gift items, music, and comfortable places to read.
Thus, even when the promotion period ends, the clients will now be accustomed to the products and services of the company. The firm will then readjust the prices of all the products to match the prices of the products in other stores of the company in other cities (Verganti, 2009). Since the clients are already familiar with the products of the company, a majority of them will switch back to their former bookstores. The firm would thus gain a significant customer base in the highly competitive market due to its pricing strategy.
Schuler Books will implement a direct distribution approach where products reach the customers directly. No intermediaries will be used. The essence of eliminating intermediaries in the distribution chain reduces the time taken for the products to reach the customers and also reduce the distribution cost (Mooradian, Matzler, & Ring, 2012). Moreover, this distribution approach will offer more control for the business as it will not depend on external organization or clients to distribute the products to customers. Having more control implies that the business will react accordingly to changing demand and also meet the unique needs of the customers (Verganti, 2009). Often, a business can do its part in delivering products on time, but the external suppliers cause delays thereby making the products reach the customers late which negatively affects customer satisfaction.
The products will be distributed to the clients within two business days. The company will utilize its own vehicles to distribute the products to the clients. The firm will cover the cost of fuel for the vehicles by including it to the price of the products. However, the business will not include the distribution costs to the products sold to customers that come to the stores in the downtown area. The delivery vehicles of the company will be customized to transport books and other items produced by the enterprise. Even though this process will cost the company a significant amount of money, it will ensure that no product is damaged during transit (Verganti, 2009). Thus, there will be no cases where clients demand a refund for the products they receive from Schuler Books. Hence, the company will maintain low distribution costs. This delivery approach will ensure that the products reach the customers in optimum condition (Mooradian, Matzler, & Ring, 2012). This process will enhance customer satisfaction.
The major store will be located in the downtown area at W Front Street. The downtown area is strategic as it is a home for Northwestern Michigan College that has many students. Furthermore, the people in Traverse City often buy products from the downtown area since they feel as they are supporting local businesses. As a result, clients will easily access the store to make their purchases (Mooradian, Matzler, & Ring, 2012). Also, the firm will open other stores in Eighth Street, Seventh Street, and, Fifth Street. These stores will help in ensuring that clients residing in areas that are far from the major store, at W Front Street, also have easy access to the products. The business will deliver products to clients that opt for home delivery. For instance, schools that purchase numerous books often prefer to have the books delivered at their respective institutions to save on costs.
A creative marketing scheme will be used to complement the distribution strategy. The campaign will primarily comprise of product promotions at the physical stores in all four locations. Famous authors will be invited during the marketing campaigns to help in attracting clients to the stores. The authors will autograph all the books bought by customers during the campaign period. Furthermore, the authors will take pictures with the clients that will be placed on the company website and the community centers at the stores. The company will also use billboards to advertise the discounts it offers on various books. Catch slogans and pictures will be utilized in the billboards to attract the attention of passengers and pedestrians.
Schuler Books will face various challenges to keep its growth in Traverse City. The major problem is the competition from both local and international retailers already present in the city. However, the firm can employ various strategic practices that will help it gain customers in the region. For instance, the low pricing strategy implemented will attract clients that are currently buying books from the other local bookstores. Selling the kids’ books on offer will serve as an incentive for the buyers since a customer that purchases three kids book will get one free used book. Thus, clients will view this pricing strategy as being friendly since it allows them purchasing books for their children and also get their books at the same time. The distribution channel of using the company's means will eliminate the presence of intermediaries, that often slow down the distribution of products and increase prices. The firm’s strategic location in the downtown area will contribute to the convenience of the customers in accessing the facilities as it is close to their places of residence. Customizing the delivery vehicles to transport book products will ensure that the company delivers products that are in good condition which will increase customer satisfaction by the company.
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