Part I have chosen the Kimberly Clark Corporation (K-C) which is into marketing of personal care products and has a global presence in more than 150 countries. The company has already acquired an enviable global reputation and positioned itself to deliver its products to various retail outlets worldwide. It ranks number 1 to 2 with respect to its share position in more than 80 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people-nearly a quarter of the worlds population-trust K-C brands and the solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. Some of its well known brands are Kleenex, Scott, Huggies and Kotex. According to a statement of Don Quigley, President of Consumer Sales and Customer Development for K-C, "To open up new paths of growth, both marketers and retailers need to create innovative, differentiated solutions that address unmet consumer needs. " The company has strived to achieve these goals and won an award of being the ‘most innovative organization’ on the supply side from ‘The Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association in June 2007.
The company’s latest endeavor is to develop store design, merchandising and product concepts based on consumer insights.
Their new innovation design studio incorporates virtual reality systems to help identify innovations, gain key insights and strengthen customer relationships. They have developed a K-C SmartStation that simulates a person’s shopping experience. This eliminates the need to conduct physical evaluations thereby saving valuable time needed for applying new strategies at specific target areas and locations. By using the virtual reality system and the K-C SmartStation, the company can create real store settings and layouts. These 3-D, interactive store models allow K-C and its customers to explore hypothetical in-store design and merchandising concepts without having to move a single package of product, enabling K-C and the customer to test the impact of these concepts prior to launching them.
This SmartStation allows the management to see what catches the consumers attention, helping them identify which aisle formats, shelf arrangements or in-store promotions are most effective at driving purchases. They used the strategy successfully in designing the aisle of the baby-care products in collaboration with ‘Safeway’ supermarkets which allowed young mothers to spend more time in this section and the sales increased significantly after the application of this strategy. Part 2 The reasons for declining departmental stores are a blend of the changed world economic scenario, public attitude as well technology.
Human populations the world over have become more cosmopolitan thereby necessitating a change in the shopping patterns as well as the shopping contents in a particular departmental store. The international arena has become more open for world trade and the companies need not be confined in their own original geographical locations. The tremendous progress in communication, media, transport and information technology has facilitated the spread of international players to hitherto unknown territory.
Strategies therefore need to be developed to cope up with the desires and necessities of consumers belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds. No longer can the simple run of the mill kind of departmental store survive in this new fast continuously changing lane. A merchandising strategy needed to turn around this decline should take all the above factors into consideration and modify their stores according to the needs and requirements of the present day consumer.
The present day consumer wants to spend his money wisely, values his time, wants a one stop destination, and wants the shopping to be both easy as well as enjoyable. In addition he also wants special services to be available in the store. “Today, the retail merchandising pendulum has swung away from how the retailer wants to sell a product to how the consumer wants to buy the product. ” Thus necessary changes should be made for the departmental stores to be in business again by creating visually dynamic environments, making the merchandise well presented and attractive to customers, using innovative ideas integrated with technology and keeping the customers in a good mood by providing entertainment arenas and special sections to cater to their desires and fancies. Part 3 To neutralize the ‘sameness’ and ‘too many stores’, a merchandiser today needs to use the modern tools at hand to develop diverse stores incorporating research in customer requirements and new emerging technologies to create a totally new and exclusive shopping arena which incorporates more things and facilities than mere merchandise.
Pricing as well as promotions need to be developed keeping the spending power of the retail customer in mind.
“Promotions, Regular Pricing, Markdowns, Product Assortment, and Placement are important motivators of the shopping experience that can differentiate a store from its competitors in the minds of the consumer. ” Consumer Demand Management system needs to be used for arriving at a well researched decision to bring about changes in marketing patterns in order to increase sales. Prominent visual displays, appropriate lighting which highlights the products and promotional displays and shows need to be conducted in order to attract the modern day consumer.
The stores need to be entertainment areas as well and modern day technology can be used to place interactive kiosks and shows to promote the merchandise. The customer should be attracted enough to revisit the store and look forward to the experience along with being satisfied with the product he or she purchases. References: 1. Consumer Demand Management: Strategies that Drive Merchandising Success A DemandTec White Paper, 1 Circle Star Way, Suite 200, San Carlos, CA 94070 www. demandtec. com 2. Watson Julie, Assistant Editor: Modern Merchandising Strategies DO•IT•YOURSELF RETAILING/APRIL 2001 Pg 64 3.
www. kimberly-clark. com