Marks and Spencer, a leading UK based and globally prevailing retailer enters in china pursuing its global growth strategy. It enters in market organically by opening stores but the Chinese stores show a poor performance and annoying variances. Products offered by marks and spencer in china failed to attract customers due to inappropriateness of design, shape and sizes of outfits and poor presentation in Chinese stores. The price was too high and uncompetitive. In food section there was a lack of variety and small percentage of fresh food items. All items were marketed under trade name. Customers were complaining about packaging and labeling was not helpful due to language and design.
There is a lack of store and brand awareness of M&S among people. The advertisement budget is very small and audience is not properly targeted.There is a need for Marks & Spencer to analyze the situation carefully and then develop a localized strategy to cope the issues. Adopting a localized strategy will uproot the dangers of foreign traded view. Some of these strategies are listed below. M&S needs to re-brand itself in order to move away from the negative connotations, erase the past image and start afresh. This can be done by changing the store look and layout. The arrangement should grab hold of the passer-by’s interest, especially the female youth- which will be M’s new target market.
Although this is an advertising technique, it primarily falls under re-branding the store and giving the brand a new image. All these efforts should be concentrated towards recreating a store that does not remind the customers of the old store or their views of it- it should feel new to the customers and help develop positive impressions. Due to the fact that many people were unfamiliar with the brand, M&S should engage in heavy advertising. Television is the most successful way of reaching mass-market, especially in China where it is very popular.
M&S should consider buying slot times during programs that have the highest viewership. Billboards can be used to reach out to mass audience. Billboards should be appealing and also be able to grab attention. They should be placed in areas with high number of passers-by such as the city Centre, pedestrian bridges and sidewalk railways.Online advertising is the usage of the World Wide Web in order to get the message across and build interest for your brand. In China, 1/3 of the population is found online, this makes it the second largest Internet community in the world. Internet is a good way of reaching out to young people, and this is important to note as they will be M&S’s target market for the clothing department. In China, Facebook is not as popular as websites called “QQ” and “360 Quan” (China’s largest social networking sites).
Whereby companies today are creating Facebook pages to reach out to the youth market (e.g. – Burberry), M&S should try and join the aforementioned sites to create awareness, inform the youth about the brand and its products and encourage them to buy them. This is also a good way to connect with the youth, get to know their views on the existing products, what the upcoming trends are and the colors that are “in” during a particular time- this way, M&S will be able to get an insight into its markets and the needs, thus creating products to satisfy them.Chinese retail market is indeed promising and generating huge turnover for many established brands already. As the consumer market is shifting to developing countries, it is important for Marks and Spencer not to lose its place in one of the key emerging markets.
According to researches and analysis, conclusion can be made that M&S underestimated uniqueness of Chinese market by trying to apply Hong Kong model and not choosing proper market entry strategy. There is a simple formulae: The more barriers has the market, the more localization should be considered. Barriers (differences) were enormous: language, culture, lifestyle, social-classes, education, religion and many more.M&S China model, proves how important is the global marketing. Strong brand with heritage and high-end quality products is failing in the market, which is overtaking the US by luxury goods consumption soon.
The key answer for the all above issues would have been appreciation of market uniqueness and localization, which would be completely different market entry strategy than the one