Marks & Spencer (M&S) had been leading the retailing business of commodities including clothing and food for 20 years. However, M&S has been losing business, thus changes in its operation was proposed. In this essay, the changes in operation, which is segmentation of the clothing market will be introduced. Moreover, the order winners and qualifiers of each sub-brand will be analysed. Lastly, the logistic performance objectives of the brands will be discussed.
1. Segmentation of clothing
In the past, M&S had been holding onto its single brand name, St Michael. But as times change, the company realized the need of changing its strategy and switch to dividing markets into three segments: The Perfect Collection, the Classic Collection (which the above two are of the same market segment), the Autograph Collection, and the Per Una Collection.
1.1 The Perfect and Classic Collections
The Perfect and Classic Collections serve consumers who looks for high quality and highly functional clothing at reasonable prices. The consumers targeted in this market range are those who have a busy lifestyle, therefore wanting to save time and money on shopping for clothes. Moreover, they desire clothes that functional in terms of fashion, which should be timeless as well. The clothes from the collection should also be functional in terms of maintenance e.g. machine washable, colours are less likely to fade, can be tumble-dried, etc. At the same time, the collection fits all body shapes and sizes, for both men and women. The clothes also target the market segment composed of a mature audience that concerns the functionality more than fashion, but also wants to be smart or elegant.
1.2 The Autograph range
The Autograph range targets people who are more fashion-oriented, also cares about quality but emphasises less on the price of acquiring clothes. The designs change seasonally and focus on spring and summer, catering to the needs of more fashion-savvy consumers than those who purchases the Perfect and Classic Collections. The collection is designed by some of the best designers, including Sonja Nuttall, Philip Treacy and Julien Macdonald. The collection includes both menswear and womenswear, with an addition of accessories. Furthermore, the collection is only offered at selected boutique stores and sells at high street prices. Therefore, the autograph range serves the market segment of those who values fashion and quality more than costs of clothing.
1.3 The Per Una range
The Per Una range serves a very specific market segment of fashion-conscious women aged between 25 and 35, sizes 8-18 (Studymoose, 2016). Since women belong in this particular market segment are not in favour of having wearing the same outfit as others, the clothes in this range are limited-edition items with a small number in stock. Moreover, the targeted women would also buy clothes often to catch up with the trends, therefore the designs in stores are changed monthly. As a result, the price and quality of this range is the highest among all the ranges and collections offered by M&S, which the price was 10% more expensive than M&S’s normal range.
2. Order winners and order qualifiers
The three ranges M;S divided their products into catered to the needs and wants of different consumers, providing a number of order winners and order qualifiers as an effort to improve business. According to Terry Hill (2017), order qualifiers are the ‘criteria that a company must meet to consider it as a possible supplier’. To be considered by consumers, the company needs to maintain one criterion to several criteria in order to stay in competition. Meanwhile, order winners are those criteria that win the order. In the above ranges, they all have several order winners and order qualifiers, and will be presented in the following paragraphs.
2.1 Perfect and Classic Collection
It is expected that the collections have sizes available for all body shapes and sizes, therefore this aspect is an order qualifier. In the case, it was presented that both respondents expected their sizes are available in the collections’ standard items. Another order qualifier would be having quality equaling the price charged i.e. reasonable pricing. Regarding order winners, the collection should require no specialist washing, meaning it should friendly towards machine washing and tumble-drying. Furthermore, the size and colour should not be altered after washing. Lastly, having a variety in colour choices would be an order winner as well.
2.2 Autograph range
An exclusive design would be the most important order qualifier. Since the Autograph range focuses on providing unique designs, it is reasonable for consumers to consider the Autograph range only when it provides a special design. Regarding order winners, quality is an order winner because some of the range’s buyers believe a higher price equals a higher quality but others believe it would not be crucial.
2.3 Per Una Range
For this high-quality range, one order qualifier is that the designs are limited-edition items that showcase the latest trends. Furthermore, the items are expected to be high-quality, creating the other order qualifier. Yet, the Per Una range should be at affordable prices, despite the items are of brilliant design. Therefore, although the market segment of Per Una is willing to pay 10% above the normal range for M;S, price is a more important attribute to this segment rather than those in the Autograph range. As a result, one order winner of the Per Una Range is prices being affordable. Furthermore, another order winner would be the design changes more often than the Autograph range, resulting in higher excludability and specialness for the consumers.
3. Logistics performance objectives
Regarding the nature of this essay is to discuss the properties of M;S’s change in operations, logistic performance objectives are important. In order to recognize the logistic performance objectives in the three ranges respectively, the following table will list several aspects for analysing.
Perfect and Classic ranges Autograph range Per Una range
Product range The range is limited due to the fact that they should be timeless basic items. The range is larger than the perfect and classic range, focus is on spring and summer items. The range focuses on high quality fashion that matches the latest trends.
Design changes Designs are rarely changed as they are long-lasting basic timeless items. Designs are changed seasonally. Designs are changed every three months.
Price The prices are reasonable. The prices are at high-street level. The prices are marked at 10% higher than the main range of M&S.
Quality High quality High quality High quality
Sales Volume SKU More than the other ranges. Less than the other ranges. Sales volume is limited.
Order Winners High quality. High quality. Affordable price.
Order Qualifiers Availability of sizes. Exclusive unique designs. Exclusive unique designs.
Operations priorities Mass sales to core customers. Sell cutting-edge items. Sell limited edition items to fashion-savvy consumers.
Based on the above information, much like the decision M&S made, the Perfect and Classic ranges should be available in all M&S stores since they are products for the middle class and are standardized; the Autograph range should be available in less stores than the Perfect and Classic ranges because the designs should be exclusive; in order to further increase the exclusivity of the Per Una range, the range should also be only selling in a number of selective stores. Due to the fact that the fashion industry requires a responsive supply chain, the above product distribution would be efficient regarding the nature of customers each range serves (Christopher, Lowson &Peck, 2004). Additionally, supply chain costs and interaction between consumers and suppliers would increase.
The changes in market segmentation and supply chain would imrpove the company’s product quality, appeal towards customers and availability of products for customers. This is because the number of suppliers decrease while increasing responsiveness towards customers’ needs. On the whole, products have a larger variety and the supply chain is more efficient, leading to better company performance.