Don’t Make The Same Mistake As Marks & Spencer
How well do you know and understand your customers? – hopefully better than Marks and Spencer!
Early in January 2016, Marks and Spencer reported poor non-food sales, while their food sales did really well. Here, Marks and Spencer demonstrates brilliantly how important it is to KNOW EXACTLY WHO YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS are, if you are to optimize your sales.
On the food side of the business, the products offered are exactly what the customers want from Marks – the business knows and understands their TARGET CUSTOMERS and they know what PRODUCTS these customers want. And, through this knowledge, they are able to target these customers well with their marketing. The result is and has always been good food sales.
NON FOOD SALES ARE POOR!
But on the non-food sales, Marks does not enjoy the same success and the reason is very simple – they do KNOW and UNDERSTAND who their TARGET CUSTOMERS are. Women’s clothes has always been the major part of non-food sales, but there is a real disconnect here in how they approach this, the biggest part of their market. For years, the TARGET CUSTOMER has been the woman over 55, yet they don’t offer the PRODUCTS that this age group want to buy. Instead, they offer clothes that are based on the fashions from the ‘catwalk’ aimed at younger women. What’s more, their marketing reflects this, too – it is targeted at the younger woman. This age group tend not to shop at Marks and Spencer, preferring outlets such as Next. And, even those of this age group who do shop in Marks and Spencer say there is nothing for them there to buy.
One BIG FACT that Marks and Spencer seem to miss is that daughters do not buy clothes in the same shops as their mothers buy their clothes from. Marks should let Next deal with the daughters, while they supply their mothers.
When you look now at the clothes offered to women by this business, I think there is a vast and confusing choice, which they are hoping will appeal to women between the ages of 20 upwards.
I am not the only expert to say this, most retail industry experts have the same view. If Marks and Spencer were to accept that their TARGET CUSTOMER is the over 55 age woman and accept they must offer clothes that this age group want to buy, that would be a good FIRST step. But they have to go further – they have to engage with these women, very comprehensively, and ask them EXACTLY what they want from Marks and Spencer.
Then, when they offer the clothes that they are told to supply, customer numbers would improve and sales would recover, too.
THEY NEED TO RESEARCH HEAVILY
I think if they were to RESEARCH heavily what this age group want in terms of lifestyle clothing, they may well find that women in their early 50‘s and 40’s would also buy these clothes, too, and this would still give them a very broad CUSTOMER TARGET range, but not as broad as what they are offering now. The result would be a much better shopping experience for their TARGET CUSTOMER with a smaller, less bewildering range of clothes aimed at a smaller group of customers.
YOU MUST BE DIFFERENT
YOU MUST BE DIFFERENT TO MARKS AND SPENCER – YOU MUST KNOW AND UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER.
Then, from that UNDERSTANDING, you must ensure your PRODUCTS are exactly what your TARGET CUSTOMERS NEED and WANT and you must ensure your MARKETING is TARGETED exactly at those TARGET CUSTOMERS to tell them about you and your business.
- KNOW & UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS
- SELL THEM EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT & NEED
- MAKE YOUR MARKETING TARGET THESE CUSTOMERS
This is the SMART way to do business – but, what amazes me is that Marks and Spencer are not the only ones to make this BIG MISTAKE – don’t let that be you.