本文是市場學專業的Essay范例，題目是“Differentiation in the Marketing of Fashion Clothes（時裝營銷的差異化）”，英國和區域市場的現狀(市場細分，關鍵參與者，銷售慣例，趨勢，機會和威脅)。隨著20世紀90年代英國服裝零售市場的格局發生變化，英國服裝市場基本上已經成熟。從百貨公司、獨立服裝店和雜貨鋪等傳統采購渠道，向折疊店、超級市場和體育用品商店轉移的趨勢很大。這反映了英國的“休閑化”以及更便宜的進口產品在零售價格水平上的下行壓力。
a) The current situation in the UK and regional markets (market segments, key players, sales practices, trends, opportunities and threats)
The UK clothing market is essentially mature, following changes in the profile of the UK retail market for clothing during the 1990s. There was a major shift away from traditional sources of purchasing, such as department stores, clothing independents and variety stores, in favour of discounters, supermarkets and sports outlets. This reflects the ‘casualisation’ of the UK and the downward pressure of cheaper, imported products on retail price levels. Shopping for clothing and footwear is increasingly moving away from the traditional high street locations to out-of-town shopping centres, where families may typically spend a good part of a day browsing and shopping in a wide range of stores, rather than visiting their local high street to shop in specific outlets.
Mainstream women’s clothing is still strongly populated by private labels from variety stores, such as Marks & Spencer or Bhs, and clothing specialists, such as Next, River Island and Principles. Premium product ranges remain focused primarily on department stores and there is some degree of “trading up” to labels such as Alexon, Planet, Viyella or Jaeger by consumers with greater disposable income levels (Global Market Information Database, 2005). Discounters significantly strengthened their share of consumer purchasing over the last two decades, largely due to the success of the Matalan and Primark chains. However, there are indications in the last two years that strong growth in the position of supermarket groups, largely due to their expansion into fashion wear, is beginning to shift value-driven purchasing in their favour away from discounters, though this shift is not yet decisive. Supermarkets are becoming increasingly involved in clothing; with companies such as Asda, Tesco and J Sainsbury have all launched clothing collections under a brand identity during the past few years. For example, J Sainsbury commissioned fashion designer Jeff Banks to launch a clothing range and Asda’s George at Asda range quickly became well-established, making supermarkets increasingly key players in the market. However, supermarkets still tend to focus on price, rather than fashion, and are thus not yet truly key players on the scale of Marks and Spencer, Next and Matalan (Global Market Information Database, 2005).
主流女裝仍然受到瑪莎(Marks & Spencer)或Bhs等雜貨鋪的私人品牌以及Next、River Island和Principles等服裝專業公司的青睞。高端產品系列仍然主要集中在百貨商店，擁有較高可支配收入水平的消費者在一定程度上“升級”了品牌，如Alexon、Planet、Viyella或Jaeger(全球市場信息數據庫，2005年)。在過去的二十年里，折扣店顯著地加強了他們在消費者購買中的份額，這在很大程度上歸功于Matalan和Primark連鎖店的成功。然而，過去兩年有跡象表明，超市集團地位的強勁增長(主要是由于它們向時尚服裝領域的擴張)，正開始使價值驅動型購買從折讓店向它們傾斜，盡管這種轉變還不是決定性的。超市越來越多地涉足服裝;過去幾年，阿斯達(Asda)、樂購(Tesco)和森寶利(J Sainsbury)等公司都以品牌身份推出了服裝系列。例如，J Sainsbury委托時裝設計師杰夫?班克斯(Jeff Banks)推出了一個服裝系列，阿斯達的George at Asda系列很快就得到了認可，使得超市在市場上越來越重要。然而，超市仍然傾向于關注價格，而不是時尚，因此并不是真正的關鍵參與者規模的瑪莎，Next和Matalan(全球市場信息數據庫，2005年)。
The UK consumer increasingly regards an item of clothing or footwear as a disposable item, rather than an investment and this has affected both consumers’ approaches to purchasing decisions, and the fashion marketers’ sales practices. Whilst quality remains important, as an item must be fit for use, fashion styles play a much greater role in everyday purchasing than previously, so that a piece of clothing may not be expected to last longer than one season. This, in turn, places an emphasis on price levels; and the significantly increased availability of ‘value’ brands in supermarkets and discounters, which stimulates volume purchasing without contributing to value sales development. There is also a growing emphasis on purchasing clothing for leisure use, which has a direct impact on the sales practices used, and on their styling. The dramatic increase in purchasing of sports clothing and footwear during recent years was largely underwritten by fashion marketing, rather than by a significantly higher level of participation in active sports.
Although a necessary requirement of life, which requires regular replacement for functional reasons, let alone in response to fashion trends, clothing sales show an increasing trend of been strongly affected by price discounting during recent years (Global Market Information Database, 2005). Increased competition at retail level, particularly due to the growing involvement of supermarkets and discounters, is causing deflation on prices in most UK clothing and footwear. This situation has been further exacerbated by the growing globalisation of product supply, with formerly UK production increasingly relocated to low-cost production units in the Far East and Eastern Europe.
雖然是生活的必要要求，因為功能性的原因需要定期更換，更不用說為了迎合時尚潮流，但近年來，服裝銷售受到價格折扣的影響越來越大(Global Market Information Database, 2005)。零售層面的競爭加劇，尤其是由于超市和折扣店越來越多地參與進來，正導致英國多數服裝和鞋類的價格出現通縮。隨著產品供應的日益全球化，這種情況進一步加劇，以前英國的生產越來越多地轉移到遠東和東歐的低成本生產單位。
This major shift of production of clothing away from the UK to low-cost production locations, primarily in Asia-Pacific or Eastern Europe, has raised marketing threats for several UK companies over ethical issues surrounding the reported exploitation of cheap labour in these overseas production units. There was extensive media coverage of Marks & Spencer’s decision to abandon its previous strategy of sourcing the majority of its products from UK production (Global Market Information Database, 2005) To compensate for this shift in production, leading UK manufacturers began to emphasise their extensive expertise in product design, which adds value to the finished product. This offers an excellent opportunity for companies with the necessary experience to design and market new ranges of products with lower production overheads.
服裝生產從英國轉移到低成本生產地點，主要是在亞太或東歐，這給幾家英國公司帶來了營銷威脅，因為有報道稱這些海外生產單位剝削廉價勞動力，引發了道德問題。媒體廣泛報道了瑪莎百貨(Marks & Spencer)決定放棄其之前的策略，即從英國生產大部分產品(全球市場信息數據庫，2005年)。為了彌補這種生產轉變，英國主要制造商開始強調他們在產品設計方面的廣泛專業知識，從而增加成品的價值。這為公司提供了一個極好的機會，有必要的經驗，設計和市場的新系列產品，以較低的生產費用。
b) Your assessment of the marketing strengths and weaknesses of the key players in terms of branding, reputation, differentiation and elements of the marketing mix.
Marks & Spencer has historically had a reputation as a leading retailer in the UK’s clothing sector, and this is a position that the company undoubtedly aspires to maintain. The bulk of its turnover is attributable to clothing, approximately 50%, and food, with 44%, (Global Market Information Database, 2005). However, as competition in the apparel sector intensified in the late 1990s, Marks & Spencer struggled to maintain market share. Marks & Spencer has always positioned and differentiated itself as offering reasonably priced, high quality and well-fitting clothes, but this marketing strategy received something of a battering at the end of the 20th century, as designers and commentators alike criticised the company for the very aspects of its brand which had traditionally attracted customers to the chain. However, Marks and Spencer’s marketing mix, primarily its design and quality, has received far more favourable press in recent years, and a renewed focus on casualwear and the core womenswear ranges, Per Una and Blue Harbour, have helped the company improve performance and regain market share (Strategic Direction, 2005).
瑪莎百貨(Marks & Spencer)歷來享有英國服裝行業領先零售商的聲譽，毫無疑問，該公司渴望保持這一地位。其大部分營業額來自服裝(約50%)和食品(44%)(全球市場信息數據庫，2005年)。然而，隨著20世紀90年代末服裝行業的競爭加劇，瑪莎百貨(Marks & Spencer)難以維持市場份額?，斏儇浺恢币蕴峁﹥r格合理、質量高、合身的服裝來定位和區分自己，但這種營銷策略在20世紀末遭到了重創，因為設計師和評論家都批評該公司品牌的某些方面，而這些方面傳統上吸引顧客到該連鎖店。然而，近年來，瑪莎百貨(Marks and Spencer)的營銷組合(主要是其設計和質量)得到了更有利的報道，重新關注休閑服裝和核心女裝系列Per Una和Blue Harbour，幫助該公司提高了業績，奪回了市場份額(Strategic Direction, 2005)。
Matalan’s combination of low overheads, due to low cost out-of-town locations and overseas direct product sourcing, has enabled the chain to undercut high street competitors by as much as 50% on its own brands, and by as much as 35% on external branded products. Complementing its low price differentiation, Matalan also has an astute marketing mix. It operates as a clothing club: customers pay a mandatory ￡1 membership fee for the privilege of shopping at the stores. Membership information also enables Matalan to use direct marketing and to target customers with catalogues and tailored clothing lines to meet demand (Rowley and Haynes, 2005) The potential of the discount clothing market remains significant. Marginally larger than its leading competitor, New Look, Matalan looks relatively well placed to make the most of burgeoning opportunities in the discount sector. However, the recent slowdown in the clothing market does not appear to have been to Matalan’s advantage. The company should be in a position to benefit from trading down by consumers in the event of economic down-turn, but recent figures suggest that consumers are shopping elsewhere to get the best deals on designer names, and that Matalan’s bargain image now counts against it in the increasingly celebrity image-driven fashion markets
Next is one the major success stories of the upper end of the UK clothing mid-market. A retailer of fashionable, moderately priced clothing, for trendy men, women and children, Next offers products targeted at the top end of the mass market, and aims to combine individual styling with quality and value for money. Resisting the temptation to be overly trend setting, opting to differentiate itself by offering sensible and stylish clothing, rather than highly fashionable items, Next has maintained strong consumer loyalty. Since the early 1990s, Next has resisted all attempts to increase the number of clothing brands that it operates, convinced that diversification would ultimately be to the detriment of the Next brand. The success that it has achieved over many years as a result of product development, the progressive move to larger stores and the increase in the number of home shopping customers has convinced both the retailer itself and investors that it is right to continue with this marketing mix (Datamonitor, 2005)
c) Your marketing recommendations for any organisation wanting to enter the market.
In 2009, the United Kingdom apparel retail industry is forecast to have a value of $45.8 billion, an increase of 18.5% since 2004. The compound annual growth rate of the industry in the period 2004-2009 is predicted to be 3.4% (Datamonitor, 2005). This indicates that there will be space for new retailers to enter the market for clothing. However, consumer purchasing of clothing and footwear is now moving away from traditional outlets, such as department stores, variety stores and high street specialists, towards grocery supermarkets and discounters. This reflects a general move to out-of-town shopping, with consumers particularly attracted to the convenience of purchasing all their clothing items at the same time, and in the same store as they regularly buy groceries (Global Market Information Database, 2005) The brand name of an item of clothing also acts as a strong influence on the purchase decision, particularly among younger consumers. Peer pressure means that it is critically important to be seen wearing the “right” brand of sportswear, and sales of children’s wear have been boosted by this fact in recent years. At the same time, parents are typically enjoying a greater degree of disposable income during the review period, which is increasingly focused on spending on fashion items for their children (Coughlan, 2006).
2009年，英國服裝零售業預計價值458億美元，自2004年以來增長18.5%。該行業在2004-2009年期間的復合年增長率預計為3.4% (Datamonitor, 2005)。這表明，新的零售商將有空間進入服裝市場。然而，消費者購買服裝和鞋類的行為正從百貨公司、雜貨鋪和大街專營店等傳統商店轉向雜貨店超市和折扣店。這反映了一種向外地購物的普遍趨勢，消費者特別喜歡在同一時間在同一家商店購買所有服裝，因為他們經常在同一家商店購買食品雜貨。2005)一件衣服的品牌名稱也對購買決定有很大的影響，尤其是在年輕消費者中。來自同齡人的壓力意味著，穿著“合適”的運動服品牌是至關重要的，近年來，這一事實推動了童裝的銷售。與此同時，在審查期間，父母通常享有更大程度的可支配收入，這越來越多地集中在為孩子購買時尚物品上(Coughlan, 2006)。
Equally, the downward pricing trend in the UK fashion retail industry has led many retailers to focus upon profitability, rather than sales growth in recent years. Companies are continually trying to cut costs by utilizing measures such as larger retail formats, and by shifting production or changing their suppliers to lower cost regions in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Some retailers have cut production and entered into niche markets in an attempt to add value to their business and improve margins. The UK retail industry is thus undergoing significant changes; traditionally dominated by high street retailers, supermarket chains such as ASDA and Tesco are expanding their clothing lines aggressively and gaining an increasing share of apparel sales. Originally the supermarkets purely focused on price to make their apparel attractive to British consumers and subsequently there was a certain stigma attached to their garments. However, as time has passed and supermarket labels have become more widely accepted, they are moving their range of clothes more upmarket, placing increased pressure on to traditional apparel retailers.
Given this, any organization wanting to enter the UK fashion retail market is likely to have to differentiate itself based on brand, rather than quality or price. As new entrants will almost undoubtedly lack the buying power and reach of M&S, Next, Matalan or Tesco, they would be better advised to concentrate on building a profitable niche, and the best way to do this is to make themselves a desirable brand. Given the preference for the latest fashions, at reasonable prices, with clothes only intended to last for the season they are purchased, the ability to react rapidly to changes in the market is also vital for any new entrant. This would differentiate them from the large chains, which often have structured, lean, and slow supply chains. Finally, although the need to base production facilities abroad, to take advantage of low labour costs, is now widely recognised as being vital to profitability, there have been high levels of negative publicity over potential “sweatshop” working practices. As such, a significant advantage can accrue to an organisation which differentiates itself on the basis of providing good wages and working conditions to its overseas workers, provided that the price of the clothes can still be kept competitive.
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