The questions that need to be addressed in this report are:
• Where are we now?
• Where do we want to be?
• How do we get there?
With a 5% market share before the takeover of Somerfield, which had a market share of 5% as well, resulting in a new market share for the group of 10% the feel is that with the correct marketing strategy, the Co-operative group can overtake Morrison’s, who have a share of 11%, and become one of the top 4 players in the UK food and drink retail market. To do this, brand image must be improved from its current down-market image to widen the group’s customer base, especially targeting the younger market, and promotion of what the Co-op really has to offer must be stepped up to let the consumer know that it isn’t just a convenience store. The goal is gain a 2% increase in market share to put the Co-op ahead of Morrison’s in the rankings and really start to contend with the competition. Barriers
• The Co-Op has an outdated image which is alienating a large demographic of their target population especially young people which means that they are failing to capitalise on their potential target audience. • A recent survey showed that 55% of the people surveyed expressed the view that the Co-Op had a down-market image which needs to be addressed if they are to compete with the big players in the convenience store and supermarket scene such as Tesco’s, Marks & Spencer and Asda. • This is especially important as these competitors have also “turned green” eliminating the Co-Op’s distinctive way of operating. • However, even this may not have been enough to set them apart from the competition as the survey also produced results stating that only 20% of the people surveyed were aware of its ethical heritage in food retail. • Only 5% of the respondents to the survey said that they would shop at the Co-Op because of its ethical heritage in food retail. • Communications between divisions within the Co-Op has also come under scrutiny from retail experts, one consultant said that “Some of the gains in public perception made by the banking division have not translated automatically to the foods division.” • The inconsistency of inter-departmental communication can lead to the company not moving forward in the way it has potential to as not all divisions are using one another’s success to boost their own division. • Even after the refurbishment of their stores, only 25% of the respondents to the survey expressed that they felt the stores were more modern nowadays and provided a good shopping experience.
• In 2006 the Co-Op was voted the country’s most trusted brand among consumers which is very important especially in the current economic climate. • It was a pioneer in the “going green” movement when it backed Fair-trade and has now offered “carbon-offset” flights to consumers and is the first retailer to do this. • The company has also been refurbishing its stores and signage in an attempt to develop its image as a modern retailer to hopefully draw on a larger customer base and eradicate its image as a down-market and out-dated store. • Having bought Somerfield, the Co-Op Group now has a larger market share at 10% having converted 29 Somerfield stores since the takeover which can therefore lead to an increase in sales and in turn profit. • This increase of 32.9% in the group’s operating profit gives the opportunity to reduce prices to compete with the main competition of Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco. • The reduction in price, together with an increase in brand image, is what could be the catalyst to push the Co-operative Group up the ranks and bring more consumers in as long as the quality of the goods remains at the high level that the Co-Op provides and prides itself on. • The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest funeral director and the UK’s third largest pharmacy....