Runners' Choice Case Study

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Executive Summary
Paul Roberts, the owner of Runner’s Choice in London, has run into a recurring issue dealing with his customers. Runners’ Choice is a shoe store that sells products specifically to regular runners. They sell products such as running shoes, walking shoes, cross-training shoes, shirts, shorts, jackets, hats, gloves, watches, running tights and pants, water bottle belts, concentrated carbohydrate gels and bars, heart-rate monitors, sunglasses, books and magazines for runners. Roberts realized that customers were confusing his store with The Running Room and was worried that his promotional and advertising efforts were being wasted and benefiting his chief competitor. Roberts decided that he needed to create a plan and implement it be the end of the year so customers were not getting confused. We first analysed Runners’ Choice internal operations and decided what functions were benefiting them and which were hindering them. Second, we analysed Runners’ Choice’s external environment, taking into account political, economic, socio cultural, technological factors and decided which factors can been seen as opportunities and which are threats to the business. We then compared Runners’ Choice with their chief competitor, The Runners Room, and decide what competitive advantages each business had. We then made an assessment of the situation and offered alternative strategies to deal with the confusion that customers felt towards both businesses. Our alternatives included hiring Allan Brooks, a former owner of Runners’ Choice store locations, to use his skills for promotion purposes and organizing race events. Our second alternative was to change the Yellow Pages listing for Runners’ Choice to overshadow The Running Room’s listing. The last alternative was to streamline Runners’ Choice’s message by reducing the number of slogans they have from three to one. We decided to choose the final alternative because it would simplify and strengthen the brand image so customers could better identify Runners’ Choice. Problem Statement

Although Roberts believes that his store, Runners’ Choice, was unique and differed from The Running Room, its chief competitor, many people in London, including potential customers, were confusing the two stores (Grasby, 2006). His main concern was that people who have seen or heard of the Runners’ Choice promotions and advertisements were making their purchases at The Running Room, thinking that it was the store that had been advertising. Roberts’ plan was to create a clear band image and eliminate confusion between the two stores. He wanted to implement his plan before the end of the year. Internal Analysis

Roberts’ vision for Runners’ Choice was to promote a healthy lifestyle by providing the products, expertise and events of interest to runners (Grasby, 2006). Although Roberts caters to runners of all abilities, he believes that people should aspire to be the best they can be (Grasby, 2006). Strengths

Runners’ Choice has many internal advantages that Roberts’ can and has used to his benefit. Before Roberts’ acquired his store, he worked for Athlete’s Foot for nine years. He then used this experience to serve his customers better. Two years after creating he own business, he acquired the rights to use the brand “Runners’ Choice” from Allan Brooks for his store name. Runners’ Choice had been a successful shoe store and Roberts could use the strong brand name to generate more effective advertising and promotions. Brooks has also been a good retailer, but more importantly, he was an excellent promoter for races and events. This helped boost Runners’ Choice brand image and even resulted in the creation of a race series called “Runners’ Choice Promotions”. Roberts then acquired the Kingston and Waterloo store locations which gives him more financial power (and risk). When Roberts was hiring his employees for his store, he made sure to hire university graduates that were dedicated to healthy...
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