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International Marketing Plan

for Marks & Spencer PLC. in China


International Marketing (MKT 362)

By Desnoyer Crystelle, Agarunova Ekaterina, Laven Katarina, Dittert Barbara


For: Richard Cawley
International Marketing (MKT 362) Table of content

Executive Summary........................................................................................................................... 4
1. Terms of Reference....................................................................................................................... 6
2. Methods and Procedures............................................................................................................. 6
3. Limitations.................................................................................................................................... 6
4. Findings......................................................................................................................................... 6
Introduction:................................................................................................................................... 6
4.1 Situation Analysis:.................................................................................................................. 7
4.2 Customer Analysis:................................................................................................................ 8
4.2.1 The Chinese Middle Class:...........................................................................................8
4.2.1.1 Customer insights:......................................................................................................8
4.2.1.2 Preferences:...............................................................................................................8
4.2.1.3 Regional Differences:.................................................................................................9
4.2.2 The Westerners:................................................................................................................9
4.3 Marketing Objectives and Strategies:.................................................................................10
4.3.1 Objectives:....................................................................................................................... 10
4.3.1.1 Positioning:............................................................................................................... 10
4.3.2 Strategies:........................................................................................................................ 11
4.3.2.1 Ansoffs Matrix: Growth Strategies............................................................................11
4.3.2.2 Generic Strategies: Strategic Clock..........................................................................11
4.3.2.3 Competitive Posture:................................................................................................12
4.4 Target Market:....................................................................................................................... 12
4.4.1 The Chinese Middle Class:.........................................................................................12
4.4.2 The Westerners:.............................................................................................................. 13
4.5 Entry Mode:........................................................................................................................... 13
4.6 Marketing Mix:....................................................................................................................... 14
4.6.1 Product:........................................................................................................................... 14
4.6.1.1 Flagship Store:......................................................................................................... 14
4.6.1.2 Cash&Carry Store:...................................................................................................15
4.6.2 Price:................................................................................................................................ 16
4.6.3 Promotion:....................................................................................................................... 17
4.6.4 Place:............................................................................................................................... 19
4.6.5 People:............................................................................................................................. 21
4.6.6 Process:........................................................................................................................... 22
4.6.7 Physical evidence:.......................................................................................................... 22
4.6.8 Relationship Marketing:..................................................................................................23
4.7 Monitoring & Evaluating:......................................................................................................24
4.7.1 Monitoring:...................................................................................................................... 24
4.7.2 Evaluation:....................................................................................................................... 26
4.7.3 Budgeting:....................................................................................................................... 27
4.8 Conclusions:......................................................................................................................... 27
5. Appendix..................................................................................................................................... 29
5.1 Consumer Profiles:............................................................................................................... 29
5.1.1 Key shoppers, Female (aged 35-49):.............................................................................29
5.1.2 Wal-mart and Trustmart are more accepted by young/mid age shoppers with higher
HHI:........................................................................................................................................ 29
5.2 Corporate Objectives:........................................................................................................... 30
5.2.1 International Growth Strategy:.......................................................................................30
5.2.2 Ownership Model:........................................................................................................... 30
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5.3 M&Ss Resources:................................................................................................................. 31


5.3.1 Skills:............................................................................................................................... 31
5.3.2 Capital:............................................................................................................................. 31
5.3.3 Relationships:................................................................................................................. 31
5.4 Chinese Clusters:................................................................................................................. 32
5.5 Examples for Marketing-Mix:...............................................................................................33
5.5.1 Product:........................................................................................................................... 33
5.5.1.1 Clothing and Accessories:........................................................................................33
5.5.1.2 Food and Beverages:...............................................................................................34
5.5.1.3 Product Development:..............................................................................................35
5.5.2 Price:................................................................................................................................ 35
5.5.3 Promotion:....................................................................................................................... 36
5.5.4 Process:........................................................................................................................... 37
5.5.5 Relationship Marketing:..................................................................................................37
Bibliography...................................................................................................................................... 38

Executive Summary
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The overall aim of this project is to develop an international marketing plan for Marks & Spencers entry in
mainland China which is based on a detailed analysis of the marketing environment in the Chinese retail
industry.

First, a summary of the previous situational analysis is conducted following PEEST, Key Success Factor
through Posters Five Forces; and SWOT analyses.

Then are described the different consumer profiles in China which target foreign retailers in general. They
are more specifically the middle-class Chinese consumers and the western population in china.

The marketing objectives and strategies are deduced from the corporate ones showing that M&Ss market
development strategy explains its non aggressive competitive strategy as it has a premium positioning and
therefore uses a focused differentiation.

Next are defined the specific segments at which M&S is planning to target: the wealthier Chinese population
in addition to all foreigners (i.e. exchange students, diplomats or other expatriates).

M&S is planning to enter China on a wholly-owned basis with a green-field direct investment based on its
will to keep control and not to share profits which are predicted to be significant in the long-run in China.
Push-factors in the UK pressures M&S to enter the market quickly. High risks and costs are the down side
of this entry mode but are outweighed by the aforementioned benefits.

M&S follows a concentration strategy by focusing on a niche market demanding a tailored marketing mix in
order for M&S to reach its objectives. The following in-depth analysis includes the 7Ps: Product (flagship
stores and cash&carry stores), Pricing (use of premium, bundle, psychological and penetration pricing
strategies), Promotion (through TV advertisements, sales promotions, product testing, seasonal promotions
and finally B2B promotions), Place (defines the stores locations, the E-commerce and the physical
distribution), People (establishes top management, training schemes and the language requirements)
Process (explains the before- and after-sales services and the in-store service) and Physical evidence
(translated in M&Ss name adaptation, in its sores layout and design; and in staffs uniforms). Relationship
marketing is also used through a combined credit and loyalty card and defines supplier-retailer
relationships.

The Monitoring and evaluation, to see whether M&Ss system is successful and fits the objectives, is
conducted through theory based evaluation, surveys, rapid appraisal methods and participatory monitoring.
The data gathered from these tools are then used in a variance analysis which verifies if the results have
met the previously set targets. The most suitable setting for M&S is the data-based budget setting is used
by M&S.

1. Terms of Reference
This report was complied by Desnoyer, Agarunova, Dittert and Laven, marketing consultants, upon a
request from Marks&Spencer.PLC. This report reveals a detailed international marketing plan for
Marks&Spencer in mainland-China. It identifies corporate objectives and strategies from which follow
the marketing objectives and strategies determining the target market and the entry mode. Supported
by the detailed Marketing mix, these objectives are then evaluated and monitored in order to control
their match and consistency. The date of submission is 25th November 2009.

2. Methods and Procedures


Primary research includes interviews of Chinese citizens regarding their personal views and opinions
on the foreign retailers in their country. Secondary sources were based on EBS databases,
Marks&Spencers official website, strategy and international business textbooks and more generally
on altered internet sources.

3. Limitations
In addition to the constraint of the word count, the most significant limitation is the difficulty and
limitedness of general information on the retail industry in China. The most difficult information to find
was about suppliers and distribution in China for the retailing industry.

4. Findings
Introduction:
Marks & Spencer was founded in 1884 in Leads(UK) by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. It is
now headquartered in London and is a leading retailer of clothing foods and home ware in the United
Kingdom. Furthermore it is now the 43rd biggest global retailer and operates in 40countries and
employs 48,000people. (Wal-Mart remains largest global retailer, 2008) The companys revenue in
2009 was 9.1billion. (M&S Annual report and financial statements, 2009)
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4.1

Situation Analysis:

The previous situational analysis for the entrance of Marks&Spencer in mainland-China came to the
following main conclusions.
The main Macro-environmental factors which influence the Chinese retailing sector are:
- The industry is being modernized and trade regulations have been loosened to push retailers to go
west in order to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas. (Gale & Readon, 2004)
- Although the ongoing Chinese economic growth is outstanding and the large population represents
a huge potential, the poor infrastructure and the current food inflation are major issues.
- The cultural differences with Europe but also dissimilar habits within China itself; and lower living
standards. Consequently retailers should gradually introduce the western-hypermarket-format to
avoid an immediate rejection. (Daniels, Radebaugh & Sullivan, 2009, p.126)
The critical success factors for foreign retailers in China were drawn out of a porters-five-forces
analysis. One of the factors is the establishment of a good and large network of competent
suppliers to be able to run efficient distribution channels. By using economies of scale, retailers can
keep prices low as consumers are very price sensitive. (Arlidge, 2008)
Retailers must be able to acquire experience regarding the Chinese culture. Delivering product
freshness, quality and convenience, is essential to create loyalty as consumers can easily switch to
substitutes.
Competition is fierce as most foreign retailers are racing to capture the biggest share of the market.
Therefore price wars are frequent between foreign retailers; thus building high entry barriers and
making differentiation another success factor.
The main players in the market, located in the richer east-coast, are in this order Carrefour, Wal-Mart
and Tesco. (Jones, 2004)
As Marks&Spencers enters the Chinese market, the following internal strengths and weaknesses
emerge. M&S is a strong British brand which will appeal to Chinese consumers and will enable
westerners to buy products from their home country. Furthermore M&Ss strong and stable resources
from its home and international markets definitely give the company an advantage. With previous
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store openings in Hong-Kong, M&S acquired experience about the culture which helps entering
mainland-China.
However, due to its late entry M&S will have to compete with well-established companies which have
already spread. In addition, M&S has closed its stores in Taiwan maybe due to a weak understanding
of the culture. (Marks&Spencer to close Taiwan stores on low sales, 2008)

4.2

Customer Analysis:

4.2.1

The Chinese Middle Class:

4.2.1.1

Customer insights:

5% of hypermarkets customers go shopping by public transport or free shuttle-buses.


They are price sensitive and seek out bargains. By going to such retailers, Chinese
consumers look for quality and freshness, and entertainment. (Food & Drinks Industry Day,
Chinese Market Overview, 2008)
Convenience is the most important factor, followed by Good Value for Money, then wide range of
products.
% Very Important

(Retailing Environment in China Market, 2007)

4.2.1.2

Preferences:

In regard to, neighbourhood, convenience shopping, going to traditional wet markets to


buy fresh food, is part of the long-established Chinese culture. (Arlidge, 2008)
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Wet markets enjoy highest visit frequency in China. Supermarkets gain higher visit frequency than
hypermarkets mainly because of more convenience

(Retailing Environment in China Market, 2007)

4.2.1.3

Regional Differences:

Chinese consumers prefer frequent shopping trips, buying small quantities each time.
China is vast and the habits vary from one province to another and from one minority to
another. E.g. in northern China soya sauce is important; in central China chili pepper sauces
are important and in the south oyster sauces are preferred. (Johnson, Scholes &
Whittington, 2008, p.296)
Ethnic composition of China

(Ethnic Composition of China, 2009)

4.2.2

The Westerners:

Westerners usually go shopping in foreign retailers because they know the company from their
home country and they are the only companies that seem familiar.
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Furthermore foreigners who have been there for a while might occasionally want to buy imported
western goods although they are more expensive.
The capitalistic and richer regions like Shanghai and Jiangsu-Province have the largest foreign
population.

4.3

Marketing Objectives and Strategies:

4.3.1

Objectives:

M&Ss main marketing objectives in China are based on its corporate objectives and fit M&Ss
international strategies. [See Appendix 2]
-

Increase brand awareness among the Chinese middle class by 22% in one year.

Inform consumers about the existence of M&S in China and more precisely its characteristics
and benefits which form its competitive advantages, leading to a 6% increase in sales in one
year.

Decrease customers' resistance to M&Ss stores if existent, which would lead to an increase
in sales of 15%.

Open 50 stores including cash-&-carry and hypermarket format stores in the next 5 years. The
first one should open 5months after acquiring the specific approvals.
4.3.1.1

Positioning:

The following
formed

after

perceptual map was


completing

primary

research based on how Chinese citizens


perceive foreign retailers relative to
each other.
Due to strong competition between
foreign retailers in the Chinese market M&S will position itself higher on the map.
(Brassington & Pettitt, 2006, p.974) M&Ss will adopt a market nicher strategy and therefore
will not target the Chinese mass market but will sell better quality products to a wealthier
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clientele. A concentratedion marketing strategy will be used to do so. (Sirkeci, 2009, p.4512) The market leader in the foreign retail market is the well-established French retailer,
Carrefour.

4.3.2

Strategies:

4.3.2.1

Ansoffs Matrix: Growth Strategies

While entering the market M&S will adopt a


market development strategy according to the
following Ansoffs matrix. The products offered to
the new Chinese market will however have to be
adapted to the culture as the gap between M&S
home market (UK) and China is quite wide.
4.3.2.2

Generic Strategies: Strategic Clock

M&Sa competitive position can be defined as one concerning focus differentiation as it will
target a niche in the chinese market. (Johnson, Scholes. & Whittington, 2008, p.224) This
emphasises that the perceived added value due to things such as offering the best quality,
freshness (for food product) and range of products in addition to customer experience and
involvement is sufficient to warrant M&S a premium pricing strategy and therefore

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differentiate itself. (Brassington & Pettitt, 2006, p.971) Furthermore M&S differentiates itself
with its wide range of own brand products.
4.3.2.3

Competitive Posture:

M&S will probably not be able to sustain aggressive frontal attacks in the long-run as the
market leader and other competitors are well-established and have the necessary resources
to compete this way. Therefore M&S should adopt a non-engaging competitive strategy with
Bypass or Guerilla attacks. Indeed M&S is not targeting the same market as the other
players but might over time reduce some of their power. (Brassington & Pettitt, 2006, p.979)

4.4

Target Market:

4.4.1

The Chinese Middle Class:


Geographic Segmentation:
Consumer wealth is mainly located in 1 st and 2nd tier cities on the eastern coast. (Food &
Drinks Industry Day, Chinese Market Overview, 2008).Consumers in a 25km radius to
the main store are targeted however due to the stores very central and exclusive
locations most citizens who come downtown are also targeted.

Demographic Segmentation:

Gender: retailers target mainly women as they are the main buyers [See Appendix 1]

Age: The main focus is 25 years old and over.

Income and Social Class: The Chinese economic growth and urbanization gave rise of
a middle-class. Consumers who have higher income are less price-sensitive and
therefore can afford the more expensive and better quality products.

Psychographic Segmentation:

Social Status: This new social class likes to show to others that they are wealthy and is
always looking for exclusivity and prestige. This has also become a specific lifestyle.
This new social class enjoys purchasing good quality goods which
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4.4.2

The Westerners:

They account for only a small ratio of the market but M&S still considers them as a secondary
target.

Geographic Segmentation:
Many westerners are located in Jiangsu province, Shanghai or Beijing.
The geographic segmentation is not particularly used as foreign goods are rare in China
and most consumers in the city where M&S is located would travel all the way in order to
purchase them.

Demographic Segmentation:

Gender: Both are targeted.

Age: All ages are targeted especially for food products, however for the clothing
department westerners over 25 is the main target.

Income and Social Class: Westerners (expatriates, local-employees, interns or students


and young professionals) in general come from wealthier countries (Europe or North
America) thus increasing their purchasing power once in China.

Psychographic Segmentation:

The scarcity of western food results in an on-going nostalgia and eventually reduces pricesensitivity if existent. M&S depends on its ability to offer everything one can be nostalgic for.

4.5

Entry Mode:

In order to fit the conducted strategies mentioned earlier, M&S is planning to enter China on a whollyowned basis with a green-field direct investment according to the following factors affecting its
activities in China (Daniels, Radebaugh & Sullivan, 2009, p.579):
M&S wants to retain full control on its innovative strategy although a Joint-Venture could have brought
the knowledge about this particular market from a local company. However this is not essential to the
company as it can use its knowledge from its Hong-Kong market. This control does have a cost

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which M&S is willing to pay due to the huge potential of this market, resulting in the implementation of
a long-term strategic plan in China.
However M&S is entering this market quite late compared to other competitors although they are not
following the same strategy; therefore speed of entrance is quite important. Entering this market also
brings high risks due to political factors which add to the pressure of creating quick returns on
investment caused by the aforementioned push-factors in its home country.
Nevertheless these bad sides of FDI do not outweigh the benefits. (Brassington & Pettitt, 2006,
p.1031-2)

4.6

Marketing Mix:

4.6.1

Product:

M&S is using two different types of stores while entering the Chinese market in order to satisfy as
much as possible both targeted segments.
4.6.1.1

Flagship Store:

The first one is a large hypermarket format store offering food and clothing ranges. Although
these types of stores are used by foreign retailers targeting the mass market, the physical
evidence and location makes the difference and places M&S as a premium brand in
consumers minds. These stores can be qualified as destination stores. Furthermore the
product ranges sold in this type of store are also different mainly in quality and satisfy both of
the targeted segments needs.

Clothing and Accessories:

Womenswear and underwear are intensely competitive and saturated markets which make it
essential to gain unique advantages. M&Ss offers high-quality clothing and underwear for 25+
consumers and are suitable for any occasion responding to the regional tendencies and
preferences. (Sethi, 2008) It is a current fashion in China for women to purchase pretty

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underwear to show their social status. Smaller sizes are adapted to the Chinese consumers
although bigger sizes are also available to westerners which avoids frustration.
It is important to satisfy the Chinese female targeted consumers as they are the ones buying
their partners clothes.
Jewellery and accessories offered in store are appealing to the consumers as it is easy to find
a match with M&S clothes without leaving the store. This saves time and increases customer
satisfaction.

Food and Alcohool:

Alimentation is M&Ss main focus in the Chinese market and therefore offers a wide product
range of traditional British and Chinese items. It is thoroughly adapted due to extended
regional differences in food habits and preferences across China.
Fresh foods are most present in the outlets as freshness is one of the
main priorities sought by wealthier Chinese consumers especially due to
the growing health-awareness. In addition pre-packed, frozen and microwaveable foods fit the
growing trend of wanting to save time among the rising middle-class consumers.
As beer is part of the Chinese culture, M&S puts forward a balanced combination of good
Chinese and foreign beers from which Chinese consumers can enjoy and westerners satisfy
their nostalgia.
Furthermore Chinese GreatWall and foreign high-end wines are presented
as front line goods satisfying both segments. (M&S wine direct, 2009) Whisky
is also the wealthier Chinese consumers favourite alcohol. M&S can exploit
this by putting forward well-known Welsh or Scottish brands.
4.6.1.2

Cash&Carry Store:

The second type of M&S stores is displayed as a convenience store. Customers living nearby
come and shop in smaller quantities and more often. Indeed the smaller ranges of the
aforementioned food and beverages are also present in these stores however the M&S
clothing is not. These stores mostly target the wealthy westerners and Chinese living in
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private more expensive residential areas.


Although limitedly offered, foreign press and more specifically specialized
magazines represent an advantage for westerners to go shop in M&S
cash&carry stores as it is very difficult to find elsewhere.

4.6.2

Price:

M&S, as a multi local price setter, simultaneously applies a number of pricing strategies.
(Karaliopoulus & Amat, 2006)

Premium Pricing:

The most important strategy used is premium


pricing which serves the companys positioning.
Indeed the stereotype of the British high-quality
products, their trend making, their established
brands; and finally Marks&Spencers impeccable
reputation, create an advantage and a positive
attitude towards the brand which allows the implementation of this strategy. (Cawley, 2009)
The price is not the key purchase driver (Retailer profile, 2004) for the targeted customers
who have a great enthusiasm in purchasing whatever they like.

Other Pricing Strategies:

Although M&S is valued as premium, regular pricing strategies used by retailers are applied,
such as bundle pricing with soon-to-be-expired goods and short lifecycle products. This
allows managing unsold inventory and pleasing customers with price cuts which are always
welcomed by Chinese consumers. (Pricing strategies, 2006)
Furthermore psychological pricing tied to current in-store promotions and penetration pricing
are also used. Indeed, selling European standards garments at an affordable but not cheap
price enables a potential market share increase by satisfying needs.

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Foreign Food Pricing:

Western food is poorly presented by retailers in China and quite limited in range due to low
demand. This reduces options for the westerners who are eager to purchase goods they
are familiar with giving M&S an advantage of controlling pricing. However prices must
remain reasonable as competitors also supply foreign goods. Foreigners privilege the
experience of shopping in foreign retailers rather than the price which fits with the felt
nostalgia.

Payement Methods:

Since the Chinese government encourages modernization, M&S accepts major payment
methods and enhances the use of credit-cards without restrictions on any type of cards (e.g.
solo, maestro, American express) or country of issue. This does enhance foreign customer
satisfaction as they are used to using credit cards quite often. However, extra investment for
suitable machinery is involved. (Payment systems, 2009)

4.6.3

Promotion:

The used media mix, viral marketing and B2B promotions follow the idea of increasing M&Ss
brand awareness in order to reach as many consumers as possible. The communication
strategies convey a premium image used to specifically target the middle-class Chinese
consumers who have a particular lifestyle and highly enjoy consumerism.

Media Mix:

- TV advertising is offered from introduction to maturity stages, yet on special occasions, i.e.
Chinese New-Year, in order to attract potential clientele and remind the upcoming offers and
price reductions. This mass coverage media is used in order to increase brand awareness.
- Local newspapers are also one the Chinese populations favourite media. They acquaint
potential customers with M&Ss products and services (with a map, contact details, website,

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logo translated into Chinese and brief description of the product range). The advertisements
are reinforced during the growth phase.
- Internet is planned to incorporate 2 streams:
Affiliate marketing advertises M&Ss stores through local host companies via a direct link
on their websites. The objective of such advertising is the enhancement of B2B relationship
and focus on encouraging Internet users to visit M&S not only physically but virtually.
Webpage is expected to boost the online sales and offer additional information about the
company. Indeed the physical store experience is an important matter however the use and
the shopping experience lived through the specially built Chinese webpage (www.m&s.cn) is
also a major point that most competitors fail to provide.
- Billboards: have proven to be in Chinese city-centres a very successful way to attract and
retain the targeted consumers attention. (Whats a billboard? 2005). By illustrating either a
family dinner theme or a Chinese 25+ star presenting a product, they are elegant, colourful
and appealing to any customer. This strategy builds up and uses the Chinese societys wellknown curiosity as they are very fond of new foreign brands, concepts, products, etc.

Viral Marketing:

The Chinese collectivist society reveals crucial importance of word-of-mouth as one of the
implanted advertising methods. (Hofstede, 2009) Thus launching text-message advertising
is the best way to quickly create awareness.

B2B Promotion:

Participation in B2B national events and trade fairs introduces the British company to a
larger audience offering opportunities for brand development, e.g. supplying uniforms to
domestic companies. (The Times 100, 2009)

Communication Strategy:

Recognised 25+ Chinese stars promote M&S clothes. The goal is to emphasize that highquality fashionably designed garments are valued for comfort and durability more than for
the price.

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After creating brand awareness, building loyalty in a non-loyal society is also a goal for the
company. This is done with sales and seasonal promotions.

Sales Promotion:

M&S frequently offers price reduction for short lifecycle, bulk purchased and seasonal
goods. A distribution of checkout dispensers coupons, based on purchased product-ranges,
offers price reductions at the next purchase. (More M&S deals, 2009) This approach
increases interest and loyalty.

Seasonal Promotions:

The Chinese-New-Year Magic&Sparkle campaign rewards the best 30


customers of the year based on loyalty and quantity-purchased. This
boosts sales and consumer participation for further M&S events and puts forward the efforts
of M&S to adapt to its consumers habits.
M&S combines promotional activities which aim at enhancing sales of a particular product with
market research regarding its Chinese consumers habits and preferences. Indeed, supermarkets
and cash&carry outlets are involved in continuous product testing with free-sample stands.

4.6.4

Place:

As it might be expected the location of the stores in addition to the distribution and supply chain
system for a new retailer in entering a new market is essential. The Internet must not be forgotten
especially in China as the number of users is exponentially growing.

Store Location:

M&Ss

first

flagship-stores

are

located

in

Nanjing

(Xinjiekou) and in Beijing (Wanfujing), two large and


densely populated cities. Those quarters are a dense
catchment area as most consumers with higher incomes

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go food or leisure shopping there. Thus the M&S brand is represented in an appropriate as
they are the places to be for a premium store.

Beijing, Wanfujing

Nanjing, Xinjiekou

More compact Cash-&-Carry shops are mainly targeted at western expatriates. Thus they
are located in or close to diplomatic residential areas (e.g. Sanlitun in Beijing), university
campuses or international language schools.

E-Commerce:

Considerable yet gradual expansion is forecasted in Internet sales due to the huge
expansion of internet users, i.e. online catalogue and online shopping on M&Ss China
website.

Physical Distribution:

In order to reach the whole country, M&S chooses to use several local intermediaries
instead of relying upon one national distributor. They deliver directly to M&S stores giving
more flexibility which is especially important while entering a new market. Thus M&S is
building a network between its stores at a lower cost of development. However the main
challenge using this strategy is standardization in service and quality control. (Wal-Mart
and Carrefour in China: Whose strategy is better? 2007)
Products must be well adapted to Chinese consumers particular tastes and fashion as it is
the main target segment. This requires flexibility enabled by sourcing and by commissioning
local manufacturing subsidiaries who have this knowledge for food and clothing. Indeed it is
important to control the design in order to fit with M&S garments quality and brand. (Sirkeci,
2008, p.504)

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Moreover Hong-Kong is the nearest English-speaking area with a strong concentration of


westerners and a wide range of foreign specialized press. Consequently, moderately cheap
and efficient purchases from Hong-Kong are done to acquire them.
In addition to M&S`s already well-established international supply chain, establishing
strategic alliances with committed agents along with building long-term relationships, are
very important in the Chinese market [see further section on relationship marketing].
Working closely with suppliers demands mutual trust (Hollensen, 2008, p.223) especially as
it enables the crucial Just-In-Time deliveries. However, having a back-up plan in case of
supply shortages is recommended due to the poor infrastructure in China.

4.6.5

People:

The people are the most important assets especially in retailing. Thus M&S does select and
manages its staff carefully as they create a competitive advantage.

Top Management:

M&Ss choice of decentralized structure facilitates better control and deeper understanding
of the different Chinese provinces. Staffing the sales force from the host country offers
advantages in language skills, detailed market and cultural knowledge; however a westerner
or English top regional manager is assigned. Indeed after seeing that the extremely
decentralised French retailer, Carrefour, which had Chinese managers, had issues as it
found copied brands in its stores.

Training:

A free on-the-job training and practical learning is provided twice-a-year to enhance


interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Moreover it also encourages seasonal training. It is
applied through coaching or mentoring by line and/or regional HR managers, who evaluate
existing skills. (The role of training and development in career progression, 2008) This
becomes an advantage during the interaction process with the consumers who can enjoy

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better service and advice which is also part of the shopping experience that M&S wants to
put forward for its consumers of higher social-classes.

Language Skills:

Cash&carry outlets located in expatriate residences demand Mandarin and English (at a
comprehensive level) speaking which is an advantage as most of the foreigners do not
speak or very little mandarin. This shows a more tailored customer service.

4.6.6

Process:

M&Ss two main target segments do have to some extent different expectations of their shopping
experience. Therefore M&S by all means must avoid a confused position and perception.

Before-Sales Service:

This is probably the most important point especially for M&S main consumers. Self service
is not very common in hypermarkets in China e.g. for the freshly prepared in-store food
service or the weighing of fruit&vegetables. Therefore many employees dispatched around
the store are available to chinese and foreign consumers if needed. It must be said that
most westerners do not like to be followed or observed while shopping which is commonly
accepted for chinese consumers as before sales service. This is taught during staff training.
[see People section]

In-store Service:

M&S offers in-store tea- and coffee-shops with a wide range of British teas and international
coffee brands, all day British breakfast and adapted Chinese nibbles assortment. (Fletcher,
2006) This builds for both Chinese and westerners a unique shopping experience.

After-Sales Service:

Chinese middle-class consumers highly value after-sales and recovery services. Big outlets
dispose of a clothes repair/adjustment department for any purchased item. This service is
offered due to the common use of cheap tailors for clothing adjustments or mending. M&S

22

offers this service in the same place to increase convenience which enhances customer
satisfaction. Moreover it is located separately from tills to avoid excessive queuing.

4.6.7

Physical evidence:

The physical evidence of the mix is used to bring in gradually the brand in Chinese
consumers minds by using Asian values in order to be accepted within the society while
bringing across a new concept. Chinese consumers particularly like the following attentions
taken into account by foreign companies such as M&S.

Name Translation:

Marks&Spencer also translates its name into Chinese characters in order to take its
adaptation one step further. The proposed name is (read mhs) which translates to
Agate and/harmony silk. Agate is a gem, which expresses the premium image M&S wants
to bring across. Being emerald-green, it also reminds M&Ss logo and consequently the
brand. Silk is an important symbol for china as it is a popular fabric which its texture and
lustre symbolises luxury.

Store Layout and Design:

M&S offers a brighter, cleaner, more spacious, colourful and contemporary design stores
which appeal to consumers who are willing to pay premium for high hygiene standards,
large shopping space and convenience. (Dou, 2009) These are the basic requirements
expected from foreign consumers who know M&S and which satisfies the Chinese middleclass consumers new lifestyle.
The Chinese in general are very superstitious (Lewis, 2006, p.488) which highlights the
importance of store-layout with a FengShui display (e.g. strategically placed lights, wooden
turtles, and fish tanks). (Williams, 2008)

Dress Code:

23

Ranking is very important in the Chinese society consequently employees dress codes
colour varies according to the position held in the store. Differently coloured shirts or
distinctive tags are suggested.

4.6.8

Relationship Marketing:
B2C:

The company offers a combined credit and loyalty card &More which establishes long-term
and more personal relationships. It also enables further customer-retention in addition to
building strong databases. These databases track preferences, cultural habits and demand
fluctuations for specific goods as well as calculate the customer retention rate.
If successful, M&S benefits from the consequent free word-of-mouth. This also decreases
consumers price-sensitivity and therefore reduces the possibility of switching to competitors.
Another advantage is the increase in sales of high margin supplemental products. (Levitt,
2006)

B2B:

Established relationship with several suppliers reduces risks and diffuses dependency. In
turn, suppliers expect secure contracts and fair prices (Food retail in China, 2009).
Indeed relationship concepts are very strong in China following Confucianism. E.g. observe
and respect unequal relationships, meaning the less powerful depend on the powerful to
protect them and take care of their careers and welfare. This creates mutual dependence
following the Guanxi concept. (Lewis, 2006, p.490) M&S remains objective and careful not
to follow this idea too far as it can become a danger and also all parties face must be
maintained. Other key Confucian rules are Reward hard work and Must not be aggressive
or confrontational (Lewis, 2006, p.487)
Networking in a collectivist society is also very important and therefore M&S tries to fit in, in
order to build strong relationships for its distribution.

4.7

Monitoring & Evaluating:


24

In order to critically assess the determined plan of actions and analyse the possible outcome, M&S
conducts an annual-plan-, a profitability- and an efficiency-control through the following methods.
Then a variance analysis is conducted.

4.7.1

Monitoring:

M&S assesses whether the set objectives are being met and is a basis for a future planning
activity. Furthermore, it suggests more proximate data on which investments are based. In
order to achieve in-depth analysis and maximise the comprehension of all possible outcomes,
the following monitoring scheme is applied:

Theory- Based Evaluation is applied by M&S to improve planning and management according
to the methods mostly valued in China. This type of evaluation provides early feedback about
what is or is not working and why and suggests the correction of core issues at an early
stage.
Cost: medium depending on the analysiss depth.
Time required: Correlated with the depth of the research and the number of data collection
tools applied. (Weiss, 2000)

Surveys:
- CWIQ (Core welfare indicators questionnaire) is aimed at measuring changes in social
indicators for different population groups at a given point in time. It serves for improving
targeting criteria, product and service design and monitoring performance activity.
Cost: Depends on sample size, planned 35/household.
Time required: 3months (CWIQ, Are we on track? 2006)
-

LSMS (Living standards measurement survey) is included to monitor and compare real
conditions in a certain community/group with the target-segments established by M&S in

terms of such criteria as spending, savings, education, employment, etc.


Cost: Depends on sample size, planned 105/household.
Time required: 18-20months. (Living standards measurement study, 2007)

Rapid Appraisal Methods:


- Mini-survey is one of M&S preferred tools since it provides rapid information to conduct a
stakeholders' analysis for management decision-making and requires a sample of only 70
randomly selected people for efficient results.
Cost: low
Time required: 6weeks-2months. (Kumar, 1993)
25

Direct impersonalised observation is used by M&S to continuously track socioeconomic


changes related to changes in behaviour patterns and social interaction. It is used mainly

to provide coherent written regulations for management and front-line staff.


Cost: very low, however, requires professional data logging and note-taking skills.
Time required: 8weeks

Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation: was chosen by M&S to achieve the collaboration of
stakeholders during the growth-phase. The planned outcome is identification of a problem,
collection of relevant data and proposition of recommendations.
Cost: low/medium depending on scope.
Time required: varies depending on cost determinants. (Guijt, 1998)

4.7.2

Evaluation:

M&S bases its evaluation upon a randomized pre-test/post-test evaluation model evaluates
the dynamics of societal and environmental changes within the targeted market and reveal the
degree of M&S acceptance within the society in the long run. It gathers information [see
above section] from a randomly chosen group within both targeted segments before and after
M&Ss entrance. The models implementation time is 2-3.5 years with an investment of
250.000-650.000

(Monitoring

and

Variance analysis is conducted by M&S to

Evaluation, 2004)
calculate the difference between the

actual results and its objectives, as well as enhance managements understanding of present
costs in order to control future costs. This analysis should be done at the end of every
business year. (Variance analysis rules, 2007)

4.7.3

Budgeting:

26

After analysing the situation of the current market, the Chinese business environment dynamics
and the factors valued in the retail industry, Marks&Spencer identified that the Data-based budget
setting was the most suitable with operations based on objective and task budgeting. Starting with
a zero-based budgeting scheme, M&S works backwards by defining the objectives and
suggesting an appropriate plan; it decreases the financial risk M&S is exposed to during the
introduction phase. The direct budget correlation with the product needs, results in more
proximate calculations of the required investments planned for gaining acceptance and
recognition among distributors and potential customers (Brassington & Pettitt, 2006, p658).
The chosen budgeting method is complex, time-consuming and difficult to implement due to the
risk of financial overestimation; however its combination with incremental budgeting is a
reasonable solution. The previous periods budget, actual results and future expectations, are
used to determine the following periods budget. (Budgeting, 2007)

Media
Weeks 1- 52
Television Ads
Print
- News Papers
- Billboards
B2B-Events
Electronic Media
- Affiliate
- Webpage
Sales+Seasonal Promotions
Viral Marketing
% of prom budget
(% prom. budget used per
week)

4.8

% of prom. budget
15
45
25
20
10
17
7
10
5
8
100%

Conclusions:

M&S is positioning itself as a premium brand avoiding all direct competition while entering the
Chinese market. M&Ss entry with an FDI approach will bring the company significant revenues which
will continue to grow following the Chinese economys exponential trend. The British retailer is
targeting the Chinese middle-class consumers who have specific expectations and a different
lifestyle. The second target segment being the westerners, M&S must tailor its marketing-mix in order
to suit both segments needs. Cultural differences are a major issue and must be mastered with the

27

help of local subsidiaries. Indeed distribution is also an important matter for the retailer and must build
a strong network following Chinese values, business traditions and attitudes.
In order to verify the fit of the companys plan, monitoring and evaluating tools are used to control
whether the set marketing objectives have been met. The entry of M&S in the Chinese market is very
costly however the ongoing growth of Chinas potential for the retail market is the main driver, forcing
M&S to anticipate the need of trustworthy premium stores.

Word Count: 4623

28

5. Appendix
5.1

Consumer Profiles:

5.1.1

Key shoppers, Female (aged 35-49):

(Retailing Environment in China Market, 2007)

5.1.2

Wal-mart and Trustmart are more accepted by young/mid age


shoppers with higher HHI:

(Retailing Environment in China Market, 2007)

29

5.2

Corporate Objectives:

M&Ss Marketing strategies used to enter the Chinese market are based on the following relevant
corporate strategies.

5.2.1

International Growth Strategy:

M&S is undergoing a low growth and even decreasing sales in its home market. This push factor
strongly encourages M&S to grow and expand internationally. M&Ss corporate objectives
regarding its international growth strategy are as follows:
- Growing its equity partnerships;
- Expanding into new markets and within markets where M&S already operates;
- Increasing operational effectiveness;
- Increasing brand awareness;
- Finding innovative ways to widen its food range.
(M&S, Annual report and financial statements, 2009)

(M&S, Annual report and financial statements, 2009)

5.2.2

Ownership Model:

30

M&Ss expansion was to date emphasizing mostly franchising; however it is now focusing more
on partly-owned subsidiaries and on a wholly-owned basis. (M&S, Annual report and financial
statements, 2009)

5.3

M&Ss Resources:

5.3.1

Skills:

As Marks&Spencer opened stores in Hong-Kong, M&S acquired experience and learnt about the
culture but also about how corporate culture is conducted in China e.g. human resources, which
will help entering mainland-China.

5.3.2

Capital:

In 2008 M&S' international business recorded a yearly growth of 23.9% and accounted for 7.9%
of total revenues (16.8% growth). It has 291 franchise-stores in 40 countries including eight stores
in Hong-Kong. (Marks and Spencer Group Plc., 2009)
M&S is a strong British brand which stands for high-quality but affordable products with five key
values: quality, value, service, innovation and trust, reflecting the Chinese consumers key
expectations. (Marks and Spencer Group Plc., 2009). The western British image will appeal to
Chinese consumers and will enable westerners to buy products from their home country.

5.3.3

Relationships:

In retailing suppliers are very important especially with JIT delivery and so on. That is why M&S
must build strong relationships in the Chinese market. Its previous experience in Hong-Kong once
again will come in handy.
Furthermore M&Ss international supply chain includes regional hubs in Hong-Kong, Singapore,
Sri Lanka and Istanbul which makes distribution more efficient and cost- and time-effective.
(M&S, Annual report and financial statements, 2009) In case of problem with Chinese suppliers,
the company has back-up.

31

5.4

Chinese Clusters:

(Annual Chinese Consumer Study 2009, 2009)

32

5.5

Examples for Marketing-Mix:

5.5.1

Product:

5.5.1.1

Clothing and Accessories:

Womenswear:

Womenswear is an intensely competitive and saturated market which makes it essential to


gain unique competitive advantages. M&S puts forward a sophisticated cotton-linen range
with its easy material handling, its hypo-allergic textile, its high quality and its wide range of
colours (avoiding funeral white, scholar grey and negative black). These fashionable
designs are suitable for any occasion responding to the regional tendencies and
preferences. (Sethi, 2008)

Jewellery and Accessories:

Jewellery and accessories offered in store are appealing to the consumers as it is easy to
find a perfect match with M&S clothes without leaving the store which saves time.
Furthermore seasonal jewellery product lines, e.g. platinum-plated, are aimed to match the
current fashion trends.

Menswear:

The Dads who are lads at heart campaign sustains the idea of mens home and casual
wear aimed at thirty year olds and over. These modern comfortable garments with a neutral
colour scheme are multifunctional and flexible in use, e.g. indoor wear or informal outdoor
multipurpose wear (Superbrands, 2004)

Office Clothing:

Office clothes are available to both genders. More focused on high textile-quality rather than
on design, three main item-combinations are presented: shirts, trousers/skirts and jackets.
Each of these articles can be found in a classical design and/or a slick tailoring. Colour
customisations are only available with on-line orders.

33

5.5.1.2

Food and Beverages:

Food:

Alimentation is M&Ss main focus in the Chinese market and therefore offers a wide product
range. It is thoroughly adapted due to extended regional differences in food habits and
preferences across China. The company presents a blend of traditional
British and Chinese items; however it remains loyal to its own-branded
products.
M&S centres its attention on 3 main product streams:
- Fresh foods are most present in the outlets, i.e. fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, as
freshness is one of the main priorities for Chinese consumers.
- The gradual acceptance of pre-packed food is based upon the increasing healthawareness and the will to save time. This tendency enables the launch of an adapted range
of microwaveable foods warmly welcomed by the foreign expatriates and merely accepted
by the middle-class.
- Finally, frozen foods, such as dumplings, spring rolls and self-baked breads, which also
require less cooking time, are more durable and are easy to store. (Degen, 2009)

Alcohool:

M&S outlets offer a wide range of alcohol, which mainly focuses on beers, wines and
Champaign. It puts forward a balanced combination of Chinese (Tsingtao,
Tiger), British, German and Belgian beers from which Chinese consumers
can enjoy and westerners satisfy their nostalgia.
Chinese Great Wall wines are presented as front line goods together with French, Italian,
English, Iranian and Spanish equivalents. Both red and white wines have a large price
range: premium to cheap. (M&S wine direct, 2009)

Press:

Press, and more specifically specialized magazines, is limitedly offered in cash-&-carry


stores. They are located in areas where expatriates or students are concentrated, i.e.

34

residences in diplomatic areas such as Sanlitun quarter in Beijing, or University campuses


for Anglo-Saxon exchange students.
5.5.1.3

Product Development:

Product developers together with the best Chinese chef in London, Chee
Loong Cheong, travel across China researching ingredients and techniques
to give customers an exciting, innovative range (Superbrands, 2004). This
maintains the impeccable reputation for own-branded foods.

5.5.2

Price:

Bundle Pricing:
This suggests considerable price reduction specifically applied to soon-to-be-expired goods,
normally those with short lifecycle such as fruit, vegetables, milk and certain pre-packed
meals. This will allow managing unsold inventory and pleasing customers with price cuts.
(Pricing strategies, 2006)

Psychological Pricing:
As a part of a combined pricing scheme, psychological pricing is tied to current in-store
promotions or is applied to the essentials. E.g. rice, cooking-oil or noodles sold for 1.99
instead of 2/unit might encourage change in purchasing habits and increase sales volume.
(Psychological pricing, 2009)

Penetration Pricing:
New womenswear product lines are introduced at reasonably moderate prices through a
penetration strategy. Since clothing trends are usually seasonal and lines are easy to
discontinue, penetration is used to test the current market. This strategy looks at in-depth
evaluation of fashion tendencies. Selling garments at an affordable price enables a potential
market share increase, and decide upon the feasibility of certain product lines.

35

5.5.3

Promotion:

TV Advertising:
The Chinese collectivist society reveals crucial importance of word-of-mouth as one of the
implanted advertising methods. (Hofstede, Cultural dimensions, China 2009) Embracing this
idea, launching TV advertising is the best way to quickly create awareness. They are starring
common Chinese buyers reflecting upon their shopping experience with M&S and sharing
their passion for quality M&S food with the public. (Superbrands, 2004)

Communication Strategy:
Recognised 30+ Chinese stars promote M&S clothes. The goal is to emphasize that high
quality fashionably designed garments are valued for its comfort and its durability more than
for its price by several different social classes.

B2B Promotion:
Participation in B2B national events and trade fairs will introduce the British company to a
larger audience offering opportunities for brand development, i.e. strict classical high quality
office wear may be considered as a model for uniforms by certain domestic airlines or banks
(Bank of China). (The Times 100, 2009)

Sales Promotion:
M&S frequently offers price reduction or 2for1 pricing for soon-to-be-expired or seasonal
goods and specifically for foods with short lifecycle. Furthermore, a special 15% discount is
applied if purchased in bulk i.e. price pack deals for cupboard foods, e.g. 20% extra crisps for
free. This approach increases interest and loyalty.
Finally, a distribution of checkout dispensers coupons, based on purchased product-ranges,
offers price reductions for these same products at the next purchase. (More M&S deals, 2009)

Product testing:

36

Supermarkets and cash-&-carry outlets are involved in continuous product testing, which is
performed in the form of free-sample stands. They aim at enhancing sales of a particular
product but also enable in-depth research of preferences and habits.

Seasonal Promotions:
The Magic & Sparkle campaign planned for the Chinese-New-Year
celebrations embraces the principal of best customer of the year based on
loyalty rate and quantity-purchased. This boosts sales and consumer participation for further
M&S events scheme. The thirty best customers in each city are rewarded. The third prize is a
1000Yuan M&S voucher, the second prize is a free family dinner at an exquisite restaurant,
and the first prize is an advanced and luxurious multifunctional refrigerator with expanded
features.

5.5.4

Process:

M&S Fabric Bags:


Cheap recycled fabric bags with M&Ss logo are offered. This avoids the
distribution of plastic bags, which was restricted by the government in 2008,
and promotes the durability of M&S environmentally friendly carrier bags.

5.5.5

Relationship Marketing:

B2C: &More Card

&More cards complexity is explained by its multifunctionalism. Points are converted into M&S
expenditure vouchers suitable for both food and clothes purchases, no interest on any shopping
for 8 months and balance transfers for 4 months (only 2.2% transfer fee), 24-hour account
access, buy M&S Travel Money with no cash advance or foreign exchange fees, 12% discount
on hundreds of travel destinations with M&S travel club, special offers on BA tickets and much
more. (The credit card that gives you bit more M&S, 2007)

37

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