Business Studies – Marketing Mix

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All businesses offer some form of service as part of the product that they supply to customers. This is true of businesses supplying manufactured goods, as well as those that only supply services. By meeting (or exceeding) customers’ expectations, businesses can improve their image and establish a reputation for supplying products with high -quality characteristics. The features of quality service include: Making sure the customer is safe – This is crucial for a high profile business like IKEA otherwise the media will be straight on to them issuing bad press against them, potentially giving IKEA a bad name, furthermore the customer may wish to take legal action if he/she feels mistreated by IKEA. Again causing problems for IKEA.

Delivering good customer service – Decisive for IKEA to maintain the good name they have, customers in this day and age will not accept poor service, otherwise it’s likely they will look elsewhere. Improving the quality of the product – Its important IKEA continue improving the quality of there products otherwise customers will begin to lose interest in the company due to its lack of creation and continued progress; customers want to see new/improved products on each visit they make to IKEA.

Making sure the customer is not kept waiting – If IKEA let customers wait for there service, its likely they will simply leave the store and go else where, so its important there staff are motivated and wanting to give IKEA a good name. Demonstrating good after sales care – Once the sale is done its easy to take the money and that’s it, but with IKEA if a problem arises they will want to help the customer in any way possible. It’s vital for them to retain customers and not lose them to a competitor, and clearly IKEA are doing a good job at this as there profits continue to increase meaning the customers are happy with how they are treated both before and after sales.

To see how business offer service in practice, let’s look at some real examples. IKEA sells their products ready to be fitted, meaning the products they sell have to match customer’s precise requirements and also come with good instructions to help them build it at home. Otherwise people will see it as a hassle, meaning they re less likely to purchase from IKEA again. IKEA has bought it self a good name due to fact they offer good after sale services so if needed to contact a member of staff its possible, they give you a good instructional manual, if that’s not enough you can phone them, email them or even talk 1 to 1 with a member of staff on their website via their web chat facility.

It is this combination of products together with a range of services that is important in shaping and determining Ikea’s reputation, the distinct characteristics of its products and the company’s competitiveness. IKEA’s website is also a key part in generating sales for there products, its important they describe the product clearly, and give the customer as much information about the product as possible, its less likely that someone will make a visit to IKEA for a product they aren’t given much information about on their website.

The above picture is the basic layout for all IKEA products on there website, it has a clear picture of the product, price, special features, measurements, whether it requires assembly, care instructions, material made out of. It also gives the customer the option to see whether they have that product in stock at your local IKEA store, which from personal experience is very useful and practical. IKEA do give a lot of information which reassures the customer that this is the product they want, giving them a buzz and actually wanting to get down to IKEA as soon as possible to purchase the product.

Price is the amount charged by a business for its products. The factors determining the price of a product can be summarised as the three Cs: Cost, Competition and Customer value. The cost of producing the product: If a business is to make a profit, then it clearly needs to charge a price that covers the cost of making and selling the product. The price charged by competitors: A business might want to charge a price at or below that of its competitors. However, if the product is sufficiently unique and superior, then the business might feel it is acceptable to charge a price above that of its competitors. IKEA excels here, in the sense that it offers prices cheaper then its competitors, putting them ahead of the game.

The price customers are willing to pay: This is determined by the value of the product to the target market. If consumers in the target market believe that they can gain significant benefits from the product, then they will be willing to pay a high price. However, if the product provides few benefits, consumers will only be prepared to pay a low price, for example, the price someone is willing to pay for a house will depend on its location, the number of rooms and other factors such as the size of the garden.

A business will consider all these factors before deciding on a price for each of its products. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to set a relatively high price. For example, Ikea may set a premium price on a high quality piece of furniture that is widely recognised as being superior to other similar products made by competitors. In other situations a business may opt to set relatively low prices. For example, a new company operating in a very competitive market may set low prices relative to its competitors in an attempt to win business and build a customer base.

IKEA are renowned for their cheap prices and high quality products. This has helped them build a huge reputation, and ultimately there cheap prices are a unique selling point, when people think, where can I get good, yet cheap furniture from? Instantly in most cases they think IKEA. IKEA is renowned for being value for money. Promotion is a series of marketing activated designed to make consumers aware of products. The ultimate aim, of course, is to persuade them to buy those products. Promotion is an important part of the marketing mix, and business can use a variety of different types of promotion.

One of the methods is advertising, advertising is a means by which businesses pay for communication with actual and potential customers through newspapers, television, radio, the internet and other media. It can be expensive, but advertising is often highly successful in influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions. Advertising can be informative, by setting out to increase consumer awareness of a product. This type of advertising is based on facts rather then images. On the other hand, persuasive advertising attempts to convince consumers to purchase a certain product. Persuasive advertising aims to persuade that the advertised product is better than the competition.

Sales promotion is any activity that provides a financial incentive to purchase a product. For instance Ikea may hand out free samples of food in their newly built restaurant or perhaps have demonstrations of how to put together some of their products to show customers that’s its easy, and can be done by anyone. IKEA advertising in the UK is intended to raise awareness of the IKEA brand and drive traffic to the stores. Some people love IKEA’s unique style of retail advertising, some hate it, but everyone who sees there advertising has a strong opinion and subsequently it provokes conversation and debate.

Despite having some of the most controversial television advertising campaigns in the UK this includes criticising the taste of the British public, invisible furniture, an exaggerated homosexual man advertising for IKEA. IKEA have raised awareness of there brand, let people know they are different to other home furnishing companies and most importantly increased sales. The advertising department includes all aspects of advertising and brand communication from television advertising and sponsorship to magazine and radio promotions. Advertising is used to support many different areas of the business including brand awareness, store themes, catalogue drops and store openings.

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