Identifying the customer needs at Marks and Spenser

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Customer needs at Marks and Spencer means aiming to meet customers’ expectations which will enable them to meet their organisations aims and objectives. The different types of research that Marks and Spencer use to help them identify their customers’ needs is by getting customers feedback using online surveys, and face to face interviews. The customers attitude to the company are formed from the experience of the service, the product that they bought from one of the stores, feedback and opinions of friends or family, advertisements and the image or reputation of the company.

Irrespective to the business or customer it is part of the Marketing role to understand the need of Marks and Spencer customers and potential customers who may start shopping in Marks and Spencer’s compared to their competitors. To do this the marketer needs to develop goods and services that meet the customers’ expectations more than their competitors can do. One of Marks and Spencer’s aims and objectives is “Continue to invest in and grow our core UK retail business, by introducing new goods and services”. This demonstrates the role that Marks and Spencer’s wishes to play.

Their main focus as an organisation is to introduce ‘new goods and services’, which shows how important it is to them that they meet their customers’ expectations by developing and introducing these new goods and services. If Marks and Spencer fail to offer their customers new goods and services this may affect sales and they may lose their customers and potential customers to their competitors. Furthermore if Marks and Spencer fail to commit to their after-Sales service this could mean customers may start buying competitor’s products. By not undertaking these after – sales services could also lead to legal action being taken against them.

Qualitative and Quantitative Quantitative research is numerical data. This type of research can be used by Marks and Spencer to find out the household in the local area. This information could be used by them to find out the number of customers that visit the store on a regular basis. This information would be very useful to Marks and Spencer to find out which Marks and Spencer store was popular from this they would be able to determine if they could expand the store and introduce more goods and service to their customers. Qualitative research provides research on customer feelings and product or service that they have received.

For an example Marks and Spencer may develop a questionnaire and ask their customers how they found the service that they were provided on the day and the product they bought. By conducting these different methods of research enables them to meet their initial aim and objective “Continue to invest in and grow core UK retail businesses, by introducing new goods and services”. By having conducted this research Marks and Spencer’s are able to use the information gathered to provide their customers with a much improved service and have opened a new market by taking into account what potential customers needs are.

This will help them to expand. Primary Research Primary research involves having direct contact with potential customers within a target market in order for Marks and Spencer to gather accurate information about their customers needs. Primary research involves gathering information through interviews, questionnaires. The advantages of Primary research are that the information that is collated is up-to-date information on their specific target market. The information gathered meets the business requirements and it also helps in being able to determine the customer behaviour.

The disadvantages of using primary research are that it can be very time consuming to collate information, take interviews, and analyse data. It can be very expensive as a form of market research. The different types of research that Marks and Spencer use to collate information as part of their primary research is by observation, Interviews, Consumer panels, Test marketing, and questionnaire. Marks and Spencer use Consumer panel by involving a group of consumers where they discuss their explanation of products over a period of time.

The main advantages to marks and Spencer by using this method is it helps in understanding how their consumer’s reactions vary over a period of time. However, there are some disadvantages that marks and Spencer face by using consumer panels one of which is that it can be difficult and expensive to keep a consumer panel for a long period of time. Test Marketing is another form of Market research. This method of research involves testing a product by selling the product in the market to asses’ customer’s reactions.

This method of research is not used by Marks and Spencer. The reason for why this method of research is not used by Marks and Spencer is because they do not use this method of research. The main purpose of this method is that it allows Marks and Spencer’s to test a product that they may roll out on a smaller scale. This will enable them to know whether the product works or whether it will fail. Although it is expensive to test the product in case it fails, it would be rather costly for the company if they were to roll it out before testing it on a smaller scale.

Test marketing takes place by finding an area where they would like to test it. For example, if Marks and Spencer’s were marketing a product which is a type of Southern Asian food then they would have to test the product in Southern Asia. Marks and Spencer’s use test market when launching a new product. This is because Marks and Spencer cannot afford for the product to be in decline when it is launch, as this would not only affect the organisations costs, but also their reputation.

Questionnaires are used to find information about customer’s needs and wants. This is a very popular method of research and may be conducted by face-to-face interviews, telephone or post. When a business is constructing a questionnaire they must have the balance between closed and open questions. Closed questions are questions that allow limited answers for example, how often do you come to Marks and Spencer’s? Every day, Once a Week, Twice a week, Once a Month, Never.

Open questions allow the interviewees to give longer answers which may include their opinions. For example: How do you think the customer service can be improved at Marks and Spencer? Primary research helps Marks and Spencer meet their aims and Objective “Accelerate store renewal programme” because Marks and Spencer can use this information to find out what their customers want therefore they can take into consideration all feedback to help them meet their accelerate and renew their stores with new product and provide service.

Secondary research Secondary research is when business such as Marks and Spencer use existing data from reference books, government reports and from other sources such as the internet. The are many different methods of Secondary research which includes commercial publications, Government Publications and General publications. Commercial publications are a external method of research where a large number of businesses gather data.

Marks and Spencer use this type of research to research about certain market size, market shares, recent trends within their market, and forecasts of futures sales and market segments which are then published as a research report. Commercial publication would be very beneficial to Mark and Spencer such as if Marks and Spencer wanted to launch a new clothing product then they would use commercial publication as part of their research to research about the market size within that area, they would use this information to look at the current trends already on their competitors markets.

Government publications are internal methods of research where the government and the department of Trade and Industry whom are the agency of the government produce a large number of detailed information which is very beneficial to Marks and Spencer. The types of publication that would be expected to be published in a government publication would be Annual abstracts of statistics and any social trends. Marks and Spencer would use Government publication to publish their statistics and social trends within their market.

Marks and Spencer use commercial publications as part of their secondary research as they can use the data research for an example on the market size or recent trends within the market to help them cerate a quality product to meet there customers needs. This will help them to achieve their aim and objective “Continue to invest in and grow core UK retail businesses, by introducing new goods and services” because it allows them to see the market size, trends within the market, and their forecast of their future sales and segments.

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