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Bricks and Clicks Operations of Mark & Spencer Retailer Report

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2019


The emerging technologies are transforming the people’s way of life in the current society. Business environment has been heavily affected by the new technological inventions. The world has been turned into a small global village. Transport and communication systems have highly improved from the beginning of the twenty-first century (Cook 2004, p. 68).

Various sectors of business have been affected by these new inventions. One of the areas that have received heavy impact from the emerging technologies is marketing. Emerging technologies have redefined marketing in the current society. For a long time the marketing was considered as a unit within the production department.

After the Second World War, the market became a huge one, but the number of firms was limited (Hew 2007, p. 92). This meant that there was limited competition in the market. The main issue that most of the multinational firms were concerned with was how to produce things in mass. The market would have to accept what was availed to them.

This production strategy to marketing did not give much concern to the quality of products that were delivered to the market (Tuten 2008, p. 91). The market had to accept what was available. Some of the firms operated as monopolistic firms in the market. They had total control over the market, which made them dictate every activity within the industry.

However, this has greatly changed in current society; nowadays it has different forces that require a highly skilled and dedicated workforce ensuring success. Competition has increased in the current market, making firm plans follow a strategy that would help them manage market competition successfully. Societal marketing is currently the only way to ensure that any firm operates within the market competition.

Production is done using the outward-in approach (Montiel 2011, p. 57). Social media marketing is one of the most recent marketing techniques that are in use. This research seeks to study the brick and click markets.

Analyzing and Comparing M&S Bricks & Clicks Operations Using the Wheel of Retailing

Mark & Spencer Retail is a large British retailer that has a global coverage. The headquarters of this firm is located in London. Two entrepreneurs, Thomas Spencer and Michael Marks, established this retailer in 1884. This firm has specialized in selling luxury food products and clothes (Hew 2007, p. 117).

This firm has developed the art of selling the products in the brick form. It has various stores across the entire United Kingdom and other 42 other countries around the world. In the United Kingdom, this firm has over 700 stores. The firm has opened 361 other stores in other parts of the world. It recently made an entry into the Chinese markets.

This move was considered very attractive because this is the second most attractive market after the United States (Cook 2004, p. 72). The vast population in China makes it a very attractive market for any retailer operating a brick store. This market is also attractive for online operation because most of the city dwellers have internet connectivity in their houses.

Visual merchandising is one of the oldest forms of trade. It later emerged as one of the theories of retailing in the modern society. According to Evans (2012, p. 67), visual merchandizing can be traced back to the old times when men practiced barter trade. A trader from China would bring his or her goods to the coastline where usually overseas traders would come.

Because there was no common language that they could share, they relied heavily on the visuals. A trader would bring his goods to the market and wait for a potential buyer (Hew 2007, p. 67). The potential buyer would come with another commodity that would be desirable to the seller.

The seller would look at the commodity brought in exchange for his product on sale and determine if the product brought in exchange for his or her product is worth the cost. The contract will be sealed if the two agree with the product of one another.

When gold and silver were introduced as values of exchange, visual merchandising became even more advanced. A trader would take his or her product to the market. The buyer would come with gold or silver. The buyer would look at the products and determine whether the product is worth the price set. Such a customer would rely on the physical characteristics of the product that can be seen.

The modern society advanced visual merchandizing and made it a theory having determined its impact on retailers. Mark & Spencer have managed to use this strategy to increase the sale of its products in both brick and click markets (Burrow 2009, p. 75).

The introduction of glass windows where customers can view products while walking along the streets was due to this theory. In the click market, this firm has most of its products displayed attractively in their website.

There was a need to ensure that customers could view products on display so that they would be motivated to buy the products (Saxena 2009, p. 35). This theory became very popular because marketers concluded that the most attractive shoppers were the impulse buyers who buy many products when they see them attractively displayed in stores, even if they have not planned to buy them before.

Visual merchandising is also used at the food stores of this firm (Hew 2007, p. 59). The firm displays various food products they sell strategically so that customers could view them when they visit the store. In their website, the firm has displayed some of the most popular delicacies that have already been prepared. In the fast food industry, this strategy is taking a new twist.

Besides displaying the products in transparent showcases where customers can easily view them, preparation of the food is currently being done in front of the customers so they could see the process themselves. To the online customers, the slides include preparation procedures. Customers want to see how their meals are prepared, and retailers have no choice but to ensure that this is done.

The Wheel of Retailing Theory

This theory will help demonstrate the growth of this firm in both brick and click market. In the first quadrant, a product is new in the market (Sandhusen 2008, p. 45). At the first stage in quadrant 1, the products of M&S were relatively low price with low margins and low reputation.

As it experienced growth, it moved to the second quadrant where its prices, margins, and reputation surged (Pelle 2007, p. 82). The third quadrant has even better prices, margins, and reputation. The forth quadrant explains the stages a new firm will have to undergo before reaching full maturity at quadrant three.

Wheel of Retailing

Wheel of Retailing

Brick marketing strategy is still very popular around the world. It is the most popular retailing strategy in the developing economies where people do not have strong trust in the online products. On the other hand, the click market is gaining popularity very fast, especially in the developed countries.

When purchasing such goods such as an expensive car, for example, consumers rely on brick stores where they can test the product before taking it away from the store (Hew 2007, p. 48). On the other hand, such products as books, clothing and electronics can be purchased though online means.

This is the reason why Mark & Spencer continued to open numerous other stores in various locations around the world, while expanding its click market.

By the beginning of the year 2012, this firm had approximately 81,230 employees spread across the world in its various stores to manage both brick and click markets demands (Saxena 2009, p. 131). The firm had a profit of about 599 million pounds for the previous 2011 year, from its brick and click markets.

Analyzing and Comparing M&S Bricks & Clicks Operations Using the Retail Marketing Mix

The emerging technologies have changed the way marketing is conducted in the current society (Hew 2007, p. 23). The emerging technologies are bringing new ideas of how to conduct business in a relaxed environment. Internet marketing, or what others call web atmospherics is becoming very popular among the retailers, just as the brick market.

Mark & Spencer have come to realize this, and are making every move to ensure that it operates within the demands of the new technology. Customers in the current society value time. Most of the middle-class individuals are so concerned with advancing their careers. They want to ensure that they achieve maximally within their various professions (Saxena 2009, p. 112).

The little spare time they have is always used in advancing their education. This leaves them with very limited time to take care of the issue of shopping. They can no longer afford the luxury of spending their time walking from one store to another along the city streets. For this reason, marketers have come up with a solution that would help capture this new requirement of the modern society.

Competitive Strategy

The world is very competitive. This means that firms are forced to find a way of making their products appealing to the marker. Most of the firms that are emerging in the current market are coming up with products that are already available in the market (Sandhusen 2008, p. 136). Their presence in the market causes saturation in the products they offer, making customers very choosy.

In the current market, customers are very demanding. Firms are constantly under pressure to perform exceedingly well in order to manage the competition in the market (Hew 2007, p. 81). Firms face a lot of pressure from the suppliers. The supply is constantly on the rise. This firm has no otherwise but to pay the increased price of products. The cost of maintenance is also high.

This increases the cost of delivering products to the customer. The firm will also need to improve on the quality of the products in order to ensure that they outmuscle other competitors. When the product is delivered to the customers, the customer will demand reduced prices simply because they have other alternatives. This would force the firm to find a way of generating profits in such a harsh environment.

Mark &Spenser have come to realize that it has to develop means through which it can develop promotional campaigns for its products in the global market. It has developed a brand in the local market, and the entire global market. The region appreciates the fact that this company offers the best travel services in the region (Pelle 2007, p. 95).

However, there is a very strong competition from other regional firms, which are posing threat to this firm. It forces the firm to come up with strategies which can enable it attract the customers in the region. Regionally, this firm has positioned itself as a company that takes care of the interest of the customers.

One of the leading concerns of most customers is to get quality value for their money (Cook 2004, p. 28). This market proposition has seen it win trust of the local market. This firm has also made concerted effort to attract travelers of other nations.

In order to reach out for the customers, this firm has tried to use both the social media and mass media to communicate their message to the customers. Locally, the firm has actively engaged in promotional campaigns in the mass media. It has developed television commercials that help it reach the local market. The social media has been very vital in reaching out for the international community (Hew 2007, p. 112).

The YouTube has helped this firm in airing its television commercials to the international community. The Facebook and Twitter have also been very vital in communicating to the customers in the international market.

Factors and Strategies Considered

This firm uses various competitive strategies in the market in order to manage competition that is very rife in this industry. First, the firm has employed two of the porter’s competitive strategy of low cost and differentiation. The management of Mark & Spencer has made concerted effort to ensure that the cost of delivering its services is kept at the lowest possible rates.

This is the main factor that has helped the firm increase its profitability (Pelle 2007, p. 87). Another factor that the management has been keen on is the need to differentiate its products from others in the market.

The timing tactic of this firm in launching new products has also been superb. This firm always come with a new product at such times that the market feels that they need a better product to serve their current needs. This has seen their products receive huge acceptance in various markets when introduced (Burrow 2009, p. 26).

The firm has also been keen to employ cooperation strategy whenever needed. This firm has resolved to form alliance with various suppliers in order to increase its efficiency. This strategic alliance saw it gain market share both in the home markets and abroad.

Team Learning

The wheel of retailing gives the best explanation of how a firm can manage both brick and click markets. The dynamics in the environment are changing the conventional approach of this theory (Sandhusen 2008, p. 36). It is no longer enough to display products for customers to see them at the stores, or in the website. The current society requires an individual marketer to ensure that he or she understands the market dynamics.

For this reason, there is a need for the continuous learning. It is, therefore, very desirable to work as a team, to ensure that all the players within the firm or industry in general, understand the new concepts in the market.

This will involve sharing of knowledge; any marketing information that is relevant should flow smoothly amongst the members of the team (Hew 2007, p. 62). Through this, it becomes easy for a member to learn the new dynamics that is relevant to their operations in the industry.


The society is undergoing various changes in the environment brought about by the emerged technologies. Brick and click operations are still popular in retailing sphere. Click operations are gaining popularity at a very faster rate since customers have limited time in order to shop around in various shopping malls (Burrow 2009, p. 83).

They rely on the internet to get various products available in the market. Mark & Spencer stores have realized this fact and have adjusted their operations to suit the emerging trends in the market, which has helped the firm remain relevant and stable in the market.


This firm has also been able to implement Porters five forces. To tackle the threat of new competition, the firm has extended the line of existing products to counter the competition of new entrants. To manage the threat of substitute products, the firm has come up with new line of product (Burrow 2009, p. 34).

To increase its bargaining power with the consumers, it has continued to produce high end services with qualities that make it easy for the customers to appreciate their high prices. To increase their bargaining power with the suppliers, it has created a scenario where it is a single buyer with various sellers.

This makes it able to dictate the terms of buying the products. To counter the intensity of competition, it has been able to acquire a special niche in this market, rendering its competitors irrelevant as their products are turned into mere substitutes of this company’s products.

List of References

Burrow, J 2009, Marketing, Cengage Learning, Mason.

Evans, D 2012, Social media marketing an hour a day, Wiley Indianapolis.

Lamb, C 2012, Marketing, Nelson Education, Toronto.

Montiel, P 2011, Macroeconomics in emerging markets, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Sandhusen, R 2008, Marketing, Barron’s Educational Series Inc, New York.

Saxena, R 2009, Marketing management, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi.

Tuten, T 2008, Advertising 2.0: Social media marketing in a Web 2.0 world, Praeger, London.

Zarrella, D 2009, The social media marketing book, O’Reilly, Sebastopol.

Pelle, S 2007, Understanding emerging markets: building business BRIC by brick, Response Books, New Delhi.

Hew, D 2007, Brick by brick: the building of an ASEAN economic community, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra.

Cook, S 2004, Understanding Commodity Cultures: Explorations in Economic Anthropology with Case Studies from Mexico, Rowman & Littlefield, New York.

Appendix. Questions

  1. Is the brick and click model effective for the firm as far as profits are concerned
  2. How does the firm benefit through the application of the model, other than other models
  3. Is the model effective in markets outside the United States and Europe
  4. Since the firm adopted the model, how has it benefitted. For instance, has its profits increased, if so, in which way
  5. Compared to visual merchandizing, how does brick and click model helps a firm achieve its marketing objectives
  6. Does allowing the customer view the product physically influence his or her buying decision
  7. Regarding impulse buying, does brick and click model play a role, if so, how
  8. Does the model help marketers in popularizing the new product in the product
  9. Between developed and developing markets, where do the model apply well
  10. In terms of the cost of the product, which model is the most suitable
  11. Does the model support the use of technology in marketing
  12. In matters related to efficiency, does the model increase efficiency
  13. Since the current market is very competitive, does the model help the firm in overcoming market competition
  14. Studies show that some customers are concerned with quality, how does the model ensure the firm preserves quality
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