The online platforms offer a series of communication tools that are ideal for marketing products or services to create a healthy and sustainable social market dimension. Marketing products or services via a website requires strategic planning and an effective execution process to ensure that the targeted clients are reached and the intentions of the general program realized. Moreover, it ensures that the expectations and reality in product presentation on a digital platform are at par with the market desires. This section of the business plan dwells on competitor analysis, market analysis, and marketing plan for the www.designerapparel.com website.
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Top Competitors and Relative Market Share
The main competitors for the www.designerapparel.com website are renowned online fashion stores such as Mod Deals, Necessary Clothing, and Charlotte Russe. These businesses have penetrated the online fashion market and are currently top retailers of different fashion brands. Charlotte Russe is the market leader and currently controls 10% of the online fashion retail market. This is followed by the Necessary Clothing at 7% of the local market share. The Mod Deals has a market share of 5%. The three companies have been in operation for more than a decade and have well-developed focused markets (Schmidt).
For instance, the Mod Deals concentrates on the female fashion clothes that are traded online. On the other hand, Charlotte Russe stocks high-end fashion for male and female customers. Lastly, the Necessary Clothing stocks affordable, fashionable apparel. Due to their well-developed market networks, the three online businesses have continued to expand over the years (see table 1).
Table 1. Competitor analysis and market share.
|Competitor||Competitive Advantage||Market Share|
|Mod Deals||Focused on female fashion apparel and retails diverse brands||5%|
|Necessary Clothing||Stocks affordable fashion apparel that can be bought for as low as $5.||7%|
|Charlotte Russe||Concentrates on high-end fashion for the male and female customers||10%|
Competitors’ Markets and Strategies
The Charlotte Russe serves the high-end customer segment within the local market. This business has capitalized on celebrity endorsement to market its products. Moreover, the business has created multiple products through engaging top fashion designers, whose products are hosted by Charlotte Russe. In addition, the company has had a series of successful promotional strategies such as discounts, redeemable reward points for loyal customers, and active advertisements on social media. As a result, Charlotte Russe is the current market leader (Schmidt).
Necessary Clothing has concentrated on affordable pricing as the main market penetration strategy in retailing different fashion brands on its online platform. This means that the business has wide market coverage since its appeal to low and middle-income customers. Specifically, the business has also capitalized on mega sales to promote its diverse products. During these mega sale campaigns, the company offers as high as a 50% discount on assorted apparel. As a result, the company has carved a unique market niche consisting of loyal customers within the local market (Schmidt).
The Mod Deals serves the female market segment consisting of middle and high-income customers. The business has capitalized on selling diverse female fashion apparel on its online platform. Mod Deals’ business strategy involves contracting female fashion designers to produce different clothing from which it earns a discount for every online sale. Due to long collaborative partnerships with different fashion designers, the business has been able to offer competitive pricing through its tailored discounts for a specified product bundle (Elder and Krishna 995). The company is also very active on social media and fashion multimedia through sponsoring different fashion shows and events (Schmidt).
Barriers to Market Entry and How to Overcome Them
The main barriers to market entry are product differentiation, capital requirements, switching costs, and limited economies of scale. Since the online fashion sector is dynamic and multifaceted, it will be difficult for the proposed website to gain from economies of scale since the current players have built absolute volumes of trade. This means that when the proposed website enters big, it might face the risk of strong reaction from the incumbent brands (Bolman and Deal 39). In order to minimize this barrier, www.designerapparel.com will enter the market through a focused product diversification strategy to guarantee portfolio balance.
Another barrier is the aspect of product differentiation. The current incumbent brands have developed strong customer loyalty networks in addition to strong brand recognition. This means that the proposed business will have to invest heavily to capture a share of the market. In order to address this barrier, the proposed website will be market as a premium brand besides strategic product positioning through prolonged advertisement. The last barrier is the capital requirement (Elder and Krishna 996). The fashion industry requires substantial capital to start and operate, especially on the online platform. In order to overcome this challenge, the proposed www.designerapparel.com will have to source adequate funding.
Since the proposed www.designerapparel.com website will be launched as a premium online store for top fashion designs, the target market will consist of middle and high-income customer segments. This means that the business will target customers willing to spend between $500 and $10,000 per shopping session. The target market is well spread across the US and beyond and currently consists of 20% of the households (Schmidt).
Unique Characteristics of Targeted Market
The ideal customer for the proposed business is a male or a female person from the age of five years and above. The ideal customer should fall within the socio-economic status of B+, and above, that is, middle to high-income brackets. The ideal customer is not discriminated against on the ground of education level as long as he or she can afford the fashion products (Cavusgil et al. 35). The business targets customers of all religious, social, and political affiliations.
The ideal customer should be a lover of high-end fashion, dynamic, up-to-date, inspiring, and a trendsetter (Schmidt). Since www.designerapparel.com will retail high-end fashion apparel from respectable fashion designers, the ideal customer will have to comfort to these basic standards. This will ensure that the proposed business has a focused market.
Since the entire business is based on an online platform, the location of a customer will not matter. However, the business will concentrate on the US market within the first year of operations. This means that potential customers are spread across the US and beyond.
Size of the Potential Market
The proposed www.designerapparel.com website is an online fashion retail shop that can be accessed from any region in the US. This means that the potential market is not limited by physical boundaries or regional demarcations. Therefore, the business will have the advantage of covering the entire US market and other neighboring regions.
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Dynamics Surrounding Customer Needs
The fashion business segment is very dynamic and characterized by the presence of many competitors and perfect substitute products (Schmidt). This means that the tastes and preferences of customers are constantly changing according to the latest trends. For instance, the fashion apparel that used to attract these customers a year ago has changed. Therefore, the proposed business will have to conform to these changes to ensure that customers’ demand for high-quality, fashionable, and trendy clothes are met.
Seasonality of the Sale
Since the demand for clothes is constant, the sales are not seasonal. However, the fashion sector experiences booming business during the festive season. Specifically, the highest sales are recorded in the holiday months, such as December and during summer (Schmidt).
Demand and Other Products or Services
The demand for fashionable clothes is tied to other products such as accessories and shoes (Schmidt). This means that the proposed business should consider diversification to cover these accessories in the future. Alternatively, the business could partner with other companies retailing accessories to create a one-stop-shop.
Advertising and Promotional Campaigns
The advertising and promotional campaigns for www.designerapparel.com will involve different activities, objectives, and strategies. Since the entire business will be based on an online platform, the promotional and advertising campaigns will be modeled to appeal to the social media community.
The proposed advertisement and promotion campaigns will be done through online and offline channels. The primary online channels include social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. The offline media will be a print and audiovisual medium. The print media will include local daily newspapers to reach customers who have access to print media, especially the middle-aged customers (Bolman and Deal 29).
The audiovisual media will include television, radio, and digital billboard advertisements. The adverts will be packaged to reach different customer segments at the same time. For instance, television advertisements will be done at prime time to optimize its coverage for middle-aged clients (Elder and Krishna 995). The radio advertisements will be done at least five times in the popular local stations to reach as many potential customers as possible. The radio adverts will be made simple through the use of a catchy phrase to optimize their impact on youthful customers (Cavusgil et al. 33). For example, the advert message will be;
Buying designer clothes has never been easier, from the comfort of your house. Just click on www.designerapparel.com, and you are sorted. Try us and experience the wonderful discounts. Just refer a friend, and you automatically qualify for 20% for everything you buy from the site for up to three weeks. Lastly, the digital billboards will be placed on strategic roads and streets to ensure that the advert messages reach youthful and middle-aged customers. For instance, the business will consider placing a digital advert on the main city highway and next to public parks to reach as many potential clients as possible. The strategy for using offline and online media platforms is aimed at targeting all customer segments, irrespective of the age of online literacy level.
Media Costs and Frequency of Usage
The proposed costs for media were estimated for different advertisement and promotional activities. The estimations were based on current market rates and frequency of usage (see table 2). The advertisement and promotional strategies were run for a period of six months.
Table 2. Media cost and frequency.
|Television||$1,000||$4,000||The TV adverts will run three times per week for the first three months, after which they will run for a single day every week for the last three months.|
|Radio||$400||$1,200||The radio adverts will run at least three times each day for six months.|
|$500||$3,000||The print adverts will be run three times every week in two local dailies for six months.|
|Social media||$300||$1,500||The adverts will be run on social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. The fees will be paid for promoting these pages for a period of six months.|
|Digital Billboard||$500||$1,500||Three digital billboards will be erected and renewed after every two months for the targeted six months.|
Plans for Generating Publicity
Since social media, especially Twitter, Facebook, Linkerdin, and Google have gained popularity over the years, the plans for generating publicity will be angled on online platform pages. The rationale for picking social media is because of its dominance in the communication environment, especially for an online-based business. Specifically, in relation to the www.designerapparel.com website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google will be ideal tools for building community following and branding through building on location, interest, and need to meet the desires of the targeted customers.
Through tweets and likes, the business will be in a position to expand its market coverage since the website will appeal to many clients within a relatively short time. For instance, social media platforms will be used to build healthy and friendly partnerships with the targeted clients to improve the probability of product acceptance. The success of this publicity platform will be deeply entrenched in the principles of quality, affordability, and reliability as reputation builders. Therefore, the use of Twitter, Facebook, and Google will ensure that the website’s visibility is increased within the targeted market region and beyond (Kotler and Keller 45). Specifically, the plans for generating publicity through social media will be carried out through online advertising and online sales.
Reflectively, a well-designed online marketing strategy for the website will facilitate the success of the adverts. In order to increase the aspects of professionalism and creditability, the publicity plan will integrate bomb internet channels to reach customers in a tailored manner. The customization process will involve the inclusion of unique features and processes that flawlessly ensure a lifetime association between the clients and the business. For example, the website could incorporate accuracy in passing information about the clothing items available on the website (Griffin and Moorhead 67). Reflectively, the creation of quality content in publicity promotion is essential in internet marketing since the business platform operates on trust.
Before rolling out a publicity plan, it is necessary to establish the online behavior of the targeted clients in order to select the appropriate promotion channel. In the ideal, effective channel selection has the potential of reducing the negative impacts of a sudden change in customer preference. In the case of the www.designerapparel.com website, product branding will be angled on a functional idea that can appeal to the desires of the potential clients.
For example, integration of an involuntary, flexible, and quantifiable measure for customer perception will make the publicity successful (see figure 2). Thus, the publicity plan will involve using advertisement campaigns that appeal to different market segments and are focused on peculiar customer behavior for each segment. For instance, the website will have a link reference promotion to appeal to individual customers.
Under this proposal, the client with the highest referral links will stand to gain a 20% discount on all items purchased from the website for the next three weeks. The same publicity stunt will be integrated on other social media pages. This strategy has the potential of creating a long-term customer loyalty base. Moreover, it will improve the website’s visibility within the targeted market and beyond.
Customer relationship management is a significant publicity strategy, especially for the online-based www.designerapparel.com website. In the business environment, effective customer care has the potential of improving product visibility from a series of positive feedbacks. Therefore, the business will review the current push and pull factors that would influence the visibility of the website.
This is necessary for the creation of a strong and self-sustaining mind map that can appeal to the desires and expectations of potential clients. Thus, the proposed publicity plan under customer relationship management will involve the use of semiotics in the website ads to alert the customers of the relevance of different designer clothes. In application, “semiotics can discover hidden implications and evolving cultural codes, hence is important in predicting market trends” (Goodman 35). Therefore, through the use of attractive language, warm colors, and design, the semiotic publicity strategy will be effective. This means that the publicity strategy will be created to align the ideals as expected by clients. In this case, the ideals are already in existence in the form of online comments and different compliments by current and prospective clients.
The web presence will be improved through a tailored search engine optimization for the www.designerapparel.com website. Specifically, since the entire business is based on the online platform, the optimizer will be integrated through a selective process of installing plugin algorithms that has extra features such as thumbnail, page navigation, and customized self-service button. Specifically, the proposed approach will have a multi-tab pager to serve different desires of the online customers at any given time. For instance, the website will have an ordering menu, payment menu, brochures, reviews, and discount package guides.
Implementation of the search engine optimizer will involve constant revision of the algorithms to ensure that any search result related to the website remains at the top. For instance, technical revision of the website content could guarantee that information provided is relevant to the needs of each customer segment. In addition, the business will hire bloggers to constantly blog about the website as part of competitive advantage building (Kotler and Keller 23). Therefore, the www.designerapparel.com website could borrow a leaf from the successes of other online platforms such as eBay and Amazon, which have perfected SEO.
The web presence will also be improved by making adjustments on the basis of customer feedback in terms of the www.designerapparel.com website’s usability. For instance, some of the adjustments could include making changes to the main menu to ensure that customers can view a myriad of products just by a single click. The clicks could further be simplified to direct a client to a specific product without having to go through different categories.
Upon selection of a specific design and type of cloth, a client, the website’s plugin will be able to automatically display the price range, manufacturer’s guideline, and current promotional discounts. In addition, it will display the availability and sizes in the store. A tailored cookie will then be transferred to the primary and secondary visitors of the website hence expanding the transfer of information about the website (Subramanyam 78).
When properly applied, SEO optimization will ensure that the website goes viral within a few months. Lastly, proper branding of the website through the use of warm colors, bold design, tailored algorithms, and catchy words will make the business capture the awareness of targeted clients in need of different designer clothing apparel. However, the SEO will be carried out after two months to reduce the cost of optimizing and promoting the visibility of the website.
Budget for Marketing Plan
The budget for the marketing plan involved all costs related to the promotional and advertisement strategies (see table 3).
|Table 3. Projected income statement & marketing expense budget|
|Profit Per Unit (%)||15%||15%||15%||15%||15%|
|Profit Per Unit ($)||100||100||100||100||100|
|Above The Line Advertising|
|– Commercial Advertisement||(1,000)||(1,000)||(1,000)||(1,000)||(0)|
|– Report Advertisement||(500)||(400)||(500)||(300)||(700)|
|Sponsor of Fashion Talkshow||(300)||(300)||(200)||(200)||(200)|
|Below The Line Advertising|
|Fashion Week Sponsorship||(3,000)||(0)||(0)||(1000)||(0)|
|Go local fashion Sponsorship||(0)||(0)||(2000)||(0)||(0)|
|Total Net Income ($)||6,000||26,000||42,200||56,000||73,000|
The market budget suggests that the business will be able to meet its promotion and advertisement costs comfortably over the period of twelve months. The highest marketing cost is recorded in the first three months, after which the costs decline drastically. The estimations for the marketing budget were based on the current market trends.
From the marketing plan analysis, it is apparent that the objectives of the www.designerapparel.com website’s promotional strategies are achievable. Since the proposed business is entirely based on the online platform, the advertisement and promotional strategies were tailored to reach different customer segments. The proposed advertisement platforms included online and offline media such as print, television, radio, and social media. The suggested publicity plans revolve around the use of social media to cue the behavior of targeted customers in addition to improving the website visibility. Specifically, the search engine optimization and use of different social media pages were recommended to ensure that the marketing plan covers a wide market.
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Cavusgil, Tamer et al. A Framework of International Business: The New Realities. 4th ed., Prentice Hall, 2016.
Elder, Ryan, and Aradhna Krishna. “The Visual Depiction Effect in Advertising: Facilitating Embodied Mental Simulation Through Product Orientation.” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 38, no. 6, 2013, pp. 988-1003.
Goodman, Gail. Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Griffin, Ricky, and Gully Moorhead. Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations. 10th ed., South-Western Cengage Learning, 2012.
Kotler, Philip, and Kevin Keller. Marketing Management. 15th ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2016.
Schmidt, Sarah. “5 Top Apparel Industry Trends in 2017”. Market Research Blog. 2017. Web.