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Jones boot maker is a retail store specialising in shoes and other related products. Shoes have been grouped into categories for sales and management purposes. The categories are men’s shoes, women’s shoes and children’s shoes. Other categories featured in the store are bags, product care items and product repair services. This paper will examine ranging and merchandising of men’s shoes at the store.
This category was chosen because of certain unique characteristics. Men’s shoes exist in a variety of styles defined by customer preferences and the designers. Men’s shoes can be classified as modern lace, modern loafer, traditional loafer, casual, boat shoes, boots and sandals. This implies that the product range in this category is narrow. However, there are several brands retailing at different prices. This means the category has a great depth. Therefore, by focusing on this category, we can appreciate how goods that have a narrow range and a wide brand choice can be managed. It will also enable us to formulate specific recommendations that can be adopted by the retailer in order to improve sales.
Findings and arguments
The products included in the category satisfy various consumer needs. Certain products may also satisfy various needs depending on the consumer (Narasimhan, Neslin and Sen1996; Reinartz and Kumar 1999). Sandals, for instance, are mainly worn in the bathroom. But some customers may wear certain sandals in the house. Some designers provide certain sandals for certain unique situations. Generally, designers design products to suit the lifestyle of some buyers. Casual shoes are worn by customers during occasions that require casual wear. Sports shoes are primarily worn when taking part in sporting events or when exercising. Certain shoes are intended to be worn in situations that require official wear. Customers buy shoes to satisfy specific needs that are dictated by occasion. Designs targeted at high value spenders exist. The high end designs are intended to satisfy the desire by the high value spenders to be exclusive. Therefore, for this kind of customers, exclusivity is a part of their needs and requirements.
There are ten product lines in this category. However, some classes appear to be sub-categories of a larger class. For instance, loafers have been grouped into traditional loafers and modern loafers. All the product lines feature a number of suppliers. There are twenty five brands as listed by the designer. The brands include Jones Bootmaker, Black Label, Timberland, Barkers, Birkenstock, Camel Active, Camper, Cheaney, Converse, Cushe, Ecco, Fly London, G-Star RAW, Hudson, Hush Puppies, Josef Seibel, Loake, Merrel, Naturalistic, Penguin, Shepherd, Pikolinos, Rockport, Steptronic, and Ted Barker. All these designs are sold to both online customers and those who visit the store physically.
The products in this category are all related to each other. The main differentiating trait is the brand and price. Some products are more expensive than others. This is not restricted to particular brands. This is because all the products are designer wear meant to meet particular fashion needs. However, some brands tend to retail at slightly higher prices owing to the manufacturers reputation (Ronda´n Catalun˜ a, Garcı´a and Phau 2000; Sirohi, McLaughlin and Wittink 1998). Some have established themselves as reliable and dependable brands. Generally, the same products tend to also outsell others (Parasuraman 1997; Reichheld 2003). More inquiries for some brands are received.
Jones products account for a significant part of the retailer’s annual turnover. This according to the retailer can be attributed to their rich heritage and high quality of products. This can also be attributed to the fact that the retailer gives prominence to its own products. Therefore, superior quality cannot be the only contributing factor. The customers are satisfied with the Jones boots quality (Holweg, Schneditz and Teller 2009). They report as compared to others the products are of satisfactory quality. However, when it comes to designs, some customers find other brands to be more stylish. In particular, converse and timberland were cited as being more stylish. Timberland was reported to appeal to a certain group of customers because of their bold designs.
Jones Bootmaker initially sold only its own designs. However, due to a desire to increase revenue and expand to certain markets, it now sells products from various designers. This has seen its turnover increase at a steady rate. In this store, Jones Bootmaker is the category captain. This is because it enjoys a big shelf space in the store. The designs by Jones Bootmaker also receive more inquiries. Its own designs account for more sales. This can partly be attributed to its aggressive display. It also has a wide variety of products to choose from. Its supply chain is well managed so that different products it manufactures are always present. From another perspective, it can be seen as deliberate attempt to influence customers to purchase Jones products (Verbeke, van Ginkel, St. Borghgraef, and Farris 2000).
The category is an important part of the store. However, the category is not more important than the other categories. As well as supporting other categories, this category is also supported by other categories. The sales attributable to the category can be split into two. That is, those customers purchasing men’s shoes only and those who purchase men’s shoes with another product from a different category. Therefore, this category is important in attracting customers who want to purchase products from more than one category. Those who want to buy men’s products only still find the store useful.
The store is arranged in a spine layout (Appendix 2). That is, all categories are arranged in such a way that customers enter the store from one entrance joining a major aisle in the store (Reutterer and Teller 2009). Once a customer enters the store the various categories are immediately visible. Customers can work down the aisle until they arrive at a category of their choice. The aisle has some branches joining the categories. Movement of the customers is smooth and has situations of congestion are minimised. The category is the fist one as one enters the store. The categories close to it are the product care items category, repair services section, and women’s shoes section. This arrangement enables the customers to see the products care items (Falgione et al 2008; O’Brien 2012; Levy and Weitz, 1995). This encourages the customers to buy the product care items after they buy their shoes. It is a strategic arrangement that optimises space while increasing sales (Nielsen 2006).
The products in this category are stacked in vertical glass racks. The racks are free standing though some are attached to the wall. Vertical stacking optimises space. It also enhances the visibility of the products. Products in middle section of the rack get bet exposure followed by those at the upper segment. In this store, products made by Jones boot maker occupy many display spaces. However, the racks are divided amongst the various suppliers; brands are not mixed in racks. Generally, slippers occupy the lower segment; famous brands of shoes are put on top segment while those that require more exposure for some reason are put on the middle segment (Sivadas, and Dwyer 2000). The category has no specific pricing regime since the products are designer wear. The prices, however, vary from one brand to the other.
The store visibility is good as it has a large signage at the entrance (Appendix 1). This sign is intended to capture the attention of potential customers (Gianfranco 201; Richardson, Dick and Jain1994; Sweeney and Soutar 2001). The store also utilises large windows for display. Neatly arranged products are visible from outside. Inside the store the category signs are placed higher than other signs. Specific messages like discounts on certain purchases are displayed at the relevant sections.
The store receives customers of varied ages. The customers who visit the men’s shoes section are mainly male. A majority are young adults and middle aged men (typically in their twenties and thirties). The customers look at the signs to locate this area. They choose their product by touching and feeling (Van Kenhove, Wulf and Van Waterschoot 1999). This could be because they associate certain textures with high quality. Different customers are catered for in this category (Aastrup, Grant and Bjerre 2007; Verhoef, van Doorn and Dorotic 2007). For instance, there is section for new trends and those that are in the press.
|A wide range of designs by different designers||Out of stock situations||A variety of brands from various designers could result in more sales||Completion from other stores offering low prices|
|High quality shoes||Few store assistants||Jones products could be overshadowed by products from other designers|
Jones Bootmaker is a retail store with several outlets in the United Kingdom and around the world. It deals in men’s shoes, women’s shoes, children’s shoes, hand bags and product care items. Its store in Guildford is arranged in a spine layout. This layout allows better flow of traffic in the store while optimising visibility of products. The store employs various strategies to communicate with customers and potential buyers. For instance its sign is mounted at the entrance. Furthermore, it utilises large window displays.
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- Improve the visibility of the store and products through advertisement. This can also be achieved through well mounted signs.
- Out of stock instances should be minimised. This could be done establishing better forecasting strategies.
- Rearrange the store to enable better traffic by introducing an exit in the other end of the store opposite the entrance.
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