Product description in terms of repositioned target market demographics through US Census data
In 2012 approximately 71 million customers went bowling. The total percentage of patrons who participated in the bowling League was 3.5% (Hansell, 2013). Consequently, one can deduce that open bowling, as a repositioning strategy, is a more lucrative alternative than a league or special events bowling, as was the case in the past. Also, figures for 2012 indicate that among the 5,200 bowling centers in operation within the US, only 50 centers were built in that year alone. Most of the remaining facilities were renovated to incorporate new trends in the industry. These newly constructed centers often provide a mix of recreational alternatives like video games, bumper cars, or wall climbing.
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A number of them have occupied big-box spaces as well as unconventional venues. A case in point is the combination of resorts, casinos, and bowling facilities. The 5000 or so centers that existed prior to 2012 now describe themselves as upscale complexes. Here, one is likely to find stylish furniture, classy restaurants, and even private party rooms. Additionally, the bowling alleys that had been built years ago, and are no longer in existence, were changed to retail stores or other business ventures. These changes came about as a result of the strong commercial development that took place in those areas.
75% of all the bowling facilities have enjoyed an increase in operating margins in 2012. This is a result of the use of new technology, intense customer focus as well as diversification of the entertainment activities available to the clients. Now bowling businesses target families; they achieved this by aggressively marketing their programs. Total revenues in the entire industry are $6 billion. Several facilities also reported an increase in beverage and food sales within their premises. This indicates that most people tend to prefer eating from the same place as the bowl. It is likely that the current repositioning strategy can be taken to a foreign market, where it can facilitate success there.
Types of research needed to reposition this service
Exploratory research on the attitudes and level of awareness of Ghanaian consumers will show the general condition of the service in the country. Through surveys of consumers, one can assess their opinions on the service. It would be essential first to determine whether buyers are aware of the sport and then deduce what their attitude towards it could be. Research on customer awareness is also critical because it allows the company to determine which qualities customers look for in the service. For instance, some may want a plush restaurant near the arcade, while others may value-effective use of technology in the arcades. Before repositioning in the form of entertainment complexes, it will be critical to know whether customers are open to this possibility or whether they have experienced it in the past. The surveys can be conducted through open questionnaires, where clients give their independent opinions, or they may select answers from a pre-set list.
Researchers will also need to examine the marketing strategies in the respective industry and how competitors in Ghana promote their business. This investigation will involve collecting data on public relations exercises, advertising campaigns, entry of new competitors, service innovations that take place, and others. These changes need to focus exclusively on the bowling industry in the target market. Although the activity is relatively new, there are certain players who exist in the country already. It will be essential to know how they attract and retain customers.
Research on the nature of competition in the target location is a must. This may include using published information on bowling centers in the country. The internet, newspapers, or magazine articles may provide some information on credit history, company facts as well as product announcements done by the companies. Alternatively, a business that wants to operate in the country may carry out interviews with employees. However, this may prove to be controversial, so one must be careful. Overall, research on the weaknesses and strengths of the competitors can guide a new entrant on possible strategies for reaching their target market.
A comparison between what the current market has to offer and what the new entrant is willing to provide will highlight the gaps in the market. This research is critical because it allows the new player to determine the threshold required for customers to switch to their service offerings. Unless a service is good enough, then clients will not be willing to abandon their previous service provider for a new one.
Methods to increase adoption rates
First, the bowling center will have a diverse array of entertainment options from which to choose. Children will have a nearby playroom. They will also have access to party rooms if their birthdays fall on those days. Adults and teens can also enjoy wall climbing, video games, darts, karaoke, lounges, and even sports games. Perhaps most importantly, an adjacent eatery will provide the family with numerous food options. The menu will consist of local favorites and exotic delicacies. This one-stop-shop will give the facility a family entertainment orientation. Regardless of providing such a wide pool of activities, it will be imperative to use trendy furnishings and fittings for all the areas in the complex. Contemporary décor will be the main strategy. Sound systems must be up to date. The latest video games will be present; flashy lighting and well-decorated interiors will ensure maximum adoption rates. These areas will be brightly lit, and all areas will have state of the art equipment.
Technology use will also be a creative way of attracting patrons to the facility. Flat screens, as well as flashy graphics, will be used to indicate scores. The latter will be automatic such that players do not have to rely on another person to know their progress. Additionally, the lanes will not be wooden like the traditional ones; these ones will be synthetic as they give a more modern feel. All the lanes will have bumpers that are placed on alleys in order to prevent balls from entering the gutter. This will allow a relatively small demographic of customers to enjoy the service.
The center will also provide extreme bowling. The latter version of bowling lets users play in a disco-like environment. Here, the lasers, pins, and balls all glow in the dark while music plays in the background, and computers control the lighting. This option should be available once a week so that teens and youthful patrons can value its scarcity. Technology will also penetrate into the rental shoes used as well as the novelty items in the facility. All shows will have sports socks, and the balls will have logos of memorable people in the country.
Whether the new service component will provide new interest in product or service
It is likely that the new service component, offering a family-friendly complex, will provide renewed interest in bowling in Ghana. This facility will no longer be an exclusive event for enthusiasts, but an entertaining alternative for the whole family. It will allow a diverse demographic to enjoy bowling and other activities that come with it. The facility stresses family values, which are highly revered in developing nations like Ghana. Therefore, the concept is likely to do well there.
The use of technology is also likely to elicit positive reactions from the targeted clients. A few bowling facilities already exist in the country; however, they have not attracted much attention because they offer little in terms of technology. This trend will penetrate the market by proving to consumers that it is state of the art. Some buyers in the country want to experience what the rest of the world enjoys. Consequently, many of them are looking for an entertainment alternative that mirrors international standards. Even without comparing what the new facility will offer to what international sellers have, it is still relatively easy for new patrons to appreciate a well-designed and interesting indoor activity.
The service being provided is not an essential one. This is not a medical procedure that a customer has to undergo in order to be healthy; it is simply an entertainment option. Some clients will not be willing to travel long distances in order to access the service. They would simply choose another leisure activity in which to indulge (Oumlil & Rao, 2003).
Since bowling is a service, its success depends on the experience that customers have within the premises. While technology and facility design will play a role in determining the degree of customer satisfaction, the customer service provided by the workers will also affect their experience. It is difficult to maintain consistent employee behavior across the whole facility. Therefore, one must be prepared to deal with a modest level of dissatisfaction.
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One way of solving customer reluctance to travel is to ensure that the bowling facility is conveniently-located. This means selecting a place that has a high population of affluent buyers. Furthermore, if it is found in the capital city, where most of the citizens live, then more people will be willing to give it a try. Additionally, aggressive marketing campaigns across several channels can also ensure that people see the uniqueness of the activity. Those individuals who are wary of traveling long distances for bowling would only be thinking of it as yet another recreational activity. The company should strive to market itself as a one-of-aa- a kind activity that many Ghanaians have not tried before. Since competition will be minimal, then clients would be willing to visit such a location even if it was relatively far.
The problem of inconsistent customer service can be tackled by hiring well-qualified workers. They also need to undergo training on customer service so as to work on it. It will be critical to have a consistent workforce that patrons can recognize. Workers will get lucrative pay packages that will give them an incentive to do their jobs well.
Hansell, S. (2013). Overview of the bowling industry. Southfield, Michigan: Free Press.
Oumlil, B. & Rao, C. (2003). Service marketing and the critical distribution issue: Old challenges and new solutions. Services Marketing Quarterly, 25(1), 12-44.