Introduction to cater for a wide variety
7-Eleven Inc. was faced by a number of issues in its operations. Its main investors that had supported its operations for a long time were losing faith in the company, as it had failed to perform satisfactorily despite the long years of investors’ efforts. The company was facing stiff competition in the United States, considering that Japanese investors’ expertise could not compete adequately in the different culture.
Consumers in the United States found it difficult to embrace Japanese consumables with respect to the cultures that differed significantly. Establishing a niche market in the United States has been generally difficult for 7-Eleven Inc. owing to the fact that consumer perception remains a big challenge. Perceptions of consumers towards 7-Eleven Inc. in the United States have been inclined towards lottery, beer, cigarettes, and gasoline, rather than fresh meals.
7-Eleven Inc Business Options
The company had to undertake innovative measures to win over retail convenience store chain consumers. Extending hours of operations is a convenient innovation where customers can still access fresh food products during late hours.
Licensing business strategy is also a tangible option to market penetration, where the company acquires licenses from already established companies. Other than innovative ideas such as extended hours of operations and licensing, the company must also consider the option of keeping up with consumer trends.
Trends such as population migration from urban centers necessitated a shift of area of operation to satisfy the changing customer needs. With respect to stiff competition from supermarkets moving to extend hours of operation leaves the company with the option of further extending working hours even to twenty-four hours a day. Moves to create more convenience to clients are the winning options towards having a competitive edge over competitors.
7-Eleven Inc. innovation business strategy extends to leasing and franchising its operations and ownership amidst competition and investor exit threats, which would enable the company to improve profitability and free up capital. Freed up capital and increased profitability consequently facilitates the company’s financing of innovative strategies to increase competitive advantage over its competitors.
More so, the company may opt to diversify its products and services to clients to cater for a wide variety of customer needs rather than just offering food products and convenience meals. Product and service diversity not only offers the company a wide customer base, but also a source of finance for the company. Advanced inventory distribution and control systems may also be hired or purchased to improve operational efficiency.
The 7-Eleven Inc., being a major convenience participant in the convenience industry, needs to remain focused on what customers want, considering that customer needs change from time to time. The concept behind the ever-changing customer needs calls for strong recommendations of the innovative aspect of the business as the only way to remain relevant and convenient to their customers.
As societies grow and change, the convenience need among its members remains rather constant although what is termed as convenient to customers is dynamic, and thus calls for dynamic products and services from companies in operations (Bell and Hogan, 2004).
7-Eleven Inc. focused on providing traditional Japanese lunch boxes, which changed from time to time regarding what foods consisted the lunch boxes. This was in line changing customer needs for foods such as salads, vegetables, and sandwiches.
Thereafter, customer needs for lunch boxes changed to those from inexpensive restaurant chains owing to the prevailing economic situation. Concerning providing inexpensive foods, the company may undertake cost reduction strategies such as organizing suppliers into cooperative associations where the company can benefit from economies of scale. More so, such corporations have the advantage of knowledge sharing with respect to product development and dynamics of customer needs.
Such strategies may go a long way in penetrating markets such as the US market with the production of high quality products at reasonable prices, thus increasing the company’s competitive advantage. Overall, the company has the mandate of devoting a good portion of its resources and time to understand and meet customers’ changing needs and expectations, and win over new markets.
The case marketing management points out to a variety of strategies that retail stores need to put into consideration to establish itself in new markets and to maintain existing markets. The bottom line of convenience stores is what customers want, irrespective of what options are put in place for solving business shortcomings.
Company’s have to keep customers’ needs, which change from time to time, as the society changes while ensuring that such needs are catered for in the most convenient way. This calls for marketing strategies that would increase awareness of customers as to what convenience is offered by a particular restaurant (Bell and Hogan, 2004).
Companies need to maintain a good image to their customers to create positive perceptions towards the products and services being offered. Customer perceptions towards a business must reflect the products and services being sold in a positive manner. In addition, businesses need to put in place new conveniences, other than those being offered by competitors.
This may include financial services where customers can access banking services at the retail vicinity without much waste of time. Although such marketing strategies may take long to create positive customer perception, businesses can always roll out widespread advertising campaigns to change consumer perceptions.
Bell, D.E. & Hogan, H. (2004). 7-Eleven, Inc. Harvard Business School. (Attached article).