DEALING WITH THE COMPETITION
Review the following case and provide answers to the questions. Your paper should be at least 2-3 pages long not including a separate cover page and reference page. Paper is formatted in the APA style. Paper must use headings:
DEALING WITH THE COMPETITION
Six months ago, Roberta O’Flynn opened a small office supply store. Roberta sells a wide range of general office merchandise, including numerous software packages, photocopying paper, printer cartridges, computer accessories, tablets, envelopes, writing instruments, and computer thumb drives, as well as a limited range of office desks, chairs, and lamps.
Several office supply stores in the local area are, in Roberta’s opinion, competitors. In an effort to better understand the competition, Roberta has visited four of these stores and pretended to be a customer so she could get information regarding their prices, product offerings, and service. Each has a different strategy. For example, one of them sells strictly on price; it is the customer’s responsibility to pick up the merchandise and carry it away. Another relies heavily on service, including a 90-day credit plan for those customers who purchase equipment in excess of $500. This company’s prices are the highest of the four stores Roberta visited. The other two stores use a combination of price and service strategies.
Roberta believes that, to get her new venture off the ground, she must develop a marketing strategy that helps her effectively compete with these other firms. Because her store is extremely small, Roberta believes that a certain amount of marketing research could be of value. On the other hand, her budget is extremely limited, and she is not sure how to collect the information. Roberta believes she needs to develop a market niche that will be loyal to her.
In this way, no matter how extensive the competition is, she will always have a group of customers who buy from her. Roberta also believes that the focus of this research has to be in two general directions. First, she has to find out what customers look for from an office supply store. How important is price? Service? Quality? Second, she has to determine the general strategy of each of her major competitors so she can develop a plan of action to prevent them from taking away her customers. Right now, however, her biggest question is: How do I go about getting the information I need?
Will the information Roberta is seeking be of value to her for competing in this market? Why or why not?
How should Roberta put together her marketing research plan? What should be involved? Be as complete as possible in your answer.
How expensive will it be for Roberta to follow your recommendations for her marketing research plan? Describe any other marketing research efforts she could undertake in the near future that would be of minimal cost.