Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain with over 800 stores throughout Australia. Founded in 1914 by George Coles, the supermarket has increasingly become the most preferred chain in the country, employing more than 100,000 employees. Its rapid success can be linked to its willingness to listen and change the way it persuades. The corporation has been able to out-think and outmaneuver competition. It has gone extra miles in some situations, something that has enabled it to have a comparative advantage against its rivals. One of the things the firm has done successfully to redeem its reputation in the face of criticism is changing its slogans as well as running advertisements that depict it as a caring partner. It is also commonplace for it to introduce loyalty programs as a way of showing appreciation to its customers. In brief, the firm has gradually become mutated to a caring retail chain. This explains why the organization has a large number of motivated workers as well as buyers and suppliers who are ready to do business with the supermarket.
The goal of the organization is to provide a unique shopping experience to its clients and this can only be achieved by well-developed strategy. Its marketing strategy is guided by what it calls a six-point plan: truly better value, working smarter stores, excellent availability, solid and served with personality, stunning quality fresh food, and the best customer experience.
The organization has adopted several initiates to meet the needs of its clients. They are diversification of products, removal of product or service duplication, availability of goods, and improving customer shopping experience regularly (Hoyer 1984). By studying the market, it has been able to learn the tastes and preferences of the Australians. This knowledge has aided to stay at the top of competition at all times. One thing about the company is that hardly fears to take the risks needed to be successful. For example, it started providing unpacked foods while most stores were providing packed meals. Over time, this strategy which was the result of the comprehensive research on future trends in the market paid off.
The firm has made its stores healthier by fixing some hygienic factors. It has reduced the queue time for customers, an aspect that is certain to appeal to a wide customer base. Ventilation have been increased in all stores to control moisture and humidity. Manual checking at its stores have been reduced due to advancements in technology. What makes the company more effective and successful its sense of purpose and flexibility.
The company has portrayed itself as a socially responsible firm. For example, its decision to participate in the SecondBite program whose aim was to improve the livelihoods of the locals has placed it an advantage over its rivals. The organization used the program to provide food to the needy and in this manner demonstrated itself as caring partner.
The internal recruitment program of the company has played a major role in hiring and retaining top talents in the market. More specifically, the firm has come up with procedures that ensure it has a diverse and competent workforce. Its employees enjoy numerous benefits and it is quite easier for any one of them to become what they want to be. In brief, the company has done all it can to rule the retail industry (Humphrey, 1998).
To survive in any market, a company needs to learn and know the culture of the place it operates. The Australian culture is one that gives much attention to fresh food. That implies that Coles has to focus on varies fresh foods as opposed to one particular category of meals. Culture is something that can be learned or influenced and thus Coles has the ability to twist everything to its advantage. Another aspect about the Australian culture is that favors supermarkets more than cafes because most people prefer to cooking their food rather than buying cooked food in cafes or stores. In a word, the Australian culture presents a good opportunity for Coles chains to be successful than ever before.
Culture likewise influence the consumer behavior. The influence it exerts is contingent on the prevailing trends as well as the beliefs of the people. A good company will provide the products that meet the demands of a particular culture. The eating habits of the Australians is something that Coles must adapt to and adjust its operations to meet it.
Impact of Culture on Coles Marketing
The Australian culture has influenced the way Coles does business in the region. For example, the firm currently focusses on fresh vegetables and fruits. Adjusting to the tastes and preferences of the market is no longer an option but a necessity. The Australian culture has in the recent times evolved very fast that there is the need to closely monitor the prevailing patterns and use that information to predict future trends.
The company targets Australians from all walks of life that have different cooking habits. In this way, it has made itself the most trusted food chain in the region. Rather than just focusing on the food preferences of adults, Coles should also consider the tastes of children and youths in a manner that will make them feel esteemed by the organization. Coles has to develop a plan that appreciates this population. Perhaps one of the best ways to do this is to come with products and offers designed specifically for this group.
- Large market share
- Brand reputation
- Customer loyalty
- Little differentiation – it has done little to avoid carrying the same products and thus is at a higher risk of competition should foreign firms enter Australia
- Negative publicity
- Regional growth – there are many more markets that it can enter into the region
- Online shopping growth – most clients are going online, which an added advantage to it.
- Organic products – the demand for fresh and healthy foods will open new opportunities for the company.
- Small business – many small businesses see it as a threat to their survival
- Competition – globalization has increased the threat of foreign competition.
- Politics – the company is exposed to numerous political problems in the region.
Recommendations and Suggestions
One area that the company needs to pay attention on is that of advertisements. It should use advertisements to show the correlation between their products and wellbeing. This strategy will pay a critical role in appealing to potential clients to purchase its products. (Pritchard, 2000. Secondly, rather spending a lot of time and energy defending the down campaign which has of late attracted a lot of criticism, the company should turn its attention to a new strategy that will not be seen as one designed to profit the frim at the expenses of other. While the down strategy has done well in the past, experts believe the company needs a new technique. Thirdly, the firm must invest in improving customer experience, especially online experience.
Coles Supermarkets is one of the most successful Australian retain chains in the history of the country. The success of the company has been attributed to its willingness to adapt to the prevailing trends. Its journey of success as well as challenges offer tons of lessons worth noting to gain comparative advantage in any industry. If the company continues meeting the demands of the market, then there will be no limit to its growth.
To sum up, the report has provided a detailed overview of the Coles Supermarkets. It has focused on its marketing strategy as well as the culture of the region its operates. One thing that can be concluded from the report is that the marketing strategy and culture largely influence the productivity of a business. Coles has been able to succeed because it was able to neatly connect these two vital aspects. The report concluded by providing some recommendations: some are short-term while other long-term.
Hoyer, W 1984, An Examination of Consumer Decision Making for a Common Repeat Purchase Product. The Journal of Consumer Research, 11(3), 822-829.
Humphrey, K 1998, Llife: supermarkets and the changing cultures of consumption. Cambridge University Press.
Pritchard, W. N 2000, Beyond the modern supermarket: geographical approaches to the analysis of contemporary Australian retail restructuring. Australian Geographical Studies,38(2), 204-218.