Tag Archives: merchandising

A Retail Chain for Covid-19 Essential Products

Covid-19 has drastically impacted virtually every part of our lives from school to shopping. It has had a devastating impact on businesses, particularly retailers. The coronavirus outbreak caused the majority of retail businesses across the nation (and world) to temporarily close for several months. It has also caused the bankruptcy filings of 27 retailers so far in 2020, including big brands such as Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, GNC, J. Crew, and J.C. Penney. Thousands of retail stores have already shut down, with many more to come later in 2020.

But for one new retail chain, the coronavirus caused them to open a new business – selling Covid-19 essential products in malls and downtowns. The store is actually called “Covid-19 Essentials” so there is no doubt as to its business focus and clientele. The chain has several locations in Denver, Miami, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and has plans to open in smoke-thick California.

The stores sell face shields, personalized masks, portable UV lights, air purifiers, cellphone sterilizers, thermal facial recognition devices, and even a hygienic toilet seat. To enter the store, customers check their temperature with a digital forehead scanner. A sink near the entrance allows customers to wash their hands before handling products.

Now this sounds like a safe place to shop.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on retail.
  2. Have students list all the businesses that have had to adapt in some way and businesses that closed.
  3. How have retail stores adjusted to Covid-19 in their midst?
  4. Show video of Covid-19 Essentials store: https://youtu.be/5idLkCNaB6o
  5. Show the web site for the New York store: https://www.cv19essential.com/
  6. Divide students into groups. Have each group review the website, products, and prices.
  7. Discuss the long-term viability of this store.

Source:  New York Times; Retail Dive

 

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Target Launches New Athleisure Clothing Line

It’s a new year and a new time to set some resolutions, right? Target thinks so and has come up with a set of resolutions about the joy of movement, being inclusive and accessible. These resolutions are a lead-in to a new Target brand of athleisure apparel.

Athleisure apparel sales in the U.S. have grown 140% in the last decade and is expected to reach $83 billion. Athleisure is a crowded market however, with loyal followers of brands such as Lululemon and Athleta. What will Target need to do to create value for customers of its new “All in Motion” line of active wear and sporting goods?

The company did extensive research for the new line. Target gathered data from more than 15,000 men, women, and kids, from all areas of the country, to gain insights into what customers want from their sporting apparel. The result is a new brand of sports apparel that was developed for the entire family, at all stages of fitness, and in diverse sizes.

All in Motion also uses sustainably-sourced materials, and includes features such as water-resistant, UPF50+ sun protection. Designs include secure zippered pockets, thumbholes in sleeves, and is a broad range of sizes. But the best part is that prices will be mostly under $40.

Ready to move?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  2. Review Target’s new line of athleisure clothing: https://www.target.com/b/all-in-motion/-/N-4apdi?lnk=Madeforeverymov
  3. Ask students what data they would need in order to make a marketing decision to start this product line.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team do secondary research to answer the questions such as industry overview, size, growth, competitors, social trends, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.
  5. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of how Target arrived at its decision?

Source:  Ad Week; Minneapolis Star Tribune; other news sources

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Costco and Chicken

Pricing can be a confusing topic – and not just for marketers. Consumers can also be confused, but one thing they always recognize is when they get a good deal on a product. Such is the case for Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens. At that price the product is less than poultry from competing grocers. So, how does Costco make a profit on the chickens? Well, the short answer is that the company does not make a profit on this item – in fact, it loses money every time one is sold.

The Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken is probably one of the most popular items the company sells; last year Costco sold more than 90 million of the item. And, yes, it lost money on each and every bird. Estimates are that the loss amounts to between $30 million and $40 million each year. This is known in the industry as a “loss leader.” The reason for a loss leader product is to get consumers in the store in order to sell additional products at which the retailer does make a profit. The chickens are at the very back of the warehouses, meaning if consumers want the bird they have to navigate a tempting array of other low-cost foods and products. It’s tough to leave Costco with only a single item!

Costco is trying to get its costs lower by opening a $450 million poultry complex in Nebraska. In this case, the company will control the supply chain, starting from the grain the chickens eat to grow out and slaughter, eventually to the Costco’s kitchen, and finally to consumers’ homes. The new poultry complex will provide Costco with roughly 40% of the chickens it needs and reduce its purchasing costs. It will also provide a more standard-sized chicken of around six pounds to fit on its rotisserie line.

How much will Costco save with the new complex? Estimates are that savings will be around 35 cents per chicken. Not a lot in a single bird, but multiple it by 90 million and the savings will add up.

What’s for dinner?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  2. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  3. Discuss when companies should use loss-leader pricing.
  4. Show a video about Costco chicken: https://youtu.be/MSvCK_xH84s
  5. What strategy is Costco using to price its rotisserie chickens?
  6. For Costco chicken, divide students into groups and have each group work on any/all of the six steps.
  7. When setting the price level, assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, etc.).
  8. Debrief the exercise. Compare the various pricing models and discuss advantages/disadvantages of each.

Source: Meyersohn, N. (11 October 2019). It’s only $4.99. but Costco’s rotisserie chicken comes at a huge price. CNN Business.

 

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