The Toys “R” Us Canadian Company has several strengths in the industry including its diversification of products. The company not only meets the playing needs of children but equally satisfies the entertainment, education, as well as developmental demands through its wide range of products. The company’s strategy seeks to incorporate a food and beverage service partner to facilitate in-store events like birthday parties (Campbell and Whitehead 4). The strategy is outstanding since it enhances the customers’ experiences through keeping families connected, while the company increases its sales.
The company’s weaknesses include lesser online activities compared to its competitors. While the company has majorly focused on the renovation of its stores for the improvement of its experiential shopping endeavors, it contributes less towards gaining the attention of the online users (Campbell and Whitehead 4). Improving the payment process’ efficiency and online pickups is insufficient for online shopping activities given the current shift in consumer behavior.
The opportunities for Toys “R” Us include online marketing and promotion of the company’s products. In the recent past, most consumers have shifted to online purchasing due to its efficiency and convenience. Optimal utilization of online platforms like social media to market and promote products can increase the company’s sales significantly. The company can equally explore international markets like China, whose economy is rapidly expanding.
The threats facing Toys “R” Us include competition from other companies like Walmart, which has more stores and has fully embraced online marketing and promotion. Similarly, the supply of plastic toys is a threat to the company due to environmental concerns.
The Toys “R” Us company has a sustained competitive advantage in the Canadian toy industry through its strong brand identity. The brand is well known for its diverse products and provision of unique family experiences. When the company was first established in Canada, it ranked second with a 25% market share, thus making it a renowned brand. Despite the closure of its parent company in the U.S., the company has a huge market, which is reflected in its loyalty program that had half a million customers signed up in its 2017 holiday season only (Campbell and Whitehead 5). The company’s large number of followers offers it an advantage over other toy companies in sales distribution.
Toys “R” Us can be successful through focusing on both the experiential shopping endeavors and digital experience. Consumers have different shopping preferences depending on the convenience and effectiveness of the place they can access products. Some consumers respond to experiential marketing effectively due to its direct engagement nature that allows customers to interact with the brands directly. The direct engagement experience creates memorable moments that motivate the customer to revisit specific brands, which promotes loyalty enhancement. On the other hand, some consumers prefer the digital experience, whereby they can access desired services or products easily and conveniently without time wastage. Investing adequately in both shopping experiences enhances sales through accessing a larger target audience and promotes customer retention, which, in turn, results to a company’s success and sustainability. Therefore, both digital and experiential shopping experiences are necessary for a company’s sustained competitive advantage.
Consumers are likely to value the changes Toys “R” Us have towards the future due to a strong marketing mix. The purposes and benefits of the company’s products are well defined to the target audience. Similarly, Toys “R” Us has an outstanding selling proposition that differentiates it from other toy companies. In terms of place, Toys “R” Us will allow its customers to access products via in-store operations, as well as mobile pay options which will improve the efficiency of payment processes at checkout areas and facilitate online pickups for online customers. According to Campbell and Whitehead, the promotion strategy of coast-to-coast tours by the company’s president to broadcast the major plans of the company under the new ownership will provide a platform of reaching more consumers (5). This will also lead to the creation of brand awareness across the regions that the tours will visit.
Kindle Fire: Amazon’s Heated Battle for the Tablet Market/The Marketing Mix Analysis
I would categorize Kindle Fire as a tablet due to its software and hardware features. Tablets are slightly larger than smartphones, but smaller than laptops with a measure within a range of 7 to11 inches (Sawhney et al. 7). Kindle Fire is a 7-inch colored LCD touchscreen with a provision of WI-FI radio, powerful dual-core processor, an internal storage of 8GB, and a modified version of Google Android Operating System.
Amazon should target the media junky group segment with its Kindle Fire tablet. The media junky segments will respond effectively to this product since the segment comprises of tech-savvy individuals who spend most of their time on the digital devices searching for multimedia content such as movies, music, reading materials, TV shows, games, as well as videos. Kindle Fire best meets the demands of this group of consumers due to its provision of free cloud storage that enables users to download content such as music, magazines, movies, and TV shows from Amazon. The tablet is equally equipped with pre-approved applications and games that can be purchased by the user according to their desires (Sawhney et al. 8). The price of Kindle Fire is friendlier as compared to other tablets, which makes it more preferable by the media junky segment. The primary use case for the Kindle Fire tablet is in front of the TV due to its multimedia content provision, as well as the library use case due to the provision of the e-reading content.
Amazon should position Kindle Fire through the price concept in relation to the IPad and other tablets. The price of the Kindle Fire should neither be too low to reflect inferiority nor too high to push away some potential customers. However, given the lesser features of the Kindle Fire in relation to the IPad, the price should be set slightly lower to reflect the actual value of Kindle Fire. On the other hand, the product attributes of Kindle Fire tablet should be used to position the tablet relative to the e-readers. Kindle Fire can meet a wide range of consumer demands including web-surfing, accessing media content, gaming, and the electronic reading contents, whereas e-readers are designed specifically for reading the digital e-books. Therefore, Amazon should clearly communicate Kindle Fire’s attributes in relation to e-readers in order to boost the sale of the product.
To respond to Kindle Fire, I would develop a more superior tablet with outstanding features. The features will be incorporated in a manner that the tablet meets the demand of a wide range of market segmentation including the media junky, children, as well as the higher education segment. Satisfying the needs of this groups of people will give newly developed apple tablet a competitive advantage over Kindle Fire and other tablet brands in the market. The features will include; an 11-inch LCD touchscreen, a longer battery lifespan, fixed 16GB internal storage, a free cloud storage not limited to contents downloaded from specific sites, pre-approved applications and games accessed at a subsidized cost, as well as unlimited movies, music, and TV shows for live streaming or downloading. The large screen will facilitate effective gaming experience, and publishers will be able to publish their reading content easily. Specific files will be formatted accordingly to facilitate the published books contents to meet the demands of the higher education segment. I would partner with major bookstores of colleges and universities to manage their e-learning materials and make them available for the students at affordable prices. The tablet will be released to the public at $250, which is slightly above the Kindle Fire but affordable to the target market and is feature-packed.
The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean/the Ansoff Matrix Analysis
Explaining the Marvel’s success story via the competive strategy fails its purpose since the company’s accomplishments are based on the changes in management strategies and priorities. Since Marvel’s introduction, the company has been suffering under the ownership of different greedy individuals who were purely profit-minded; they neglected everything about fair business processes. This value extraction endeavors eventually led to Marvel’s bankruptcy (Olenick 6). Changing of strategies from the unfair economic value creation to fair processes that helped in boosting the sales of the company’s other businesses like the toys, comic books, and trading cards. The company, under new effective leadership, focused majorly on creating value, prioritizing people, and profit-making (Olenick 4). The incorporation helps Marvel to maintain the blue ocean into movie making through obtaining more revenue and profits in the film-making industry.
Based on the market penetration strategy of the Ansoff Matrix, if Marvel had spent more to hire renowned movie stars, popular directors, and embraced the Hollywood way, would have led to better performance of the movies. The market penetration strategy offers room for an organization to sell their existing products to the existing markets to obtain a larger market share through increased sales. Hiring well-known movie stars, as well as popular directors, would attract the attention of more viewers due to the positive perception that the presence of a movie star, just like a popular director reflect a good and cohesive storyline that eventually attract more viewers leading to outstanding performance.
Marvel broke the cost trade-off in order to obtain sustainability and success of the brand in the movie production industry. The adoption of the value innovation strategy led Marvel into its success through eliminating and reducing the existing competitive factors, while continuously creating other advantageous factors that contribute to Marvel’s growth in the industry.
Value extraction refers to a situation whereby an enterprise obtains a biased advantage in a certain market (Hoefle). This kind of enterprises aim at maximizing their profits within a short period of time yet they fail to engage actively in generating an open economic value. However, in the long run, this businesses are set to collapse or become bankrupt like the Marvel Company before its adoption of the value innovation strategy. On the other hand, value creation are the genuine operations conducted by organizations through their available resources to generate a genuine economic value (Hoefle). The resources are utilized conservatively with innovations prioritized to create competitive advantage through improving the product lines. Companies engaging in value creation primarily prioritize their customers, employees, as well as stakeholders, which helps these companies to attain sustainability and growth in a competitive market over a long period of time.
The non-customers targeted by Marvel were the slightly older and sophisticated group of college students.
Campbell, Steven and Whitehead, Kelly. “Toys ‘R’ Us Canada: Is Playtime Over?” Ivey Business School Foundation, June 17, 2019. 360724183_Kindle_3901075278053371.pdf. Accessed June 14, 2020
Hoefle, Manfred. “Value Extraction or Value Creation.” Managerism, 2019. https://www.managerism.org/topics/value-creation/thinkpiece-no-11. Accessed June 14, 2020
Olenick, Micheal. “The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean.” INSEAD, August 2016. 360724183_Marvel_8603389461968264.pdf. Accessed June 14, 2020
Sawhney, Mohanbir, et al. “Kindle Fire: Amazon’s Heated Battle for the Tablet Market.” Kellogg School of Management, April 25, 2014. 360724183_Toys_4240802267566311.pdf. Accessed June 14, 2020.