Non Price Competition


In spite of the emphasis placed on price in microeconomic theory, marketers often compete on product attributes other than price. You may have noted that price differences between products such as gasoline, men’s haircuts, candy bars, and even major products such as compact cars and private colleges are often small, if there is any price difference at all. Very rarely will you see price used as a major promotional appeal on television. Instead, marketers tend to stress product images and consumer benefits such as comfort, style, convenience, and durability.

Many organizations promote the services that accompany basic products rather than price. The idea is to make a relatively homogeneous product better by offering more service. Quite often the reason marketers emphasize non-price is because prices are so easy to match. Few competitors can match the image of a friendly, responsive, consumer-oriented company.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Market Sales Potential and Profitability


An essential activity in opportunity evaluation is the determination of market sales potential and profitability. Estimating market’s sales potential for offerings is a difficult task even for a seasoned marketing executive. Markets and offerings can be defined in numerous ways that can lead to different estimates of market size and dollar sales potential. For innovative offerings or new markets, marketing analysts must often rely almost entirely on judgment and creativity when estimating market sales potential. Therefore, it is understandable that market sales potential estimates very greatly for high definition television  (HDTV) and hybrid (gasoline and battery powered) automobiles. The underlying technology for both offerings is still evolving as is the physical form. In such dynamic settings, measures for identifying prospective market segments are uncertain.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Convenience Stores


Convenience stores are actually mini supermarkets. They carry many of the same food and nonfood items that are sold in supermarkets, but they offer a limited selection of brands. The products are normally packaged in small sizes, to allow shelf space for other items. Convenience stores do not have meat or fresh produce departments. One of the most significant changes in convenience stores has been the addition of gasoline.

Since convenience store prices on non-gasoline items are typically higher than supermarket prices, we should ask why people shop at them. Many shoppers tolerate the higher prices because the total of their convenience store purchases is quite small. They are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of being able to make purchases quickly and easily. Consumers recognize that they are paying a little more for these products than they would at a supermarket. But most people are not willing to invest the extra time and effort to go to the supermarket to save a few cents on one or two items. In effect, the convenience store retailer charges the consumer a premium for this time savings.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Product Specificity


Product specificity means the extent to which the use of a product depends on local socio-technical conditions. This is a function of the type of applications to which the product can be put, its inter-relatedness to other products, the local culture, and government regulation. Cars, for example, would sell better in a large country with a good highway system, space to park cars, good credit systems, and availability of gasoline, than in one without. Such complementary conditions for selling automobiles can be taken for granted in the United States, but not in Nigeria. In some countries, air pollution standards limit the level of pollutants that a car can emit.

Baking foods requires baking ovens, which many households in many countries may not have. Foods that require refrigeration may not do well in countries like Nigeria, where very few people have refrigerators. In the local culture there may be taboos associated with certain products. Local culture can also make some features in local products unnecessary.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Service Quality and Employee Behavior


Customers’ perceptions of service quality will be impacted by the customer-oriented behaviors of employees. In fact, the five dimensions of service quality—reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles—can be influenced directly by service employees.

Delivering the service as promised—reliability—is often totally within the control of front-line employees. Even in the case of automated services—such as ATMs, automated ticketing machines, or self-serve and pay gasoline pumps—behind the scenes employees are critical for making sure all of the systems are working properly. When services fail or errors are made, employees are essential for setting things right and using their judgment to determine the best course of action for service recovery.

Front-line employees directly influence customer perceptions of responsiveness through their personal willingness to help and their promptness in serving customers. Consider the range of responses you receive from different retail store clerks when you need help finding a particular item of clothing. One employee may ignore your presence, whereas another offers to help you search and calls other stores to locate the item. One may help you immediately and efficiently, whereas another may move slowly in accommodating even the simplest request.

The assurance dimension of service quality is highly dependent on employees’ ability to communicate their credibility and to inspire trust and confidence. The reputation of the organization will help, but in the end, individual employees with whom the customer interacts confirm and build trust in the organization or detract from its reputation and ultimately destroy trust. For startup or relatively unknown organizations, credibility, trust, and confidence will be tied totally to employee actions.

It is difficult to imagine how an organization would deliver “caring, individualized attention” to customers independent of its employees. Empathy implies that employees will pay attention, listen, adapt, and be flexible in delivering what individual customers need. For example, research documents that when employees are customer-oriented, have good rapport with customers, and exhibit perceptive and attentive listening skills, customers will evaluate the service more highly and be more likely to return. Employee appearance and dress are important aspects of the tangibles dimension of quality, along with many other factors that are independent of service employees (the service facility, décor, brochures, signage, and so on).

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Peak Versus Off Peak Operation


An important practical problem in many industries is how to deal with sharp variations between peak and off-peak demands. Telephones are more heavily used during business hours than during evenings or weekends; local transit demands are greatest in the morning and afternoon commuting hours; in the arid areas water is more intensely demanded in summer than in winter months; restaurants are busiest at regular mealtimes, and so on. For a firm facing both peak and off-peak demands for its product, the optimization problem is how to divide its efforts between the two.

Assume for simplicity that the peak and off-peak periods are equal duration. Under pure competition the firm would be a price-taker in both the peak and off-peak markets. In the peak market it would face a higher price and in the off-peak market a lower price—but, in either market, the price will be independent of the firm’s own level of output. An example might be a city served by a number of competing taxicab suppliers, daytime hours being the peak demand period and evening hours the off-peak demand period. The quoted taxicab fares do not usually vary with time of day. However, the effective price of taxicab service does vary. In peak periods taxi earn a higher effective price, since there is less “dead time” waiting for a customer. And similarly, the customers have to pay a higher effective price in peak periods, since on average they have to wait longer for taxi to become available.

In analyzing the peak/off-peak situation, it is essential to distinguish between “common costs” and “saparable costs.” Common costs are those that apply to both peak and off-peak service. On the case of taxicabs they would include the costs of providing the casbs themselves, of running the central dispatching system,, and so on. Saparable costs are those incurred in serving each specific market. For taxicabs they might include gasoline and drivers’ wages. The distinction between common and saparable costs is quite apart from the distinction between fixed and variable costs. Common costs can be fixed or variable, and the same holds for saparable costs.

The following additional assumptions are employed: 1) There are no common fixed costs at all; the marginal common costs (MCC) is a constant magnitude. 2) The separable costs include both fixed and variable elements, but the cost function is the same in either market. However the firm may want to operate at different points along the cost curves in serving the two markets. A taxicab firm, for example, may chose to put a larger number of cabs on the road during peak period.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir - Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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