Strategies for Sustaining Competitive Advantage: Strengths and Weaknesses
To compete with other online companies, it is necessary to work out viable generic strategies. In this respect, we are planning to implement the following marketing strategies to remain competitive for a long period. They have both strengths and weaknesses:
- Identifying marketing segmentation. This means that the company should focus on a particular target group of customers whose preferences and needs can be successfully met. We are planning to provide a wide range of reprinted copies with originally designed frames. The production will be destined for a wide range of customers, particularly for those who are fond of painting and real art but have low incomes (Eldring 9). Our main strength is that we can provide a unique service at an affordable price and this can contribute to the increase of the market segment. Second, our web network is consistently organized and, therefore, each client has an opportunity to find any picture they want. Third, we have forums that are aimed at examining the consumers’ demand.
- Product differentiation. The main advantages of our product policy lie in product quality, product diversity, and efficient delivery system. However, the marketing strategies can face difficulties when dealing with the firms producing a hand-made replica of paintings, but not reprinted ones.
- Cost leadership. The main benefit of our cost strategies is that we can offer a high quality published painting and designed frames at an affordable price. So, each customer who wants to have a famous painting and cannot have an original work can be lucky to obtain any pictures produced by our company. However, there are some limitations connected with price policy. In particular, once the company has established moderate prices, another company could set lower prices.
While establishing marketing strategies, we have paid attention to other companies with identical scopes and production orientation. However, our direct competitors are manufacturers dealing with producing hand-made painting at lower prices. Therefore, to recapture the target market, we plan to provide wider product differentiation. Our company will have a specialized department who will be watching any shift in consumer demands as well as recent tendencies of supply. They will also take responsibility for presenting statistics and the percentage of our customers as well as feedback for our products to introduce an improvement to the process of reprinting.
Physical Stores versus Online Retailers
As has been identified, the company is planning to sell the products online because, according to our policy, the Internet is one of the most powerful distributors of information. The majority of potential consumers are browsing the internet in search of online shops.
Therefore, we believe our products will be best advertised if presented on our official website. Additionally, we are also going to provide our customers with the opportunity to participate in forums where they will have a chance to express their opinions. Besides, the introduction of e-commerce orientation is now becoming a safer and more profitable way of selling products due to the increased popularity of goods and services provided online.
The main advantages of online marketing
- Quick access to the products;
- An opportunity to look through a range of products;
- Constant updating of products display;
The main disadvantage of online marketing
- Impossibility to check the quality of the product;
- No guarantee that the product will be provided in time;
- Risk of cyber invasion and information distortion.
Despite the viral tendencies in the development of online marketing, physical stores are still in the limelight among the consumers, specifically among those who prefer first to look and assess the product and then to buy. Since we are not planning to base our business on offline shopping, we are striving to borrow some marketing strategies from this sector that will contribute to maintaining the Company’s competitive advantage:
- Price Negotiating. Because offline shops are prevalent in setting the discount policies, in case a customer plans to buy a lot of products. Therefore, we believe that the same strategy is possible to establish online because we have easy access to our official web site and free telephone number for negotiations and delivery arrangement. For instance, we can propose delivery free of charge if the order requires more than two days of accomplishment.
- Proactive Help. Certainly, physical stores provide more active help by advising which product to consider about consumers’ needs and preferences. This service more problematic to include when offering products online. To fill in this gap, our company plans to provide online tips for new buyers and online cards for patrons. This will enhance consumers’ confidence in the company and provide more opportunities for sustaining a competitive advantage.
- Managing Disappointment. Online shopping may presuppose that there are some products or services which are not available at the present moment. The problem may occur when a consumer is not informed about product shortage, which may lead to disappointment and negative feedback. To avoid such inconveniences, our company expects to create another specialized online service that will inform their customers about recent changes in product display, unavailability of certain services. Such a competitive strategy will reinforce the relationships with our potential customers.
Websites that are similar to the Company’s
We have conducted research on online companies dealing with the reprinting of famous paintings, and other forms of art to identify their strengths and weakness and to take them into further considerations for our competitive advantage. Among the ones are Canvaz.com and Art.com.
Hence, the first company is a Chinese online art gallery that provides handmade painting. The works are painted by professional Chinese authors and are presented in various styles and streams, including abstractionism, impressionism, surrealism, and classics. Unlike our company, Canvaz.com production is of wider specialization because they include photography as well (Canvaz.com, n. p.).
The second company is more focused on painting, photography, decoration, and vintage things, which means that its focus is made on product differentiation and market segmentation strategies for sustaining a competitive advantage (Art.com, n. p.). About these companies, our business seeks to introduce a more specific range of products for promoting originality and uniqueness. Besides, we can even produce the frame to the customer’s requirements.
Entrepreneurs and Indirect Competitors
Before planning a business plan and marketing strategies, our company plans to take into consideration the potential of indirect competitors and entrepreneurs that constitute a much greater threat to our company’s development. Therefore, we also plan to conduct research and analyze statistics for making our idea and venture more original and successful about existing nuances.
Art.com Inc. Posters, Art Prints, and Framed Art Leader. n.d. Web.
Canvaz.com. Oil Painting by Canvaz.com. 2003. Web.
Eldring, Jan. Porter’s (1980) Generic Strategies, Performance and Risk: An Empirical Investigation with German Data. Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag, 2009. Print.