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Different strategy

In the set of its advertising efforts, British Home Stores (Bhs) have chosen a different strategy, and when the largest topshop and topman store opened in Dubai Mall on April 1, 2009, Bhs has become one of the central participant and showmakers along with Memphis, Voodoo, and Nouveau Sport. “Opening in Dubai Mall, the UAE’s latest shopping destination, is a natural step in our aim to make the brands more accessible to our customers. With its pulse on fashion, Topshop and Topman are sure to please the style conscious” (Dubai City Guide 2009).

Certainly, such approach to advertising has it benefits, and where customers seek direct contact with their suppliers and the brands they choose to buy from, participating in mass market presentations and opening new stores can be considered one of the most effective approaches to market promotion. Simultaneously, such advertising is significantly limited in its coverage and cannot satisfy the needs of all consumers, but only limited population groups. Finally, relying on the long-standing well-known reputation of Bhs brand is at least incorrect due to the changeable nature of consumer demand.

It is a well-known fact that at the end of 2006 Bhs has been experiencing serious drop in consumer

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demand as shoppers failed to be enticed to the store’s fashion offer (Bhs 2007). The profits went down as a result of several subsequent internal mistakes in womenswear (Bhs 2007). Now, with the advent of the new age of consumer demand, and given the continuous lack of financial and nonmaterial resources, Bhs faces the need of active and sophisticated promotion, to ensure that customers can realize and assess the value of its products and to integrate the benefits of Bhs mens- and womenswear with their daily needs.

In this context, a natural question is how Marks & Spencer and Bhs succeed in their logistic efforts; in other words, how do these international companies develop their logistics efforts in ways that promote smooth supply and delivery operations between Britain and UAE? The secret is in the views and beliefs Marks & Spencer hold toward managing its logistics operations. For Marks & Spencer, the system of logistics approaches has turned into a set of supply chain management solutions, which position all logistics elements as an integrated whole and provides both the supplier and the end user to actively participate in the planning process.

“Supply chain management is very much a strategic planning process, with a particular emphasis on strategic decision making rather than on the operational systems” (Rushton & Walker 2007). Since the middle of 2003, Marks & Spencer has been actively cooperating with APL Logistics, with this cooperation being particularly useful for its stores in the Middle East. Supply chain areas that have become accentuated include vendor management, purchase order management, global operating system and facilitating real-time information flow between different participants of the supply chain.

In terms of logistics, Bhs pursues the principles similar to those at Marks & Spencer; i. e. , the company concentrates its logistics efforts by creating alliances and making effective agreements with professional logistics services. In case of Bhs, the contract with DHL has come to signify the company’s striving to improve the quality of its delivery services in the Middle East. Although the DHL is expected to provide its delivery services on the UK’s territory, it looks forward to expanding their cooperation opportunities to cover a whole range of international destinations.

“DHL will deliver a range of services to Bhs including: processing customer orders; processing customer returns; value added services and customer helpdesk services. The company will handle a variety of products for Bhs including clothing, gifts, home and lighting products” (General Logistics Business News 2008). Currently, the majority of these operations in UAE are being successfully fulfilled by Bhs’s official representatives, franchisees and retailers.

Moreover, Bhs has been wise enough to empower franchisees and retailers to fulfill their logistics operations in ways that would promote cost-effectiveness of product delivery and reduce the amount of delivery operations per item. Now, where DHL is expected to represent Bhs’s logistics interests in the UK, this agreement will most probably become the starting point of the long-term fruitful cooperation covering the majority of Middle Eastern destinations for Bhs.

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