Every owner of a business starts with a vision and a target that they would like to achieve. These objectives differ based on the business practices however, there are main aims that all owner share: profit maximization, costs minimization, sustainability and having a wide customer base. They always try to prepare the business for rapid growth and make sure they develop the business to sustain a satisfying level of success.When the owners achieve these main targets alongside each business's targets, they are called to successful.
The success of a company is measured throughout several aspects. The financial rewards that enter the business is a significant sign of the success of the business and is an important element to many entrepreneurs as it act as a key factors in motivating them to work hard and even take risky decisions. However, there are other non-monetary factors to take into consideration while measuring the success of the business such as: customer base, customer and employee satisfaction etc.
Debenhams is a British multinational company which was founded in the 18th century. It commenced its retailing activity with as a single store in London. If we trace the history of Debenhams, we will find out that the store was established by William Clark in 1778. Throughout the years, several people started investing in the business which made it end any family member involvement and the business became a public company in 1928. By 1950, Debenhams became the largest store in the UK, owning 84 other companies and about 110 stores. The owners and investors of the company had an aim to internationalize the company and they achieved their target in 1997 when the first international franchise store opened in Bahrain. Since then, Debenhams have been showing rapid growth in all the dimensions of the organization. I am going to analyze the success of the business and identify its key factors helping it to succeed and achieve such a high position.
Nowadays, Debenhams offers its customers a wide range of brands and product from different departments such as lines in womenswear, menswear, children wear, health and beauty and even home and furniture. Such a growth and success must be discussed and justified and this section is going to high light the key factors of how Debenhams achieved this high level of success and reputation.
Focused on UK retail:
Despite the importance of the franchise and availability of the international stores, Debenhams yet state that the UK retails are continuing to be their most important and standing out market amongst the rest. The UK will continue to be our most important market for the foreseeable future. However, they also mentioned that in order to be sustainable and always maintain the standards that comply with the customers in the UK, there are several issues that they have to take into consideration: energy consumption facilities; the disposal of waste generated. They try to deal with all these issues in order to create products of the best quality that will satisfy their main UK market customers.
One of the magazines was titled as “Franchising helps Debenhams expand overseas” (Fraser McKay). They stated that one of the main factors that increased the profit of Debenhams drastically was franchising. They have been suing it as a method to broaden their network of stores throughout the world.
After 15 years of franchising practices, Debenhams now has 69 stores connecting 25 markets, including the Middle East, Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and Asia, which generate a trade turnover in excess of £375 million. One of the longest and most successful international Franchise Agreements is based in the Middle East, where, with franchise partner Alshaya, it now trades from 24 shops. Two central places that attracts local citizens and customers in the Middle East are The Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall and Debenhams was able to have stores in these two strategic places, increasing its sales to £200 million a year. I believe this is a great example showing how Debenhams tried to widen its customer base.
Even more, based on research , the owners of the company has decided that increasing the number of access points through which customers can buy from the company would have a great impact on their selling activity hence profitability. They are aware that the internet and mobile phone are becoming the central elements of our lives therefore they developed a mobile strategy.
The strategy involves an app which not only enables the customer to purchase or return products but is regularly updated with the sock level, a store finder and other useful services. While launching this app, the company had very high expectations of its impact and the results where the following:
• brought in £1m sales;
• accounted for 15,000 days of usage (equivalent to each session lasting nine minutes);
• extended the shopping day with peak usage at 10pm compared with the online shopping peak of 7-8pm.
Debenhams is aware that their customers are the main source of income as well as the main reason for them continuing therefore, their satisfaction is vital. One of their targets is to always meet the customer's requirement and expectation. In order to achieve that they are always trying to get feedback from their customers about their shopping experience at Debenhams whether online or in store.
To begin with, they hold sessions called “Customer Closeness” where the customers get the chance to meet the senior executives and talk to them about their experience. The importance of such a day was highlighted by Richard Cristofoli, Marketing Director when he said “Customer Closeness days highlight a number of local and national opportunities that the senior management are actively discussing,”
Secondly, Debenhams created a customer panel which involves all the regular customers of the company and are sent weekly surveys covering different topics regarding their experience and what could be improved. Furthermore, an online satisfaction survey is also available which is specific covering questions regarding each customer's purchase history.
Financial Aspects (200 words)
Running a successful business can be rewarding as well as demanding. Success requires focus, discipline and being organized. It has been concluded that Debenhams is a high brand equity and a highly recommended and preferred brand among the customers. The company realizes that its customers are a significant element and that success is achieved mainly through the satisfaction of their customers. Therefore they provide several services to ensure their awareness of their customer's experience in order to improve in the future. On the other hand, Debenhams also received several awards for its exceptional customer services, environment contribution and fashion quality. Since Debenhams is a UK a British company, it is expected that it's income would definitely be benefiting the UK and the community, monetary terms as well as offering job opportunities.
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