The mission of Bed Bath & Beyond is to be “trusted by its customers as the expert for the home and heart-related life events. These include certain life events that evoke strong emotional connections such as getting married, moving to a new home, having a baby, going to college and decorating a room, which the Company supports through its wedding and baby registries, new mover and student life programs, and its design consultation services.” (BBBY 2017.) Currently Bed Bath & Beyond is facing a decrease in sales due to their promotional marketing coupons they extend, lack of online presence, and significant decreases in foot traffic to store locations. In order to overcome this issue, Bed Bath & Beyond is needing to increase their potential client base by using various guerilla marketing tactics to overcome this decrease in sales. In order to successfully overcome the current marketing problem, they are facing, we will be conducting the following:
• Focus groups of current consumers for feedback on the current company.
• Conduct a case study among individuals with various situations involving aspects of the company and observing results and reactions.
• Test scenarios within the company that are different than current implementations and observing the results and reactions and receiving feedback based on the scenario.
• Conduct small and large interviews of consumers that come into stores.
• Survey questionnaires will be sent out via email, mail services, or other various forms form consumers who make instore or online purchases and also to consumers who visit our store or online site, but do not purchase an item.
Upon completion of the above research tactics, we will be able to draw conclusions to the current issues that Bed Bath & Beyond is facing and recommend the best ways for the company to overcome the downfall in their current marketing tactics.
Discussion. As stated previously, Bed Bath & Beyond strives to be the customer's first choice in product and in the various services they offer. They strive to offer high quality customer service, low prices, and continue to develop and improve as a company. Bed Bath & Beyond provides products of a wide assortment of home furnishing items, domestic merchandise, linens, various textile products, and other various products. Bed Bath & Beyond has a strong established brand that has been developed over time, however, the company is now facing the issue of a decrease in sales based on the following reasons (BBBY 2017):
1. Constant promotional marketing coupons being extended and expiration dates being overlooked.
2. A lack of an online presence.
3. Significant decreases in foot traffic to the low single-digit percentage range to their store locations due to increase online access of products and cheaper options for consumers to take advantage of.
In the marketing mix, the four P's of marketing must be known and developed in order to understand what the product or services provided by the company can offer and how to plan for a successful product offering. Understanding and fully developing the four P's of the marketing mix allows the company to satisfy both the customer and the seller and is a key factor(s) to a company's success. Below, the four P's of Bed Bath & Beyond's marketing mix are explained.
Bed Bath & Beyond's 4 P's:
• Product: Bed Bath & Beyond offers several brand name products that consumers often seek after due to their existing positive reputations. They also strive to keep their products looking “top notch” and like new at all times. Within the company's atmosphere, no matter what position you hold, it is expected that you do maintenance wherever to any product when you see it to hold to positive view that consumers see Bed Bath & Beyond is. (The New York Times, 2017)
• Price: Bed Bath & Beyond keeps their prices at very reasonable levels. They currently offer 20% coupons as well as various other, which give many consumers the promotional tool that they want to come back and shop again in order to purchase a product for an even lower price. They also offer a very reasonable and widely accepted return policy within the store. For many consumers this is highly valued, because it reduces stress when purchasing any item from their company. (The New York Times, 2017)
• Place: Placement is a big deal in Bed Bath & Beyond's stores in how they design it and how everything is laid out. Their stores are very well organized and have a general flow to them as you walk through. They ensure that they offer the consumer a relaxing and comfortable environment where they do not have to search high and low for items they are looking for. (The New York Times, 2017)
• Promotion: Bed Bath & Beyond is well known for its 20% off coupon that it offers consumers. These coupons can always be used and are able to be used even if they are expired. They have started to showcase video promotions of their company to showcase some of the more valued products they offer, however this is an area that Bed Bath & Beyond can continue to improve in. (The New York Times, 2017)
Research Objectives: During our time of research our team is striving to collect research that is relevant to the objective we have of fixing the current marketing problem. We will be working to identify what customers are dissatisfied with the company, the current marketing in place, and any other issue they are noticing. We will be seeking to determine what they expect of the company as well as monitoring any behavioral/attitude data we can collect as customers are in the various stores. We will also be looking at the company's overall performance compared to its competition to see why customers may be choosing the competitions over Bed Bath & Beyond. Lastly, we will be ensuring that we are assessing any gaps that are occurring between customers' expectations and perceptions. Defining these objectives will help us to ensure that we have various amounts of data to ensure that we can correctly recommend the best way to overcome the current marketing problem Bed Bath & Beyond is facing.
Research Design and Methodology: For our research design, we will be conducting a mixed design approached. While a large amount of qualitative research will be needed to define issues that are causing the decreases in sales, foot traffic to stores, decreased online presence issues, and the various other issues we are looking at, quantitative data will be just as important to back these issues up. Quantitative data will help to provide us with numbers and data that show where exactly the company is decreasing. This data will allow us to reference the qualitative data in order to compare and contrast and determine a solution to the overall marketing problem.
Casual research will also be used as it produces quantitative data and is planned, designed and formatted well. It will allow us to test the cause and effect relationships we need to see and will also allow us to determine what variable(s) are causing certain behaviors. In the process of conducting our research we will have to ensure we are taking the necessary time and precautions when collecting the data.
There are several factors that could influence the relationships of the cause and effects that may not be known. The cause and effect relationships will either be proved or disproved depending on the data received. While it can be disproved, not having a clear research objective can cause issues among the research design and the conclusions you draw. To ensure that we do not face these issues, our team is taking careful precautions in review our research objective and design. We know that casual research can help the company learn ways to increase customer retention which can be conducted by one on one interactions/interviews with customers leading to narrow or broad findings. This issue is another reason as to why our team is being diligent in their research steps.
Conducting casual research will provide us with clear variables.
• For example:
• Cause: Bed Bath & Beyond coupons have an expiration date that is often overlooked allowing for customers to “double-stack” coupons.
• Effect: Decrease in sales due to large discounts being granted.
• Cause: Brick and mortar stores are taking over online presence as they are offering similar products to that of Bed Bath & Beyond at more of a convenience and sometime at a lower cost.
• Effect: Foot traffic is in the single-digit percentages, causing for stores to have lower profits and leading to possible closure of stores.
When collecting data, several data collection methods will be used. Focus groups will be used in order to understand the usage of coupons and see the reactions of individuals when asked certain questions about the company and its current implementations. A case study will also be conducted where a possible scenario that the company will put in place and experiment will help with understanding how customers will react and observe to new marketing strategies that may be implemented. Interviews as well as surveys will be a larger part of the marketing strategies used to collect data from individual customers and some groups.
For our data collection, we will have a main target audience. Our target audience will be customers who are customers at Bed Bath and & Beyond and use coupons or visit our physical store locations. We are gearing our research to have an audience of 50 random customers per day that are observed, apart of case studies, focus groups, interviews, etc. This will mean that we will have 50 customers from 1000 stores across the United States daily for our research efforts. With these numbers, it will provide us with a total of 50,000 customers for our major focus of the research. We are also planning an alternative, in case we do not reach 50,000 customers, however we are setting a minimum of 25,000 to ensure that we are collecting an even and accurate amount of data.
On-line shoppers are another part of our data collection efforts. We are looking to seek a minimum of 10,000 responses from the online audience within the year of research. Each of our online shoppers will receive a survey after a purchase made online through the Bed Bath & Beyond website with a questionnaire. An example of questions that may be on the questionnaire are:
• Simple Questionnaire Example:
1. Why did you buy from our store? (please select all that apply)
b. You had the specific item I was looking for in stock.
c. You had a product that met my needs I did not find elsewhere.
d. Free shipping.
e. Promotional coupon.
f. Product information.
g. I am a loyal customer.
h. You came up first in my search.
i. Referral from friend.
j. Product reviews.
2. How did you find our store? (please select all that apply)
a. Google search
b. Yahoo! search
c. Facebook — ad or post
d. Twitter — tweet or ad
e. Pinterest board
f. Blog post
g. Loyal customer
3. Are you satisfied with the products in your order?
a. Highly satisfied
e. Highly dissatisfied
4. What is your preferred method of connecting with us?
e. Other: (Please list) ______________
Identifying the subjects in our data collection efforts is important to the success of the research. Looking specifically at coupon users, they will be approached in the store, reached out to by phone, or interviewed in store after the use of a coupon. The selection will be done at random selecting every fourth customer that uses a coupon when checking out at various times. There will be a set schedule of the times for each specific location chosen for when to randomly choose these individuals so that there is a wide range of visitor's responses based on the time of day and also demographics of the location.
For our online shoppers, we will ensure that we are being diligent with getting feedback but not over extensive. Each customer will receive an email after a purchase with the above sample questionnaire. We understand that online responses are higher than mailed responses, however are still low on the return rate which is why each online shopper will receive a follow up email survey and reminders.
While we have a category for individuals who use coupons in Bed Bath & Beyond stores, we have a separate general category for other in-store shoppers. These individuals will be selected at random, however will all be shoppers that walk through the doors of a Bed Bath & Beyond location. These individuals may not purchase a product, however, are still considered “foot-traffic”. Every fifth customer that comes in and out of the store will be approached. Similarly, to the above method, there will be a set schedule of the times for each specific location chosen for when to randomly choose these individuals so that there is a wide range of visitor's responses based on the time of day and also demographics of the location.
Results and Analysis: For analyzing the data that is laid out above to be collected, a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered and used. With quantitative data, we are looking at the data collected from gathering online responses based on purchases have been made. We will be looking at questions that are revolving around “how many?” “why?” “how did?” “how often?” and “how much?” that are asked of the consumers to answer. Statistica is the online statistical software portal we have determined to use for analyzing the data. It will be used for collection of data as well as providing further detail on the data that has been gathered.
When analyzing our qualitative date, we are going to be focusing on the opinions and attitudes collected/observed from consumers based on our collection of data methods as stated above. We will seek to use this data to understand why a customer behaves the way they do or why they may respond to a product the way they do. In order to code our data, we will begin by looking at what our big picture issues is and base our data on a route of how we are going to get there. The data will be analyzed by one individual who has been hired that has extensive experience in this area of data collection and coding so that the coding of the data is done correctly with the overall end point in mind, but remains unbiased.
Recommendations and Implications: As our client, we recommend that in order for Bed Bath and Beyond to be effective in solving the problem that they are facing, the company will not be able to completely deplete their use of coupons, however, can begin by implementing other factors that may assist in helping them overcome their decline in sales and foot traffic. The suggestions that we have for Bed Bath and Beyond are:
• Promote and offer incentives in place of constant coupons that take place in store only that will attract more foot traffic to actual Bed Bath and Beyond stores.
• Enforce coupon expiration dates, however to transition in to this, extend expiration dates so that consumers do not become frustrated to the idea of this now being enforces.
• Increase online presence by offering only online promotions and incentives.
• Implement a reward system for consumers to use in-store and online.
• Implement a plan to increase the use of technology within the store to keep up with how technology is and its innovation and also to keep up to date with the newer generation.
It is important to remember that implementing research will take time. We are planning for this research process to take place over one year. Implementing the research that is planned to be implemented will also require funding. The funds will either go to hiring an outside observing team for collecting the requested data or paying the workers for their extra time in working to collect this data. It will also go towards a statistical analysis software needed to collect and analyze data from any online platforms. For the first six months of the research, Bed Bath and Beyond can expect to see no improvement in the overall goal due to collection and analysis of data. However, they should work diligently to properly gather data and ensure it is effectively being collected and no bias is occurring. After the six-month mark, the company can expect some of the new suggestions to begin taking place and feedback to be gathered on this data. Bed Bath and Beyond needs to ensure that they are reporting any side data that can be collected that may benefit the suggestions being made to help offset the decrease of sales in the company.
Conclusions: Following the collection and analysis of the data above, a recommendation will be made of how the marketing problem Bed Bath & Beyond is facing can be resolved. In past studies of depleting the 20% off coupons, Bed Bath & Beyond's CEO Steven Temares stated, “The coupons is clearly and has been strongly associated with us,” … “But... we are working on becoming a lot more intelligent about our marketing and making it much more personalized.” (Bahler, K. 2016) Based on this statement and the research conducted, the following conclusion and recommendation can be made.
Bed Bath & Beyond can begin to create a personalized program that is similar to Amazon Prime that is offered. While the competition is high, providing an online site with all of Bed Bath & Beyond's products with shipping fees and discounts that are covered for in an annual charge will help to begin increasing the sales. The marketing that is pushed out will have to be more personalized to the individual consumer which may result in higher marketing costs, however, it is our hope that the other tactics will offset these costs. For instore foot traffic increases, offering “in-store only” promotions would attract customers to the store more frequently in hopes to lead to retaining a more stable and solid customer base.
Lessons learned/feedback: Upon completing this assignment throughout the semester I faced several challenges in collecting data and understanding completely the best way to strategize and plan how the research was going to take place. The assignments that we did throughout the semester helped me learn the various types of research methods there are as well as ways feedback can be collected. While difficult, the lessons learned in this project were that no information in unnecessary. Somehow all the data you collect will tie into some sort of result or understanding at some point and also data collection methods are expensive when working with large companies. I know that this type of project has prepared me for any future job I get due to the fact that it has had several parts to it that have lead me to a final result. I know that in all of my future jobs I will have to do some type of research no matter how small or large and this assignment has helped me understand how to understand the data, format it, and attempt to explain it.
Feedback from Part I: On the right track, here but make sure you are clear on the research objective and question - you have already suggested how they can solve their problems before the research is complete. for example, what if customers like the store experience and want to shop in person. This may or may not be the case but we will have to conduct research to find out before we derive a solution. Think now in terms of what data you may collect primary and secondary to resolve your issue but first be clear on the specific issue
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