The supermarket industry of UK has undergone a lot of change in this competitive era. The role of technologies in marketing proved to be beneficial for the supermarket industry. The radical changes in consumer buying pattern, the economic downturn and extensive expansion of different supermarkets have changed the scenario of the supermarket industry. The rapid technological advancement in the field of marketing has created new opportunities for the supermarket to grow and evolve (Ibisworld, 2018). In this regard, the prime focus of the essay is the role of digital technologies on ‘Place' and ‘Promotion' of the Marketing mix with the context of the UK Supermarket industry. In order to address the focus of the essay, the essay has covered the key players in UK supermarket, the recent digital technology advancement, application of digital technology on marketing mix and benefit of digital technology in marketing. Thus the thesis statement can be stated as "Whether digital technologies have an impact on ‘place' and ‘promotion' of the supermarket industry in the UK or not.”
Impact of Digital Technologies on ‘Place' and ‘Promotion' of UK Supermarket Industry
The UK market is dominated by Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury's supermarket chain. These are considered as ‘Big Four,' and together they have the largest market share of the UK grocery market. The opening of discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi and their aggressive expansion has impacted the supermarket considerably. It's been four years since Aldi and Lidl; the German budget supermarkets intensify their efforts to counter ‘Big Four' which are already firmly established in the UK market. The internet and digital marketing have created ample opportunities for designing an effective marketing strategy. The buyers of the UK consider value more than ever and had turned their attitude from range to convenience. Aldi has already surpassed the Co-Op in competition to become the UK's fifth largest supermarket in terms of market share while Lidl has overtaken Waitrose for seventh place. The total combined market share of Lidl and Aldi was 12.7% as on 22 April 2018 (Gale, 2018).
The level of competition amongst leading key players in the Supermarket Industry is very high, so they are utilising the recent technology development in choosing distribution network (place) and for promoting their business to target consumers (promotion). The ‘place' of the marketing mix is regarded as a distribution policy. It consists of distribution channels, distribution networks, assortment, locations, availability, transport, and logistics. The ‘promotion' of marketing mix consists of advertising, personal selling, public relations, and sales promotion. Place or distribution strategies are concerned with the availability of the product to the customers when and where customers expect to deliver (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2011).
The Portas review report uncovers the fact that in the UK the internet sales accounted for 10 percent of all retail sales between 2003 and 2010 and concluded that half of the total growth of retail sales was because of either e- or m-commerce. In this manner, it can be stated that the distribution channels in the UK supermarket industry are effectively managed, which has led to the success of the organisations. The supermarkets are diversifying to deliver the whole range of other services and goods such as financial services, health and beauty, clothing, flowers, and household goods. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has benefited supermarkets in integrating their different process on a single platform. The development of business software to carry out tasks of order taking, billing, stock inventory, supplier management, client management, handling customer queries and handling employee details has eased the way of functioning. The opening of new stores at a new location is analysed using a digital algorithm with the help of supercomputers where all data related to the market survey is analysed (Wetherly and Otter, 2014).
The digital equipment like computer, scanner, and payment by e-wallet helps a lot to the supermarket in delivering goods at a faster rate and results in fewer queues that attract a lot of customers and encourages to go for shopping again. The use of digital technology increases productivity and allows a business to establish a competitive advantage. The sub outlets of a supermarket are well connected over the digital platform and can easily communicate with the help of digital devices available (De Kare-Silver, 2011). The availability of an item in stock is maintained in digital records on digital devices, and the threshold level is decided by the supermarket guidelines and when any good reaches at threshold level an alarm raises over the digital platform. The alarm helps in ordering the stock from the list of suppliers available. E-Commerce helps in doing business with suppliers and clients effectively and smoothly. The Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) helps in dealing with customers effectively. Customer's feedback and complaints can be noted digitally and can be solved quickly and effectively; this will assist in increasing customer loyalty and attracting new customers to their stores (Wetherly and Otter, 2014).
The platform also gives an opportunity to share their views on feedback about their feasibility and the reason for non-implementation of customer ideas. Cross-selling which includes giving customer different product that is closely related to the recently purchased product. The upselling also takes with the assistance of digital technology which consists of the enhanced version of the previously purchased product for the better experience. The predictive analysis is done with the help of digital software that gives the information regarding the prospective customer who can buy a new or costly product (Kingsnorth, 2016).
The role of digital technologies in promotion is considered Digital marketing. Digital marketing of product or services using digital technologies, which primarily consists of the internet but nowadays it includes mobile phones, display advertising, and various other digital media. Digital marketing process includes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), content marketing, social media optimisation, e-commerce marketing, e-mail marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing (SEM), data-driven marketing, campaign marketing, social media marketing, and social media optimisation. Digital marketing has extended to non-internet channels that are based on digital media includes mobile phones (SMS and MMS), the hold on ringtones and call-back method (Kingsnorth, 2016).
Online access to Supermarket details helps in searching what products are available in the store who wants to buy online. Various strategies like Search Engine Marketing(SEM) includes two activities; the first one includes optimisation of website known by the name of natural search, and another one is output from pay per click method. These two activities help in driving traffic to the website of the supermarket. Paid search is very cost effective, and investment in this helps in driving branding strategies, and conversion rates are usually high than online media. Search sites are most popular in the UK that can be very useful for the supermarket chain. Digital advertisement attracts a lot of attention, so this can be very beneficial for the supermarket chain. The advertising media like digital TV (DTH Services), e-newspaper, mobile messages, digital billboards, direct email marketing, social media websites like facebook, twitter, social apps like Instagram, LinkedIn, Bing, snapchat and banner ads on mobile or websites helps in achieving the supermarket goals and objectives (Thomas and Housden, 2017).
Tesco is in the process of real-time analytics and moving to model named data lake which is based on Hadoop network which will help in centralised cloud repository for all the data of its store and codified in such a way that any arm within the operations can access it whenever required. The real-time analytics will help in facing the issues like a better understanding of changing consumer preferences, achieving efficiencies in their logistics and distribution chains to reduce cost and minimise the impact on environment and reduction in wastage of food (Marr, 2016).
Content marketing means creating content and promoting it for lead generation, brand awareness, increase in internet traffic which includes ebooks and whitepapers, infographics, blog posts, and online brochures. Marketing automation helps to automate basic market operations which include contact list updating, campaign tracking, and reporting, social media post scheduling and email newsletters. Inbound marketing refers to a full-funnel approach which includes delighting existing customers, engaging them and attracting them. This can be useful for creating an impact on the target audience and will help in achieving the objectives of the supermarket and achieving the long-term benefits to the supermarket. 25 years ago Sainsbury presented a magazine to reach out the customers before the internet took over. In 2012, Morrisons was the first brand to publish its magazine to iPad. In the same year, Waitrose launches a Youtube channel which was well integrated with the company's website (Nutley, 2017).
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