Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions' market can be broken down into three different segments, walk-in customers, Internet customers, and Internet customers from large companies. Each of these segments will be addressed individually.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions customers can be broken down into three groups:
Walk-in local customers: these customers live locally and have come into the shop to pick up the necessary products for a project.
Internet individual customers: these are individuals that are in need of supplies for projects. This group of customers can be further broken down into orders from the USA and international orders. International orders will be a decent percentage of the overall individual customers because American fabrics and notions are generally superior to European alternatives and the convenience of ordering Gaian Adventure's products is enhanced with Internet accessibility.
Internet-based company orders: some orders will be from people within larger fabric manufacturers such as DuPont's Cordura department, Gore-Tex, and Malden Mills. Although people (typically in the prototype divisions) work for the manufacturer of the fabrics, it is often difficult for them to get small amount of the fabric for prototyping. So oddly enough, some orders will be from Gore-Tex employees purchasing Gore-Tex from Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions.
Internet company customers
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions intends to target the different groups in the following ways:
Walk-in customers: they will be targeted in two different ways. The first way is through advertisements in the yellow pages. This way a local person can just find Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions by searching under fabrics in the yellow pages. The other method will be through informal strategic relationships with local outdoor stores as well as with local sewing machine stores. This will be useful as a lot of people that use sewing machines frequent the sewing machine shops, whether for supplies or classes, and will typically ask them for information.
Internet customers: these customers will be targeted by submitting Gaian's website to multiple search engines. This is useful when an Internet customer is interested in getting supplies, all they have to do is type in a variety of terms into a search engine and the website will appear at the top of the list. Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions recognizes that different search engines have different ways of searching, so the submissions will be tailored to each specific search engine.
Internet-based company orders: Internet customers as the method will be the same. The reality is that the Internet-based company orders just happens, it is not really planned or targeted, but a fact a life, albeit a weird and unexpected one.
4.3 Industry Analysis
The outdoor fabric industry for consumers was for years a small industry that served local needs. Within the last five to seven years there has been the emergence of a couple of mail order companies. Most of the mail order companies have eventually migrated to the Web to enjoy the cost savings. Although they have websites, these sites are nothing special and are not that comprehensive.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions faces competition from several sources:
Mail order companies. These companies, for whatever reason, have not yet made it to the Internet and therefore are not that significant of a worry. They typically will print a catalog or some sort of flier and mail it out. The company will accept orders either over the phone or via mail/fax. By virtue of the fact that these companies have yet to migrate to the Web indicates a fairly stagnant management team/business direction, therefore these competitors are not of great concern.
Internet retailers. These companies are similar to Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions in that they offer their products to basically anyone using the efficiencies of the internet. There are approximately four Internet retailers. None of these sites are close in terms of product offerings compared to Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions.
Retail outlets. These stores take the form of either dedicated fabric stores like Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions' brick and mortar store front, or outdoor retailers such as R.E.I. that carries a LIMITED selection of hardware, notions and fabric. These retail outlets typically serve the local area and not much beyond this.
People will often go to a retail outlet if there is one available. In the Eugene area where Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions is located there are a few stores that have a limited selection. There is a retailer about 45 minutes away in Corvallis, OR that has a good selection but no website.
As the time value of money has increased in the last few years as Americans work harder and longer hours, people are more willing to shop via the Internet, allowing them to shop at whatever time is convenient for them and to be able to view an extensive catalog. For this reason the brick and mortar sales will pale in comparison to the Internet sales.