Fetch™ is positioned very carefully: this is an innovative product that addresses a major complaint of dog-owners better than any of the competitors. Our marketing strategy is primarily based on making this information available to our target market, visually via point-of-purchase displays and graphically via creative ad copy and graphics. This basic strategy should allow this product to stand out in a field of competitors that appear to employ no clear marketing strategy.
The value proposition for Fetch™ lies with the dog owner. With Fetch™, the dog owner will have a simple, sanitary, and dignified means of cleaning up after their dog. Because dog owners identify this task as one of the most challenging aspects of owning a dog and because the target market has substantial disposable income, they will be willing to pay a premium price to acquire this superior product.
None of the dog waste clean-up products currently available can do what Fetch™ does. Fetch™ fills a need as it provides an aesthetically pleasing, easily operated device which eliminates contact with the dog waste by the user and the reusable portion of the device while collecting and packaging the waste in a sealed container for convenient disposal.
The competitive advantages for Fetch™ are function and form. Quite simply, Fetch™ works better and is easier to use than any of its competitors. Careful attention was also paid to the aesthetic and ergonomic form of Fetch™. Nearly all of the competitive products are crudely designed and crudely manufactured. The following table provides a feature comparison between Fetch™ and currently available products. The product types are discussed in detail in the Competitive Comparison section. The priority column lists the level of importance consumers place on each feature.
|Features||Fetch™||Type 1||Type 2||Type 3||Type 4||Priority|
|Easy to use||X||-||X||X||X||High|
|Automatically closes bag||X||-||-||-||-||High|
|Easy to carry before use||X||-||-||X||X||High|
|Easy to carry after use||X||-||-||-||-||High|
|Product remains clean||X||-||-||-||-||High|
|Biodegradable bags available||X||-||-||-||X||Moderate|
The primary goal of our sales and marketing strategy is to simply and succinctly explain our product to our target market. An explanation of this innovative product is best accomplished by means of a visual demonstration. Focus group research within the target market shows that, while there is a significant amount of interest in this product based on a verbal description, this interest is greatly magnified by a visual demonstration. Retail product demonstrations will be accomplished with point-of-purchase displays that allow customers to try the product for themselves. In addition, the product itself is packaged in such a way that consumers can operate it and see for themselves how it works. The product website will also be used to visually demonstrate the product. Presentations on cable television home shopping channels are also being considered. These alternatives provide an ideal forum for demonstrating the product and reach a wide audience.
Creative application of print media will provide a product description for catalog and ad copy. We will be working with our advertising and marketing partner to develop ads for selected magazines. This effort alone should be sufficient to set this product apart from a field of competitors that appears to lack any type of marketing strategy. We are also planning a series of press releases timed to coincide with the product launch.
Product distribution will be accomplished by pet product distributors and the order fulfillment provider. The primary distribution channel for pet products is through regional and national pet product distributors. We are actively pursuing agreements with regional distributors and will be attending major industry trade shows to develop contacts with distributors in other regions of the country. The secondary distribution channel is through direct retail sales, specialty catalog sales, and website sales. We are also actively pursuing agreements with retailers and specialty catalogs. Once these agreements are in place, our order fulfillment provider will fill these orders.
For affluent, suburban, middle-aged female baby boomers whose children have left home ("empty nesters") who lavish attention on their dog and who consider cleaning up after their dog an unpleasant and undignified task, Fetch™ provides a much-needed solution. Fetch™ addresses this need better than the competitors because it provides an aesthetically pleasing, easily operated device which eliminates contact with the dog waste by the user and the reusable portion of the device, while collecting and packaging the waste in a sealed container for convenient disposal.
The manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) for Fetch™ is $30. The MSRP for the bags is $6.75 for a box of 25. These prices are based on a skimming strategy, which sets the initial price high to establish high perceived value. High perceived value is important, as the target market has substantial disposable income and is willing to pay for style and functionality. These MSRP's are based on a careful survey of competitive products prices. While these MSRP's are high for this product category, they are not the highest nor is this the only high-priced product in its category. There are several competitive products with similar prices.
Although the MSRP is intentionally set high, based on manufacturing costs for the scoop and the bags, these retail prices can be dropped substantially and still leave a reasonable margin. This allows for price flexibility and pricing strategy modification based on the response of the market.
Our initial sales strategy will focus on regional retail sales, specialty direct mail catalogs (e.g., Drs. Foster and Smith, Sharper Image, Brookstone), and e-commerce. This initial strategy is intended to control growth and keep sales in line with projections. As sales increase and more working capital becomes available we will begin to focus on national retail sales. Although 'big-box' retailers (e.g., Petco, Petsmart, Wal-mart) are key targets, most products enter these retailers via distributors. To get our product into these stores we will pursue agreements with distributors that already have relationships with these stores.
Because Fetch™ requires the use of a consumable item, two revenue streams are generated. The Sales Forecast graph illustrates the advantage of having a product that includes a consumable component. Although customers will only need to purchase Fetch™ once, they will need to continue to purchase liner bags to continue to using the product. By year three, bag sales are nearly equal to scoop sales. Eventually, bag sales will eclipse scoop sales. This will allow for more price flexibility as the scoop could then be sold primarily as a means of generating sales of the consumable. While there are some disadvantages to products that require replacement components (e.g., replacement components may not be available when required, retailers may be sold out) the advantages are clear. In order to minimize customer concerns about replacement bags, the primary focus of the website will be to provide online purchasing of replacement bags.
The sales forecast includes sales of scoops and liner bags to wholesalers/distributors (75%) and retailers (25%). To keep the sales projections conservative, direct sales to customers via the website were not included in this forecast. Bag sales forecasts assume that for each scoop purchased, the liner bags will be used twice per week. This corresponds to one box of 25 bags being used every three months.
The following chart and table shows key milestones for start up and the first quarter of operations: