Specific details regarding our strategic and tactical plans will be covered in greater detail in the following sections. However, to create an overview of the opportunity that exists for clair de lune, we offer the following SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) Analysis:
Quality and selection of products
Excellent customer service
Commitment of owner
Owner's inexperience as a lingerie retailer
A target audience with limited exposure to many higher end, quality lingerie brands
Void in Kansas City market for lingerie boutiques
Attractive retail environment in Kansas City, and especially around the store location
Educate Kansas City consumers on quality international brands of lingerie
Establish relationships with complementary retailers (e.g. bridal shops) to share customers
Increased consumer interest in intimate apparel
Slow recovery from recent economic downturn
Mis-calculating customer's tastes and needs, resulting in too many mark downs
Talk of Victoria's Secret adding lines from international designers in the near future
5.1 Marketing Strategy
Generate awareness through various marketing communications tactics to generate customer trial visits in support of the business goals and objectives for clair de lune.
Utilize print advertising to generate awareness among the target audience and to emphasize key shopping periods.
Ongoing use of direct marketing to keep clair de lune top-of-mind among a portion of the target audience at all times.
Develop and implement on-going in-store promotions, guerrilla marketing tactics and cross-retail marketing to generate on-going awareness, trial and repeat visits to clair de lune.
Employ strategic placement on the Internet.
Print advertising: Employ key print advertising vehicles to build awareness among the target market:
Advertise in Kansas City Star's "STAR" Sunday magazine on an on-going basis to generate awareness as well as advertise call-to-action messages during key shopping periods, e.g. Christmas holidays, wedding/bridal season.
Advertise in the twice annual KC Weddings magazine to create awareness among the all-important wedding/bridal audience.
KC Weddings is distributed throughout the Greater Kansas City regional area, with bridal retailers offering free copies, and other bookstores and retailers offering it for purchase. The circulation is 26,000 annually.
Periodic advertising in other publications focusing on specific audiences within the target segments to generate awareness and highlight key shopping periods, e.g. Jewish Chronicle and Johnson County Sun.
On-going use of direct marketing:
Direct mail will target a portion of the trade area (defined as a 15 mile radius) on a monthly basis. From 500 to 1,000 post-card mailings will be sent out on a monthly basis. Messages will run the gamut from "Now Open" to introduction of product lines to special shopping events. In the case of special shopping events, larger quantities will be mailed (see below). Our rationale for limited quantity mailings on a monthly basis is to keep the clair de lune name a "new news" message among a portion of the target audience at all times. This will generate awareness, which will lead to trial visits and word-of-mouth interest.
Special Shopping Event mailings will be generated to reach a higher percentage of the target audience in the trade area. These events will include the all important 4th quarter holiday shopping season and mark down events. For these events, we anticipate mailing to as many as 1,500 to 2,000 customers and prospects minimum.
As clair de lune generates its trackable customer data base, we will utilize direct mail to target specific interests, whether that be based on particular products, brands or seasonal purchases. A "preferred customer" mailing list will also be utilized to inform those important friends in advance of special shopping events.
We intend to implement a birthday program and quarterly trunk shows to also be driven by direct mail.
Low or no-cost "guerrilla" marketing will be a key strategy in the first 12-24 months that clair de lune is open for business.
Cross-promotion/marketing with complementary stores in Hawthorne - We will create incentives for the nearby women's apparel and specialty stores to refer their customers to clair de lune. Whether that be by honoring a similar sale incentive (percentage off retail) or limited time discounts to employees, we will find ways to make it worth the effort to send their customers to our shop.
Emphasis on Bridal Shops - Recognizing the important role that lingerie plays in completing a bridal wardrobe, clair de lune will cross-market with area bridal shops to provide those customers with the total positive experience. Our staff will be available to provide advice, special fittings, and group pricing for wedding parties.
Generate awareness - Whether it's classy introduction cards under windshield wipers, participation in bridal and fashion shows, or telling our story to women's groups and organizations, the staff of clair de lune will look for those no-cost opportunities to generate awareness within our target audience.
Drive increased customer traffic with a customer referral program targeting our preferred customer base.
Employ strategic placement among key websites on the Internet.
Purchase ad space on the popular Knot.com wedding advisory website.
Negotiate with key product vendors for a regional listing as a key retailer for the brand.
Negotiate with Kansas City Star for ad space on its website for occasional exposure.
By year-end have our own website plan written for implementation during year two.
The following is a month-by-month overview of our marketing plans execution:
5.2 Sales Strategy
Offer personalized customer service by well-trained, well compensated and appreciated employees. Develop customer relationships and loyalty that creates a desire for return visits.
Utilize the Quickbooks POS system to record customers' contact and purchase information, enabling us to follow up with direct mail and/or phone calls to communicate special events and the arrival of new products of interest.
Offer a 14-day exchange policy to give customers an option to return undesired selections without losing revenue from the sale.
Establish two major markdown events per year and promote the events to customers and prospects. These events will be used to move old inventory and create a special reason to visit clair de lune. Except for during the markdown events, merchandise will be sold at full price to maintain the integrity of the quality products we are offering. We do not want to train our customers to wait for a sale.
Network with bridal shops throughout Kansas City to promote gift registry and the personalized attention that clair de lune offers brides and their wedding parties.
Employees will receive added incentive to help meet/exceed customer service and sales goals.
5.2.1 Sales Forecast
clair de lune's projected average transaction is $70. This figure was derived using a couple of different sources.
The average transaction on figleaves.com, a hugely successful online lingerie website, with a customer base of 250,000 is $63. We can assume that customers buying on figleaves.com have a specific purchase objective in mind, and are not "just shopping." The in-store experience at clair de lune will facilitate additional impulse purchases with successful merchandising techniques, which will raise the average transaction above an online purchase.
The average transaction during the start-up phase of a similar lingerie boutique in Connecticut was $75. While you may expect a higher average transaction in Connecticut due to the wealth of the community and the higher awareness and acceptance of upscale brands, their start-up was over 15 years ago, and the cost of goods has increased significantly in that time.
We feel that an initial average transaction projection of $70 is conservative, and will work to increase that number to $80 by year two (2).
For the first year, our sales projections are based on 20 transactions per day times the number of selling days in the month. These numbers have been seasonally adjusted based on U.S. Department of Commerce monthly sales of women's clothing specialty stores (3-year average, 2000-2002). The monthly indices are as follows:
Women's Specialty Store
In the sales projections table, we have adjusted our sales projections for February to a 110 index to account for a Valentine's Day spike.
We are projecting a rate of growth of 15% in year two and 18% in year three. This will come from garnering a larger market share based on increased awareness, positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and customers adopting clair de lune as their exclusive lingerie outlet, as well as increased offerings in high demand areas such as maternity and hard-to-find sizes.
Direct Cost of Sales
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales
5.3 Competitive Edge
clair de lune will establish itself as the best place to shop for lingerie in Kansas City through its product offering, the scope and level of services it provides and outstanding customer service.
PRODUCTS:clair de lune will provide a high level of quality and value to the consumer by offering a wide range of styles and sizes, with little or no crossover of brands with other retailers in Kansas City. Some brands under consideration include:
Le Caprice de Marie
Nina Von C
SERVICES:clair de lune will create customer loyalty by offering one-to-one attention to all of their shopping needs. The following is an initial list of services that will be offered:
Professional bra fitting
Signature gift wrapping to reinforce the store image and make the recipient feel special
Gift registry & wish list for wedding, birthday and anniversary. This allows spouses and friends to know just what the recipient would like and simplifies the shopping experience.
Bridal showers--By special arrangement, clair de lune will offer space and catering for bridal showers with incentives to purchase merchandise.
Record of customers' size needs and purchase history
EMPLOYEES:clair de lune's employees will enjoy a fun, friendly, fair and challenging work environment which rewards hard work and dedication to the business and its customers. It is our desire that employees are long-term, ensuring an expertise that will support the customer experience. clair de lune will seek out employees who not only desire to train for success, but have the personality and drive to be the best in customer service, while representing the best lingerie retailer. clair de lune will provide product and customer service training to assure every employee not only benefits from, but contributes to our #1 goal of outstanding customer service.