Strategy and Implementation Summary
Our marketing strategy is to create product awareness among expecting women and their families by strategically placing Internet ads, using direct mail tactics sold and generating PR. We offer a unique product that we feel confident expecting women will find fun to wear during their pregnancy. It will be a novelty item that will allow them to stay connected to their interest in their collegiate team both at games and around town.
5.1 Competitive Edge
The competitive edge offered by ExpectingU.com is our unique product. Currently, no major maternity retailer and few online stores offer collegiate maternity t-shirts. We will position ourselves as a specialty online store catering to expecting moms who want to maintain their support of their favorite team through their pregnancy. Because of our niche, we can effectively choose targeted sources to market our product to our customers.
Our primary weakness is that we are a new business and we offer a new product. To generate sales, we must first create awareness that our product exists, and make it easy for potential customers to locate our online store. By offering a fun product that many expecting women would like to have, we feel we an quickly establish our presence in the maternity wear industry.
5.2 Marketing Strategy
ExpectingU.com's marketing strategy is crucial to the success of our business. We must create awareness of our product to our primary target market, as our products are of little use to anyone outside of this group. We will do this by:
- Utilizing the brand-name power of eBay and its popularity to establish credibility and increase awareness of our products
- Strategically-placed ads on websites that are frequently visited by expecting moms, such as parentsplace.com, babycenter.com, americanbaby.com and babyzone.com
- Placed ads on collegiate sites such as collegefootballnews.com and sports.yahoo.com
- Adding our products to other sites as an affiliate provider
- Direct mail and e-mail advertising to expectant mothers
- New product PR in publications for expectant mothers
5.3 Sales Strategy
Sales are dependent upon creating awareness of collegiate maternity wear within our target markets, and therefore the sales strategy for ExpectingU.com is based on driving business to our website and our eBay store. Because we are a new product line, we understand that we will have to generate excitement about our apparel in order to generate business. We will strategically place pop-up and banner ads on websites relevant to both expecting mothers and sports fans, we will use direct mail and email lists, and we will seek public relations coverage in relevant media sources.
ExpectingU.com will fulfill orders from our eBay store and later, our own website. All payments will be processed through PayPal in the first year, although we will evaluate the option to do Fax orders if customer demand it.
E-orders: Customer can purchase online 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Fax orders: Customers can fax in an order 24-hours a day, seven days a week if we implement this.
As the company grows, we will leave the option open to using a fulfillment center to take orders via the telephone.
5.4 Sales Forecast
The sales forecast for FY 2006 takes into account slower sales at the beginning as we create awareness of our product and website. Initially we will be selling one style of t-shirt, but will offer it with the logos of up to 132 different Division 1 universities. As the company grows, we will explore the demand for other types of collegiate maternity wear such as tank tops, sweatshirts and long-sleeved shirts. In the first three months, we will sell exclusively through eBay. Although this adds to direct costs (roughly $1 per shirt) because of eBay fees, we will save money on both marketing/advertising costs and website maintenance by holding off on fully developing our own site until we can see what items customers prefer. We anticipate that even after enabling sales on our website, eBay sales volume will continue to be higher.
The following table illustrates unit sales of 36,500 t-shirts for the first year. This would require us to sell to less than 1% of our primary target market.
The Monthly Sales Chart that follows indicates that we have some seasonality in our business. We expect sales to increase during the Fall, which is when football season occurs and when sales for collegiate goods are the highest.
Note that the direct costs shown in the Sales Forecast table represent only the direct inventory costs for t-shirts. There are other, non-inventory direct costs, including eBay fees and PayPal fees; these can be found in the projected Profit and Loss.
The following are the key milestones for the first year of operations:
- Completion of strategic business plan by April 1
- Obtain all NCAA licensing by May 1
- Negotiate t-shirt costs with supplier and with screen printer by May 30
- Have first shipment of products delivered in house for fulfillment by July 1
- Have specifics for our advertising plan in place by June 1