The primary target customers of One, Two, Step! are women with a taste for high-quality shoes, ranging from size 5-13. The types of shoes offered are casual and dress:
The most important thing I wanted to focus on is marketing "plus-size shoes." I have many friends and family who are so limited and are really missing out on the fun in shoe fashion because they have a hard time shopping for shoes in sizes 10 and up. This is the main reason I will be one of the few shoe retailers who carries shoes from sizes 5-13.
I want every woman to own and enjoy a nice pair of fashionable shoes!
The numbers in the Market Analysis table represent numbers of women in each target market segment residing within 10 miles of the store location. The numbers for each category are based on the existing customer base of local shoe and accessory stores.
I also anticipate a number of web customers, but those numbers are harder to estimate. They have been left out of the market analysis table, but I expect 2% of all sales in the first year to come from the website.
Here is a breakdown for my Market Analysis table:
Our trendy location and upscale interior will make shopping at One, Two Step! an indulgence for every woman. However, our marketing efforts will attract different market segments with targeted ad campaigns and sales.
Working women: The majority of our shoes will be priced below the standard for their quality and this shopping district. I am planning on lower margins for the first three years in order to establish a broad customer base, and lure "working women" who come through this area to see a pair of shoes from One, Two, Step! as an affordable luxury. Our initial marketing thus includes print ads in the local paper's weekend shopping section, as well as flyers put up around the downtown financial section nearby. This is our largest customer base, and will be important for maintaining healthy month-to-month sales. Our challenge with this group is to convince them that they can find affordable, comfortable, and stylish shoes downtown; they don't have to go to the mall.
Retro and Trendy women: This group includes college students and young professionals, as well as professional women in more creative fields. Our marketing efforts to these segments will include flyers on the local campuses and print ads highlighting our unique product offerings, with an emphasis on "the latest" looks. We will attempt to get free coverage of our grand opening in the fashion section of the local paper, and will encourage local fashion magazines and the newspaper to use us as a "fashion expert' resource on footwear issues. The patronage of this group will give us an air of youthful and creative energy, while maintaining sophistication.
Red Carpet women: These women know each other, go to the same events, and wouldn't be caught dead in the same shoes. Our targeted ads in the opera and symphony booklets, as well as donations to local fundraiser auctions, will establish us among this group as an upscale and exclusive boutique. We will offer special-ordering and maintain a very low inventory of the highest-level shoes, in order to keep these customers' purchases exclusive. Although sales in this group will be low and occasional, they will give us the air of sophistication we are seeking. To say, "I got them at One, Two, Step!" should be a claim to good taste and high class. Our challenge with this group is to maintain the air of exclusivity while offering a wide-enough range to appeal to their different tastes.
In the Women's Shoe industry, most companies are manufacturing their own shoes and they have their own retail stores to market to the consumers. A lot of the distribution is through promotional ads, word of mouth, the internet and other promotional means. Small, high-end retailers like One, Two, Step! usually focus on two or three brands, and use targeted ads and word-of-mouth to gain new customers.
Competition for our first three market segments is usually driven by who is offering the best quality, most interesting shoes for less. The key to success is the quality of the shoe: how it was made and with what materials. In the fourth and smallest market (red carpet women), as well as among the trendy women, the shoe's designer and uniqueness, and the store's warmth, sophistication, and customer service are usually more important than price.
The buying factors include what is "in" for each season, and the relation of comfort to style each woman is aiming for.
A few of the main competitors are:
Store A: They have a great selection of women's shoes and they have all of the latest styles, but their shoes are a bit over-priced. Also, they are limited in the sizes of shoes they sell. For example, I wear a 9 1/2 but I always purchase a size 10 or an 11 (11's only if I'm purchasing stillettos). A usually does not carry 11's, only in a few styles. Also, their shoes are extremely narrow and are not made for all types of women's feet. However, a big plus for this store is when you are at the register, ready to pay, they provide a shoe protectant for no charge and the protectant really does work.
Store B: They have very decent prices for their shoes but not all of their shoes are of good quality. Some of their shoes are made at a second-rate and you can tell just by looking at the details of the shoe. B is also another store that is limited in their shoe sizes.