Marketing mix strategy adaptation in response to global economic crisis at Woolworths in KwaZulu-Natal.
Biyela, Samuel Mandlenkosi.
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The retail sector in South Africa is quite dynamic. Given the global commercial recession of 2014, it is not clear whether Woolworths’ marketing strategy is changing or how has Woolworths designed its marketing mix strategy to fit the consequences of the recession. The aim of this study is to assess the marketing mix strategy of Woolworths Company and offer solutions to future problems. This study is therefore centred on the marketing mix strategies that Woolworths has created to achieve the company’s aims and objectives. Woolworths was started in 1981 by Max Sonnenberg. Max believed that “success was in providing consumers with superior quality products at reasonable prices”. This being a significant factor which has influenced the manner Woolworths brands itself as a key retail outlet in South Africa. Furthermore, this sets Woolworths apart from other retail giants operating in South Africa. The company has an exceptional brand position which attracts the business of upper income customers with the living standards measure (LSM) categories 9 and 10 in terms of food and clothing. In addition, it is a highly desired shopping place for customers who seek LSM 7 and 8. The prominent research question was how Woolworths managed to provide quality products at reduced prices. The study adopted a case study approach to investigate the research question. Findings from the study point out that Woolworths made some changes during the period of commercial recession. It was ascertained that Woolworths had created innovative ways to circumvent the consequences of recession, they achieved this by increasing stock orders, which has resulted in a decreased pro-rata price per item, and the discounted rates could be directly relayed to consumers. Woolworth’s strong relationship with its suppliers and managing logistics was a task that required efficiency and expertise. It was further observed that Woolworths avoided erratic responses to the economic downturn with applied constructed adjustments to their strategies to achieve its goals. Finding from the research projects is envisaged to give intellectual contribution through identifying forthcoming trials which are faced by the marketplace arrangement, and recognizing resolutions.