Each student or team of students is required to submit a report (8-page minimum, single spaced; no maximum length) either analyzing and critiquing a retail organizations strategy and operations or analyzing a market and proposing a retail business start-up (create a new business) and the strategic marketing plan to enable a success launch. Companies whose strategy and operations are thoroughly discussed in the text may not be selected. Students may select small, medium, or large retailers. They may select local, regional, or national firms, publicly traded or privately held. Students should use secondary sources of information (e.g., the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Barons, and SEC filings) to discover more about the organizations strategies, tactics, and operations. Whether articles are available and how many depends on the nature of the firm. Large, national, publicly traded retailers offer more strategic, tactical, and operational content that is discoverable and thus able to be critiqued. However, critiquing a local, smaller firm may present the opportunity to interview the owner, customers, more easily observe customer buying behavior and operations and thus investigate more deeply into the challenges and opportunities facing the organization. If a small firm is selected include a section on how the firm can significantly grow the business. Students may analyze and critique a business they might be interested in purchasing. A critique focused on purchasing a retail business must include a price range for purchase with justification. In addition to the private sector, students may choose non-profit or government organization if there is the equivalent to a retail function (i.e., a government agency that serves individual consumers, e.g., the DMV). A state or federal agency that monitors an industry would not be acceptable. If a student chooses an institution not in the private sector the student must explain how the context of non-private sector institution is different from the private sector and the impact that has on strategy and operations. For example, in the government sector the cost of higher levels of customer service may not be justified or may be very difficult to accomplish given how resources are allocated and the difficulty of raising taxes. The competitive environment for non-profit and government organizations is very different than private sector markets and how these differences impact the operation of the organization must be discussed in the report. Students must use a strategic plan to organize the report or start-up plan. The book is organized as a strategic typology plan and thus, the table of contents in the book may be used. Other strategic and operational typologies are found throughout the text with examples as follows: pages 10-14, pages 22-23, figure 2-8 (p. 38), figure 2-9 (p. 39), pages 52-74, Figure 3-1 (p.53), Table 3-5 (p. 71), Table 3-6 (p. 72-73), pages 76-79, pages 498-511, Figure 20-2 (p. 499), Figure 20-3 (p. 500), Figure 20-6 (p. 507), Figure 20-7 (p. 510), Figure 20-8 (p. 511). The retail auditing material in Chapter 20 may be particularly helpful in critiquing a retailers strategy, tactics, and operations. It may also be very useful (i.e., not required) to interview the owner or local store manager (or equivalent) of the organization being critiqued to get their insights into strategies, tactics and operations and other relevant information. The students should make an appointment with the manager and explain the assignment and have prepared questions that reflect knowledge of the retail organization. The interview may lead to a job in the management trainee program or more generally! Students may create their own typologies/ plans mixing various approaches but the typology should cover all important strategic, tactical, and operational functions and the marketing mix that drive success in the marketplace. Once students have selected an organization or the startup option, the students should not change the selection without the approval of the instructor.
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