Executive Summary AtoZ Hockey is a retailer of hockey equipment and services in the southwest community of. The prospective opening date is August 1, 2010, just prior to the 2010-11 hockey season. The physical location of the store will be on the southeast corner of. The store intends to serve the southwest communities of. The location provides access from all directions and is less than one kilometer from the 121st Street exit on Highway 26, a newly constructed leg of the ring road system.
Intensive market research has conceded this location as ideal due to various demographics, the most prominent being family orientation and socio-economic status. AtoZ encounters competition from larger and more established stores. , the largest of these stores, is located about ten minutes to the North. It can be considered our most challenging competitor. is owned by the Group, the Island’s largest sporting goods retailer. retails equipment and apparel for a wide variety of sports. Our second major competitor, located fifteen minutes North is .
The most established sporting goods outlet in the city is a smaller store which retails equipment and apparel for many sports, of which hockey is the most popular. The last major competitor, newly-opened SportsLife, is an exclusively hockey-oriented retailer located approximately thirty minutes to our West. Of the three stores, it boasts the largest selection of hockey equipment, accessories, and apparel. However, it is also the furthest distance from our store. A SWOT analysis reveals the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that are to be anticipated during operation.
Strengths include the retailing of high-quality brand name products, knowledgeable and experienced customer service staff, its location in a notably affluent community with a new school, as well as its offering of hockey conditioning camps during the off-season. Its weaknesses reveal a struggle to acquire significant brand recognition, a lack of buying power, a substantially higher labor cost required to retain experienced staff, as well as competition from larger, privately-operated hockey camps.
Opportunities include the ability to take advantage of the unfulfilled customer need of knowledge, the potential for a second location in the southwest community of , a possibility of franchising, as well as partnering with local varsity sports teams, such as the University of Dongau Bears and to become an official team supplier. Threats include a possible price reduction strategies by nearest competitor , as well as increased marketing efforts in the southwest. Another possible threat includes the seasonal nature of the sport.
Objectives of this market plan include a desire to obtain $1 million in revenues in its first year of operation, with the target of a 10% increase in each subsequent year. In addition, AtoZ expects to retain an 80% capacity in each of its off-season conditioning camps. AtoZ also anticipates a minimum of 30% return-on-assets in its first year of operation. Intangible objectives include developing an increased community awareness of the health and wellness benefits of playing hockey, as well as acquiring the reputation of a company which cares about the well-being of its customers and its community.
Marketing strategies include four categories: products, pricing, promotion, and placement. Products will include brand name hockey equipment and accessories by Nike-Bauer, Easton, Mission, Sher-Wood, KOHO, and CCM. In addition, AtoZ will be offering several off-season conditioning camps to support physical activity goals and supplement lower sales. AtoZ anticipates pricing to be at least 10% higher than its largest competitor. This can be attributed to retaining an experienced staff, as well as a smaller scale.
Promotions will begin with a grand opening celebration which will include special pricing on certain items, as well as a BBQ, outdoor games, prizes, and an equipment drive. Further, AtoZ Hockey will partner with King George Elementary School to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity, while promoting AtoZ Hockey indirectly. AtoZ also intends to sponsor community hockey teams in exchange for logo placement on jerseys. AtoZ will also host an annual 24-hour outdoor charity hockey game to benefit children who cannot afford to play organized sports.
With respect to integrated marketing communications, AtoZ will rely upon various media outlets to promote their store. AtoZ will include weekly flyers in the local newspaper, the Journal, as well as the community newsletter, the Islander. AtoZ will also rely upon radio advertisements on 640 FCCF, the city’s primary news radio station (which also broadcasts major hockey and football games), as well as the FAN 980, the local sports radio network. In addition, AtoZ will attempt to land a radio guest spot on “Talk to the Experts,” a radio show featuring individuals with expertise in specific areas.
AtoZ also intends on hosting its own website (www. atozhockey. ca) which will sell certain products online. AtoZ will also purchase advertising banners on frequently-visited websites, such as cnn. com. AtoZ will also remain active on popular social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. In addition, AtoZ will purchase rink board advertising space in all south city arenas, as well as Badungu Place, home of the city’s local team. AtoZ will also consider advertising on public transit vehicles, such as buses and trains, as well as at stops and terminals.
Opportunities for local television advertising will be explored if deemed necessary. In terms of placement, the store’s physical location can be considered a medium-sized store with a 6000ft2 sales floor, as well as a large stock room, pro shop, and office. Advertising for given products will be largely provided by suppliers and will occupy central areas next to their corresponding products. Financially, AtoZ expects first-year sales to range between $850,000 and $1 million. AtoZ will require approximately $100,000 in long-term financing, which has been secured at 4. 25%.
In assessing its current marketing strategies, AtoZ will implement several controls and monitoring strategies to ensure their effectiveness. AtoZ will install a comprehensive customer database which will track customer information, such as name, address, and purchase history. This way, AtoZ can monitor where, specifically, marketing efforts are being directed, as well as where they have not been covering. In addition, AtoZ will maintain a customer relationship management system which will continually assess the customer relationship, as well as track sales, costs, margins, and trends.
AtoZ will also implement a similar relationship management system with its suppliers to ensure timely delivery, quality, and innovation. Additionally, AtoZ will develop student loyalty cards for students of King George Elementary. The loyalty cards, when used, will ensure a percentage of sale proceeds will be donated back to the school. In addition, loyalty cards will serve to track the effectiveness of marketing strategies targeted towards students at King George. Market Situation AtoZ Hockey will be a locally-owned hockey sporting goods store in the suburban residential district of , located in the Marshall Islands.
Zoning rights for commercial construction at the corner of 8th Avenue and 121st Street have been approved. An RFP has been issued with multiple bids in place for the exclusive construction contract. The prospective opening date for the store is August 1, 2010. The current market situation includes several competitors within the city. The largest and most profitable store is , operated by the Group. This store is located in the South Side Centre commercial district, located approximately 9 kilometers North of our site. etails equipment and apparel for a wide variety of sports and has been established in that particular location for at least 20 years. We feel that AtoZ Hockey will be able to compete with because of our exclusive focus on hockey, the sport to which can credit the majority of its sales. AtoZ Hockey will also offer expert advice from intensively trained staff members, making each customer’s experience personal. Another major competitor is the locally owned United Cycle, a well-established sporting goods store in the city’s Harvard Heights district, a 12 kilometer drive from our prospective site.
Smith Sports has been one of the city’s most popular sporting goods stores, however, recent complaints about prices and traffic congestion in the area have spurned recent sales. The last major competitor, SportsLife is located approximately 23 minutes West, in the city’s 2nd largest commercial district, Blackfield Commons. SportsLife is a newer store, having only been opened for 1 month. SportsLife boasts a 22,000 square-foot store and also focuses exclusively on hockey, however, it is located far enough away from AtoZ Hockey to not be considered a serious competitive threat.
Its first reviews in the Journal have been lukewarm, largely due to higher than expected prices. Our prospective site, located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 121st Street in Southwest Badungu is an ideal location for several reasons. Primarily, there exists a wide market in the southwest communities of. In addition, the demographics of this area are conducive to the generation of sales. These family communities are quite affluent, with multiple young children enrolled in several extra-curricular activities, 65% of which include community hockey.
The area is located on a 1. 2 acre plot of land within a massive residential area. The only other commercial entity in the area is a gas station located on the opposing corner of the intersection. The corner lot location also provides easy access from all directions and is located less than 1 kilometer away from the 121st Street exit off Highway 26, the city’s brand new ring road. SWOT Analysis Strengths – AtoZ Hockey will carry reputable, quality brand names such as Nike-Bauer, CCM, Easton, Mission, Sher-Wood, Vaughn, RBK, and more. AtoZ hockey will base its competitive advantage on delivering a personable customer experience, unlike primary competitor SportChek, whose commission-based employees have relatively little in-depth knowledge of hockey equipment and lack a sense of passion for the game. – AtoZ Hockey will benefit from its location in an upscale urban community with favorable demographics which include SES, number of children per family, involvement in extra-curricular activities, and potential partnership with King George Elementary School. AtoZ Hockey endeavours to build lasting personal relationships with its customers and involve itself in sponsoring Southwest-based community hockey teams at all levels. – Strategically placed in a residential community with the nearest competitor located in a commercial district 9 kilometers North, AtoZ Hockey intends to capture a large portion of the hockey-playing market of Southwest. – In addition, AtoZ Hockey will offer three on-ice training programs for amateur players of all ages.
These programs vary in length and include power skating, puck skills (shooting, passing, puck control), and positional strategies. AtoZ will also offer an off-ice dry land training program in the off-season. Weaknesses – AtoZ Hockey may struggle to acquire brand recognition because it is a single store – AtoZ Hockey will not immediately possess the buying power that larger stores have, resulting in slightly higher prices (AtoZ Hockey plans to supplement higher prices with superior customer service and product knowledge). AtoZ Hockey will not have the same capacity to store or replenish merchandise as effectively as larger stores. – AtoZ Hockey will incur higher labor costs based on the need to attract and retain mature, knowledgeable, and professional individuals. – AtoZ will encounter competition from community-operated and other privately-operated hockey camps. Competition will come in the form of price, program length and quality, as well as rink availability. Opportunities – AtoZ Hockey will take advantage of an unfulfilled customer need: knowledge.
Often, parents and players are misinformed in buying particular varieties of hockey equipment. AtoZ will capitalize on this opportunity by continually educating parents and players on size, fit, quality, and suitability of particular pieces of equipment. – AtoZ hockey has also scouted potential locations for another location based on the anticipated success of the current store. The second store will be located in , a 15-minute drive West from the current store. presents another demographically ideal market for a second location of AtoZ Hockey. AtoZ Hockey has conferred with franchising consultants to determine potential franchising opportunities should this location experience overwhelming success. – AtoZ has also consulted weight training specialists on potentially offering an off-season weight training program for players aged 16 and up. AtoZ has yet to determine if a market exists for such a program. – AtoZ endeavors to become the official supplier to local varsity hockey teams such as the Threats – AtoZ deems price reduction strategies by primary competitor, , a threat to customer loyalty.
Because of their buying power and inventory reduction strategies, may be able to respond by severely cutting prices. – AtoZ also anticipates heavier community-wide marketing strategies by, some of which include coupons, flyers, frequent sales, etc. – AtoZ mildly considers the off-season (summer months) as a threat to its viability. However, AtoZ is supplementing this downtime with off-season training programs. Objectives and Strategy Objectives: ??? Generate sales of $1 million in first year of operation ??? Obtain an annual 5% sales increase Educate customers thoroughly about product suitability, advantages, and quality; expectation of an additional 5% sales increase ??? Obtain at least 80% capacity in all hockey camp programs; grow capacity at least 5% annually ??? Achieve a 30% return-on-assets in the first year ??? Create a community-wide awareness of the health and wellness benefits of playing hockey (ice, roller, field, ball, ringette) ??? Become known in the local community as a company who cares about the well-being of local youth Strategies: Products
AtoZ Hockey is a local retailer of hockey equipment and services. The company will retail a large variety of hockey-related equipment for players of all levels. AtoZ will carry quality brand name products from the following manufacturers: Nike-Bauer, Easton, Mission, CCM, KOHO, Sher-Wood, and Vaughn. Also, AtoZ will contain a pro shop in which several services (skate sharpening, skate baking, equipment repairs) will be conduced. In addition, AtoZ Hockey will be conducting annual hockey camps which will focus on improving specific skills such as skating and shooting.
Target buyers and end users for our products and services will include recreational hockey players aged five and up, including the parents of players under age sixteen. The primary target market includes the southwest communities of . These communities are targeted because of their favorable demographic nature. They can be defined as upscale communities with young families, many of which have children enrolled in extra-curricular activities. We anticipate AtoZ Hockey to adopt a niche market because of its diverse and unique offerings.
Although it will inevitably be a follower to larger and primary competitor , we feel the nature of our company to be more community-oriented and knowledge-centered. The unique characteristics of our company can be identified by a strong community presence, as well as an intensively-trained and knowledgeable staff. In addition, service offerings such as hockey camps and off-season training will separate AtoZ from its major competitor. Pricing We anticipate our products to be priced approximately 10% higher than our competitors.
The price difference can be justified by a fully-trained, knowledgeable, and experienced staff who are well-versed in the mechanics of hockey equipment. Our staff will be capable of conveying a personalized, educational approach to purchasing equipment. The staff will be able to effectively determine suitability in terms of size, comfort, and protection for any hockey player at any level. In addition, the pro shop can also customize equipment for enhanced protection and fit. Further, AtoZ will be initially operating on a smaller scale, and will therefore, lack the buying power possessed by larger retailers.
Finally, AtoZ will implement an equipment trade-in program where children who have outgrown their equipment can trade it in towards the purchase of new equipment. AtoZ intends to ignore the large majority of price changes initiated by our major competitor. However, we fully expect to be monitoring our prices closely. In addition to a physical storefront, AtoZ will operate an online store on its website, which will offer most products available in the store. Promotion At its grand opening celebration, AtoZ will be selling a limited quantity of Easton Synergy composite hockey sticks for $49. 9, a 50% savings off the original price. AtoZ will attempt to use a combination of buying power and additional customer purchases to offset the marginal profit. Any potential loss can be written off as a marketing expense. As part of its grand opening celebrations, AtoZ will also host a shooting accuracy competition in its parking lot, with winners receiving incremental prizes for achieving varying levels of accuracy. In addition, AtoZ has hired D Event Rentals to run a charity fundraiser BBQ, with all proceeds going to support sports programs for disadvantaged children.
There will also be a used equipment drive, where customers will be encouraged to donate their outgrown equipment to those less fortunate. AtoZ will continue heavy promotion into September, the beginning of school, as well as hockey tryouts. AtoZ has planned a business partnership with King George Elementary School which will see several promotional materials distributed throughout the school in exchange for after-school program sponsorship. AtoZ also intends on making various presentations at school-wide assemblies encouraging the benefits of physical activity.
AtoZ will also sponsor one team in each major division during the minor hockey season. Sponsorship will allow teams to compete in various tournaments throughout the season in exchange for players wearing a AtoZ Hockey logo sewn onto their jerseys. In terms of integrated marketing communications, AtoZ plans on publishing advertisements and coupons in the community newsletter, the , as well as the local newspaper, the Journal offering free skate sharpening, a 10% early registration discount on all hockey camps, as well as various other discounts on minimum purchases.
As it continues to grow, AtoZ also intends to produce direct mail flyers. AtoZ also intends on producing radio advertisements on 680, the city’s primary news radio show, as well as the the city’s sports radio. In addition, AtoZ will purchase advertising space aboard public transit vehicles, as well as stops and terminals. Further, AtoZ will purchase rink board advertising space in the majority of south arenas, such as , , , and .
AtoZ also intends on hosting a 24-hour outdoor charity game in December. The proceeds will benefit minor league hockey, as well as sports programs for disadvantaged children. AtoZ has also planned the participation of local celebrities such as, as well as several members of the local hockey club and the junior team. Placement AtoZ will operate a storefront on the Southeast corner of. Products and customers will “meet” in a 10,000ft2 store with an open concept, organized by equipment type.
AtoZ intends on using a no-pressure, commission-free sales force that will educate its customers thoroughly on equipment suitability. AtoZ will also consider outsourcing the pro shop service to another local interest within its first two years of operation, thus benefiting from the resulting royalty agreement. AtoZ will acquire the large majority of its in-store advertising from its suppliers. In addition, AtoZ will purchase a virtual shooting range (to test hockey sticks) and a resin-based track to test skates before purchasing.
Although seasonal demand will exist for hockey equipment products, the off-season will last only three months, during which AtoZ has implemented a number of offsetting programs, including dry-land training to supplement its sales. In addition, AtoZ intends on offering summer hockey-related products, such as in-line skates and equipment. Implementation Controls AtoZ Hockey will implement various controls to continuously monitor their planned marketing strategies. These controls will enable AtoZ Hockey to assess and adapt its strategies based on the dynamic nature of their market.
By controlling its marketing practices in this manner, AtoZ Hockey will position itself to continually satisfy customer needs over a long period of time. Upon customer check-out, AtoZ will build and update a customer database which will include names, addresses, phone numbers, and all purchases made. AtoZ will also differentiate between purchases made by parents for their children versus purchases made independently by adults. The customer database, upon analysis, will give AtoZ a more concrete understanding of the demographics and nature of its served market.
This continual assessment of the target market will ensure marketing efforts are appropriate in given geographic areas, while informing us of potentially new markets to which we have not catered. The database can also inform AtoZ of customer buying habits, allowing the store to keep popular items in stock, while discontinuing stagnant inventories. The customer database will also serve as a customer relationship management system (CRM). Using CRM software, all customers will be gauged for their level of satisfaction with the current service.
In addition, the CRM will track lifecycle revenues, costs, margins, and customer interactions, ensuring that all business processes are reflected. The CRM will help to assess the customer relationship and its affect on revenues. It will also allow AtoZ to make the necessary adjustments needed to improve their customer relationships, optimize inventories, and enhance customer service methods. Further, AtoZ will maintain a positive, working relationship with each of its suppliers. This will ensure that inventories are current and up-to-standard.
In addition, AtoZ will closely monitor their relationship with King George Elementary School by tracking the number of students whose parents make purchases at AtoZ. This can be accomplished by outfitting students at the school with a personalized loyalty card which guarantees that a percentage of their purchase is donated back towards their school. Not only does this sponsorship help promote healthy, active lifestyles at King George, it arms AtoZ with valuable marketing information that can be used to identify active markets and enhance promotional strategies accordingly.