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18 May 13

Marketing Insights From Kmart

All of our business leaders believe the same thing “Advertising” alone does not work and you have to stand out and be different from everyone. With that in mind why is it that in Retail today everybody is doing the same thing? The marketing plans must look identical. For a long time now here at BQHQ we have been saying that business has changed and we are seeing another change right now. We speak to a lot of people in the industry and we hear a lot things like

  • Retail is tough
  • It’s tough out there
  • The current government has not done us any favours
  • People are saving like never before
  • People aren’t spending like they used too.

The businesses that are doing incredibly well are listening to what their customers are saying and delivering on that. They have a clear message and back it up through out every avenue within their business.

I recently went to Kmart’s launch of their new Kmart Play campaign and we spoke to the General Manger who gave us a wonderful insight to their business and how they are doing things differently. They were really honest about how they went from bust to where they are today.

Firstly the GM enlightened us about how dire it was for them back in 2008, he stated that they either sold but it was in the middle of the GFC so there were no buyers, they closed there doors or they restructure everything from their brand message to their marketing. They embarked on their 1000 Mum’s research where they asked them for honest feedback, how they could improve things and what was important to them. Some of it was:

  • We want larger aisle for prams.
  • Too much clutter, they wanted clean organised shelves so they could find things.
  • Catalogue sales- they always sold out and stock wasn’t available.
  • Pricing confusion- something was always on sale and people were constantly thinking “If I buy this now will it be on sale next week”
  • They wanted lower prices but better quality.

The Kmart change:

  • Bigger aisles
  • Less cluttered
  • NO SALES!!! Just the lowest prices all year round
  • Stock available all the time

Kmart head of toys Nicole Szujda also spoke about their drastic change in the structure of their toy department. She said “I had to stop thinking like a Retail Executive and start thinking like a Mum”. Every buyer within Kmart spent time with their 1000 Mums to really understand what Mums wanted. Their research showed:

  • 94% of Australians said they prefer it if retailers offered low prices everyday rather then inflated prices to allow for discounts and sales.
  • ¾ of Australians said value for money is still the most important factor
  • 64% of Aussies expect better value from bricks and mortar retailers because of the value online.

They employed a local design team that design a portion of toys available in Kmart and they sourced factories that made toys for high profile toy companies. As a side note they also signed the Accord last week whereby they will only do business with ethical manufacturers in China. They did say that they have increased their QC to ensure quality isn't compromised.

Interestingly and not surprised but a little sad that in their research I asked them about what percentage of the women in the research group were concerned about the ethics and the sustainability of their products being made in these factories. They said “While quality was important to them no one really questioned or was concerned about the ethics.”

It makes me think about the lack of education we have on sustainable fashion and how we are purchasing all of these cheap clothes (I call landfill) and the impact it has on our environment. But that will come!

Back to Kmart however as an overall I really admired their passion and how they really listened to their customers to turn their business around. They chose to do things differently and go against what everyone else was doing and the proof is in the pudding.



FYI This is NOT a sponsored post :-)
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  • I love it when people think ‘outside the box’ and focus on the solution rather than just the problem.
    Thanks for another great article Renee
    Chizelle Sharon recently posted..5 Ways Series by Heather Shafer

  • Thanks Chizelle! ME TOO and so important in business, it always pays off 🙂

    RENEE MAYNE recently posted..Tallulah Love Lingerie

  • Fascinating insight into the world of big retail – like you say, good on em for listening. Good lesson for us little guys to listen to what our customers want (rather than what we’d like them to want!)
    Jo Casey recently posted..How Like Yourself More

  • Totally agree Jo if we take anything away from this then it is that exact message 🙂


  • WOW. This has me thinking. Thank you Renee.

    Better step outside my box!
    Susie recently posted..Three Easy Stretches for High-Heel Wearers

    • YES! I learnt a lot from them actually and it does make you think about how you can think and be different.


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