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Waitrose was founded in 1904 and is the supermarket division of the John Lewis Partnership, with 187 branches.
Like the Partnership’s Department Stores, Waitrose is targeted at the middle class market, emphasising quality food and customer service rather than low prices. Their slogan reflects this “Quality food, honestly priced”. Waitrose’s main competitors in this market are Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s.
The typical Waitrose customer has been described as affluent, interested in culture, travel, fine foods and wine and a likely Classic FM listener and BBC 1 viewer.
Waitrose included its three existing Internet sites which were Waitrose Deliver, [email protected], and Waitrose direct into an upgraded Waitrose.com website in August 2001. The online grocer Ocado has also taken over the distribution of Waitrose products, but has its own site (Ocado.
Waitrose.com also functions as a shop finder that quickly shows users the shop closest to them, including map, travel instructions and opening times.
Waitrose is currently bound to its southeast location because there are only two major regional distribution centers in place (Bracknell & Northampton). Although further expansion in the North and West is planned, Waitrose has no plans to expand overseas, unlike its bigger competitors.
Waitrose is able to identify different groups of buyers who share similar definable needs and behaviors by segmenting the market.
Waitrose segments its market on simple variables such as incomes. This is shown by the number of stores that are based in the south of England showing that Waitrose is aiming at the higher income earners at the upper end of the market, and segmenting itself towards the social groups of A, B and C1. Waitrose has not based any stores in areas such as Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Bradford as these are Britain’s poorest regions, which Waitrose would not benefit from financially.
The UK Online Market
Research shows that more British food shoppers have been converted to online grocery shopping than in any other country. However, Internet sales still represent a tiny, although growing, percentage of the overall UK grocery market. Most people use the Internet as a way of gathering information on products and making price comparisons before visiting their local store. Tesco was the first grocery retailer to introduce online shopping and is now the world’s biggest Internet grocer.
Means of capturing information for use in e-business processes
Organisations are increasingly using databases to manage customer relationships to increase both sales and customer satisfaction. A database can help you identify key trends and important information such as your most and least profitable customers.
Waitrose E-CRM programme (E-Customer Resource Management)
The E-CRM programme aims to build awareness and generate customer interaction with the Waitrose brand both in-branch and on Waitrose.com.
Waitrose provides customers with monthly email communications, which will provide a platform to keep Waitrose front of mind, whilst reminding customers of their full range of services. The emails include information specifically tailored to the customer on seasonal foods arriving in branch, targeted special offers, new recipes and information on food suppliers. The emails are refreshed each month to give customers new ideas from Waitrose by analysing their shopping data.
Waitrose.com has become recognised as one of the leading UK portals for food lovers, and the emails enable customers to click to the site to learn more about Waitrose food, offers or search for recipes and shopping lists.
Visitors to the site can also find a selection of menu ideas and tips on preparing food, plus nutrition and wine experts can be emailed for individual advice.
Waitrose uses an e-GRM programme to boost loyalty among early adopters of its online home delivery store Ocado.
Waitrose Partnership Account Card
The Partnership Card from John Lewis and a Waitrose credit card that earns customers vouchers when they spend.
The Partnership Card allows customers to earn points towards vouchers. Waitrose sends vouchers directly to their customers three times a year.
They can be spent on products in John Lewis, Waitrose and at Ocado.com.
The Partnership Card entitles customers to receive exclusive theatre ticket promotions and invitations to special events such as summer concerts and country shows.
Waitrose Quick Check
Waitrose provides their customers with the option of using the Quick Check service, which allows customers to scan goods while they shop using a handheld scanner and then the ability to pay quickly at a special desk. When customers sign up to this service their details will automatically be transferred onto a database, where Waitrose can keep a track on their buying habbits, how much they are spending per week and their favorite products.
Internal Databases Within Waitrose
Waitrose has many Internal databases used by different business functions that they use to hold information.
The human resource department will have information on a database of their employees. The information that is kept on employees will help Waitrose to carry out appraisals, when reviewing pay and paying wages and giving references to other employees.
Waitrose will keep information on the sales of products in their store. The information will be able to tell Waitrose what their best selling lines are, what products sells best, what products aren’t selling that well and may need to be discontinued. From the information Waitrose will be able to position certain products as required such as best selling products getting the best positions.
Waitrose will keep information on the stock they keep and how much of each product they have. The information will help Waitrose when bringing in new lines and discontinuing products.
Waitrose will have information on the layout of the store and where certain products are kept this may be important if they are moving products around or when bringing in new product lines and deciding on where to put them.
The marketing department will have information on prices of products this made help them decide whether prices need to change for example to compete with competitors. They will also keep information on promotions online and in store this will help Waitrose to see when promotions need to be updated and what other products may need to be promoted.
Waitrose will keep information on what they buy and where they buy from, they will communicate with suppliers to tell them what stock they need and when they are going to need it.
Example of how the information gets onto the database using sales. The barcode is scanned through the till which goes to the EPOS. The information may be replayed to the partnership card/ marketing via the LAN.
The role of digital information in informing business decision-making
This diagram is showing how the role of digital information is helping Waitrose business decision-making.
The Diagram below has been spilt up into five different areas showing the different stages in communication and business decision-making.
1. In Store Communication – The EPOS (electronic point of sale) systems will be able to tell Waitrose what products are top sellers and which ones aren’t selling as well, this will help them make decisions on where to put certain items. They could put top selling products in a better shelf space and maybe promote the items that aren’t selling or discontinue them.
2. Databases – When the data has been collected in store or online the information is sent to the centre and then stored in the databases. Head office will use this information for making decisions on things like store replenishment, store layout, staffing and promotions.
3. Buy-Side collaboration – buying from suppliers, suppliers will communicate with head office. Waitrose will need to tell suppliers what they want them to supply and when they want them to supply it.
Waitrose will decide what products they are going to store and where they are going to be positioned in store. Decisions on pricing may also change due to promotions or other forms of marketing.
Waitrose needs to insure that they have the right amount of stock on their shelves to meet consumer demands. Waitrose uses hand held guns which allow labels on the shelves to be scanned which allows the employee to see how much stock they have. The stock is electronically stored and connected to a server, which will tell the employees how much of certain products they have allowing them to decide when to place an order.
4. The communication between banks and stores for purchases made buy customers, the banks will need to authorise the credit or debit card when customers uses the chip and pin systems. The card will be checked to make sure that it isn’t stolen and then the card will be authorised if no problems occur.
5. Sell-Side E-Commerce – Waitrose website, when customers access Waitrose online and purchases goods through the internet information is collected on those customers, Waitrose will be able to see the location of the customer, what they are buying and how much they spend. They can use this information to their advantage buy sending the customer offers or vouchers on their favourite products so that they shop again with Waitrose or purchase more than they would normally. Waitrose could also suggest a store close to them, as looking around a supermarket will attract customers to impulse buy which will boost Waitrose products.
In branch view of telecommunications
In store communications, employees will communicate in store via the LAN (Local Area Network) an internal link. Waitrose has mobile telephones to communicate around store using extension numbers to contact different sections.
A tannoy is also used in store which allows the company to talk to the whole store at one time, for example when making announcements to customers such as the store is closing or to ask an employee to go to a certain section.
Externally a switchboard is used so if a call is coming in from out side the company they will then be transferred to the person or section they want to speak to. If a number of calls are incoming at the same time they will be put on hold and then transferred once the line is free.
Waitrose will also communicate to head office via the WAN (World-Wide Area Network) voice and data can be communicated.