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strategic marketing plan for carrefour hypermarket in the GCC

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Carrefour Strategic Marketing Plan for Oman
[Name of the Writer]
[Name of the Institution]

Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u Nature of Marketing Strategy Management PAGEREF _Toc439496101 h 3Introduction PAGEREF _Toc439496102 h 4PESTEL Analysis PAGEREF _Toc439496103 h 4Political Factors PAGEREF _Toc439496104 h 4Economic Factors PAGEREF _Toc439496105 h 4Technological Factors PAGEREF _Toc439496106 h 5Marketing Objective PAGEREF _Toc439496107 h 5Market Condition PAGEREF _Toc439496108 h 6SWOT Analysis PAGEREF _Toc439496109 h 9Strengths PAGEREF _Toc439496110 h 9Strong Presence in Emerging and Mature Markets PAGEREF _Toc439496111 h 9Selling Private Labels PAGEREF _Toc439496112 h 11Weaknesses PAGEREF _Toc439496113 h 12Product Recall and Brand Image PAGEREF _Toc439496114 h 12Opportunities PAGEREF _Toc439496115 h 12Investment Opportunities in Oman PAGEREF _Toc439496116 h 12Billa Supermarkets Acquisitions PAGEREF _Toc439496117 h 13Threats PAGEREF _Toc439496118 h 13Demographic Factors and Consumer Taste PAGEREF _Toc439496119 h 13Rising Labor Cost and Operating Profit Margin PAGEREF _Toc439496120 h 14Marketing Mix PAGEREF _Toc439496121 h 14Place PAGEREF _Toc439496122 h 14Operating Procedures and Timings PAGEREF _Toc439496123 h 15Products Offered PAGEREF _Toc439496124 h 16Pricing Tactics PAGEREF _Toc439496125 h 16Store Environment PAGEREF _Toc439496126 h 17Promotional Activities PAGEREF _Toc439496127 h 17Marketing Strategies Applied PAGEREF _Toc439496128 h 17Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc439496129 h 18References PAGEREF _Toc439496130 h 20
Carrefour Strategic Marketing Plan for Oman
Nature of Marketing Strategy ManagementMarketing strategy is basically a corporate plan for allocating resources for generation of profits by deliberate positioning of products and services.

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It also deals with targeting specific consumer groups. Apart from that, marketing strategy is highly focused on addressing long-term corporate goals and objective along with development of marketing plans for complete realization of corporate goals. Moreover, companies including Carrefour rely on marketing plans for staying competitive in market and for introduction of new products and services. Competition is a major motivator for companies to stay competitive in market with stable or enhancing market share. In the monopolized market of one company, industries need to develop a market plan that can enhance market penetration thereby increasing valuable customer base. Common market strategies include product differentiation, price reduction for enhancing market share together with market segmentation (Reference for Business, 2015).
For development of an effective marketing strategy, the very idea of strategic marketing management is essential. It involves the identification of business’ core values together with goals and objectives. Also, it includes critical assessment of business environment that includes assessing the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities faced by the company. The first stage of strategic marketing management is planning. Strategic planning is the foundation stone and it is also a link between organization’s external environment and strategic management (Thomas et al. 1993). In this regard, the aspect of strategic control, resource requirements and allocation, and organizational structure plays an important role. Based on the life-cycle of strategic management planning, it can be divided into three major stages; namely, strategy formulation, strategy implementation and subsequently, control and evaluation (Introduction to Management, 2015).
IntroductionCarrefour is a major retailing group in the Europe and second largest retail group in the world. The group has been operating in more than 10,100 stores in more than 34 countries and it is stationed primarily in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The corporate headquarter is located in Boulogne-Billancourt in France having more than 363,000 people working in its different branches all across the globe. The group has generated around €75 million at the end of FY 2013 facing a 1% decrease as compared to FY 2012. The operating profits of company have increased around 63% to €2,382 million in FY 2013. The net profits during FY 2013 were €1,364 million with 1.6% increase as compared to FY 2012.
PESTEL AnalysisPolitical FactorsBased on the changing dynamics of GCC countries, it is essential to consider the political scenarios for effective marketing strategies. Within the most important political dynamics, the terrorism is a serious hindrance for development of businesses. Considering the recent plague of ISIS and other terrorist organizations, the external investments have been largely suffered (Sekulow et al. 2014). As per Janardhan (2006), the crackdown and subsequent arrest of terrorist factions in Oman during 2004-2005 have provided an outlook of increasing scourge of violence in the name of Islam. However, some of the offenders who have been jailed and subsequently, pardoned were also a severe setback for the future retail investment companies because of lack of judicial clarity (Ehrlich and Liu, 2002).
Economic FactorsOman enjoys an exceptional outlook for enhanced sales and revenue drive for retail companies. Moreover, Carrefour can also enhance their economic outlook by introduction of highly diversified range of products. The food and non-food related products are both essential part of GCC retail market. However, the groceries are particularly favorable within Oman and other Middle Eastern countries. Nevertheless, it also includes diversification of their products and services with enhanced sales margin as compared to the local markets (Rodrik et al. 2004).
Technological FactorsThe technological innovation of e-commerce has made it possible for different retail companies including Carrefour to become a market leader in retail industry. Most of the online services offered by Carrefour deals with non-food items; however, the diversification of these products to groceries can also enhance online sales at the cost of decline sales of hypermarkets. Another common technological innovation includes the usage of RFID tag for each product for retrieving the price and nature of product at hand. It has made the process of checking out of the store quite easier (Koh et al. 2006). Moreover, the RFID is also flexible to be used with different discounting and sales schemes that are quite commonly offered by Carrefour. Another useful method that can be adopted is the usage of QR code on different items for better management of different retailing products (Greenwald, 2015).
Marketing ObjectiveCarrefour is a major retailing company operating within the Sultanate of Oman. The core consideration in this regard is to enhance the customer base by introduction of effective marketing penetration strategies. This includes the development of hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores based on the geographical locations of it. The local and remote areas of Oman can have convenience stores; however, the populated areas can have hypermarkets and supermarkets.
Market ConditionCarrefour possesses an exceptional marketing circumstance for enhancing their business across the globe. There are some potential advantages that have allowed the group to become a successful retail story in almost every part of the world. Carrefour has a number of potential customers from all around the world. However, the increasing competition in retail market has made it quite difficult for Carrefour to survive in some countries. However, Carrefour has also showed that the core interest of its operations is to generate better sales and revenues and it cannot operate under the economically challenged environments. The exit of Carrefour from Indonesia and Malaysia is an example that shows that the group does not prefer operating under capacity (Durand and Wrigley, 2009).
On the other hand, the suppliers are largely dependents on Carrefour because of their strong market presence. Also, the supplier’s power is substantially low that enables Carrefour to buy different items and products at quite reduced rates while providing the additional benefits to their valuable customers. Nevertheless, various retail suppliers are not concentrated and different substitutes are available for Carrefour considering the supplier’s power. This also translates that the firm has exceptional low threat of forward integration from their very suppliers.
Buyers and their preference also dictate market conditions. They are the essential component of the retail industry. Also, the competition in retail industry is exceptionally high as compared to any other industry. For that, the buyers have more than one alternative to buy their food and non-food related items. In Oman, competitors including Spinneys, Lulu Hypermarkets, Khimji and Safeer supermarkets are posing severe threat for company’s survival within the region. It has also created enhanced pressure as part of careful assessment of consumer taste and preferences. A highly targeted marketing strategy requires the understanding of the likes and dislikes of consumers in the particular region. Apart from that, the competitors also have different promotional schemes that can severely damage the very outlooks of Carrefour’s operations in Oman (Belwal and Belwal, 2014).
Carrefour has reached the four year highest market shares with a recorded boom in quarterly sales as reported by Times of Oman (2015). The earnings has a peak value of around 6.7% during the financial year 2015. Also, the stock market has witnessed a significant boom of 3.4% that enabled the market share to be trending at €33.25 in Paris which is considered the highest price since November 2010. The first quarterly report has showed an increased revenue of €21 billion with an increase of 6.2%. Because of such a successful year, Carrefour is also planning to enhance their investments in China during the year 2016.
The yearly sales of groceries at Carrefour alter every year. Metro, Carrefour, Walmart, and Tesco are world’s four leading retail markets that have enhanced sales margins. Following is the data obtained through Statista (2015) for annual sales of Carrefour in Million Euros.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1: Annual Sales of Carrefour (Statista, 2015a).
Based on three-point moving average technique following chart was generated that clearly shows subsequent decrease in annual sales during year 2016 and 2017.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 2: Forecasted Sales of Carrefour.
However, the groceries product line is one of the major player that accounts for an average of €76369 million sales for Carrefour. Based on the data obtained from Statista (2014) as shown in figure 2. It is clearly depicted the sales of groceries at Carrefour has declined since 2010.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 3: Sales of Groceries at Carrefour during 2010-2014 (Statista, 2014).
However, based on three-year moving average forecasting (as shown below), it is quite evident that the decline in sales of groceries is going to escalate during the next two years. It can be because of various reasons that include enhanced competition and lack of profitability.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 4: Forecasted Sales of Groceries for 2016 and 2017.
SWOT AnalysisStrengthsStrong Presence in Emerging and Mature MarketsCarrefour has core focus on becoming a market leading player. As part of historical events, Carrefour has exited the markets where it was not able to attain desired market share that is equivalent to or greater than the primary competitor’s market share. Carrefour has exited Mexico and Japan in 2005, South Korea (2006), Russia (2009), Thailand (2010) along with Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in 2012. Apart from that, Carrefour has ample market share in Belgium, France, Greece, Spain, and Cyprus. Also, it has been pronounced as part of being a top three retailers in Poland, Italy, Romania, and Turkey. By the end of financial year 2012, the group has also been ranked as the top 100 retail brands on global scale based on its enhanced market share. The firm has also been among top 500 largest companies as ranked by a business magazine in year 2012. Because of such a strong market position, Carrefour has a prominent economic advantage of enhanced bargaining power with different suppliers.
The group also enjoys a strong and prominent presence in emerging and mature markets. At the start of FY 2013, more than 47% of its revenue is generated from France, 27% from Asia and Latin America, and 25.7% from the remaining of the Europe. Moreover, the presence of Carrefour group in different regions helps in diversification of its business’ revenue stream with the reduction of business vulnerability towards single economy. This enables Carrefour to retain its bargaining power to suppliers thereby passing the cost saving benefits towards the consumers.
Multi-format strategy is adopted by Carrefour having a focus of convergence of brands to serve broad base of customers. Based on that, Carrefour operates supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores, and cash and carry stores. Moreover, it also possesses strong e-commerce channels for enhancing customer base. The hypermarket model allows Carrefour to have diversified customer base with various merchandise selections thereby providing bargaining power with different suppliers. Also, the food products provide a wide range of food products on competitive prices to local markets. Convenience stores are another important aspect of Carrefour’s aging customers and the urban populace in all across the Europe. Through cash and carry stores, Carrefour caters the very requirements of retail self-service and wholesale customers that are operating their very own business. Also, the multi-format retailing can provide Carrefour the very advantage of bulk purchase of goods at significantly reduced prices.
During the last five years, Carrefour is looking forward leveraging the very strength of its brand name through banners’ convergences in different formats. The group has started a single brand strategy that is converging its different brands all across the Europe. The group has operated in Belgium under GB banner and GS banner within Italy. However, these banners have undergone successful transition to universal Carrefour banner. The convenience stores have also seen this transition in Greece and Poland. Also, by the end of FY 2011, the group has mostly altered its Dia stores to universal Carrefour express stores.
Carrefour also possesses strong e-commerce channels for selling its food and non-food products. The group has also strengthened its various food related e-commerce solutions in various countries. In France, during the end of FY 2012, thereby providing ease of access to various e-commerce sites. One year earlier in 2011, Carrefour has also launched a free home delivery service in all of its stores in Spain. Apart from that, Carrefour is ranked among the top six commercial website for non-food related items. Carrefour in Greece has provided an opportunity for purchasing household and groceries items online. Hence, the multi-channel retail strategy is also responsible for catering diversified customer base thereby reducing the risks associated with its dependence on single retail channel.
Selling Private LabelsCarrefour has around 30 years of experience in retailing of different private label groups. This group is quite commonly responsible for in-depth analysis of different purchase expectations and habits of its very customers to develop private label offerings. The brand of Carrefour Discount offers discounted products comprising of more than 500 basic items that includes fresh and frozen goods at exceptionally low prices. The brand was launched in 2009 and has become the second most successful fast moving goods range in France in the year 2010. It has also stemmed out towards its different global outlets in Indonesia, Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Belgium thereby offering 15-30% lower price as compared to local market. The Carrefour Selection is positioned for premium segments and Carrefour Kids targeting children’s market segment. This value label can not only help Carrefour to escalate sales in Oman but also enhance customers’ satisfaction.
WeaknessesProduct Recall and Brand ImageCarrefour has suffered severe setbacks because it has to recall several of its products during the last few years. In the FY 2012, the group has to recall their sports shower-shampoo because of possible risk of pseudomonas aeruginosa (bacterial contamination). Also, they have to recall deep fat fryer and clothes because of their safety issues in the very same year. Apart from that, in the earlier 2011, the Carrefour Discount has recalled the whole milk because of the altered odor and taste because of technical malfunctions. Also, the Nature Chips from Carrefour Discount were recalled because of glass shards. A similar event has also occurred in Monaco and France when Carrefour has to recall their Cheese items because of bacterial contamination. E-Coli contamination of ground beef and hamburger batches also occurred in year 2010. Such massive product recalls has severely eroded consumers’ confidence and damaged brand image (Zeithaml, 1988; Botonaki et al. 2006).
OpportunitiesInvestment Opportunities in OmanAs per Muscat Daily (2014), Oman has ranked 17th among the top 20 most attractive retail markets in the GCC countries. The Sultanate of Oman is an exceptional retail market because of its robust economy, increasing consumer confidence, and growing population. The retail sale in Oman has increased by 7% since FY 2011 having grocery sector with exceptional growth margin. Nevertheless, the concentration of growth is in Muscat having more than half population of Oman living there. Instead of the small area of country, Oman enjoys enhanced economy with increasing customer confidence. The five core players in Oman’s grocery market include Spinneys, Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarkets, Khimji’s and Safeer. Besides that, the government is also dedicated for increasing retail business in Oman. Majid al Futtaim (MAF) is adding an additional $467 million to Mall of Oman that would cover a total area of 157,000 m2 with 350 stores.
Billa Supermarkets AcquisitionsAt the start of June 2014, Carrefour has acquired a total of 53 supermarkets under the Banner of Billa from the renowned Rewe Group. The group possesses sales area of more than 58,000 m2 generating around €300 millions in 2013. The acquisition of Billa supermarkets would enhance the position of Carrefour in Italy.
ThreatsDemographic Factors and Consumer TasteVarious factors that have contributed towards increase in sales of convenience stores are causing strong pressure on hypermarket model. As part of altering trading conditions, hypermarkets having core focus on non-food items have suffered significantly. For most of the consumers, a developed neighborhood store is quite easier together with ease of convenience because of better reach of hypermarkets. Moreover, increasing the number of single-person household would imply that more people would be shopping for a single person. Also, the propensity of large weekly shop of out of range hypermarket would decline (Verbeke, 2005).
The online ordering of goods would also become a severe threat to both supermarkets and hypermarkets. Considering these core factors, the market saturation has been enhancing within the Western Europe. Carrefour has an exceptional exposure of different hypermarket model that has derived significant revenue following the same.
Rising Labor Cost and Operating Profit MarginThe labor wages have been increasing all around the globe. In Oman, the minimum wage of non-professional workers accounts to about $260 per month. However, the daily wages have been increasing with the passage of time. Factors including increased overtimes, tight labor market, high amount of full-time employees and most importantly, government demanded increment in daily wages are some of the core problems that lead towards increased labor costs (Marketline Advantage, 2015).
Marketing MixThe landscape of modern marketing is changing with the passage of time because of enhanced competitiveness in each and every retail businesses. This changing scenario requires understanding and taking remedial steps to gain enhanced market penetration and hold a firm grip of market shares. It also calls for development of sound and effective marketing strategy that can capture most of the market share value and have the capability to deliver the economies of scale and scope. With the changing customer preferences, the consumers are not only interested in the product but also in the very retail experience associated with it. This is exerting exceptional pressure on retailers including Carrefour to consider different ways for enhancement of customer experience while providing better products and services than other rivals and competitors. This requires development of enhanced retail mix strategy in order to position the Carrefour’s retail business and differentiate it from the very competitors in the market.
PlaceAs per Bhatia (2008), the core importance of store locations is highly dependent on the infrastructure, population and status of the area. It also decides the success or failure of the store in the larger context. Importance of retail business is also because of the very nature of the retail environment and retailing operations. Retailing is a business that highly depends on the traffic of potential customers into the store. Within Oman, Muscat is the prime city that can be used as a centralized hub for all the Carrefour’s retailing operations. Also, the country’s core population lives with the very same city that makes it enabled to be a unique location for gaining substantial customers. However, the problem associated with the large population also includes having much severe competition in the retail market. Most of the rivals of Carrefour are surrounded in the vicinity of Muscat thereby making Carrefour to rely not only on hypermarket models but also on convenience store model. Targeting the population living in the suburbs and remote areas of Oman from different convenience store models could be a source of generating enhanced income for the company within the region.
Apart from that, the locations for hypermarkets could be included with highly crowded places with frequent customer traffic. Malls could be the prime location for opening a Carrefour hypermarket or supermarket. It is because of the reason that the shopping centers and malls possess enhanced volume of potential customers that can become a valuable customer.
Operating Procedures and TimingsMost of the common operating procedure in retail industry comprise of all the core aspects of store’s operations. It includes the detailed outline of the information for conducting each and every task for carrying out a job within a store (Wrice, 2004). Most of the businesses in Oman and other GCC countries operate seven days a week from Monday to Sunday. Moreover, the operating timings are quite similar for almost every retail business as well. Increasing the service hours also lead towards increase customer handling and hence, enhanced sales of retail products. However, the cost of operating the shop for extra hours should have to be satisfied with enhanced sales of products. Carrefour can increase their regular working hours based on different sales events that include store birthday events and black Friday sales. All these core consideration could lead towards generation of enhanced sales within a shorter span of time.
Products OfferedProducts offering are quite commonly referred to as the merchandise mix or product assortment (Lamb et al. 2008). Carrefour has an exceptional perspective of respecting the needs of both customers and potential customers. This enables the group to offer enhanced outlooks and diversification of products and services to the customers. Also, the Oman wing of Carrefour offers different food and non-food related items with an exceptional discounting rate of 30% off as compared to the market price. The diversified portfolio of product with exuberant breadth and depth of products offer an outlook of providing the freedom of choice for the valuable customers to purchase their favorite items at market competitive rates.
Carrefour also offers targeted advantages to different age groups as well. The Carrefour Kids offer different kids items with exceptional discounts so that it could be affordable for every toddler and children to enjoy their childhood days with Carrefour. Besides that, Carrefour Discount can also be quite helpful for the people with limited earning in Oman and it could lead towards much better consumer’s relationship development with the group instead of the contamination events.
Pricing TacticsAs per Bhatia (2008), retailer’s profit margin is highly dependent on the prices that they offer to their customers. Moreover, the pricing strategy is also a core essence of making the marketing strategy highly competitive for Carrefour’s rivals. It plays an important role in development of retail brand along with enhancement of better promotional activities. Carrefour’s ease and freedom to purchase different items provide the company with an outlook of enhanced sales thereby granting better purchasing power to their consumers. Considering the above discussion, Carrefour possess a low pricing brand image that has been leveraged while following three core strategies of price positioning, purchasing synergies, and most importantly, enhanced presentation of products.
Store Environment
Bhatia (2008) has also noted that the location and environment of store plays a crucial tool used by retailers for successfully communicating the product requirements to the customers. It is also quite commonly referred to as atmospherics and visual merchandising. Currently, Carrefour in Oman is following a simple ready to sell model for presentation of products.
Promotional ActivitiesAccording to Lamb (2009), promotion is quite commonly defined as the core aspects related to publicity, advertisement and public relations. Carrefour has a strong promotion strategy that includes printed ads, catalogues and most importantly, events (Blattberg and Neslin, 1990)). Carrefour has also been associated with Majid al Futtaim group which is another massive group operating all around the GCC. It has also provided them with exceptional outlook of advertisements on different grounds. Nevertheless, the core promotional activity is reflected through their yearly sales. The sales on different items together with store anniversaries provide an exuberant chance for the group to reduce their inventory stock and enhance their marketing reach towards prospective customers.
Marketing Strategies AppliedThe company has core focus on achieving the leading position in every market and more specially, in Sultanate of Oman. Carrefour has also gone through tough times in penetrating into markets of Colombia, Thailand, Singapore, Russia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. However, it can also be considered Carrefour’s positioning strategy for different markets have made it become a market leader in various regions. Nevertheless, altering economic environments and demographics can greatly impact Carrefour’s revenue. The sales on non-food related items including electronics and gadgets are another attractive scheme that is quite usually used by Carrefour. Apart from that, the product catalogue also serves as a promotional tool for Carrefour. The discounts offered on different prices were mentioned that enhances the customer’s development.
Customer services are another core factor that reflects the shopping experience of customers for enhancement of customer services. Customers at Carrefour are offered with three different domains of customer services that include vouchers, services, and feedbacks. In the services domain, it includes the free home delivery services together with textile alteration, food processing and wrapping services to different culinary and non-culinary items upon request.
ConclusionAll in all, Carrefour has exceptional outlook for flourishing in the Sultanate of Oman. However, the competition and rivalry of different retail companies operating within the region is one of the biggest hurdles. Nevertheless, the company could have an exit strategy that is quite similar to the one witnessed with different countries having lesser success rate but there are ample chances for development because of enhanced technological advancement and better presence of Carrefour across all the Europe and the GCC. Besides that, the threat of increasing violence in the Middle-Eastern countries with rise of radicalization is another serious concern that could jeopardize investments in Oman. Nevertheless, the government is making amends to fight against terrorism but it is also essential to cater post-Paris attacks scenarios. The fast-paced changing dynamics of world politics is another severe factor that can impede with the revenue drive of company. Oman is surely one of the top 20 countries in GCC that reflects enormous growth along with better development in retail businesses.

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