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Overview of Coles Supermarkets and the Retail Industry

Discuss about the Strategic Management Of Coles Supermarkets In Australia.

This paper focuses on the various issues about the preparation of the business strategies. This strategic planning will be very much helpful to analyze the different issues and challenges the selected organization will be facing. The organization that is selected for completing this paper is Coles Supermarkets. This organization is situated in Australia. It is indeed useful to identify the different components of the business strategy that the organization follows. The overview of the chosen organization will be given of this organization and the industry as well.

The internal and external environments of the company would be discussed. The strategic objectives that the organization has taken will be evaluated and discussed if it is appropriate or not. The five generic strategies and the different components of the business strategy will be discussed here as well. The recommendation should be given about the things of how they should implement these strategic objectives and better their chances of market dominance in their concerned industry.

The Chosen organization for this paper Coles Supermarkets operates in the retail industry and it is one of the most successful retail companies in Australia (Coles.com.au 2018). The organization Coles Supermarkets began in the year 1914 in the month of April. They are considered to be the pioneers in the retail industry in the country and they have expanded to other countries as well. The founder of this company was George Coles (Coles.com.au 2018). One of the most important sections they contribute is its employability. There are about 10,000 people being employed in this country. Food retailing has become one of the major targets for Coles Supermarkets. The headquarters of this organization is situated at Melbourne in Australia. They provide their consumers with the best quality services and products all through. This has added to their reputation. The Managing Director of this organization is John Durkan. The annual revenue of this company in the year 2016 was A$33.00 Billion (Coles.com.au 2018) This is why they contribute a lot to the economic growth of Australia. The parent company of this organization is Wesfarmers. The advertising strategies they have adopted to be successful cater to their business performance in a large way (Zakaria et al. 2014). One of their major rivals in the retail supermarket industry is Woolworths.

Retail business industry is one of the most common and popular businesses in Australia. There are more than 100,000 retail businesses in the country of Australia. The retail industry is responsible for employing around 10.7% of the entire employment in Australia (Coles.com.au 2018) It contributes a lot to the GDP growth of the country (Costanza et al. 2014). This is why Australian retail supermarket industry is a very important source for the total income of the country.  

Evaluation of Coles Supermarkets' Strategic Objectives

The mission statement of Coles supermarket is-

“We are innovative industry leaders who supply customers with value, convenience and superior service.” (Coles.com.au 2018)

The vision statement of the Coles supermarket is-

“Serving you better” (Coles.com.au 2018)

This means they focus on the customer satisfaction more than anything else and give the ultimate priority to them. They are liable provide the customers with the best experience with the excellence in operations, customer value proposition and innovating new kinds of products (Osterwalder et al. 2014).

The value statements are very important for the enhancement of the business performance of all the organizations. This is no exception for Coles supermarkets as well. They have aimed for some objectives that are very important to become successful and the global leaders in their concerned retail supermarket industry.

  • To become the best employers by the choice of the employees
  • To increase the permanency level within the company (Coles.com.au 2018)
  • They want to become the industry leaders by developing the education and training programs for the employers. This will educate the employees in a better way and train them to become the valuable assets of the organization. The employees can get better opportunities if they stay in Coles and this will enhance their career opportunities as well.
  • To identify the core competencies of the organization (Coles.com.au 2018)
  • They want to train the employees in a way that they can go for achieving the core competencies and the business objectives as well.
  • To take up a better communication strategy for connecting with the customers in a better way (Coles.com.au 2018)

The mission, vision and value statements are very much important gaining the competitive advantage over their competitors (Campbell, Coff and Kryscynski 2012). They have indulged themselves in the better efforts to provide their customers with better strategies. They have focused on educating their employees properly so they can achieve the best results and give their best efforts for the marketing of the products. Their most important target is gaining the competitive advantage over the rivals. This is why they will look to utilize all the resources to succeed. So, the vision, mission and value statements can be evaluated to be very much appropriate indeed.

Coles works in a business environment that is very much suitable for them to gain the competitive advantage. However, the retail chain industry is a very competitive industry indeed. This is why the organizations have to take under consideration several things. They face several issues and challenges in order to maintain their stability in the industry (Babatunde and Adebisi 2012). They have their corporate social responsibilities as well. These responsibilities will help them to build up a good image in front of the society. Thus they can make their business sustainable enough. In order to this they will need to assess their internal and external business environments. The internal and external environments of the organization Coles Supermarkets will have to be analyzed in this section for better insight into the matter (Babatunde and Adebisi 2012)

Strengths

  • Coles supermarket is considered to be the largest food retail chain in the industry.
  • The services and products that Coles provide, saves cost of the customers in a big way.
  • The products that are sold are very much indigenous in their nature (Roper and Fill 2012).
  • Coles has a very strong brand value and their market reputation is very high.
  • The Corporate social responsibilities are very much effective for Coles (Schwartz 2017).
  • Their environmental sustainability is very high and their products are also environment friendly as well.

Weaknesses

  • Coles supermarket always faces several issues and problems from their suppliers.
  • Coles has some management issues and the leadership problems are also evident in their business operations as well (Hill, Jones and Schilling 2014).

Opportunities

  • Coles can follow the Private Label strategy that would be highly beneficial for them to grab a larger market share indeed.
  • Apart from the food and grocery sector, they have a good option of expanding into the liquor sector.
  • They can opt to enter into the insurance and finance sector activities. If they can provide the customers with the better options, this will be very much evident for them.
  • They can scan their target market for developing new market segments and approaching that target market for better profits (Armstrong et al. 2015).

Threats

  • The legal and political issues of Australia can be a hindrance in their business market operations.
  • If they venture into different sectors they will have to confront with several market leaders. Then they will have to adopt several new marketing strategies (Baker 2014).
  • The competitors of Coles have very strong brand identities and this can be a real challenge for them indeed.
  • There are several competitors for Coles in the evolving sectors.
  • As Coles operates mainly in food sector, they will have to be aware about the changing taste of Australians regarding food.

Political factors

Several changes have taken place in the last few years in Australia that have changed the entire political scenario of the country. The political stability is one of the most significant aspects in the country. This has really affected the condition of the retail business industry to a large level. The Federal Government of Australia has developed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (Competition 2012). This association formulates all the proceedings in the retail industry of the country. The ACCC has gone on to make many changes in the entire policy regulations regarding the country’s retail sector. This has completely given more opportunities for the companies to engage in more competition. The approach of the government is very much significant in the market success of Coles (Jurevicius 2013).

Analyzing the Internal and External Environments of Coles Supermarkets

Economic factors

The current economic issues have been affecting the consumer decision making process for Coles. The consumer buying powers have reduced and this is why the sales of Coles have been going downwards. The flexible goods or products manufactured by Coles have been largely affected as well (Makos 2015). The consumers have targeted to shift into the private labels as they want to save their costs. Thus the private label strategies adopted by other organizations have led them to higher margins of profits. The business operations of Coles will have to suffer if they cannot offer the customers with the low cost alternative products.

Social factors

The Australian customers are very much sensitive so Coles has to manufacture the products according to the needs of the customers. This is why Coles must make the market surveys and know about the priorities of the customers (Makos 2015) They can opt for extending their trading hours so they can meet the demands of the customers in a better way. They might look to increase the convenience of the customers by widening the product range. They have to produce the food products that will be good for the health of the customers. This will sustain their business in the best ways. They have to respond positively to the market changes (Makos 2015).

Technological factors

The technological advancement has been a very instrumental factor in the advancement of their business. The employees of the Coles supermarket have the proper training about the use of technology. This will be highly beneficial for Coles to gain the sustainability and competitive advantage over their rivals. Most of the people in Australia use computers, laptops and other technological devices in Australia (Baden-Fuller and Haefliger 2013). This is why they will look to indulge in taking the benefits of technological advancements in the retail sector.

Environmental factors

Coles must look to focus on the environmental sustainability of the company. They must produce the products in a way that could be good for the health of the consumers. They must comply with the WHO regulations about the use of chemicals in food. They can also use the environment friendly raw materials which will be very efficient to gain the competitive advantage (Makos 2015)

Legal factors

Coles has to maintain all the legal regulations that have been developed by the Federal Government of Australia. They should avoid the negligence or violation of these rules so they can sustain their business for a longer time and overcome the odds in their business environment (Makos 2015)

Mission, Vision, and Value Statements

oles has been the leading retail supermarket company in the retail grocery chain. In order to keep their place in the industry they have adopted some strategies that will be very much important. They look to focus on the employee training programs and give the most priority to the customers. They have brought out certain products and services by keeping in head the needs of the customers (Van Der Aalst La Rosa and Santoro 2016). The customer behavior of the Australian people is always changing. They sell various types of products like groceries, bakery products, baby products, mobiles, gift cards and many more. This is why they get the customer attention all the ways. Coles has played a pioneering role in the application of cost leadership strategy (Valipour, Birjandi and Honarbakhsh 2012).

They like to offer their customers with several types of products at lower prices. This helps in building the trust of the customers in a big way. Thus the customers will be able to save more money by buying their products. If they want to train their employees for providing a better service, they will be highly benefitted. The employees will thrive to give their best efforts in their positions. This will help the organization collectively. They are present in the online market as well namely Coles Online. They give their customers with various benefits and offers that cater to the gaining of consumer loyalty (Martínez and del Bosque 2013). Thus their strategic objectives can fit into their services very appropriately.

The generic strategies are very important for the describing the competitive strategies adopted by the organizations. There are five generic strategies that could be adopted by the organizations. These strategies are low-cost provider strategy, broad differentiation strategy, focused low cost strategy and best cost provider strategy. The most important strategy that could fit into the business operations of the Coles group is the low-cost provider strategy (Tanwar 2013). There are several new competitors in the retail industry for Coles in the recent times. They have to catch up with some new ways to cope up with those challenges. As Coles has been the market leaders in the retail industry they should have approached the pricing strategy with higher prices but they are facing the challenge regarding the price (Tanwar 2013)

In this time of the global recession the customers want the products at lower prices. Sometimes they are even ready to compromise with the quality as well. This is why Coles has decided to focus on the cost effectiveness of their product. This will be very much useful for them indeed. They want to focus more on the desire of the customers. They decided to invest on the customers. This could prove to be fruitful and very effective in order to gain thee customer attention. The reason for taking up this low cost generic strategy is to have a better brand positioning in the market (Teeratansirikool et al. 2013). The income of the Coles in the last few financial years has been really fascinating. Thus they could achieve a better market position.

Recommendations for Maintaining Market Dominance in the Retail Industry

The organizational structure is a very important matter for understanding the decision making strategies of the company. This is also involved with the leadership strategies of the companies. The organizational structure will determine of how Coles can deal with the different issues and challenges that will occur in front of them in their country (Ashkenas et al. 2015). The current Managing Director of the company John Durkan has been responsible for providing a better customer service to the customers in all the states and territories. There are many business units in the company and the heads of these units have the responsibility of looking after these units properly. The different sections like the accounts and finance, human resource management, quality management and all other departments are present in the company (Ashkenas et al. 2015).

All these sections will thrive to deliver their best efforts to achieve the success for the organizations. The human resource managers always look to recruit the best employees for the success of the organization. They provide the proper training and skill development for the employees in the best ways. The training and skill development facilities will help the employees to grow and show their perfection (Ashkenas et al. 2015). They pay the employees with the right amount of wages. The operation managers will look to implement the several strategies for the betterment of the organization. The managers will drive to motivate the employees and inspire them to make new innovations in producing new food and grocery products. Thus they can go on to improve their services in the business industry.

The corporate culture of Coles is very motivating since the managers keep on motivating the employees to achieve the strategic business objectives of the company. They provide a very coordinating business culture within their company. They take important measures regarding the cross-cultural issues (Eccles, Ioannou and Serafeim 2012). They like to provide the employees with the proper training so they can avoid these cultural clashes with the employees who belong to different cultures and ethnicities. The managers of Coles supermarkets always stress on sustaining in a good corporate culture so they can retain the talented and skillful employees. This would increase their effectiveness of the business as well.

It is very important to highlight the factors that the retail industry in Australia should focus on. As the market leaders in the retail industry in Australia, Coles should look to implement the technological procedures within their operations. This will enhance their working capabilities to a certain extent as well. They have to achieve their business objectives in order to grow in their industry. Thus only they can stay ahead of their competitors properly. It is also very important for Coles to stay present in their online operations (Andrews and Shimp 2017).

 They must receive the orders from the customers and supply the goods to their addresses within a certain amount of time after the procedures of shipping, packing and delivering. Coles should make deals with strong and effective logistics and supply chain organizations so they can deliver the goods within the fixed time. This will really be effective for them and sustaining their brand reputation (Andrews and Shimp 2017). The retail companies in Australia have not been able to match with the changing consumer preferences over the years.

This is why Coles should make the proper market research and adopt the best strategy to know about the needs of the customers properly. They should also concentrate on producing organic and health safety products. They should focus on the substantial cost savings as well. These ways could help them for a better future and securing the competitive advantage.

Conclusion  

It can be concluded that the paper has highlighted upon the most important factors for the business strategies of Coles supermarkets. The most necessary issues have been highlighted in this paper along with the vision, mission and business objectives of Coles. The internal and external business objectives of the organization have been discussed as well. The generic strategies have been discussed and the best generic strategy for Coles has been recommended. The necessary recommendations for the improvement of the business performance of Coles supermarkets.

References

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Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., Harker, M. and Brennan, R., 2015. Marketing: an introduction. Pearson Education.

Ashkenas, R., Ulrich, D., Jick, T. and Kerr, S., 2015. The boundaryless organization: Breaking the chains of organizational structure. John Wiley & Sons.

Babatunde, B.O. and Adebisi, A.O., 2012. Strategic Environmental Scanning and Organization Performance in a Competitive Business Environment. Economic Insights-Trends & Challenges, 64(1).

Baden-Fuller, C. and Haefliger, S., 2013. Business models and technological innovation. Long range planning, 46(6), pp.419-426.

Baker, M.J., 2014. Marketing strategy and management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Campbell, B.A., Coff, R. and Kryscynski, D., 2012. Rethinking sustained competitive advantage from human capital. Academy of Management Review, 37(3), pp.376-395.

Coles.com.au (2018). Coles Supermarkets. [online] Coles.com.au. Available at: https://www.coles.com.au/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2018].

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Hill, C.W., Jones, G.R. and Schilling, M.A., 2014. Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning.

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Martínez, P. and del Bosque, I.R., 2013. CSR and customer loyalty: The roles of trust, customer identification with the company and satisfaction. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 35, pp.89-99.

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Tanwar, R., 2013. Porter’s generic competitive strategies. Journal of business and management, 15(1), pp.11-17.

Teeratansirikool, L., Siengthai, S., Badir, Y. and Charoenngam, C., 2013. Competitive strategies and firm performance: the mediating role of performance measurement. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 62(2), pp.168-184.

Valipour, H., Birjandi, H. and Honarbakhsh, S., 2012. The effects of cost leadership strategy and product differentiation strategy on the performance of firms. Journal of Asian Business Strategy, 2(1), p.14.

Van Der Aalst, W.M., La Rosa, M. and Santoro, F.M., 2016. Business process management.

Zakaria, I., Rahman, B.A., Othman, A.K., Yunus, N.A.M., Dzulkipli, M.R. and Osman, M.A.F., 2014. The relationship between loyalty program, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty in retail industry: A case study. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 129, pp.23-30.

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