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Urban Outfitters Case Study

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jtgreen1
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Urban Outfitters Continuing Case Study: Marketing a Business
Jason A. Knight
August 21st, 2011
Professor A. Garabedian

1. Explain why Sears or Wal-mart cannot effectively create a trendy counterculture image. Urban Outfitters can be credited for successfully creating a trendy counterculture image. They have been able to do this by targeting specific markets in key areas and locations, offering exclusivity, and promoting a certain lifestyle. Sears and Wal-mart have both established themselves as being highly successful and profitable business chains. However, even though these large chains have established themselves as strong contenders in the retail market Sears and Wal-mart cannot effectively create a trendy counterculture image. Sears and Wal-mart lack the ability to offer exclusivity and the ability to target specific markets. Both chains are just simply too large. Even though there are Urban Outfitters locations worldwide they still manage to offer a very specific selection of items on a small scale to accommodate the social and socioeconomic demographics of the area in which they are located. You can find a sears or Wal-mart in virtually every state in the U.S. and find the exact same broad range of products. There is really no differentiation, nothing that sets the stores apart. Literally just anyone has the ability to shop in these places and offering such a broad range of products, including groceries, clothing, and electronics attracts a wider range of people.
Sears and Wal-mart, unlike Urban Outfitters, are not really even promoting any specific type of lifestyle. The message these large retail chains send out amongst the masses it basically we’re here, we’re affordable, and we can accommodate everyone. For example people that shop at Urban Outfitters are driven by social status and having the ability to be distinguished in a crowd while people that shop at Sear and Wal-mart are the average individual trying to get through the daily hustle and bustle of their ordinary life. Knight 2
2. Could the big box stores sell merchandise identical to Urban Outfitters? Explain your answer. Big box stores could have the potential to sell merchandise identical to Urban Outfitters. Sure the merchandise offered by Urban Outfitters is desired for its fashion qualities but that isn’t the only reason why people buy it. They are essentially buying the trademark or the brand. If other stores offered those same clothing items they would sell, however it would not be due to the exclusivity, or elusiveness or all of the other distinguishing characteristics of Urban Outfitters it would then be because they are trendy and affordable. In fact the only thing that would possibly hinder other retailers from being able to market those same items would be the cost to mass produce on a larger scale.
3. Identify at least three reasons why exclusivity is valuable. Exclusivity has proven to be highly essential and of extreme importance when marketing goods and services. Specifically exclusivity has played in intricate role in the success of Urban Outfitters. Three reasons why exclusivity is valuable because it creates higher demand for products and services can help to obtain a strong customer base, and could potentially afford a business greater profit yield. Exclusivity can help create a high demand for goods and services. By not having a large stock of a certain item it can promote the need for consumers to go out and purchase an item as quickly as possible to be one of the first and the few to have acquired something. Even though a limited supply may cause some disappointment that disappointment could potentially put a store Knight 3 on many customers’ radars. In searching for the item that they initially desired an individual may be prompted to make a purchase just so as not to miss out on the “next big thing”. Another reason why exclusivity is valuable is because it can create a strong customer base. People can appreciate a business that is structured to their needs. Exclusivity is of great importance to some people simply because some peoples self worth is rooted in the items that they have that others do not. These days society places much value and emphasis on material things. If consumers can rely on a business to keep them a step or two ahead of their peers they will become loyal to the brand.
Finally, exclusivity can potentially create a higher profit yield. This ties into the idea of creating a high demand. People are willing to pay to be the first or one of the few. A company can charge top dollar for an item simply because there are not many available. For example, think back 15 years ago when the “Tickle Me Elmo” was the hottest toy on the market, because they were available in such a limited quantity just one of those dolls that probably cost about twenty bucks to make sold for over eight hundred dollars. Urban Outfitters has been able to make this same concept work for them as well which is why they have garnered so much success since there establishment.
4. Senk says that shopping is largely entertainment. Do you agree or disagree with him? Explain your answer. I could most definitely go along with the notion that shopping is largely entertainment. People shop for many reasons whether it be a special occasion, back to school etc. However, even though these events may be the motivation for a shopping trip on the surface chances are Knight 4 there may have already been suitable options in their closets. As a consumer myself I know I personally derive something more from shopping than just the necessity to stay warm. I enjoy being a trend setter or catching hot ticket items at low ticket prices. These days people will shop online even if just to feel a void or take up time out of their day.

References:
Retail's Recipe for Hip, 2003, Chain Store Age 79, no. 11: 42-43, Business Source Premier, accessed August 21st, 2011.

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