The paper "Waitrose: Planning the Online Drive" is a perfect example of a business case study. In the United Kingdom, competition has intensified among supermarkets tremendously over the last decade or so as consumer spending on food and grocery has stagnated, the land has become scarce and out-of-town planning regulations have made supermarket expansion increasingly difficult (Hawkes, 2008). As a result, companies have had to introduce innovative selling, sourcing and supply chain management strategies in order to maintain the competitive edge. While large retailers like Tesco have aggressively increased the number of stores, and sourced products from across the world in order to maintain margins, Marks and Spencer’ s Simply Food, launched in 2001, has concentrated on the high-street market segment.
Smaller chains like Waitrose have increased the product portfolio from food and grocery to non-food items as well. Although the sales of traditional food and grocery have stagnated, that of other items like fresh food, organic food and ready meals, in which Waitrose has specialized, has increased. Besides, different channels of selling have emerged, like home delivery and electronic shopping, putting more pressure on the supermarkets which therefore offer various in-site and off-site facilities like fish counters, pharmacies and petrol stations, to woo customers.
In this report, I will develop a business plan for Waitrose’ s online presence to take on its rivals. Structure of supermarket competition Nearly three-fourths of the bread, milk, fruit and meat are sold in the UK through supermarkets (Fox and Vorley, 2004). Foodservice through supermarkets, typically that of fast food, is 30 percent of total consumer spending on food and it is expected to grow to 50 percent by 2020.
It is, however, not possible to estimate the total market share of supermarkets in retail sales of food, grocery and household goods since the market is heterogeneous. The convenience sector, valued at $27bn, is the largest segment of the UK grocery market.
Competition Commission (2000) Supermarkets: A report on the supply of groceries from multiple stores in the United Kingdom, retrieved from http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/rep_pub/reports/2000/446super.htm
Wrigley, N and M S Lowe, (2002) Reading Retail: A Geographical Perspective on Retailing and Consumption Spaces, New York: Arnold: London and Oxford University Press
Burt, S L and L Sparks (2003) Power and Competition in the UK grocery market, British Journal of Management, 14(3), p 237-254
Fearne, A and D Hughes (1998) Success Factors in the Fresh Produce Supply Chain: Some Examples from the UK, 1998, London: Wye College
BBC News (2006) Supermarket competition concerns, March 9 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4785544.stm
Elms Farms Research (2006), Organic Columbian Blacktail Eggs: the Stonegate/Waitrose supply chain, May http://www.efrc.com/manage/authincludes/article_uploads/EGGS.pdf
Hawkes, Steve (2008) Put simply, Waitrose dishes up competition for M&S, The Times, October 2, http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article4863623.ece
Wallop, Harry and Richard Fletcher (2009) Ocado undercuts Waitrose, starting an online supermarket price war, Telegraph, April 10, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/5136317/Ocado-undercuts-Waitrose-starting-an-online-supermarket-price-war.html
Klasnja-Montenegro, Aleksandra (2005), eCommerce Application Development, Novi Sad Business School, http://ecenter.fov.uni-mb.si/merkurday2005/Papers/Aleksandra_Klasnja.pdf