JB Hi-Fi is the largest consumer electronics retailer in Australia. The Australian consumer electronic market is one of the strongest in the world. The high income and demand for premium devices in the country make it a lucrative market for consumer electronics. Founded in 1974, JB Hi-Fi is one of the companies operating in the consumer electronics market in Australia. As a publicly traded company, JB has a listing on the Australian stock exchange, ASX, as JBH, and is one of the fastest growing and most successful companies of its kind in Australia. As a consumer electronics retailer, JB specializes in the sale of video games, home appliances, electronics, Blu-rays, CDs and DVDs.
In its operation, the company uses all the different elements of marketing mix to its advantage. JB Hi-Fi distinguishes itself by offering customers discounted prices on consumer electronics, and recently bought The Good Guys, a retail competitor for $870 million. The purchase has increased JB Hi-Fi’s reach, making it the largest retail store in Australia. However, it faces competition from Harvey Norman, Big W, and Target Australia among other consumer electronics retailers.
To improve its performance and maintain its position as the market leader, JB Hi-Fi must take some actions including more advertisement, especially online advertisement and look beyond the Australian and New Zealand markets. Expanding to Europe and other emerging markets will ensure the company has added revenues from the markets that have a growing middle-class population. Additionally, with environment sustainability being a concern for many customers, stocking environment friendly consumer goods will ensure the satisfaction of the category of consumers, and ensure its sustainability.
Marketing Analysis of JB Hi-Fi
The Australian consumer electronic market is one of the strongest in the world. The high income and demand for premium devices in the country make it a lucrative market for consumer electronics sellers (Market Research and Knowledge Network, 2015). Despite being a lucrative market, the outlook for potential of growth in the industry is especially dim given the maturity of the industry. The market has high penetration of most consumer electronics goods, although emerging product categories such as ultrabooks, 3D TV sets among other show potential for growth (Ferrier Hodgson, 2015; Market Research and Knowledge Network, 2015). Founded in 1974, JB Hi-Fi is one of the companies operating in the consumer electronics market in Australia. As a publicly traded company, JB has a listing on the Australian stock exchange, ASX, as JBH, and is one of the fastest growing and most successful companies of its kind in Australia. As a consumer electronics retailer, JB specializes in the sale of video games, home appliances, electronics, Blu-rays, CDs and DVDs (Carson, 2007).
As a concern for many around the world, sustainability and environmental friendliness is part of the company’s policy. JB, therefore, has an environmental sustenance policy for all its employees and activities covering the company’s activities and the impact of the activities on the environment and local community (JB Hi-FI, 2016). To ensure environmental sustainability JB has a number of programs including Carbon Disclosure Project, which collates and reports company environmental actions to external users (JB Hi-FI, 2016). The Smarter Choice Program educates JB’s employees on the best advices to give to customers on energy efficient products. The company is also a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, which ensures the reduction, measurement and understanding of environmental impact from packaging. Further, a five-star energy rated office houses the company’s support office, in addition to the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program, which enables customers to drop used printer cartridges at the company’s stores for recycling and remanufacturing (JB Hi-Fi, 2016).
Products, Services, Suppliers and Customers
JB Hi-Fi is a consumer goods store. It largely specializes on the sale of video games, music compact disks, DVDs and Blu-rays, as well as white goods and electronics/hardware (JB Hi-Fi, 2016). The electronics in this case include computers, laptops, smartphones, TVs, in-car stereo and entertainment, hi-fi systems, digital cameras, game consoles and accessories among others. Apart from selling the hardware, JB Hi-Fi also offers its customers a wide range of services. Among the services the company offers is the delivery if digital video content. In addition to telecommunication products, JB also offers telecommunication services, information technology and consulting services (JB Hi-Fi, 2016).
As a consumer goods store, manufacturers and developers form a large part of the company’s suppliers. TV, game console, hi-fi system, original equipment manufacturers among others form the portfolio of the company’s suppliers. Operating 184 stores in Australia and an additional 15 stores in New Zealand, JB is truly a manufacturer’s best bet for moving inventory. Moreover, the company has an exclusive retail deal with Dell, the American PC manufacturer (Ramli, 2010).
JB Hi-Fi largely serves customers from high-earning households. According to Roy Morgan Research released on September 19, 2016 the mean household income of JB Hi-Fi customers is $115,000 per annum. The customers’ mean age is 40 years, and largely those with college education and a penchant for electronics (Roy Morgan Research, 2016).
As part of its competitive advantage, JB Hi-Fi is first Australia and New Zealand’s largest store for home entertainment, consumer electronics products, white goods and small appliances. What, however, has contributed to the growth and position of the store is their discount pricing, which appeals to its customers (JB Hi-FI, 2016). The company positions itself as a discount retailer, giving it the ability to offer consistently low prices. JB Hi-Fi’s ability to offer such prices is through its scale of operations, which involves high stock turnover and low cost of doing business.
As one of the elements of marketing mix with direct correlation with organizational turnover, pricing is especially important, and therefore the more reason for careful consideration before its execution (Belz, 2006). Among the factors for consideration before deciding on pricing, include fixed and variable costs, competition, company objectives, the target group and the willingness of the group to pay (Ellison & Snyder, 2010). While there are many types of pricing strategies, JB Hi-Fi uses economy pricing (discount pricing). Gherasim (2012) informs that an economy pricing strategy aims at attracting price-conscious consumers. Additionally, the strategy allows the business to minimize marketing and production-related costs, helping to keep the prices down.
Economy prcing is especially feasible for large companies, such as JB Hi-Fi due to the huge economies of scale that such companies have. The strategy is therefore, very harmful for small business, which do not have the capacity to move lack sales volumes. For JB Hi-Fi, the discounts on goods make a very good case for customer loyalty over the years.
Promotion is one of the elements of marketing mix. As one of the elements, it involves either creating product awareness to the public or institutional awareness (Belz, 2006). Product promotion includes means of convincing customers to choose the company’s products over its competitors, while institutional promotion is a means of crafting a responsible and favorable image to the general public (Ettenson, Conrado & Knowles, 2013). In their attempt to achieve the two (product awareness and company image), companies use personal selling, advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, and public relation, all forming a promotion mix.
JB Hi-Fi invests in a wide range of advertising media including magazines, televisions and radio advverstisments. Moreover, in the current age where the internet is ubiquitous and often used by many, JB Hi-Fi also uses online channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for their advertisement campaigns. The company especially uses these medium to announce new stock, dropping of prices, and a combination of deals to its customers (New Zealand Herald, 2016).
In addition to the traditional media for advertisement, JB Hi-Fi also uses personal advertising through in-store signage on offers and promotions, as well as the sales personnel in the stores (Quinn, 2016). The company displays signs on discounts and offers on different items in the stores in addition to having sales personnel within the store to guide and inform customers on the offers and promotions.
As part of their promotion, the company uses public relations, especially corporate social responsibility. One such program is the Helping Hands program, where the company’s directors, executives and employees donate to registered charitable organizations (JB Hi-Fi, 2016). The program runs in both the Australian and New Zealand operations of the company (JB Hi-Fi, 2016).
JB Hi-Fi has more 190 stores across New Zealand and Australia. The company has divided the store into JB Hi-Fi stores and JB Hi-Fi HOME. In the JB Hi-Fi stores, the company sells electronics from the different OEM manufacturers that supply the company with different products. These OEMs include Samsung, Apple, Google, Sony, Cannon, Toshiba, Acer, JVC, and LG among others. The company introduced small appliances into its stores for customers looking to buy the small appliances along with the electronics (New Zealand Herald, 2016).
For big appliances such as washing machines, cookers, freezers, and fridges, the company has JB HOME. These stores largely sell the big home appliances, which may be too bulky for the stores. OEMs and suppliers deliver the wares to the company, where JB sells them at its discounted prices. In delivery and supply of the goods, the company has transitioned to a consignment stock model with the suppliers (JB Hi-Fi, 2016). This model passes the ownership of the stock to the company only after the stores sell the stock supplied. Thus, the JB Hi-Fi can always return any unsold goods to the suppliers (Battini et al., 2010). This way the company minimizes lag between selling stock and the arrival of new orders.
As a publicly traded company in a market with mature customers, JB Hi-Fi has a number of competitors including Harvey Norman, Myer, David Jones, Big W, and Target Australia. These are all direct competitors of the company, and although The Good Guys was also a competitor, JB Hi-Fi managed to buy the retailer for $870 million (Koehn, 2016; New Zealand Herald, 2016; Ray Morgan Research, 2016). Of the competitors, Harvey Norman is the most formidable JB Hi-Fi competitor given its size as well as operations outside Australia. Moreover, Harvey Normal sells largely the same products as JB Hi-Fi, with similar reach (194 franchised locations in Australia and 86 company-owned stores overseas).
JB Hi-Fi’s pricing is economy pricing, for its competitor Harvey Norman, competitive pricing is their best bet, with a best price guarantee. According to Harvey Norman, showing them lower prices of a similar product from a competitor guarantees a match or refund for the product (Harvey Norman, 2015). This is a competitive pricing strategy aimed at convincing customers that the store has the best prices, and where they do not, the matching or refund helps build customer loyalty.
For place, while JB Hi-Fi operates 184 stores in Australia and an additional 15 stores in New Zealand, Harvey Norman operates 280 stores globally through company-owned and franchised stores. In Australia, the company stores operate with the names Harvey Norman, Domayne and Joyce Mayne; overseas, however, the company operates under the Harvey Norman brand name (Harvey Norman, 2013).
Like JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman uses different media for advertising including radio, television, newspapers, and magazines (Ryan, 2016). Additionally, the company also uses online media for advertisement including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The company also uses catalogues, which they have published online or send via email to their customers.
JB Hi-Fi has built a name in Australia and New Zealand as the to-go shop for discounted deals on electronics, household appliances and white goods. From its founding as a music seller, JB Hi-Fi has advocated for cheap prices, and put in place measures to ensure sustainability of its operations, in addition to instituting social innovation. According to Bruin (2016), social innovation is one of the pillars of sustainability, advocated for in the international corporate world. Marketing is one of the most important elements that JB Hi-Fi has to put in place, as a mature company. However, even in enhancing its marketing, it must ensure sustainability in the marketing process. According to Peattie and Belz (2010), sustainable marketing “involves building and maintaining sustainable relationships with customers, the social environment and the natural environment” (p. 9)
JB Hi-Fi is outstanding in its product range. The ability to provide a wide range of products set its products apart from competitors’ giving it competitive advantage. Although JB Hi-Fi may not guarantee the sustainability of the products, their operations in selling the products are sustainable as they not only cater to customers’ needs, but also have significant improvement in social and environmental performance (Peattie & Belz, 2010). The company can however insist on only selling ecofriendly products, especially those with energy star certification, as well as using sustainable processes and buildings.
Nielsen (2016) puts price as the second most important consideration after for customers. As a pricing strategy, currently JB Hi-Fi uses economy pricing, which targets price-conscious customers and builds customer loyalty. While this has worked so far, especially allowing it to penetrate different markets, it is time the store changes its strategy to strategic pricing, which will allow it to charge higher prices while emphasizing on the quality of the brands products (Chatterjee et al., 2010). Strategic planning is especially viable for the JB Hi-Fi given the sustainable attributes of the operation process (Peattie & Belz, 2010). Environmental and social sustainability processes used by the company positions it well to introduce premium prices for its products.
Currently, JB Hi-Fi has operations in Australia and New Zealand. However, there are still other untapped markets across the world. According to Peattie and Belz (2010), place, as a marketing mix concept, should go beyond just the availability of the good at one place, to the convenience of the consumers, especially where consumers want the products. Europe is a potentially large market with a price-conscious population. JB Hi-Fi should therefore seek to provide convenience to these potential customers by expanding into Europe and other regions (Cronin et al., 2011).
JB Hi-Fi current promotion includes personal and direct marketing, and media. While these have enabled the company to reach the far it has, there is need for better marketing if it wants to increase its market share and improve customer loyalty. To augment sustainability JB Hi-Fi must aim at communicating its product quality and value to the customers in addition to highlighting the superiority of its products (Peattie & Belz, 2010). One way is benchmarking competitors’ prices in a side-by-side comparison with its products, and emphasizing their products value and superiority, at below market prices. Harvey Norman is currently doing that and matching the prices of products in addition to giving refunds on price differences. This has enabled it not only attract new customers, but also augment its customer loyalty. JB Hi-Fi must be able to beat such prices if it is to stay as the market leader. Additionally, JB Hi-Fi must make extensive use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat among others to connect to its customers and potential customers.
Over the years, JB Hi-Hi has grown to become one of the largest retailers of its kind in Australia and New Zealand. It is currently the market leader in Australia for consumer electronics, music CDs and DVDs in sales volume. However, the company is facing stiff competition from other retailers, its main competitor being Harvey Norman, which has operations overseas. The purchase of The Good Guys, a retailer and former competitor, looks to boost JB Hi-Fi’s position in the market. This is especially important in expanding its reach and customer base across the country and outside in New Zealand. Although the electronics market in Australia is mature, with little prospects for growth, there are new categories of electronics that show potential for growth. This includes smart devices, ultrabooks, and high definition TV sets, as well as virtual reality and wearable gears that are increasingly becoming popular with technology enthusiasts. Moreover, emerging markets, and the internal market offer opportunities for expansion for increased revenue. Setting up shop in such markets has the potential of increasing the company’s revenue given its reliance on the new stock model method of inventory. More advertisement for consumer awareness, better distribution network and a competitive pricing strategy are all that the company needs to penetrate into the global market, especially the emerging markets that have price conscious customers and a growing of middle-class population.
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· High quality products
· Market leadership in New Zealand and Australia
· Discount pricing
· Purchase of The Good Guys
· Good market visibility in Australia and New Zealand
· Brand name
· Existing sales and distribution networks
· Reliance on outsourced brands (there are no JB Hi-Fi branded goods)
· No global presence and therefore reliance on New Zealand and Australia markets
· Reliance on high volume sales
· Emerging markets with a growing middle class population
· Growing demand for electronics
· New products such as VR and Wearable gear
· New markets especially in Europe
· Growing and improving economy both at home and globally
· New services such as online streaming of music, videos and movies
· Competition such as Harvey Norman
· Price changes, especially drop in prices that reduce profit and increase which makes customers shy away from buying
· Direct sale model of electronics by OEMs through online stores