An eye on the value of service

Alan Mitchell’s article on “no-frills” value brands (MW February 5) made many illuminating points but also raises a number of thorny issues for small to medium-sized companies trying to compete with the emerging big players.

Take for instance the world of optics, where Specsavers has played a similar role to that of easyJet, Asda et al. With its 25 per cent market share and immense buying power, it is virtually impossible for independent groups to compete price-wise with Specsavers.

Straight Bat Marketing has been advising a client, a regional opticians chain, to launch a “value all-in-one inclusive range” to compete with the likes of Specsavers, while acknowledging and placing emphasis on the fact that the only way to maintain (if not build) market share is to ensure that levels of service far exceed those of an operation such as Specsavers.

I am glad to report that since the launch of the “value range”, sales have increased five per cent and the number of lapsing patients has fallen. But I am in no doubt that the “value” brands are here to stay, and more challenges lie ahead.

Andrew Mallinson

Straight Bat Marketing

Pewsey, Wilts

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