Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saturation Marketing

25 Sep 2008

I walked from Marble Arch to the British Museum along Oxford Street. This is the "high street" or main shopping street of London, where you find the flagship stores of the big retail names, notably Selfridges, and John Lewis. In addition there are many of the smaller chains. What surprised me was the fact that the smaller chains have stores every five or six blocks on the same street. Even Marks and Spencer had two establishments six blocks apart. In what is clearly a high-rent district in central London, I wondered about this marketing strategy. Obviously large numbers of people pass through this district --- it's sometimes hard to walk along in a straight line without dodging through the crowd. Do they provide enough business to justify the multiple stores? Is this practice a left-over strategy of placing stores where people without cars can reach them, or a new strategy of saturation marketing?

The same practice holds true, but to a lesser degree in the high-end shopping districts in the neighborhood of Regent Street and Picadilly. There I saw only one each of Liberty of London, Fortnum and Mason, Habitat, Dicken and Jones and the like. Here also you find the small, exclusive independent shops, places that descreetly advertise "bespoke" services. In King's English, that means custom-made. If you're a gentleman with unlimited resources, you can procure a bespoke suit, shirt, belt, shoes, hat and even an umbrella.


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