This report presents an analysis of the positioning strategies for the Lite Info Systems (LIS) product category of the Data Capturing Industry. LIS are marketing/price-verifying devices that can be used by both consumers and retailers.
Shoppers through using LIS can easily obtain the price (after scanning the bar code) of a product, as well as additional information about the chosen product. As for the retailers LIS could be used as a tool to increase customer loyalty and it can be used for promotional/marketing purposes. Four companies have been identified that are currently producing price checking equipment and they have been selected for the purpose of this report. These companies are: Gempsy, Symbol Technologies, IEE, and Scantech International BV. The major clients and users of the equipment are various food and non-food retailers.The first part of the report provides an introduction into Data Capturing Equipment and it outlines the reasons for opting to analyse this industry. Further, general positioning strategies of all manufacturers at the basic level of Core Product will be provided.
The second part of the report examines the positioning of LIS at the Actual Product and Augmented Product level. An introduction to the companies and their operations is also given in this part of the report. Finally, based on the analysis of the current positioning strategies the section dealing with conclusions and recommendations will finalise the report proposing to each company a possible course of action in order to improve their market performances.In modern retailing nothing has had such enormous impact on the development of this industry as the introduction of a small set of line characters called – bar code.
Relatively the simple line set has an ability to accumulate and store vast amounts of data and therefore it has revolutionised the complete retail industry and its operation ranging from storage of product information to warehousing and logistics. Today, in a modern retail sector, it is unimaginable to conduct everyday operations without the usage of bar codes, as well as without the equipment used to interpret those codes. As the usage of bar code advanced it became an essential part of retail operations and new applications were discovered so the need for bar code readers became evident.Since its invention the bar code did not change significantly, however, the equipment used has experienced notable changes (for instance: large laser tubes were replaced with very small laser diodes, optics parts are more sophisticated, etc).
The equipment that is being used for reading bar code and the interpretation of different data is generally known as Data Capturing Equipment. This term covers all the equipment that has incorporated a laser component (necessary to interpret codes) such as: Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS, or simply cash register), Hand-Held Scanners (pistol scanners), Presentational Scanners, Scale Scanners, Lite Info Systems (price checking equipment), etc. For the purpose of this report special attention will be given to the Lite Info System product category.The main reasons for analysing Data Capturing Industry and Lite Info Systems product category are as follows:* The application of the bar code and the equipment that is used to interpret it can be seen and indirectly used in everyday life. It is a rapidly growing industry with a promising future and new application can be expected very soon (for example: combining laser scanning and mobile technology).* The industry itself is very concentrated, meaning that several producers mainly from the USA and Europe dominate the world market.
There is also a desirable mix of large (international) manufacturers as well as smaller (regional) companies.* All the companies are offering very similar products to the same clients – food and non-food retailers. However, their positioning strategies differ.* The information needed for the analysis of the companies and their positioning strategies are easily available.In order to efficiently examine the current product positioning of the companies involved in the manufacturing and marketing of LIS equipment an insight into the product itself, which is more than a set of tangible features, will be provided in the graph bellow.
The market position of LIS is defined by several important attributes that characterise this type of product. The following section will examine and explain how the manufacturers of LIS are attempting to position LIS in a way that will have an influence on consumer’s perception of the product. This addresses the following questions: What is the purchaser buying and how customers and final users perceive the product? The section bellow will deal with the most basic level, Core Product of LIS, and its current positioning strategies.In the retail sector LIS are positioned as information devices through which a retailer can communicate with its customers, increase offered range of service, facilitate the purchasing process and personalise the relationship between the retailer and the customer. In addition to this, LIS provide an opportunity for a retailer to apply “one-to-one marketing” strategies by designing special promotions for individual customers. LIS can allow a retailer to obtain valuable information about the customer’s preferences, needs, wants and provide an overview of the consumer’s purchasing habits. As a result, the use of LIS could assists retailers in increasing customer attention while at the same time reducing the costs associated with personnel attendance with a client.
Through the use of LIS, retailers could attempt to create their own unique image relative to their competitors. Further, LIS are tools that could be used in the improvement and organising of the logistic system within the store.As for the final users, LIS are positioned as devices that facilitate consumers in their purchasing process by providing additional information about a certain product such as: bringing to customer’s attention special offers, price, promotional deals, discounts and other information about the product. The greatest benefits obtained by the consumers when using LIS are: a significant reduction in time spent by a customer when searching for additional information about a product, ease of price checking, as well as a decrease in time spent by customers queuing at the checkouts.When observing product brochures of all manufacturers a conclusion can be made that all of them are positioning their products in a very similar way – that is, the positioning strategy is concentrated on core benefits and problem solving characteristics of the product.
Nevertheless, an insight into positioning strategies of the chosen companies in regards to Actual Product as well as Augmented Product will be analysed in the section that follows.