Comic Sans   Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Comic Sans Case Study Solution

Introduction

Comic Sans is a retail store offering products for themed clothing, scientific gadgets, electronics, paraphernalia, puzzles and toys where customers can easily browse through the store’s displays of rare action figures, comic books, trading cards and board games. The shop is run by three university friends Waldrop, McCoy and Foucquet and is located in Montreal Quebec which is a metropolitan area and is considered as the cultural capital of Canada. Target market of CS is youth aged between 18-34 and there are about 800,000 people aged between 18-34 in Montreal Quebec. French is the official language and Foucquet is fluent in speaking French.

Initial startup:

Comic Sans was established on November 10th 2010.The startup costs were $50,000 including leasehold arrangements and startup inventory cost which was borne by three partners in the ratio of 2:2:1. Tasks were assigned among them. Waldrop was responsible for managing supplier relations, accounts payable and processing new deliveries. Foucquet being fluent in French was responsible for in-store customer services and handled store’s accounts on regular basis. McCoy was handling the marketing campaigns and issues and with a little budget allocated he put all his efforts to reach out the target customer and introduce the products. All three of them alternatively took the responsibility of opening and closing the store.

First two years:

Going with the mission of embracing the customer’s hobbies and helping them find a product for them, the first two years went beyond the expectations of the partners in terms of sales and popularity. On an average CS earned a margin of 50% on all its products. The owners were not paying themselves for the efforts they had put but at the end of second year they were able to draw $90,000 for them on behalf of higher sales. The first operational challenge was the protest being carried out in March 2012 regarding a tuition increase. Major streets and roads were blocked which in turn affected the sales of store. The said matter was fixed in September 2012 and then CS expected foot traffic to return to usual levels.

Competitors:

There were many stores in Canada with the same concept as CS, so it faced competition in the market by stores like Greek Chick Boutique, New Brunswick and Uber Cool Stuff in London, Ontario. But in Montreal, CS was the only store of its kind except few niche stores such as Chez Greek, Toys on fire, and Librairie Astro that focused on toys, games and comics. Moreover, online retailer in this field such as Think Geek was known for its excellent customer service and began designing and manufacturing its own products. In contrast, CS was the brick and motor form of Think Geek. Another store named Geek Cantina ltd offered similar products with similar price point and gives 5% of all income going to charity and has a loyalty points system.

Comic Sans   Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

SWOT analysis of Comic sans:

Strengths;

  1. Partners are friends and know each other for many years and the work is assigned to each on the basis of his/her capability.
  2. They are offering products to a targeted market so the selection of product will be accordingly.
  3. It is easier to predict the behavior of a certain targeted age group in order to convince.
  4. 20% of its total customers are loyal repeat customers.
  5. Partners have self-dedication and interest in the business and its further expansion.

Weaknesses;

  1. Difficulty in finance availability in case of future expansion as the only option would be the parents or the close friends to ask for.
  2. Building personal relationships among two partners would be harmful in case of disputes and arguments.
  3. Less emphasis on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for promotions and advertisement.

Opportunities;

  1. Launching online retail store for purchasing as the competitors are already entering in this market.
  2. Hiring individuals for tasks that cannot be performed by the partners will help in growing sales and profit margins but their salaries will cost too.
  3. Use of cheaper media to communicate and market the product i.e. Facebook and twitter.
  4. Analyzing the rival’s weaknesses to make up own strengths.
  5. Introducing customer loyalty programs, discounts and promotions.

Threats;

  1. Competitors providing online retail shopping.
  2. Swings in customer’s habits and switching to substitutes.
  3. Managing the business by only three partners being responsible for all the tasks.
  4. Recent affair and break up of McCoy and Foucquet leading to resign of her may result in option to sell the business.
  5. Replacing Foucquet is not easy as she was maintaining the accounts reliably....................

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