Approaches that can be used by small businesses to expand globally
Statement of the Problem 7 1. Purpose of the Study 10 1. Research Questions 10 1. Research Objectives 10 1. The significance of the Study 10 1. Porter’s Theory of National Competitive advantage 29 2. Factor Conditions 31 2. Demand conditions 32 2. Related and supporting firms 32 2. Company strategy and rivalry 33 2. Gender 49 4. Age 49 4. Education Level 50 4. Period worked for the Company 51 4. Number of employees per retail outlet 52 4. Conclusion 66 References 68 Approaches that can be used by small businesses to expand globally: A case study of Louis Vuitton in London Chapter One: Background information, Statement of the problem and research objectives 1. Introduction This section presents brief overview of some challenges faced by small business and strategies adopted to counter the same under background information section. Section 1. describes statement of the problem. Section 1. defined globalization process as the adoption of cross-cultural practices of managing a business.
The above definitions describe the process of globalization as accelerating practice array that involves ever-increasing world’s space numbers that result in increased cases of interconnectivity and integration. It is through this sense that these scholars only perceive globalization process as a factor that leads to increased interconnectivity and integration (Bond & O’Byrne, 2014) but it is something that is accompanied by different challenges. For instance, research shows that a fast developing global marketplace that is managing people successfully serves as a significant challenge for business organizations. That is to mean that competition in the global market within a connected and flat world as well as process of formulating decisions in different business organizations is becoming convoluted and intricate (Kayode, 2012). This important for small businesses because it will help in coming up with effective and most relevant modes of dealing with the present challenges.
This premises the research to determine different challenges that affect small businesses expanding globally using a case study of Louis Vuitton luxury business which is operating in different parts of the world. Louis Vuitton was started over the past 150 years by a Frenchman who was known as a box-maker. He started the business by designing traveling trunks using canvas which portrayed a lot of creativity. This innovation and craftsmanship became a source of attraction until Vuitton was given the role of packing for the mighty (Holborow 2012). However, its success is attributed to different strategies that it applies to counter initial challenges faced by most of the small business trying to expand globally. Also, very few published research has been carried out clearly to address different global challenges faced by small business trying to expand globally.
The company gives a clear insight concerning how it fought from a retail level to multinational luxury business. Statement of the Problem In the past, most companies used to operate in their parent countries to sell their goods and services. Today, this is no longer the case. However, Louis Vuitton, which is presently dominant in luxury industry started has a retail business and later managed to become a multinational company after countering all the challenges through the application of different strategies. The company upholds its brand values through creativity and innovation, image enhancement, leadership, the excellence in its products as well as entrepreneurship. It believes that its brand foundation is based on motivating its staff to be creative so as to produce products that attract customers thus improving its investment and productivity.
Today, its brand is popular in the global market because of its elegance and high level of creativity. The firm treats its customers as rational, aspirational and emotional being and seeking to get satisfaction from the products they buy. The information will be helpful to the small business thinking of going global. It will equip them with the skills they need to expand globally. Purpose of the Study The aim of the research is to analyze the strategies used by Louis Vuitton to excel globally as a luxury industry which started small. Research Questions 1. How did Louis Vuitton become a leader in the luxury industry? 2. This topic will provide solutions to the businesses that are seeking for ways to excel in their operations at the international level.
Louis Vuitton is an example of a small business that has grown into a world fashion leader due to the strategies they used. The researcher is particularly interested in Louis Vuitton, a fashion retailer that started small and has been able to excel. Using Louis as an example will encourage other small businesses that want to grow. Also, most of the scholars have researched the different challenges facing small businesses planning to go global but have never provided a solution in terms of applicable strategies that can be used to counter such issues. The other challenges faced were dishonesty by some respondents who might have feared being victimized after disclosing information concerning their business. However, such a challenge was addressed by seeking approval from the company management before engaging its employees.
Chapter 2: Review of the Literature 2. Industry Analysis for luxury goods The luxury industry is composed of different products that aim at catering to the needs of elite individuals who have taste for quality products and its brand image in the global market. According to research, the luxury industry is among the most competitive sectors and its market operations are based on promotion and marketing that is engineered by technology and innovation. According to this forecast, “an average of seven to nine percent annual increases in global sales to fuel luxury brands’ growth aspirations until the middle of the decade” (Bain &Company, 2011). This report showed that the recovery of this industry from 2008/9 recession was as a result of the following trends, “growth of online sales, rapid expansion in China, and shift from wholesale to direct-owned retail” (Eriksson et al.
In 2012, a significant development was concentrated in China with a growth of 18-20 percent, America with 5-7 percent and Europe recording 2-4 percent growth. During this period, Japan recorded the highest percentage of sales in the industry. During the last years, some markets such as Russia and India were recovering while Vietnam, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia were referred to as emerging markets. This is in agreement with the research that was conducted by Dirk Schierek examining on the effect of M&A in a firm and he concluded that formation of such ventures result in positive stimulation of wealth effects to the concerned companies and also achievement of “enlargement of market power and brand portfolios as well as the amelioration of firm efficiency.
Why Luxury Brands Companies dealing with the production of luxury products are known for their strong management strategies and other strengths that make them preferable for this study. The 2015 research by Shipilov and Godart assumes that firms dealing with the production of luxury products have the ability to “exploit their diverse business portfolios to offer rich learning opportunities to both managers and creative talent” (Shipilov & Godart, 2015). Also, luxury companies have the ability to provide different ways of flourishing smaller brands that are not in a position to grow at a faster rate. The companies seek services from talented people who are offered different positions within the firm. According to Heine, “Part of the value added when buying goods from Louis Vuitton is the recognition of the brand by other people who cannot afford it” (Heine, 2012 p.
The leading brands always focus on achieving maximum awareness through sponsorships and advertisements in glamour magazines. However, most of the luxury firms make use of celebrities, public relation and catwalk shows as ways of achieving awareness among their consumers. According to research by Arnault, a leading brand comes to exist whenever products portray heritage yet they are still modern. Some of the main features of a leading brand involve; “timeless, modern, fast growing, and highly profitable. During this financial year, the retail sales of personal luxuries increased to over 250 billion euros (D’Arpizio et al, 2015). According to D’Arpizio et al. “Accessories occupied 30% of personal luxury goods, remaining the leader of the sector, with apparel, accounting for 24% of the market, and hard luxury, meaning watches and jewelry, for 22%, growing steadily behind” (D’Arpizio et al, 2015 p.
The increase in sales for luxury shoes outperformed leather products for two consecutive years, something that had not been witnessed for the last 6 years since 2015. The shoes recorded an increment of 4% to stand at 16 billion euros while leather products increased by 2% to stand at 43 billion euros during the same financial year (D’Arpizio et al, 2015 p. The fastest growing set of consumers is found in China because they spend a lot in foreign countries. According to this report, “Chinese consumers now represent about one-third of the global market, up from only 1% in 2000; Japanese consumers, who accounted for a quarter of the market in 2000, now make up 10% of global purchases” (D’Arpizio et al, 2015 p. On the contrary to Chinese people, most of the Japanese spend money buying luxury products from their own country because of the devaluation of the currency.
The rate of consumption in the Middle East and Chinese consumers increased by 11 and 10 percent respectively during 2014 while consumers from Japan and Russia registered a negative consumption (D’Arpizio et al, 2014). Another research carried out on Western markets shows that “about 30 percent of Americans, Europeans, and Japanese say they are most likely to pay full price for an item that is classic – and more than half of Chinese”. Therefore, all these factors serve as motives for both small scale and large scale businesses to venture into global markets. The size of a business does not matter but the motive behind its urge to go global plays a significant role. Global strategy and rivalry theory of international trade This theory was coined by Paul Krugman and Kelvin Lancaster in 1980s.
The theory is based on the international organizations and how they struggle to gain a competitive advantage over other international businesses in their industry. The theory is of the idea that a business needs to develop their competitive advantage in order to stay in business and outdo competitors. The most established companies are faced with the challenge of counterfeiting their designs by its competitors especially in the luxury industry. However, their luxury products are protected through the adoption of IP rights. The lifeblood of the products offered by multinational business organizations such as Louis Vuitton is the social difference that is recognized by their consumers (Machnicka, 2016). These social difference in the luxury industry comes in different forms. First, the differentiation is brought about by the economic value attached to luxury commodities.
The IP protection is governed by a law that guarantees that owners of a specific brand can recoup their resources towards production and dissemination of work that has been copyrighted, patented designs or even logos that have been trademarked. Therefore, the law governing IP protection vests a bundle of economic freedom to the IP owners. This law is against the IP copying of that cause infringement on the IP freedom enjoyed by firms that specialize in the production of luxury products that have brand logos and product designs protected by this law. Therefore, IP law has powers to penalize or even prosecute anyone who infringes IP protection by copying production designs from protected firms. General, the freedom of protection enjoyed by IP owners come in different protection levels such as anti-dilution and anti-confusion protection (Cohen et al.
Most of the firms in the luxury industry depend on the protection of their trademark and believe that they are important to the firm because it serves as a commercial magnet (Dornis, 2012). The increased threshold that ought to be achieved to have sufficient protection of design law and copyright make anti-confusion protection that is based on trademark more important for firms in luxury industry (Cox and Jenkins, 2006). Investing in Research and Development Research and development is a significant parameter for promoting products that involve the adoption of high technology. For instance, a company like Airbus has invested over 12 billion dollars towards the development of their new A380 superjet. Other companies dealing with drugs, semiconductor and computer devices invest a lot in research and development so as to remain competitive in the market.
This is because markets in the United States is transferrable and can still address the challenges faced by Japanese farmers. Louis Vuitton is among a good example of a multinational organizational which has adopted a culture of investing its resources in research and development by collaborating with different institutions as well as nurturing talents. It is the strategic priority of the firm’s HR policy to seek external services by recruiting individuals from outside the group at different segments and levels of operation. It is a priority that that shows how Louis Vuitton is investing in development by training people who have a diverse background in production, creativity, pragmatism and enterprising (Annual Report, 2015). The firm invests a lot to train such people to become open-minded in terms of culture as well as highly motivated to participate in upholding the heritage of luxurious products while maintaining quality in the production process.
According to the company CEO, these some of these innovation initiatives include “In Mind application (for digitizing CVs submitted on student forums), virtual job forums, pre-recorded video interviews and an online presence on platforms such as jobteaser. com” (Annual Report, 2015) The Company is popular for its ability to invest heavily in nurturing young talents. According to 2015 annual report, Louis Vuitton was ranked the best by Universum as the most preferred employer for students from School of business in France, making its employer brand strong among other students in different parts of the country. Achievement of economies of scale Economies of scale give business organizations different opportunities to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage over their competitors in both international and global markets.
Economies of scale come into play whenever the average price of the products goes down as the number of products produced goes high. In the quest to this, Louis Vuitton- representing the most refined characteristics of “Art de Vivre” globally- enjoys economies of scale in different countries as a result of its competitive advantages that make it more preferable to its competitors in the global market. First, it enjoys economies of scale as a result of its rich history and culture in the production of luxury products. It is among the oldest fashion firms both nationally and internationally. It is also easier to recognize its products in the market because of its monogram canvas and LV logo that differentiates it from other companies.
Its exceptional innovation, association with architecture and art, craftsmanship as well as high-quality products defines its strength in the global market. The high price of its products is justified by high exclusivity and scarcity degree as well as superior quality which is seen in their “no discounts or promotions as well as immediate disposal of defective products” operating policies (Płoneczka, 2018 p. The company further enjoys economies of scale as a result of its strong presence as a leader in commercial hubs. All the perspectives of communication to the people in Louis Vuitton are facilitated by their brand which speaks louder in speeches announcements or even messages. As a leader in the commercial hub, the company has no room for compromises, something that has placed it at the forefront among other financial hubs such as Hong Kong, China, and Japan.
Exploiting the experience curve Experience curve is a graphical representation of a phenomenon that was explained by Bruce Henderson in 1960s. According to the theory, the competitive advantage of a nation in a particular industry depends on the ability of the industry to be innovative. The theory goes ahead to explain the reasons for more success in some industries while others are not successful. His diamond model describes the importance of external and internal resources used in the creation of competitive advantage in a business organization. According to him, the model helps in “Untangling the paradox of location in a global economy reveals a number of key insights about how companies continually create competitive advantage. What happens inside companies are important, but clusters reveal that immediate business environment outside companies plays a vital role as well” (Porter 1998b).
Such factors of production are rare to get and very complicated to be imitated by foreign competitors compared to the common factors (Eickelpasch and Lejpras, 2010). On the other hand, some of the limitations on basic factors may also have a significant impact through imposing pressure on businesses to venture in innovation practices and purpose to upgrade in order to overcome the shortage in these factors. Demand conditions Porter’s diamond model shows that conditions of demand in the domestic market have an influence on the firm’s competitiveness through three different ways. Firstly, a business organization will enjoy some benefits when a certain market segment is larger and mostly in the domestic market. Secondly, the sophisticated and buyers who are more demanding in the domestic market impose pressure on the business organizations to embrace innovation, to meet high-quality standards and to change with advanced market segments.
He argues that government policies may have an effect on the business opportunities and international strategies in a subtle way. A good example is the case of the automobile market in German. The labor cost in German is believed to be very high, making it difficult for German automobile manufacturers to compete globally because of the prices of their products. Therefore, most of the German automobile manufacturers such as BMW, Benz, and Porsche have decided to compete based on the quality of their products. Social Media Marketing The use of social media in the promotion of a company’s products and services is a very common phenomenon today. Factors determining whether social media marketing has an effect on brand awareness It is important to determine whether social media has an effect on the brand awareness.
Consumers should be in a position to recognize a specific brand and confirm whether are already aware of the same. This brand knowledge among the consumers cannot be presumptuously developed but it needs the adoption of a proper analytical action. The following table by D. Evans illustrates the metric analysis of brand awareness using social media (Evans and McKee, 2010). Negative influences could be associated with customer dissatisfaction with the products offered in the market. Otherwise, there could be issues of dominance in cases where the marketer does not actively interact with the public. Engagement The rate of engagement among the public is determined using the number of people who give response concerning the brand message. It is only through the consumption process that a firm customer engagement can be developed.
In this context, the term consumption means listening, reading, watching or even downloading contents on the business website. However, customers need to have some physical experience too (Louis, and David, 2006). The blend of the two is awesome and can lead to more profits from sales. The presence of a physical store assures the customers of the legitimacy of the company’s brand. Successful e-businesses like Amazon have also realized the advantage of having physical stores. They argue that the physical stores give the clients the opportunity to feel the product before purchasing. They invest a lot of money to align their products with endorsers. Such customers are chosen based on the way they are devoted to the brand as well as the size of social circles.
One of the challenges faced by small firms when trying to expand globally is that the international customers lack confidence in their products and service because they don’t recognize the brand. Brand ambassadors, such as real customers assist in creating awareness about the products and services of a firm before they can venture into the particular country (Benett, 1988). They communicate the values of the company and ensure customers are familiar with the product before the said business ventures into the market. For instance, a business may decide to come up with service differentiation strategies such as ease of ordering, consulting customers and timely delivery of services and products ordered. Chapter 3: Methodology 3. Qualitative Methodology Introduction This section presents the research technique that was used in exploring different strategies that were applied by some of the multinational companies in the luxury industry to venture and succeed in the global market.
Section 3. describes the research design adopted. This research mostly focuses on strategies of global expansion among small-scale businesses in the luxury industry. It aims at determining how and why some of the multinational firms dealing with the production of luxury products such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes started small until they ventured into the global market. Therefore, that is why qualitative approach was chosen to help in identifying growth strategies adopted by the two companies to expand. It is not easy to quantify the development strategy because it is a continuous process that cannot be accounted. According to research by Lincoln and Guba, qualitative approach concentrates on different things that are hard to measure and it helps in better understanding of a phenomenon of people’s behavior (Guba and Lincoln, 1994).
In this study, the participants comprised of people working in marketing and manufacturing departments for both Hermes and Louis Vuitton companies. The process of choosing respondents was carried out using a stratified sampling technique because of a large number of people working for the two companies. Following guidelines by Kothari concerning the selection of research respondents, only 100 respondents were chosen to conduct the survey (Kothari, 2004). Each one of them was informed about the survey by sending an email and later a questionnaire was sent to everyone. Data Collection The qualitative research design involved a primary method of data collection. The specific questions involved in this section are research design, research questions, hypotheses, sample size, instrumentation, data collection and methods used in data analysis.
Research Design The research adopted a descriptive research method. It is a research approach that tries to define or describe a subject through the creation of a profile of specific challenges, events or individuals by collecting data and tabulating frequencies on different research variables (Cooper &Schindler, 2006). It focuses on describing characters of a specific group of people or an individual. In this case, the research focused on determining different strategies that were adopted by certain multinational companies in luxury industry to venture in the global market, something that will pave way for small business trying to go global. Research shows that the targeted population ought to have specific observable features to which the study plans to generalize the research outcome (Parylo, 2012).
In this case, the research targeted employees working in most of the newly established stores in London because they have knowledge concerning some of the strategies adopted by the firms. The research adopted a simple random sampling approach to determine its sample size. This technique was adopted because it reduces sampling errors because each element in the target group has an equal opportunity of being considered. According to Cooper and Schindler, the research should involve a sample size of at least 30 respondents if generalization has to take place (Cooper and Schindler, 2003). The questionnaire was developed and a pilot testing was conducted using a few small business holders to correct any mistakes as well as enhance clarity of the questions. The questionnaires were administered by the researcher to each of the survey participants.
Care and control were exercised so as to make sure that none of the administered questionnaires gets lost. In order to achieve this objective, a list of administered and received questionnaires was prepared. The researcher adopted a “drop and pick later” strategy while administering questionnaires. Research Design According to Creswell and Plano, the mixed method “focuses on collecting, analyzing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or series of studies” (Creswell and Plano, 2011). It is assumed that combining both qualitative and quantitative research methods enhances proper understanding of research problems than adopting one of the approaches. Mixed research design allows research on multiple case studies as well as a collection of both primary and secondary data. The research adopted a mixed approach to enhance qualitative research as its primary method as well as help in further explanation of the initial results.
The convergent parallel research design was adopted in this research to help in collecting and analyzing two independent sets of data at the same time. H3: It takes a lot of time to counter the challenges encountered while doing business globally because of the different market dynamics. Setting and Sample The research was conducted in London, Europe, case study of Louis Vuitton to determine some of the strategies it applied to venture into the global market because it started as a very small business. Also, it involved the collection of data from employees and other senior directors working in Hermes Company so as to enhance validity and reliability of the research. Data were collected from the two companies because of their outstanding financial performance in the global market which is depended on different operation strategies applied.
The research adopted a simple random sampling approach to determine its sample size. Some of the secondary sources that were used to collect data include published journals on globalization, statistical analysis of globalization effects, articles, archived resources and company reports. According to Fisher’s argument, the secondary approach involves collecting information from the previous literature concerning different strategies applied by firms which operate in the global market (Fisher, 2004). This approach was preferred because it helped in saving the time of conducting research compared to the other approach of data collection. Data Analysis In the case of a quantitative approach, descriptive statistics was adopted in summarizing the data through frequencies and percentages. The quantitative data concerning strategies adopted by the two companies to venture into the global market were measured through normalization using real values and later analyzed using statistical methods.
The last section gives arguments related to development strategies which are divided into marketing strategies, pricing and market development strategies. Demography of Research respondents 4. Gender The table below indicates that 60% of the research respondents were male were the other 40% involved, female people. Gender Number (N) Percentage (%) Male 60 60% Female 40 40% Total 100 100 4. Age The table below indicates that 30% of the research respondents at Louis Vuitton were aged between 30-39 years. On the other hand, Louis Vuitton invested much in product differentiation with 52% compared to 47% for innovation and creativity. Only 43% and 77% believed that the business succeeded as a result of social media/relationship marketing and creation of product awareness through brand ambassadors respectively. Strategy Company Louis Vuitton Hermes (from secondary source) 1. Social media/relationship marketing 43% 30% 2.
Product differentiation 52% 40% 3. Pricing strategies Argument Rates (%) N=100 strongly disagree disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree The company places favorable prices for the customers as a way of attracting and retaining them to keep on repurchasing. The firm keeps on monitoring activities and behaviors of its potential competitors in order to make sure that profit margin employed in markup pricing helps in maximizing net profits while avoiding arbitrary decisions. The table above shows that 35% of the respondents argue that the company charges its consumers a lot compared to its competitors. Only 20% of them strongly agree that the prices charged are favorable. of the respondents acknowledge the effort of the company in monitoring activities and behaviors of its potential competitors. The research population was limited to the luxury industry.
The sample size in this study involved 100 members working in different retail outlets of Louis Vuitton in London which were categorized into the general staff, senior and junior managers. The study made use of percentages and frequency distributions, especially in the descriptive sections. The research outcome from interviews, secondary sources and questionnaires were presented percentages and tables. The demographic characteristics of respondents indicated that 60% of the respondents were male while 40% were female. However, 5% of them failed to acknowledge any closeness between the two parties. of the respondents agreed that there was a very great relationship between the company and its suppliers. Only 5% of them admitted that the relationship is insignificant. Research findings on development strategies were broken into marketing, pricing and market development strategies.
of the respondents agreed that the company has deeply penetrated into the global market enabling it to command a large market share. This research outcome is in line with arguments by Mascarenas et al. which assumes that the growth of any business calls for expansion of what it is currently doing to targeted customers. It is not easy for a firm to serve all its customers with a specific product/service because consumer demands are very diverse. Further, it was found that organizations such Louis Vuitton and Hermes used to monitor the behaviors of their competitors and consumer actions so as to make sure that their profit margin maximizes overall benefits while avoiding arbitrary making of decisions. It was found that Louis Vuitton offers its products at very high prices but consumers prefer buying from its retail stores because of its unique product differentiation.
Almost every business that is planning to go global is planning on how to develop a unique approach that will help in capturing the attention of potential customers. Therefore, the first hypothesis remains valid. Also, product differentiation has been proved to be a competitive advantage adopted by global business giants like Louis Vuitton to ensure that their products are unique (David, 2004). Investing in research and development is another strategy that was noted with much concern as a tool for hitting different targets in the global market, For instance, Louis Vuitton Company “invest in development by training people who have a diverse background in production, creativity, pragmatism and enterprising” (Annual Report, 2015). Considering the above global market penetration strategies, it is obvious that the whole process does not take a short period to become a success.
For purposes of future research, the research recommends the use of a larger sample size that will ensure the findings are not biased. In this case, some errors might have occurred as a result using a small sample size that does not sufficiently represent all employees working for Louis Vuitton, but rather concentrated on London alone. Lastly, future research should compare more than one luxury companies so as to get comprehensive report concerning how such firms expanded from local to global level. Conclusion The research aimed at determining expansion strategies that can be adopted by small businesses to venture into the global market using a case study of Louis Vuitton. Based on the results analysis, it was concluded that there is a need for small businesses planning to go global to develop expansion strategies that will respond to different challenges such as negative perception, competition, and dynamic consumer demands.
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