Bik Bok : opportunities in the UK womanswear market
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- England 
This report has been conducted in cooperation with Bik Bok, a Norwegian fast-fashion retail chain for young females. The company established their operations in the UK market in 2005, and conducts their business in Oxford Street, London. Due to a lacklustre performance and ineffective operations, an aim has been identified to make the existing London store more profitable and increase Bik Bok’s brand awareness in the UK market. In order to acquire information to answer the research aims and objectives, the research process was conducted in a step by step manner. By collecting secondary and primary data, important intelligence has been identified. Through a semi-structured interview with Bik Bok’s store manager, a deeper insight has been obtained into the UK retail market, how the store operates, the brand and their marketing activities. Additionally, structured interviews in written formats, observations and surveys have been executed to acquire the latest data regarding their customers. The most important findings from our primary research have been identified as the following. The demographics of the store’s customers show great diversity regarding age. Moreover, the main respondents were British people living in the London area and tourists, primarily from Norway. Furthermore, a majority of the customers were first time shoppers at Bik Bok, which implies that Bik Bok has low brand awareness in the UK market. Through extensive market research, the authors of the report have been able to obtain a deeper insight into Bik Bok’s external and internal environment. The UK is considered an attractive and “low risk” country to conduct business in. After the recession, the country’s economy is experiencing a slow recovery, which has led to an increase in customer purchasing power. In terms of social aspects, the country has high standards of living and education. Moreover, their infrastructure regarding the telecommunication system is of a high quality and a majority of the inhabitants have access to the Internet. Sustainable development is additionally of high importance in the UK. Furthermore, local legislation is of high importance for Bik Bok, hence business tax rates and the congestion charge policy impacts the company’s operations and ultimate profitability. The competitive clothing retail environment in the UK is characterised by strong rivalry, however there is still considered to be room for small competitors. Combined with the growth in the womenswear sector, this indicates the attractiveness of the industry. Moreover, the internal analysis highlights that Bik Bok has great customer service; nonetheless, their marketing communication is not giving high priority towards the UK market. Hence, an increase in marketing efforts and a high priority on marketing from the headquarters is imperative for Bik Bok to become more profitable in the UK market. By focusing on branding and promotional material Bik Bok can convince the market of its superior merchandise. The main marketing strategy has been identified as “direct and interactive marketing” to increase customer awareness and brand equity. Moreover, Bik Bok should exploit the opportunities that lie in celebrity endorsement by promoting the guest collection by the renowned Whitney Port. Additionally, an upgrade of the store is considered a necessity to enhance the company’s success. The proposed strategy includes recommendations for Bik Bok to attain their goals in the UK market. By focusing on obtaining a differentiation strategy, they could benefit from implementing a Scandinavian concept into their brand. Additionally, they will benefit from visualizing their sustainable business operations by promoting this towards the customers. Moreover, the long-term recommendations have been identified as adapting to the UK market in relation to the product lines and addressing the issues of the increase in ecommerce and m-commerce. By carrying out these proposals, Bik Bok has a great potential for developing a flourishing business concept.