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Coach began as a family-run factory in 1941. Six artists made a line of leather products in a Manhattan apartment, employing techniques passed down through generations. Consumers with an eye for quality and uniqueness quickly started to seek out Coach workmanship. Coach, which has grown significantly in size, continues to adhere to the highest standards of materials and craftsmanship. Coach’s great workforce is devoted to supporting the company’s core values of excellence and ethics. Coach, which has grown significantly in size, continues to adhere to the highest standards of materials and craftsmanship (Mahmoudian et al., 2021). Coach’s great workforce is devoted to supporting the company’s core values of excellence and ethics. In the world of high-end handbags and accessories, Coach is a household name. Since Coach’s inception, the company has maintained a strong brand and business reputation, and they are currently in the process of transitioning from an international accessories business to an international lifestyle brand grounded in accessories.
This transition is based on their strong brand equity and business equities. The company’s directly controlled operations, primarily in Asia and Europe, are also maximising Coach’s worldwide opportunities by growing brand recognition and gaining market share in areas where the company is under-penetrated. Since Coach’s expansion, it has maintained the highest standards for materials and craftsmanship. Coach’s great workforce is devoted to ensuring that the company’s core values of quality and honesty are upheld in all that they do. its original American attitude and design, the rich history of premium leather products and bespoke fabrics, our product’s outstanding quality and longevity, our devotion to customer service” (Ng, 2014). To determine the applicability of consumer behaviour models for enhancing the luxury consumer journey of Coach customers, the Consumer Style Inventory (CSI) will be used in conjunction with the present consumer journey and decision-making process of their consumers.
The first step in determining the utility of consumer behaviour models in optimising the Coach customer journey is to ascertain who Coach’s target consumers are and their buying preferences. Coach’s 2016 annual report notes that the company has a “vast customer base.” This lack of clarity may result in inconsistencies in the touchpoints used to communicate with and engage customers (Ison, Wain and Hoogewerff, 2017). However, the chart below details the average Coach customer.
“Demographic: Middle class women – suggesting maturity”
Psychographic: Jet-set lifestyle
The purchasing style of the customer is vital because it tells which stage of the decision-making process is the most important to the buyer. By doing this research, it is possible to acquire an understanding of which touchpoints are the most significant to customers and which should be prioritised. On the other side, it aids in the clarification of which touchpoints are critical and which are not. Men and women between the ages of 20 and 40 who have a moderate to high level of disposable money and who are seeking for distinctive, clearly recognised, and easily available luxury products constitute the majority of Coach’s target customer base.
Coach has become a pioneer in the accessories and leather goods markets, establishing itself as a unique leather brand that provides things that represent the essence of New York fashion. Coach has been in business since 1941. As a consequence of its worldwide development, Coach, which has a current market value of $1.2 billion, can now be found in over 1,000 direct franchise sites as well as multiple distribution partners on all five continents as a result of its recent market valuation increase. Affluent men and women between the ages of 20 and 45 who are affected by the American way of life and have a significant amount of discretionary income are their target group (Wilson and Robson, 2019).
Because Coach is known for its ‘affordable luxury’ (as well as its regular discounts), it is reasonable to assume that its typical clients fall into the CSI’s Price Conscious group, as defined by Fonseca (2015). These consumers are focused with obtaining the greatest price possible and are more inclined to purchase at sales and outlet locations when they display this characteristic. It may be determined whether or not Coach clients are habitual or brand loyal by the regularity with which they make purchases. This subset of customers may exhibit brand loyalty and buying behaviours that are different from the norm.
As part of Coach’s customer journey, the consumer’s interactions with Coach are mapped out in detail. Touchpoints are designed to facilitate customer connection and engagement, which eventually leads to purchase and advocacy, thus they must be adopted in accordance with the shopping style of the target consumers (Munby, 2017). For example, given that Coach’s usual customers are price-conscious and value-conscious, it would be relevant to use touchpoints that promote information searches.
Figure: Consumer Journey of Coach
(Source: Munby, 2017)
The Consumer Decision Making Process is an important model to examine while examining the usefulness of consumer behaviour models for enhancing the customer experience. In order to acquire a product or service, buyers go through five stages. In certain cases, the process of making a purchase is quick or even unconscious. Customers’ buying habits also influence which steps of the process are highlighted.
Coach's current stimuli are detailed in Touchpoint 1. For Coach buyers who are price sensitive and habitual, this stage is critical in the shopping process since it serves as the stimulus for purchasing choices. Coach is now active on social media, which may not be the optimal use of resources when attempting to raise awareness. An unmet demand is discovered in the pre-purchase process by the customer. As to whether the luxury market, which is characterised by hedonic purchasing, has ‘needs’ or only ‘wants,’ an argument emerges. Owning luxury goods is more of a psychological demand, not a physiological one, according to Wibowo (2021). Coach items’ hedonic nature suggests that a desire may arise in response to an outside stimulus. This is a critical phase in the purchase process for Coach customers who are both price aware and regular buyers. In order to raise exposure, Coach is now spending a lot of time on social media, which may not be the greatest use of resources. Because their normal segmentation isn’t the most active social media users, this is why. Nonetheless, ignoring social media would be damaging and ill-advised.
With the internet's increased prominence in everyday life, luxury buyers are increasingly turning to numerous online sites for product information, as seen by Touchpoints 2 and 3. This phase is especially noticeable among Coach's price-conscious buyers who prioritise value for money. External sources of information include price comparison websites, internet forums, and in-store sales consultants. When looking for product information, luxury shoppers are increasingly resorting to numerous online sites. In the case of Coach’s price-conscious customers, this step is most apparent. External sources such as price comparison websites, internet forums, in-store sales consultants, etc. may provide this information. Coach has limited control over some of these touchpoints, making it difficult to manage them effectively. It is imperative that Coach make sure that the touchpoints they directly control are as informative as possible in order to optimise the consumer experience for their budget-conscious customers. While this may not be a deal breaker for those on a budget, customers who want more information than what’s provided on the Coach website may find it useful. Having an easy time finding what you need on a company’s website contributes to a better impression of the brand, according to Stanowski (2018).
Coach’s refusal to enable this is justified by the fact that doing so would result in them losing control of the content on their website. Habitual customers have a distinct storey to tell. Because of the consumer’s familiarity with Coach, they make a selection out of habit. Instead of looking for information from the outside, regular customers look inside themselves (Sethi and Dave, 2021). This happens when the customer relies on information, they have stored in their memory to make a buying choice. Coach is unable to do anything to enhance the consumer experience of these customers because of the internal nature of this information search. For these customers, the purchase and post-buy assessment will take precedence. Social networking, like need recognition, may not be the greatest place to spend your resources.
Consumers use the information they gathered in step 2 to compare different options to the requirements they identified in step 1. Coach items may be judged on a variety of factors, including price, quality, uniqueness, and size, by price-conscious consumers. Touchpoints 2 and 3 are critical in this evaluation. Compared to regular customers, these touchpoints are of less significance. Because Touchpoints 4, 5, and 7 are where customers have the most direct contact with Coach, the results of the assessment may be influenced by previous favourable encounters with the brand (Lipson, 2018).
When a consumer makes the choice to purchase from Michael Kors as a result of their evaluation, they are said to have reached Step 4. When it comes to loyal clients, their purchasing patterns extend beyond the companies from whom they purchase their products. They also take into account the payment methods they utilise to make their purchases from the companies they know and respect. Most of these clients prefer to shop at physical stores, whether those stores are owned and managed by the firm directly or via third-party concessions. To summarise, touchpoint 4 of the customer journey illustrates the many touchpoints that will be relevant to these customers in the future. Coach must provide its clients with an in-store experience that justifies the premium price they are paying and helps to solidify their brand’s image based on previous positive contacts with the company (Apple, Southward and Bickle, 2018). Competent sales personnel, a friendly ambiance in the store, and the use of American Express Cards for in-store incentives are all factors that may contribute to this goal.
It is possible that unhappiness at this early stage will lead to a lack of loyalty. Price Shoppers worried about the quality of their purchases are more likely to do their shopping online since they may compare pricing from a larger selection of retailers. Customers that make the majority of their purchases online may find promotional coupons to be a very useful tool. Coach is now conducting a series of online-only promotions, which is rare for a high-end brand like Coach. Customers often equate low pricing with poor quality and a lack of exclusivity, according to critics, therefore discounting may weaken a brand’s image (Ramalingam, 2017). Both are critical components of premium firms’ offerings.
Customers who are price-conscious or habitual evaluate whether or not their purchase selection has fulfilled their recognised demands in the 5th stage of the decision-making process. Customers are more inclined to advocate for a product or service if their expectations are fulfilled or surpassed. Coach presently uses email marketing, a customer support staffs, a warranty, and print periodicals to influence customers’ post-purchase evaluations. Customers may utilise an internet app in combination with their watches after they have acquired them (Shein and Yamada, 2017). In the same way as the previous touchpoints, the touchpoints in step 5 must be well-managed in order to be successful.
When it comes to optimising the premium customer experience, behaviour models play an important role. Coach may use the CSI and decision-making process as a guide when talking and connecting with their customers. The Consumer Style Inventory (CSI) was utilised in combination with the current consumer journey and decision-making process of Coach customers to assess the applicability of consumer behaviour models for improving the luxury consumer experience of Coach customers. Despite the fact that Coach customers attach more importance on different phases of the decision-making process based on their buying style (Price Conscious or Habitual), this does not make the model meaningless. According to the customers’ buying style, certain phases are promptly and unconsciously fulfilled, which shifts the points of contact past or present that satisfy every step of the decision-making process.
In order to reinforce or build advocacy, better management of customer service and applicants for the one-year warranty is required. The number of unhappy consumers and the severity of their complaints should be reduced, even though a huge corporation like Coach cannot guarantee a good post-purchase experience for every client. There should be a gradual decrease in the usage of social media, blogs, and mobile apps. Middle-class women who are more mature than Generation Y are not the usual consumers of such platforms (Sullivan, Warren and Westbrook, 2020), thus Coach may not be making the greatest use of its resources by placing a lot of emphasis on such platforms’ content creation and distribution.
Apple, L., Southward, L. and Bickle, M., 2018. LUXURY THROUGHOUT HISTORY: AN EVALUATION OF THE INDUSTRY. Hawley, Cassil, & McGown (Eds.), The Future of Luxury, pp.8-15.
Fonseca, C.R.G.G.D., 2015. How can Michael Kors learn from Coach Inc.'s mistakes and transformation plan in the paradox of growth and brand identity safekeeping? (Doctoral dissertation).
Ison, N., Wain, A. and Hoogewerff, J., 2017. Economy and fashion: analysing the use of simulated leather upholstery in a nineteenth century Australian coach. Heritage Science, 5(1), pp.1-15.
Lipson, M.L., 2018. Langtry Falls Expansion Plan. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3221435 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3221435
Mahmoudian, A.S., Jaras, M., Jarhi, A., Khajavi, A. and Mircheraghi, S.F., 2021. Coach White Leather Long Zippy Wallet. Coach White Leather Long Zippy Wallet, 27(3), pp.302-317.
Munby, J., 2017. From carriage to coach: what happened? (pp. 41-53). Routledge.
Ng, M., 2014. Social media and luxury fashion brands in China: the case of Coach. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 5(3), pp.251-265.
Ramalingam, D., 2017. Growth of Leather Industries in Tamil Nadu under the British–A Study. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(1), pp. 61-65.
Shein, J. and Yamada, L., 2017. Sara Lee: A Tale of Another Turnaround. Kellogg School of Management Cases.
Sethi, R. and Dave, D., 2021. Influence of designer fashion handbags on movie stars, celebrities and popular culture. Mass Communicator: International Journal of Communication Studies, 15(3), pp.33-38.
Stanowski, E., 2018. Why Do Consumers Purchase Luxury Brand Products?.
Sullivan, T.A., Warren, E. and Westbrook, J.L., 2020. The fragile middle class. Yale University Press.
Wibowo, D.H., 2021. Strategic Alliance in the Creative Economy: Acquisition Coach's of Kate Spade. Majalah Ilmiah Bijak, 19(1), pp.59-66.
Wilson, M. and Robson, K., 2019. Overexposure of a Luxury Brand: Coach Inc.’s Distribution and Image Problem. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals
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