Avoca Experience

Our team visited the Avoca store to get a feel for the type of products on sale and for the “experience”. The Rathcoole store, on the edge of the N7 has a very large footfall, in particular, to its Cafe, from the early morning coffee takeout, coffee morning meeting or large lunch time contingent. Although the temperature of the coffee is far too tepid for me! The size of the slices of cream-filled roulades, heart-stopping cheesecake to the home baked cookies are a sight to behold.
I met with the pasty and cake chef replenishing the products and could not resist asking about the large portions and if there was a lot of waste in this area, it appears not.
I could not help but notice that the pricing of products was a tad vague (a bugbear of mine on the lines of “how can I make a fully informed choice, if I am not privy to the full information at the point of purchase”) again, when I asked about that, I got a “I know, I have mentioned that too but thems is not listening, shucks” (SIC) response.
The paint colours on the wall, reminiscent of an Anita Schreve book based in a coastal town in the Hamptons, USA, the elaborate light decoration made from cups and saucers of various size and design, reminiscent of a visit from the relatives and the cup of the in the good china, sometimes of varying designs, indeed a similar evocation as that offered when viewing the reasonably new business of prettyplates.ie (http://prettyplates.ie/)
In the food emporium, with well stacked shelves of fresh, organic or carefully chosen products, I met with a supplier of Apple sauces (Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Orchards, Kilkenny) and she mentioned that they had ad forum (Bia Beag) for artisans to meet and hear stories from other artisans (one is actually on tomorrow Sat 5th April at 6pm in their Orchard (http://biabeag.com/). They meet on a quarterly basis to promote other artisans foods. An idea forms….[1]

[1] Bootcamp Bootleg 2011. [Online]. Available from: http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/BootcampBootleg2010v2SLIM.pdf [Accessed 6 April 2014].

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Jogging and Blogging!

With all this DCU Ryan Academy stuff including lectures, projects, exams and the pressure to embrace all social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging et al wrecking my poor little head I decided to escape to the great outdoors and head up to Ardgillan Castle and demesne with Messi. No not the footballer and the greatest since Diego Maradona but my dog, a collie/retriever/Labrador or whatever but definitely one hell of a mongrel.  Like his master Messi loves the open plains and the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. Messi does not have a Facebook account, does not tweet, blog or bother himself with emerging social media trends. So off we jogged around the parameter of Ardgillan, one of the finest public amenities and open spaces in Ireland.  As we ran through the open fields, the woods, up and down the hills sneaking the odd view of the vast open sea through the trees I was truly relaxed, away from it all, free as a bird. No social media invasion or blogging requirements out here! But then, suddenly, half way around my run I found my mind wandering back to the blogging business. Don’t fret fellow bloggers! A stroll, cycle or jog through the countryside is a great way to de-stress, allowing the mind to refocus and often to come up with a solution to a problem, however personal, corporate or academic in the calmest and maybe even strangest way. Folks, I was Jogging and Blogging!! Okay I was not hooked and typing away to my iPad or tablet as I proceeded up the steep hill towards the castle but in my mind I was typing. Hey, maybe blogging and George are compatible after all! After almost four months of enlightenment  and direction from the very talented lecturers Ger Lavin, Frank Munnelly and last but not least Niamh O’Reilly I think mission one has been accomplished in that I have improved my knowledge and possibly even embraced digital and social media. Secondly I have renewed my marketing knowledge and skills, acquainted myself with New Product Development thinking and become vastly more informed of business innovation concepts and techniques. Let me enlighten you if I may with some social media facts! At 52% Facebook is the most popular social media network in Ireland followed by YouTube (35%) and twitter (23%). 70% of Irish businesses use Facebook, 61% use twitter and LinkedIn while 44% use YouTube. Tired yet?! 51% of Irish consumers talk about brands on social media. Why? 74% for offers and promotions, 44% for seeking advice, 19% for group buying, 15% to post praise and also 15% for complaining. Still interested? In terms of demographics the 25-34 age group are the biggest users of Facebook at 29% followed by the 18-24 group at 23%. No surprises there! Of mobile users at 85% the 13-17 age group are the heaviest users followed by the 18-24 group (81%). How do Irish people use Facebook? 70% use it daily and have an average of 268 friends.  Shall I keep going?…No!…Okay I will keep going….Only Joking! Until next week my fellow bloggers ….happy Blogging ….Oh and Jogging

Image

Jogging and Blogging

With all this DCU Ryan Academy stuff including lectures, projects, exams and the pressure to embrace all social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging et al wrecking my poor little head I decided to escape to the great outdoors and head up to Ardgillan Castle and demesne with Messi. No not the footballer and the greatest since Diego Maradona but my dog, a collie/retriever/Labrador or whatever but definitely one hell of a mongrel.  Like his master Messi loves the open plains and the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. Messi does not have a Facebook account, does not tweet, blog or bother himself with emerging social media trends. So off we jogged around the parameter of Ardgillan, one of the finest public amenities and open spaces in Ireland.  As we ran through the open fields, the woods, up and down the hills sneaking the odd view of the vast open sea through the trees I was truly relaxed, away from it all, free as a bird. No social media invasion or blogging requirements out here! But then, suddenly, half way around my run I found my mind wandering back to the blogging business. Don’t fret fellow bloggers! A stroll, cycle or jog through the countryside is a great way to de-stress, allowing the mind to refocus and often to come up with a solution to a problem, however personal, corporate or academic in the calmest and maybe even strangest way. Folks, I was Jogging and Blogging!! Okay I was not hooked and typing away to my iPad or tablet as I proceeded up the steep hill towards the castle but in my mind I was typing. Hey, maybe blogging and George are compatible after all! After almost four months of enlightenment  and direction from the very talented lecturers Ger Lavin, Frank Munnelly and last but not least Niamh O’Reilly I think mission one has been accomplished in that I have improved my knowledge and possibly even embraced digital and social media. Secondly I have renewed my marketing knowledge and skills, acquainted myself with New Product Development thinking and become vastly more informed of business innovation concepts and techniques. Let me enlighten you if I may with some social media facts! At 52% Facebook is the most popular social media network in Ireland followed by YouTube (35%) and twitter (23%). 70% of Irish businesses use Facebook, 61% use twitter and LinkedIn while 44% use YouTube. Tired yet?! 51% of Irish consumers talk about brands on social media. Why? 74% for offers and promotions, 44% for seeking advice, 19% for group buying, 15% to post praise and also 15% for complaining. Still interested? In terms of demographics the 25-34 age group are the biggest users of Facebook at 29% followed by the 18-24 group at 23%. No surprises there! Of mobile users at 85% the 13-17 age group are the heaviest users followed by the 18-24 group (81%). How do Irish people use Facebook? 70% use it daily and have an average of 268 friends.  Shall I keep going?…No!…Okay I will keep going….Only Joking! Until next week my fellow bloggers ….happy Blogging ….Oh and Jogging #mg119

Avoca now and looking forward

Avoca will need to continuously scan their external environment and to be aware of external forces which may impact on the business and a brief overview of the PESTLE analysis addresses some of these issues. In particular, from a political perspective, the tax rates as low as 9% for services remains low in order to encourage greater spending by Irish consumers and tourists, according to Transport and Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar[1]. Socially, there has been a growth in interest in artisan foods and Irish brands and this has impacted positively for Avoca, with potential for exponential growth in this area. The economic landscape suggests evidence of positive domestic consumer sentiment whilst technologically, there has been considerable growth of online sales across the sector, online shopping for food and groceries has grown from 3% in 2008 to 6% in 2012[2]. However, there are legal challenges for the company regarding upward only rent reviews and environmentally, changing weather may impact the sale of goods in certain areas of the business.

 

Looking briefly at the Porters 5 forces, and taking cognisance of the fact that Avoca is a market leader in the sector, with strong profitability and strong brand identity.  New entrants to the market would likely be hampered by high capital requirements and with challenges to brand recognition and a long lead in time to build an alternative brand.   Purchasers from Avoca, in the ABC1 group, are a limited group and the Company will need to extend their marketing pull to other age groups or to the male population, which are not generally a focus for the Company.  With regard to suppliers, the Company will need to keep a close eye on suppliers scalability and on supply chain consistency.  There would appear to be only a slight impact on product alternatives from cheaper sources and indeed from recent surveys carried out in regard to the Avoca brand, its key demographic customer has indicated that quality over cost is their main driver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Maintaining 9% tax rate could create 5,000 jobs in restaurant sector | Irish Examiner. 2014. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.irishexaminer.com/archives/2013/0501/business/maintaining-9-tax-rate-aposcould-create-5000-jobs-in-restaurant-sectorapos-230009.html [Accessed 8 March 2014]

 

[2] Eurostat [ONLINE] available at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/4-15102013-AP/EN/4-15102013-AP-EN.PDF [Accesses 6 March 2014]

What, SWOT and Fancy Pots

What, SWOT and Fancy Pots
The sectoral analysis of Avoca was conducted using the tools of SWOT, PESTLE and Porters 5 Forces.

SWOT
Avoca’s strengths include being a market segment leader with strong brand awareness, offering a good product mix through a superior customer experience from strategically strong retail locations resulting in strong sales performance through positive familial synergy.
Its weaknesses lie in its limited target market, with potential threat to their own margins by adding non-Avoca product lines and its ability to keep its image and brand clear and consistent within the family dynamic.
It has several opportunities it could consider to extend the brand and product and service offerings including artisan food partnerships, franchise opportunities, expansion into the events and leisure area, fine dining, catalogue to extend the customer experience or domestic and international expansion.
Threats to Avoca include competition domestically and internationally and the limited nature of its target market and possible limitations to expansions from its high end niche.
PESTLE and 5 Forces to follow.

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Cant Get You Out Of My Head

I am not referring to the Kylie Minogue song but, and I never thought I would stoop this low, am referring to the Kylemore Restaurant chain and for that matter every other bleeding restaurant I now enter. Indeed this story is a note of caution for anyone about to enter into a secondary research project. Folks help me, but I am taken over, diseased, by all this secondary research conducted into the Kylemore cafes and latterly The Avoca which has me sizing up, grading and pigeon holing every restaurant I now enter. . Only today at lunch time did I find that even weeks after learning about all the different restaurant categories i.e. White Table Cloth, Casual, On The Go, Fast Food, I was still overpowered by the research monster. Yes the Research Monster, it lives! Having only stepped in the door for the first time to a sizeable hot food restaurant, that I wont name, only a stones throw from the DCU Ryan Academy,  I found myself launching into a sudden, insatiable and uncontrollable urge to emit all the restaurant research I had learned and articulate where this particular establishment fits into the various categories. And I am afraid it did not impress. The research made it sound all so simple and I thought we had every possible cafe and restaurant type comfortably slotted into their natural home. Alas I then decided to pay a visit to this joint. It has notions about itself being white table cloth but only on the basis of the table attire which incidentally was very grubby (no pun intended) but actually has more of the characteristics of the Kylemore,and a casual restaurant yet makes the Kylemore look good, in fact very good. No doubt this was the place to go when times were good and I am sure that the decor was kept up to standard then. My imagination wandered to Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, the gilted bride who never removed her wedding dress decades after being jilted at the altar, and drew comparison with this place also clearly living in the past. I stuck to the cold food menu as I do when intending to make a quick exit and gently reminded myself, and in doing so placating any guilty feeling, that this place could also be categorised as On The Go. Absolutely it could but for all the wrong reasons. Get out quick before they make us eat from the hot food menu! Which incidentally they were giving huge extra large portions of. Not necessarily a good sign. Yes I’d be delighted if I liked what I saw but in this case I was almost getting stomach pains for the customer as she walked away with her plate. Memories from over twenty years ago at the Kylemore in O’Connell Street came flooding back when I ordered vegatable soup and got “Wegetable” soup or so a lone eastern european servant insisted on calling it. Unsuspectingly I downed my “wegetable” soup which was forgetable and yes you guessed it I was like Danny Glover in Leather Weapon II and not going to get off the toilet for twenty four hours! So things appear as if they will never be the same again as I am destined to turn inside out every eatery I enter henceforth. Shall I ever rid myself of this mortal coil?! 

Cupcakes and all that…

12 April
Avoca operates as a clothing manufacturing, retail and food business in Ireland and the UK. The secondary research carried out by the Team involved looking more closely at Avoca within the retail sector. Avoca has always adopted innovative ideas to develop their product offering and have continued to perform ahead competitors despite the recession of the last number of years.

There are a number of reasons for this continued performance which includes product innovation and the ability of the company to focus on its target client and to react quickly to changing market trends when observed.

The overall retail market size is equivalent to 10% of GDP or €16 billion, although the growth rate has remained flat in 2013(footnote 1). Online shopping for food and groceries by internet users jumped from 3% in 2008 to 6% in 2012 (footnote 2).

Avoca have multiple offerings in different sub sectors of their business and they have successfully built an aspirational lifestyle brand based on ABC1 women aged from 25 – 70, although there is some evidence that the bulk of customers are in the 40-60 range and innovation with this in mind, may need to be considered in the future. My next post will deal with the tools used to analyse the sector, such as SWOT Analysis, PESTLE and Porters 5 forces. Till then, I’m off to make some cupcakes maybe worthy of Avoca (see picture).

1. Retail Ireland | Ibec – Business sectors. 2014. Retail Ireland | {ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ibec.ie/IBEC/IBEC.nsf/vPages/About_Us~business-sectors?OpenDocument.
2. Ibid

Sectoral Analysis of Avoca Handweavers -Part 2 – [3 Part Series]

Avoca Handweavers Sectoral Analysis

Blogpost Part 1 gives a high level overview of the sectoral analysis conducted to date on the business environment of Avoca Handweavers Ltd.

Blogpost Part 2 highlights the main points of the PESTLE analysis undertaken, and then guides you through a more detailed PESTLE analysis of the external business environment of Avoca.

Blogpost Part 3 covers the main findings derived from the analysis, how they may impact Avoca’s business and what steps they may need to consider in order to meet these challenges into the future.      _________________________________________________________________________

Sectoral Environment – Part 2

Avoca PESTLE Analysis

As Avoca’s customer profile is primarily Continue reading Sectoral Analysis of Avoca Handweavers -Part 2 – [3 Part Series]

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