Research Paper: Market Segmentation and Product Positioning: A Sporting

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Market Segmentation and Product Positioning:

A sporting goods and apparel shop for equestrians

Pursuing sporting activities has become more expensive than ever before. The economy is contracting, yet the prices of coaches, gear, and the cost of living is going up. Many people find themselves forced to choose between the pursuits they love and paying for basic necessities. One of the most expensive sports is horseback riding. The proposed sporting goods store would offer a full-service riding and horse care store, with a special service of designing custom saddles and boots. However, it would also offer a consignment shop for horse show clothing, boots, and other tack, as a way of attracting budget shoppers. Also, some horse enthusiasts prefer second-hand boots and saddles as they are already 'broken in.' The proposed enterprise would thus cater to two distinct demographic segments within the riding market.

Identify the marketing segment for the product and explain why this segment was selected

The economic marketing segment for the proposed store is extremely wide within this narrow demographic, encompassing both high-end and low-end horse enthusiasts. Higher-end shoppers could patronize the custom-made section of the store, while lower-end consumers could avail themselves of the second-hand items. However, because riding and keeping horses are so expensive, there would be considerable cross-over between the two areas. Very few people are wealthy enough not to want some sort of a 'deal' on boots, saddles, and apparel. However, they would also be able to purchase new items if they desired. Also, some lower-end consumers might wish to buy one luxury item, like a custom saddle, given that such items last for many, many years.

The store would target higher-end consumers with its service of customized saddle and boot manufacturing. For very competitive equestrians, finding the perfect gear that works with their body and the body of the horse is essential. They are willing to pay premium prices due to the fact that they have already invested so much in a show horse, they want nothing to go wrong with their equipment. Yet as well as horse owners and competitors, the store would also attract ordinary equestrians shopping for boots, saddles, breeches, and other items necessary to pursue their hobby and thus have a broader outreach than a very narrow economic segment within this hobby.

Discuss the target market and why these customers will be targeted

The target market for this store will be multifaceted. The primary target will be equestrians seeking show gear in the form of customized saddles or high-end second-hand saddles. However, along with the 'luxury' image of the brand, there will also be an attraction for less affluent equestrians to buy second-hand saddles of slightly lesser quality or new, non-customized saddles. Although in some sporting categories there needs to be careful delineation between luxury and bargain merchandise, in the case of equestrian items, this is less dramatic. All consumers must have a certain income level to participate in the sport, although there is a range between casual riders and serious, professional riders. Said one rider: "horseback riding is an expensive sport, and if either she or her husband were to lose their job, she said, the horses would be the first thing to go" (Powers 2009).

Because of the nature of the sport, a rider also cannot go too 'cheap' given that flimsy boots, saddles, and helmets will not pass required safety standards. On the other hand, because of the expense of the sport and the nature of the product (leather saddles) as well as a lack of 'faddishness' regarding traditional styles and cuts, second-hand merchandise as well as customized… [END OF PREVIEW]

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