This research work shall determine whether or not the principles of marketing as being taught theoretically is applied in the retail Business and to what extent. In order to effectively and efficiently carry out an appraisal of marketing mix application in retail industry that would be a reflection of the entire retail business in Auchi town, some selected retail business was used as a case study where questionnaires was administered. The data collection techniques used was primary and secondary sources of information. My greatest limitation in this endeavour was the smallness of research-based evidence and some inaccessible publications, despite this and other obstacles spurred me on and I try to make the best use of an otherwise bad situation. This work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one focuses on Background of the study, statement of research problems, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation of the study and operational definition of terms. Chapter two (2) build on literature Review by looking at an overview of marketing and marketing mix elements, Retailing as a marketing function, nature and importance of Retailing, marketing mix application in retail business, retail price and pricing strategy, promotional mix, distribution as a marketing mix element and an appraisal of the marketing concept in Retail businesses. In chapter three (3) reflected on research methodology where research design, population of the study, sampling procedure, methods of data collection, data analysis, validation of instrument, cut-off point and decision rule was discussed in chapter four (4), questionnaires were structured and administered to respondents, their responses were analysed and hypothesis tested while in chapter (5), it discussed summary of findings, conclusion and recommendation. Conclusively, the marketing mix element should not be seen as a more marketing too for activities but a veritable market tool for achieving an organizations goals and objectives in the long-run.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Since the business world is becoming increasingly competitive and businesses try to outdo the others with different marketing strategies in order to gain a competitive stand in the market. Managers at different business organizational level are using some controllable variables at their disposal to achieve their business objective. These variables are what we call the marketing mix elements.
According to Agbonifoh, Ogwo, Nnolim and Nkamnebe (2007) they define marketing Mix as that combination of product, Price, promotion and distribution utilized by a marketer or company to address a target market during a given period. A target market is the group of present and potential customers that the company aims its product at.
In developing the appropriate marketing mix to reach a target market, the target marketing is evaluated as a function of its acceptability to the customer and its ultimate effect on the society. Some of the logistical factors affecting product decisions are physical product decision, product characteristics and differentiation. Physical product characteristics as regards storage of the product include the weight value relationship and the risk associated with buying of product. Pricing interacts with logistics in several areas being terms of transfer of the product title and responsibilities of transfer are determined by the specific geographical pricing system used. A retailer regards price as the amount for which he or she wants to sell his product in order to make profit, while a buyer or consumer on the other hand often view price differently as the cost of acquiring and owning a product or service, including the time required to shop and compare brands.
Promotion interacts with logistics in the area of advertising, sales promotion and personal selling e.t.c. Advertising promotional campaigns must be planned, the focus here will require an exploration of promotional process and element of communication on which it is based.
From the foregoing, a check on the performance of the marketing mix element in retail business and if effectively and continuously appraised, it can yield better customer satisfaction and thus increase the profit of retail business.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS
Many retailers in recent years have been experiencing low patronage from customers, which has in most cases led to decrease in profitability of such business. A common trend among customers who patronise these various outlets is that they either complain of price of their product (exorbitant prices) or poor product quality stocked, inability to get the product when needed to lack of awareness of the existence of the product. Looking at these complaints from customers, and low response on the part of the retailer. A study of this nature to find out how this problem can be solved became apparently imperative. So the problem of the study put in question form is; how can retailers improve on their services by applying the marketing mix?
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This research work will be guided by the following objectives
(i) To know whether high price is responsible for low sales in retail outlets
(ii) To know whether lack of promotion is responsible for low patronage
(iii) To know the distribution channel to be used that will suit the need of the customers and meet the objectives of retail outlets.
(iv) To inform the retailers the blend of variable that makes up the marketing mix
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
In a concise term, the research work is centred on the following relevant question.
(i) Does high price lead to low sales in retail business?
(ii) Do retail outlets embark on promotional activities?
(iii)Is the channel of distribution used by retail business satisfies the need of the customers efficiently?
(iv) Are the retailers aware of the blend of the marketing mix variables?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypotheses are drawn to meet the objective of the study. They are;
Ho: High prices of product are not responsible for low sales.
Hi: High prices of product are responsible for low sales.
Ho: Lack of promotional activities is not responsible for low patronage.
Hi: Lack of promotional activities is responsible for low patronage.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work will be important to those individual or group that are engage in retail businesses, as it will furnish them with information that will improve their businesses.
In addition, this project work would serve as an information source to any subsequent researcher that may consult it, in an attempt to equip his or herself with formation on the marketing mix as it relates to retail outlets.
Most importantly, the study would serve as a very useful guide to potential retailers who will consult it, since the project work deal extensively on the relationship that exist between the theoretical marketing mix variables and the retail businesses in Auchi town. The potential retailers would be in a better position, to effectively blend the various variables of the marketing mix, so that they will suit the need and aspirations for better customer satisfaction and meet the profit standing of the retail business.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work is aimed at an appraised of marketing mix application in the retail industry. Being that, retail businesses in Auchi town has been selected to serve as a case study, the researcher will administer structured questionnaires to managers and staffs of some selected retail outlets to collate information (data) on their product line, stock control, price and pricing, distribution and promotion. From the findings, information sourced would be analysed to know if they are applying the marketing mix variables effectively and efficiently.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
It is pertinent to know some marketing jargons that are use in this research work and they are enlisted below
a. Retailer: A retailer is a merchant, a person or occasionally an agent whose main business is selling directly to the ultimate consumer. He is an intermediary that functions as a link between the wholesaler or producer with the final consumer.
b. Appraisal: The act of estimating, or judging the nature or value of something. It is an estimate or considered opinion of nature, quality, importance etc.
c. Marketing mix: This is a combination of product, price, promotion, place which are controllable variables that a marketer use to satisfy customers needs and wants as well as meet it business objectives.
d. Price: This refers to what the buyer gives and what the seller gets in return for a product. The price to an item is the monetary value for which the seller is willing to exchange the product or it is the perceived value of a product in the eyes of the buyer.
e. Product: This is defined as anything that can be offered for market attention, acquisition and consumption and it is capable of satisfying the wants or needs of the consumers at a profit. It is the benefit derived from a physical entity or service marketed.
f. Promotion: Agbonifoh (2007) Define promotion as any form of communication which is aimed at affecting and facilitating exchange. This is sometimes called marketing communication and it is made up of personal selling, sales promotion, advertising, publicity, direct marketing etc.
g. Place: Also know as distribution or channel of distribution, it may be defined as the flow of title to goods and the movement of the goods from the point-of-production towards the point-of-consumption.
1.9 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This work is limited to retail business in Auchi town. The essence being to enable the researcher have enough time to carry out in-depth study of the subject matter which is an Appraisal of the marketing mix elements in retail businesses. Some of the major limitations the research faced on the course of carrying out this work are as follow;
1. Time Constraint: This factor posed some constraint on the successful execution of this project, encroached upon by other activities such as assignments, test and preparation for my examination.
2. Financial Constraint: The researcher finds it difficult to complete the project on time due to inadequate financial resources to meet the logistics of travelling (transportation) and internet search for published materials.
3. Attitude of Respondents: Respondents attitude to the questionnaire posed serious problem as regard the amount of the information gathered from field survey.
4. Inadequate research materials: Obtaining related materials such as textbooks, journals, and other publication from the library and other source was somehow difficult.