Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Growth for Tiffany & Co.(Instructor's Note)

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Growth for Tiffany & Co.(Instructor's Note)

Article excerpt


This case focuses on the strategy needs of an upscale retailer. The subject matter is appropriate for courses in retailing, marketing strategy, marketing management, and merchandising. The case is suitable for junior and senior undergraduate students and has a difficulty level of 4/5. It can be used for a 75-minute class discussion session, a take-home exam, or as the basis for team oral presentations.


Tiffany & Co. has stores in more than 20 countries. Its retail activities focus on upscale customers, high quality-products, extensive services, premium prices, fashionable locations, sophisticated promotions, and prestige image. Management wants the company to become the preeminent jewelry retailer in the world. Consequently, adjustments are needed in strategy. Students are asked which changes should be made in Tiffany's publics, products, places, prices, promotions, performances, processes, and providers.

Students working with this case will gain increased knowledge, skills, and practical experience. Specific knowledge topics include: image positioning, market segmentation, product branding, service opportunities, pricing strategy, merchandising, store site selection, promotion media selection and message appeals, distribution channel integration, and performance measures. Skill building opportunities include: logical problem solving, oral communication, and written communication. Important experiential learning opportunities are: informative and persuasive speaking, business report writing, strategy integration, and teamwork.



Answers to issues at the end of the case are given below:

* Appeal more to target market segments.

Students may think that Tiffany should put more emphasis on the near-luxury "aspirants" market segment, since it is large and appreciative of the Tiffany reputation. However, the company should not endanger its appeal to the wealthy. A youth-oriented store atmosphere should be avoided--such as top-twenty music, wall posters, and jeans clothing for employees.

Some students may want to standardize Tiffany stores, to provide a consistent appearance. However, that is not practical. Downtown shopping district stores tend to be tall, because land is very expensive. Mall stores in suburban locations were built when land was low in price. Consequently, they are flatter, with one or two stories. Smaller market areas get smaller stores, so the extent of products on display is less. Mall stores open onto a walkway that is protected from the outside weather, so store doors can be open during shopping hours. Downtown shopping district stores open onto streets, so doors must be closed to keep out traffic, noise, and air-blown dirt.

Shopper desires, characteristics, and behavior can be measured with surveys. The customer database can be analyzed to find groupings worth distinctive strategy efforts, such as trend leaders and seasonal buyers. Tests can be used to compare responses to different strategy activities. Tiffany needs occasional market research projects to measure new issues. An ongoing information system is needed to measure recurring issues.

The Internet can be used to search for those illegally imitating Tiffany merchandise. Tiffany does take legal action against those who infringe on its design patents, brand names, proprietary color, trademarks, and trade names. Such assertive protection efforts help maintain the company's image and customer satisfaction with merchandise.

* Pick additional products and services to offer.

Students will probably want to expand the variety of Tiffany brand jewelry, since that category is the largest revenue generator. However, product line additions require more retail space. That requires more display cases that, in turn, would require larger stores, smaller spaces between display cabinets, or more constricted displays. …

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