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Case study: Save and Drive Save and Drive (www.saveanddrive.co.uk) is a 'clicks and mortar' motor accessories supplier - this means there is a physical store and web-based transactional website. It is based in the City of Sunderland, in north-east England.
The business began as a Motorist Discount Centre, selling car accessories in 1977. In those days there was a strong market for car parts and accessories. By the 1990s the market for car parts was in decline. Cars had become much more reliable. Design improvements meant that many replaceable components were obsolete; engines had evolved into 'black boxes' that were computer managed. Modules could be unplugged and replaced. It was now the era of the 'throw away car'.
People had stopped coming into the Motorist Discount Centres for do-it-yourself car maintenance and repair. Save and Drive had to refocus its business or close down. The owners decided to set up a website that promoted their full range of accessories. They found, for instance, that there was a market for roof boxes and that these could be marketed online. Indeed the whole range of accessories could be offered online. Today Save and Drive uses a promotional and e-commerce website.
People can purchase online in a secure payments system. All of the information a customer needs is available from the site. If not, staff are available to give advice and personal assistance. One of the dangers of adopting an online strategy such as this is that local customers will stop visiting the physical store. In fact, Save and Drive has succeeded in keeping local people interested in the physical range of products while at the same time extending its market reach online.
1. Describe how Save and Drive has changed its business. Do you think that new skills would have been needed?
2. Explain how far you think that the owners of Save and Drive have ‘refocused' their business.
3. Could it be argued that Save and Drive has not ‘refocused' at all; it has just opened up a new sales channel? Explain and justify your answer.
4. What would a business have to do to completely refocus its activities?