France's Carrefour relies on the key strengths of supplier contacts and customer knowledge when developing and implementing marketing strategy. Carrefour has ‚¬108 billion in yearly turnover and operates 1,530 hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores and convenience stores in 33 countries. Even though retailing is an intensely competitive industry, Carrefour's marketers have used these global strengths to great advantage when preparing marketing plans to address various opportunities and threats in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
For example, a few months after Carrefour moved its global sourcing office to Thailand, executives became aware that local farmers were producing a surplus of fruits such as durian and mangosteens. In the past, these fruits had sold well in the 34 Thai Carrefour stores as well as in the chain's outlets in Taiwan, China and Indonesia. Identifying this as a marketing opportunity, Carrefour's marketing director in Thailand arranged to buy hundreds of additional tonnes of local fruits and created a plan to encourage he European stores to stock the fruits as a taste of Thailand at an attractive price.
Depending on the country, as much as 90-95 per cent of merchandise stocked in Carrefour stores is purchased from local suppliers. The purpose is to make the most of the opportunity by establishing mutually beneficial connections with local suppliers for the long term. When Carrefour's marketers analyze the internal environment, they examine the results of previous marketing programmes across the entire chain and in individual stores. They have grouped the customer base of 14 illion households worldwide into 60,000 customer segments for more relevant marketing attention.
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With deep analysis, they can target more precisely and measure the return on investment for each programme in the marketing plan. Carrefour also acts quickly when analyses point to unusual challenges or opportunities. For example, Just a few months after opening hypermarkets in Moscow and Krasnodar, the retailer decided to stop expansion in Russia and sell the new stores because difficult economic circumstances had reduced short-term growth opportunities.
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