The main objective of a low-cost provider is to achieve a lower overall cost than its main competitors and rivals by means of underpricing (Gamble, 93). This is also known as price advantage in order to attract customers. Companies that use this strategy will achieve high sales volumes while striving for low cost margins. For example, Wal-Mart is known to have considerable low prices that attract a broad spectrum of customers. People who shop at Wal-Mart are familiar with their “Rollback Prices” which focus on the idea of everyday low prices that are sold at a far cheaper rate than its main competitors. They are able to sustain these prices because of a successful supply chain market. Many of the products they sell are from foreign and domestic markets that focus on a lower price demand. This allows Wal-Mart to sell their products at lower prices at a high volume. Basically, they buy a huge quantity in volume in order to achieve a lower price to gain a higher profit.
Chapter Five describes the ﬁve basic competitive strategy options – which of the ﬁve to employ is a company’s ﬁrst and foremost choice in crafting overall strategy and beginning its quest for competitive advantage.
A company needs to create a series of programs to differentiate their product from those from its competitors and to appropriately price the product to achieve the maximum demand, in order to set up the dynamics of its competitive strategy (David, 2007). The competitive strategy of a company is also expected to offer better products or services to its customers, at a reasonable cost. Due to the mass influence of the external environmental on the customers’ preference, it is vital for the company to develop an available competitive strategy to be able to solve a series of problems, and ultimately to improve the company’s performance. Those problems include: how to differentiate its products or service from competitors, how to create market segments to maximize demands, and how to offer a wider range of products or services to better meet the customers’ needs at more acceptable costs (David, 2007).
In 1985 Michael Porter surmised that a market can be subjected into different strategies, thus, three variations of competitive advantage were born. The differentiation strategy is the focus for the purpose of this paper. Furthermore, the differentiation strategy in its most exposed form is a strategy that places prominence toward the brand name and advantage is the prestige that follows. This type of angle draws in a specific high-end consumers which in turn sets its corner of the market apart from its competition. Additionally, in this advantage there is a uniqueness perceived by the consumer, industry wide. The differentiation strategy is distinct in attributes indescribable by price but all the same customers are more than willing to pay a premium for the product or service. Firms that are successful in this advantage are fully equipped with a product development team high in creativity and innovation. Additionally, this strategy is only able to be an advantage if a firm is able to access an unlimited amount of research.
Managers generally consider the rivalry among competitors as a major source for deriving strategy. As explained by the Michael Porter it is a narrow view of competition. A set of other parameters should be evaluated, mentioned in article as five competitive forces, along with industry
In differentiation strategies, the emphasis is on creating value through sustainable uniqueness. This can be achieved through product innovations, superior quality, or superior service, which is then sustained and leveraged through creative advertising; brand-building and strong supply chain relationships. Another requirement for a successful differentiation strategy is that customers must be willing to pay more for the uniqueness of a product or service than the firm paid to create it. A differentiation strategy will lead to higher firm performance only if buyers value the attributes that make a product or service unique enough to pay a higher price for it or if they choose to buy from that firm preferentially. If
According to Porter, strategies allow organizations to gain competitive advantage from three different bases: cost leadership, differentiation and focus. Porter calls these bases as generic strategies.
In Siemens case, the company can go for a clear strategy of differentiation as a leader, which focuses on their products differentiation over competitors on a broad scope.
Calculating value added, could also contribute to determine a strategy of differentiation of products in businesses. Lets take the previous example NIKE. Nike has a low vertical integration but a high value added (thanks to its logo). Since this value added is marketing, value added is in this case an intangible entity. Differentiation is one of the competitive advantages.
“Competitive strategy involves positioning a business to maximize the value of the capabilities that distinguish it from its competitor’s” (Porter 1980:47). A successful business plan requires first and foremost the formation of an appropriate strategy. Through the implementation of a suitable strategy, the company is able to obtain its own industry niche and gain an understanding of its customers (Porter 1985). Whichever strategy is adopted it must be adequately integrated within the firms goals and missions to achieve a competitive advantage (Parker and Helms 1992).