UNARCO invented the shopping cart in the 1960s and had been a
leader in the market over that time. It had recently experienced
a substantial decline in market share in addition to undergoing
material changes in management and ownership.
- UNARCO had over the years relied on its market dominance and
individual relationships to make sales. This method appeared
to be losing steam though the reasons for it were unclear.
- Several major competitors had entered the market and were
experiencing significant growth at UNARCO's expense and with
a product that UNARCO considered inferior (namely, plastic carts).
- UNARCO's investors were uncertain about whether or not to
make further investments in the company given its poor performance.
- Lighthouse was asked to address these general conditions of
the company on a rapid timetable.
- The company had not sought Lighthouse out as a resource but
instead had been directed by its investors to hire Lighthouse.
This created additional challenges given that management's role
in the poor performance of the company was in question.
- Lighthouse to evaluate UNARCO's position and perception
in the market. It was believed that this information would provide
the company with the objective insight (i.e. neither management's
nor the investors') as to why growth had stalled.
- Lighthouse simultaneously while preparing
the study in order to assess a series of other factors believed
to be contributing to poor sales results.
- The Lighthouse study revealed clear shortcomings in the company's
relationship with its customers as well as its sales approach.
The study further offered insight as to the successes of the
company's competition and the reasons why customers were favoring
UNARCO's competitors. These insights gave the company and its
investors clear, objective, and actionable data from which to
make decisions going forward.
- UNARCO had developed a poor reputation for customer relations
and had not evolved to meet the changing needs of its customers.
As a result, customer willingness to participate and provide
feedback in the study was a challenge. Lighthouse was able to
overcome these objections in nearly every case and to evoke
thoughtful and extensive customer input.
- The Lighthouse study was considered by all to have been performed
objectively and honestly. With suspicions running high among
all parties, this was a substantial achievement.