Our visit to Montserrat was beautiful. Just the drive up there alone had me in awe. I fell in love with the architecture and the basilica itself. Our host gave us a background on Catalunya and why this church is so important. Catalunya represents Christianity and without Christianity there is no Catalunya. Their religion makes up a significant amount of their culture. I now know the difference between Catalunya and Spain. They both have pride in their cultures and wish for that to be implemented.
The little market was filled with cheese and honey! This surprised me because all week I have been requesting honey with my tea at cafes and they all said they didn’t have honey. I even was desperate enough to go to a Starbucks, order a tea and asked for a packet of honey and was told just last night, “It is not typical in Spain to have honey, it is hard to find.” So I was very shocked to have seen it all over the market at Montserrat and even purchased a jar!
Our “typical” Catalunyan lunch was delicious! I didn’t have high expectations because I am an extremely picky eater BUT both the chicken and the pork sausage was delicious! Even our appetizers of toasted bread with olive oil and tomato was great. Dessert for me was Crema de Catalunya con helado and that hit the spot.
Over the past two days we have visited Tech City, Port of Barcelona, Inno Energy, Tienedo, and Activa Barcelona. Aside from Port of Barcelona, these companies have one thing in common and that is that they help entrepreneurs start their businesses and guide them to be successful. Tech City consists of one company with multiple tech brands in their building that are encouraged to network with one another and collaborate on projects. This is a fantastic idea and made me realize how in New York City, we have multiple buildings providing office space for customers but there is never a need or want to network with the brands within your workplace. As New Yorkers we are programmed to go to work, get the work for the day done, then go home. Here in Barcelona, it is encouraged to be social and interact with your fellow officemates.
Activa Barcelona is an amazing organization that provides entrepreneurs with all of the tools they need to plan and carryout their business. They provide advisors, a free space with internet that is open everyday for 12 hours so that they can always get their work done. There are also courses provided on how to avoid making rookie mistakes as an entrepreneur, freelancers, and how to find your niche and create a business from it. In the U.S we have similar facilities but the only difference is that they are all costly. You have to pay for an advisor, and a recruiter that helps you find a job receives a portion of your paychecks and that adds up when not only are you being taxed a lot but now someone else gets a cut of your hard earned money. Active Barcelona helps their people from scratch until 3 years after their brand has launched with the help of funds from the government. The unemployment rate in Spain is 20% and these companies are determined to inspire and get their citizens working and living exceptionally well.
Inno Energy does something similar in the sense that they help young entrepreneurs but the difference is that they are investors. They provide them with money in exchange for a share of their company, equity. When we spoke to the people of Inno Energy they told us that their program is beneficial for young entrepreneurs who have a great idea but don’t have their own funds to go through with it and their customers are always satisfied. They also said their program is beneficial because they have the resources and network to help their customers grow and succeed unlike Activa Barcelona who provides education on the business, advising, and a cheap space unit. All of these companies help facilitate jobs and give their citizens hope.
Today’s class trip to Esade consisted of lectures from 2 professors, the director of Esade and a businessman who works with Esade. Professor Farran had to be my favorite lecture of the day. He kept the class engaged by asking us questions and demanding a response from us. We also did some team work and he gave us good comparisons to make us understand what marketing really entails and that is satisfying the consumer. Now I will always remember that marketing is like having a lover, if your lover isn’t satisfied then they will go elsewhere. If the consumer isn’t satisfied with your service they too will go elsewhere. Professor Javier is an entrepreneur who explained his 7 startup companies, 4 were successful, and 3 failed. Both the failed and successful businesses were lessons learned. He explained how he could have dodged those losses but wasn’t thinking clearly, and didn’t get customer evaluations. Professor Javier’s biggest advice to us was to have a strategic plan before acting and then after acting to get customer evaluations so that you can consistently satisfy your customers and form a loyal customer base.
Top 10 reasons to do business and invest in Barcelona:
- Barcelona is the heart of Spain, filled with culture, impeccable art, literature, food, and fashion. According to this article, Barcelona is the southern gateway to Europe, the centre of an emerging economic eurozone, the Mediterranean capital.” It would be a smart idea and advantage to invest in Barcelona as they are upcoming economically. What better way to invest in the best of what Europe has to offer.
- Transportation in Barcelona is easily accessible. Barcelona is the only city with a high speed train station. They also have an international airport. Transportation is a big deal when doing business internationally. Because the transportation is readily available you can import and export easily.
- Barcelona is innovating new economic enterprises. Barcelona generates a big income due to all of the services that they operate and have attained. This city is the reason why Spain’s economy has been thriving.
- “Ninety per cent of the 5,000 foreign companies in Catalonia are in the Barcelona area and more than half of the companies in Spain are in Catalonia. These companies are mainly Japanese, Italian, North American, French, Austrian and Swiss.” These numbers show that Barcelona is already successful. I would follow the the Japanese where they do business and invest because they are known to have the best and latest technology.
- “New technologies and sustainability are growing intensively in Barcelona, offering attractive opportunities for business and investment.” Sustainability plays a major role in business nowadays due to society becoming more aware of their environment wanting to live healthier lifestyles. A lifestyle that is good for the environment and their own health. Brands are aware of this and are willing to give the people what they want.
- Barcelona is known for hiring their own citizens for prestigious businesses. “There are eight public and private universities in Barcelona that hold great prestige in various fields, and two of the city’s business schools – ESADE and IESE – are among the 25 best in the world.” I would trust, invest, and do business with Barcelona, also known as the city with the two top business schools in the world.
- Barcelona is known for constantly evolving and keeping up with trends. Their architecture and city is very futuristic, I can attest to this because I saw it myself last Spring. The buildings are beautiful. I felt as if I was in the new world while in Barcelona. “Strategic projects for the city’s economy that are currently underway deal with logistics, internationalisation, accessibility, technological development, creativity, design and research.” I would invest in a city with advanced technology and creatives. It is 2017 and businesses need to differentiate themselves from each other and that requires a lot of creativity that the Barcelonians have.
- Spaniards are known for being very well relaxed people as they have siesta everyday. Because of this Barcelona is very open to working with new businesses and trying new things. Why wouldn’t anyone be willing to invest/do business with a city who is up for anything.
- Spaniards quality of life is like no other. Spaniards take breaks seriously as opposed to the hustle and bustle of the United States and our work 24/7 mentality. If you’re not working than you aren’t being productive. Spaniards believe that in order to be productive and efficient you must give your employees a well needed break. Spaniards take a break in the middle of the day to have lunch and spend time with their families. It is encouraged to take your siesta while in America it is encouraged to eat at your desk, while you work… Although Spaniards take a siesta in the middle of the day, they still go back to work and finish off their day. A Spaniards day may end a little later, working until 9 or 10 but they prefer this so that they can enjoy their family time yet still be productive.
- Barcelona is a renowned city with tourists bustling in and out of their city. This is another good reason to do business and invest in Barcelona, this city is the new hot spot.
2. The only reason I can think of that would make me hesitate doing business with Barcelona is politics. Barcelona is an area of Spain that has recently experienced political unrest with the Catalonians. Running a business in an area that is politically unstable could lead to business interruption, which would be bad for business. Nonetheless this is a risk I am willing to take to work with a bustling futuristic city that is Barcelona.
3. Expanding our company, Rent the Runway to Barcelona would be our next big move. Barcelona. Barcelona is the hot spot to shop in Spain (speaking from personal experience,) and we should absolutely invest and branch out there. Barcelonians are known for their superb style, starting trends, and wearing designer clothing. According to a Barcelona Tour Guide, “The Catalans care about their personal appearance and image. They wear a wide variety of types of clothes however generally they do not wear overly casual clothes. The Catalans like to look good in a conservative way. They are keen on designer clothes but even more important to them is quality and fitting. It is not hard to find Catalan clothes of good quality at a reasonable price, which is also good news for visitors.” This would be a new twist to Rent the Runway. Americans love to look good, but Barcelonians love to feel good in what they wear and wear it well without trying. Fashion comes naturally to Spaniards. I think we should utilize their casual chic fashion platform and expand our business in Barcelona. Adriana says, “The huge success of Inditex Group, led by one of the world’s wealthiest Spaniards has experienced an international expansion with numerous shops and clothing brands with different lines according to the target in every city on the planet. But don’t forget that in 1963 this businessman from La Coruña (Galicia) was an entrepreneur who decided to open a clothing store, which in 1975 became the first Zara and you know about what came after that.” If this entrepreneur can turn his brand into a worldwide sensation than it is only right that we send Rent the Runway to Spain. Rent the Runway Barcelona would be a huge success, not only can we export American brands but we also have easy access to all of the European designers being on their continent and in a new fashion forward city. Our target market (millennials,) will love it.
- Zara, Broadway Soho
- Is the new self-checkout intended to be a customer self checkout or is a Zara employee supposed to check you out?
- This past Sunday I went shopping at Zara and as I was waiting on the checkout line an employee came to the scene and asked if anyone had 5 items or less to follow him. I have experienced this before and automatically assumed it was an iPad checkout in which he scans the items with an iPad and you pay with card only. This time it was different. This time I witnessed what I usually see at CVS which is a self-checkout. Except at CVS you have total control over the checkout and can press a button for assistance when needed. At Zara what seems to look like a self-checkout isn’t quite done by yourself. The same Zara employee took three of us from the line, he took our items and placed them by three different screens, scanned them, told us to make our payment while he brought us bags and helped us remove the censors. The methodology I will use to observe this service will be to observe the customers facial expressions, and body language while they’re using this self-checkout. Is this service more convenient for them? Is there a point to this side self-checkout when an employee is bouncing around 5 customers in the self-checkout? Are people willing to patiently wait or are they going to do the entire thing by themselves?
4. In my observations, I noticed that there was only one employee managing the self-checkout area. This can get hectic especially during the holiday season. The customers have access to taking the censors off themselves and if there is only one employee managing a handful of customers, his or her eyes cannot be on all of those customers. They aren’t as attentive and quick. This can cause for items to not be scanned therefore not being paid for and messing up their inventory. The one employee attempted to help everyone bag their items but it was quite sloppy. He didn’t make sure that our receipts printed or packed in the bag. I mostly helped myself, taking the censors off, printing the receipt and packing my items. I do think he was supposed to be more attentive though.
5. Three insights I observed were: The Zara employee scanned everyones items and placed them underneath the screen. Us, the customers took our cards out to pay (card only which he didn’t disclose when he took us off the main line). After we all paid, we all looked a tad bit confused because he walked away for a moment. I have worked in retail before so I knew how to take the censors off using the machine without damaging my items BUT the other two needed help. The employee appeared again to hand us bags, again didn’t help the other customers who looked very confused and didn’t know how to take their censors off.
6. Zara can improve on this new self-checkout by adding another associate to help customers with removing censors, printing their receipts, and being more attentive in order to satisfy the customer and decrease any chances of loss prevention.
A. For my product I chose Starbucks, the Starbucks service I chose is the Starbucks Mobile App. Starbucks is a successful chain store that sells baked goods, coffee, lunch items, and tea. I chose Starbucks because of how convenient this brand is. “New technologies are radically altering the ways in which many service organizations do business with their customers – as well as what goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps the most powerful force for change today comes from the integration of computers and telecommunications.” Not only can you find a Starbucks every few blocks, but now they have become even more convenient by creating a mobile app that allows you to refill your store card instantly and order your drink/food and have it prepared by the time you get to the store to avoid long lines. As a New Yorker this is a very smart and convenient app. We are always looking for ways to save time, and we definitely save time on our morning coffee run thanks to this app!
The textbook describes services as “economic activities that create value and provide benefits for customers at specific times and places, as a result of bringing about a desired change in – or on behalf of – the recipient of the service.” The Starbucks mobile app provides benefits for customers by receiving points every time they scan their mobile app or gift card. The customer receives 2 points for every dollar spent. Starbucks also has plenty of happy hours in which customers receive double the stars for purchasing within the happy hour. Every time a customer reaches a certain amount of points, they receive a free reward of anything of their choosing! Coffee lovers benefit greatly from this Starbucks mobile app.
“Across Europe, services have accounted for most of the growth in new jobs,” Starbucks again has numerous shops all across Europe and is employing numerous people.
B. 8 Components of Integrated Service Management
- Product elements: Starbucks’ marketing team developed the Starbucks mobile app to engage even more with their customers (aside from social media platforms.) This app’s purpose is to speed up the process of ordering by ordering through the app and picking it up within 5 minutes or less. The app also keeps track of all of your purchases and you can easily click on your favorite items (that are created after you make a few purchases through the app). Customers can also link their credit card to their app to earn points with every purchase and receive free items and discounts for happy hours.
- Place and time: The customer may order through the mobile app when they are close to the Starbucks of their choice, avoid waiting in long morning lines, pickup their order within 5 minutes and head out.
- Process: The process takes up to 5 minutes.
- Productivity and quality: Although Starbucks might be pricier than other coffee shops, the quality of their fresh baked goods and special drinks is why the customer is paying a little extra. The service is impeccable, Starbucks makes your drink to your liking and follow all of your specifications. If the customer isn’t satisfied than the barista is obligated to making another one.
- People: Starbucks employees always have a smile on their face and cater to the customers wants. In regards to the mobile app orders, baristas prioritize those orders and make sure they are ready within the 5 minute timeframe, if not less.
- Promotion and education: “This component plays three vital roles: providing needed information and advice, persuading target customers of the merits of a specific product, and encouraging them to take action at specific time.” The Starbucks mobile app’s home page is always current with current promotions such as their 2 for 1 promo that is going on now from 2-5pm. Starbucks customers are also emailed promo’s along with the promo posters being all over the physical store. Starbucks also announces promo’s on their social media accounts, so you can’t miss it!
- Physical evidence: Starbucks storefronts are recognizable with their green logo.
- Price and other costs of service: Starbucks baked goods, lunches, and drinks have a set price but if you want additional things with your order such as a specific milk (almond, soy, coconut,) that can cost you extra. If you want a sweetener like a packet of honey, that will also cost you a few extra cents.
C. I think that values and ethics are extremely important when it comes to providing a service. “Firms create value by offering the types of services that customers need, accurately presenting their capabilities, and delivering them in a pleasing and convenient fashion at a fair price. In return, firms receive value from their customers, primarily in the form of the money paid by the latter to purchase and use the services in question.” when customers know that you value them, they feel a connection and this is how brand loyalty is created through values and ethics. “As a customer yourself, you regularly make decisions about whether or not to invest time, money and effort to obtain a service that promises the specific benefits you seek.” As customers, the benefits we seek are a faster service (the mobile app), earning more stars during happy hours, and receiving our free reward once we attain the stars goal.