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Help Desk
Published: October 14, 2023

The Challenge

Marks and Spencer (M&S) is an iconic British retailer with a major high-street presence and an expanding estate of stores across Europe, the Middle East and Asia that are operated by a network of international franchise partners.  To continue to grow in international markets in a controlled, consistent, and sustainable way, M&S recognized the need to gather ongoing feedback from their franchise partners independently and objectively.

A custom solution was required because:

  • It allowed flexibility in research design. We were able to ask unique questions that are essential to understanding the relationship M&S has with their franchisees across multiple business departments.
  • M&S has a diverse network of franchisees operating in multiple regions and countries. This meant we needed to coordinate fieldwork in multiple markets and analyze the data using customized segmentation variables to provide a detailed level of feedback that would be actionable.
  • M&S wanted a solution that could be repeated regularly. The fieldwork schedule would be sympathetic to religious festivals and seasonal sales events that would affect franchisee participation.

How We Helped

The Advantage Custom Solutions team designed a bespoke Voice of the International Retail Partner solution. Key features of the solution are:

  • A 10-question online survey tailored to each respondent’s area of business with our client.
  • We achieved an average response rate of 75%+ over two fieldwork waves.
  • Targeted use of open-ended questions to increase the depth of feedback, generating 1,800+ comments from a base of c. N=150 respondents.
  • Reporting outputs included customized analysis and segmentation of franchisees based on size, geography, strategic importance, business function and department in PPT report format + interactive online dashboard.

Annual frequency with fieldwork timings to work around seasonal events — wave one kicked off in Q2 2022 and a repeat wave in Q2 2023

The Outcome

M&S has an improved segmented understanding of international franchise partner relationships, which allows them to take a more targeted approach to action planning and communication. The data is being democratized across the business via an online dashboard so that the teams responsible for day-to-day relationship management are informed and empowered.