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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

Nine Lives is a start-up company.  Marketing is critical to its success and future profitability.  The store offers an extensive selection of used outdoor gear and clothing in a consignment arrangement.  Nine Lives also has a limited selection of manufacturers closeouts.  The basic market need is reasonably priced outdoor clothing and gear.  Nine Lives is meeting this market need by offering primarily used items, discounted off the normal retail prices.

Market Summary

Nine Lives possess good information about the market and knows a great deal about the common attributes of our most prized and loyal customers.  Nine Lives will leverage this information to better understand who is served, their specific needs, and how Nine Lives can better communicate with them.

Market Analysis

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Market Analysis
Potential CustomersGrowth     CAGR
Participants w/limited resources9%27,01429,44532,09534,98438,1339.00%
Bargain hunters8%10,58411,43112,34513,33314,4008.00%

Market Needs

Nine Lives is providing its customers a wide selection of used outdoor gear and clothing at reasonable prices through a consignment-style arrangement as well as closeouts purchased from manufacturers and distributors.

  • Selection: A wide range of different clothing and gear options.
  • Accessibility: The store is open for extended hours and is easy to browse.
  • Customer service: The patron will be impressed with the level of attention that they receive.
  • Competitive pricing: All items will be discounted relative to new retail prices.

The market trend for outdoor gear and clothing is the ability to purchase products at discount prices.  One way the trend has played out is the business model of selling closeout and last year model items.  This trend has occurred in the last few years and it is a variant of the T.J. Maxx type business model where items are sold at discount prices.   Examples of this business model in the outdoor industry are the websites of sierratradingpost.com or rei-outlet.com.  These sites only sell discounted, new, outdoor gear. Nine Lives is different in that the bulk of their merchandise is used.  This matters less as outdoor gear is typically based on utility instead of fashion.


Market Growth

In 1999, the outdoor gear industry achieved over $9 billion in sales.  This market growth can be attributed to several factors:

  • The recent health conscious trend in America that has fueled outdoor activities.
  • The increased popularity of outdoor activities among young people who recognize it as an inexpensive way to entertain themselves.
  • The increased selection of reasonably priced outdoor gear.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures key strengths and weaknesses within the company and describe the threats facing Nine Lives.


  • Strong relationships with manufacturers and distributors enabling Nine Lives to secure good closeout items from those sources.
  • Great retail space that is bright, well laid out, and centrally located.
  • Excellent staff who are highly trained and customer attentive.


  • Nine Lives lacks brand equity.
  • A limited marketing budget to develop brand awareness.
  • The struggle to continually get quality used items for consignment.


  • A growing market with a significant percentage of the target market still not aware of Nine Lives.
  • A growing market of people who have used equipment that they would like to sell.
  • Good margins and low overhead.


  • Competition from online discounters.
  • The entrance into the Eugene market from an already existing used gear store.
  • Inability to get sufficient inventory.
  • Local retail competitors starting to sell significant quantities of closeouts.


Currently, there are no true direct competitors in Eugene.  There are two Oregon competitors that have very similar product offerings although one is a consignment shop and the other is a normal retailer.  The normal retailer (they buy new and used equipment and sell it to the public) is located in Portland and is doing well, and the similar style consignment shop is located in Bend, another outdoor-friendly town, but with a much smaller population base (around 50,000 people instead of Eugene's 130,000 people) and they are also doing well.

Nine Lives' competition is present in Eugene in the form of new, retail outdoor stores, such as R.E.I. and McKenzie Outfitters.  These retailers have a wider selection of goods, but have normal retail prices and no used merchandise.

Another form of competition is thrift stores that sell used clothing and equipment.  The amount of decent used outdoor clothing and equipment floating around thrift stores is small and it is hit-or-miss.  In order to score the deals you have to regularly make the rounds at several thrift stores.

Product Offering

Nine Lives will sell a wide range of outdoor clothing and gear.  The following is a partial list of the offerings at any one time:

  • Fleece outerwear.
  • Rain gear, waterproof breathables as well as coated nylon.
  • Thermal underwear.
  • Synthetic clothing for sports or travel.
  • Hats.
  • Gloves.
  • Gaiters.
  • Shorts.
  • Pants.
  • Shirts.
  • Packs.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Sleeping pads.
  • Tents.
  • Duffel bags.
  • Bicycles.
  • Kayaks.
  • Roof racks.
  • Canoes.
  • GPS.
  • Cookware and stoves, and much much more.

Nine Lives will sell the items on consignment, meaning Nine Lives will sell other owner's items and pay for them when sold.  Typically the items on consignment will be used.  They will also consist of new manufacturer's closeouts and seconds. This will only occur when the savings are large and the items are likely to be sold quickly.

Nine Lives will be procuring the merchandise from a variety of sources:

  • Individuals: These people believe that it is preferable to receive something for their goods rather than packing them up to a thrift store.  Alternatively, these people might want the newest generation piece of gear or clothing and the way they finance this desire is by selling off their old stuff.
  • Manufacturers: Sometimes the manufacturer will want to get rid of their inventory excess, whether because the merchandise is last year's model or they have an overstock.  In any case, they may look to consignment shops to allow them to lower inventory.
  • Retail store closeouts: Same rationale as the manufacturers.
  • Manufacturer representatives: The representatives often have a large number of samples from many different manufacturers.  After they no longer need the samples they will typically get rid of them as they serve little purpose to hold onto the samples.

Keys to Success

The keys to success will be to constantly track and meet the market needs.

Nine Lives will also:

  • Generate repeat business.
  • Increase the transaction amount per customer.
  • Increase the amount consigned per customer.

Critical Issues

Nine Lives is still in the speculative stages as a retail shop.  Its critical issues are addressed by the following actions: continue to take a modest fiscal approach; grow at a reasonable rate, not for the sake of expansion, but because it is economically wise to; and continue to build brand awareness which will drive customers to Nine Lives.

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