First Buses New Marketing Strategy

2502 words - 10 pages

FirstGroup FirstGroup is a provider of passenger transport services. 'It provides bus and rail transport services in the UK and North America'. The group is headquartered in Aberdeen and operates primarily in the UK and the US, employing about 125,000 people (Marketline, 2012). FirstGroup submitted a turnover on 31/03/2012 of £6,678,700,000 & a pre-tax profit of £279,900,000 (FAME, 2012). 'FirstGroup operates through five business divisions: The UK rail, first student, the UK bus, first transit, and Greyhound'. My product will be aimed at the UK bus market, in which FirstGroup is the largest provider of service (Marketline, 2012). FirstGroup 'has reduced the volume of waste going to landfill by 10% over the last 12 months across its entire UK operations' (FirstGroup, 2012) and so shows how the company is making changes to be more environmentally friendly. I have chosen to propose an idea to FirstGroup as I currently use their bus & train services and have found potential improvements for their ticket purchasing system. In 2009/2010, FirstGroup's share of the bus market dropped to its lowest point since 1996 at 19.6% meaning Stagecoach is in place to become 'Britain's largest bus operator' (TAS UK, ). FirstGroup must create value in their brand to bring back lost custom and regain their market share to again become the top bus operator in Britain.Product Idea My proposal is to create a mobile payment system for bus tickets. Using a form of mobile payment, a new system will allow users to top up a 'wallet' on their mobile phone and use this money to pay for tickets. This will elude the need for the majority of cash payments and paper tickets; reducing queues & waste while giving customers flexibility with their payment. FirstGroup released a smartphone app on October 12th 2012 (Apple, ), which allows users to 'check timetable information, service updates, maps and news on local First Bus services' (FirstGroup, ). The easiest option to roll out a new mobile payment system is for it to be released through an update to this app. There are a few different systems that can be used to implement mobile payments into FirstGroup's operations. These are explained in the following table: (Juniper Research, 2010) A combination of contactless payment and mobile web billing seems to offer the best combination to provide FirstGroup's customers with an effective new payment system. Contactless payment would be the be the best method as it would improve ease and reduce time waiting for bus users greatly by scanning the phone over a reader as opposed to paying in cash and waiting for change from the bus driver. However, only the newest phones have near field communication enabled for services such as Google Wallet (Google, ) and Apple's iPhone requires additional hardware such as an 'iCarte cover' for Natwest's TouchPay service (Natwest, ). Therefore, a service must also be provided to allow users to purchase tickets in advance on the...

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