When I want to get jacked, I trust the bros on Bodybuilding.com vs. the GNC sales reps. As AJB pointed out, the store clerks are usually far more interested in selling you something different than what you came in for than really helping you achieve your goals. When I went into GNC one time to get pre-workout powder except without Creatine (which has been linked through some studies to cancer), the rep (A) was completely unaware of this linkage, (B) tried to convince me to buy something else with creatine, insisting it was worth it, and (C) had no idea which of their pre-workouts didn’t contain creatine. So I searched Bodybuilding.com later that night to learn what others online had found to be a good non-creatine supplement, and was far more satisfied with the depth of the answers there.
In this case, the business model and operating model are no longer suited since the internet has disrupted this linkage. It’s possible that GNC’s best strategy may be to drastically reduce their brick and mortar footprint and instead shift to more online sales, complemented by an emphasis on online / telephone consultations from highly knowledgeable experts. That’s one way for them to start adding value again to the customers.
It’s so hard for models like this to keep the players in the marketplace and not circumventing it. In this case, they’ve designed the model with strategies in place to more or less require tutors to remain on the system.
This is a great example of a process optimized for cycle time and throughput time, since they need to be reactive. It’s clear they incorporate this strategy throughout their design funnel, which enables them to get products to the shelves quickly — and fail fast.
This is a really clever model. It reminds me of the grocery / meal delivery services in the US like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, except frozen. Trader Joes in the US also has a very strong presence in high quality frozen foods & specialties. Also, that store layout sounds much like Ikea. I wonder how many “spontaneous” purchases are generated by this forced flow?
If their business model is to sell a luxury, limited-production product, then this operating model (without sufficient capacity to meet demand) is a perfect strategy. Otherwise, it suggests poor alignment. I wonder if this suggests they are leaving money on the table through pricing.