Wal-Mart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton when he and his brother James Walton opened the first Wal-Mart Discount City in Rogers, Arkansas. Since then, Wal-Mart has grown to be the second largest company in the world (Wal-Mart Stores, n.d., p. 1).
In the United States, the company includes Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club warehouse membership clubs. The company also has many international operations. Wal-Mart is considered a variety store which focuses on low prices, and has been committed to upholding their basic value of customer service.
Wal-Mart employs three basic beliefs which are respect for the individual, service to their customers, and striving for excellence (Hayden, 2002, p. 2).
Wal-Mart’s corporate management strategy involves selling high quality and brand name products at the lowest price possible. In order to keep low prices, the company reduces costs by the use of advanced electronic technology and warehousing. It also negotiates deals for merchandise directly from manufacturers, eliminating the middleman. Wal-Mart’s new slogan is “save money, live better” (Wal-Mart Stores, n.d., p. 1).
According to the company’s website, “saving money is a means of helping our customers live better. By offering the best possible prices on the products our customers need, we can help them afford a little something extra” (Wal-Mart Stores, n.d., p. 1).
Wal-Mart has become an American icon in a very short period of time. When you think of the companies at the cornerstone of American heritage, Wal-Mart is one of the first that comes to mind. They have grown drastically in a relatively short period of time, when compared to other companies their size, and have clearly defined themselves as an industry leader. They have achieved this status in many ...
For each strategy that Wal-Mart promotes in flyer ads or television commercials, they measure the return on investment from these promotional strategies. If a strategy does not have a return on investment of a certain percentage in sales, those strategies are revamped or discarded. Backward expansion strategy is another key to Wal-Mart’s success. Unlike other retail stores, Wal-Mart opens their stores in a small town first before entering into metropolitan areas. “Wal-Mart spreads out like molasses from its Arkansas base by constructing new stores strategically located near distribution hubs and smaller towns, rather than leapfrogging across the nation like the other retailers” (Harper, 2004, p. 2).
The driving force behind every Wal-Mart initiative is the continued growth and profitability of its operations. As Wal-Mart developed over the decades, it continually sought ways to become more efficient and for new avenues in which to pursue profitable growth. One of Wal-Mart’s competitive advantages is their remarkable logistics system. They are able to ship merchandise from any of their numerous distribution centers in order to provide the cheapest and most efficient route possible. They even have their own distribution center for their online orders. Most of Wal-Mart’s stores are usually located within 200 miles from its distribution centers. This allows their trucks from the distribution centers to be fully loaded saving on the cost of fuel.
The invention of sharing sales data with suppliers through computer programs has allowed Wal-Mart to consistently keep their shelves stocked with popular items. To Wal-Mart, a supplier is not merely a commodity provider, but a true partner that helps contribute to the company’s business success. Wal-Mart is known for negotiating tremendous price breaks with suppliers. They do this by researching every aspect of a supplier’s product. They look into details such as the cost of ingredients, packaging, shipping, and advertising. Wal-Mart can handle suppliers in an aggressive manner because it sells a huge volume of each supplier’s product. Even though a supplier may not make its usual margin when dealing with Wal-Mart, they will almost certainly make up for it in volume. The price breaks that Wal-Mart obtains from their suppliers are passed onto the customers.
"Supply chain management is the flow of goods, services, and information from the initial sources of materials and services to the delivery of products and activities occur in the same organization or in other organizations" (Horngren 695). This approach enables Regal Marine (R. M) to be highly effective, efficient, and profitable. More over supply chain management effectively manage your supply ...
Wal-Mart also works with its suppliers to ensure that the items it sells are of the highest quality. Wal-Mart uses a third-party testing laboratory called Consumer’s Testing Lab. This company runs a battery of tests on all apparel, food-related, and electronic products. At its discretion, Wal-Mart can request testing on any of the products it sells. By doing this, Wal-Mart can assure its customers that they are buying only the highest quality items.
Wal-Mart utilizes both detailed market research and customer segmentation to better deliver against their customer’s needs and expectations. They do this by identifying the needs of their customers and deciding if or how they will implement their findings. They also tailor their merchandise assortment and store experience to meet the specific needs of a broader customer base. The use of customer data has allowed for an increase in segmentation in order to better serve the customer. The use of radio frequency id tags and electronic check conversion has improved inventory management, reduced cost, and it has boosted operation efficiency. According to a recent AC Nielson Company survey, “the strongest sales increase has come from high-income shoppers. Wal-Mart shoppers making more than $70,000 account for the biggest sales increase – about 12 percent higher than a year ago” (Morrison, 2008, p. 2).
Wal-Mart is not a store for one specific age or income group. It has something to offer for all ages and income groups. All of these factors are extremely important in their success because without the loyalty of their customers, Wal-Mart would not be one of the most successful retail operators today.
Because of Wal-Mart’s low prices and well-known name, they have been able to capture the sales of an unbelievable number of customers, and have therefore made it extremely difficult for small retailers to survive. Ethical shoppers, those who are concerned with the well being of small retailers, are angry at the monopolizing power Wal-Mart has been able to gain in the past few decades. Most small shops have been forced to close due to the lack of sales. Some people refuse to shop at Wal-Mart because of these issues. Furthermore, there are negative feelings towards Wal-Mart because of issues concerning wages, health care, and the environment. To combat some of these issues, Wal-Mart announced a new health care plan which would increase benefits to employees, and recently, Wal-Mart donated $2.5 million to victims of hurricane Ike and Gustav.
Many retail stores are created by an owner that has a very creative idea for marketing products. Not all stores seem to stay in business partly due to the lack of interest shown in later years of the business's growth. The chains that tend to succeed are of course financially backed but the owner of the stores stays creative and innovative in their ideas to keep promoting the chain. One of the ...
Wal-Mart promotes relationship marketing. As Sam Walton once said, “let them (your customers) know you appreciate them” (Wal-Mart Stores, n.d., p. 2).
Wal-Mart uses one-to-one marketing relationship building with the target customers">relationship marketing tactics. This is executed by the famous Wal-Mart greeter. The Wal-Mart greeting was the original method used by the company to show customers that they are appreciated. A greeter at the door thanks customers for coming in, assists with a shopping cart, and provides a “goodbye, thank you” upon departing the store. The associate is dressed in a blue vest which conveys warmth and personality to every customer entering or exiting a Wal-Mart store. Wal-Mart also employs the 10-foot rule. Whenever a Wal-Mart associate is within 10-foot of a customer, they must look the customer in the eye, greet the customer, and ask the customer if they can be of some help to them (Wal-Mart Stores, p. 1).
By obtaining the lowest prices for their customers, Wal-Mart has steady seen increases in their overall profits. The company has effectively implemented operational strategies in its quest to continually lower its costs and deliver products and services with minimal difficulty or inconvenience. Whether it is through reducing costs with its various relationships and practices with suppliers, or controlling energy consumption by monitoring energy output at its headquarters, Wal-Mart’s strategies continue to reduce costs for their customers. Internally and externally, Wal-Mart has effectively eliminated non-value added production steps as it redefines its integrated relationships with manufactures. Wal-Mart has also successfully incorporated convenience in their strategies, as some stores are open 24-7, this makes Wal-Mart’s everyday low prices available to customers all of the time. A great deal of Wal-Mart’s success can be attributed to the fact that the company is focused on identifying, knowing, and understanding exactly what customers want from a retailer.
BACKGROUND Introduction The purpose of this paper is to determine how customer service and return policies in the retail industry, primarily WAL-MART, can be improved. It has been thought for many years now that outstanding customer service and liberal return policies satisfy the average retail consumer. The more convenient their shopping experience is the more apt they are to return to the store. ...
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