Walmart’s Great Value line of products is one of the company’s most developed retail brands, providing hundreds of different household products ranging from sliced bread and frozen vegetables to lightbulbs, trash bags, and other traditional products in order to address almost every basic need of day-to-day living (Neebe, 2020). These products are claimed to be just as good as some of the major brands currently on display, with the advantage in price due to a lack of advertising and marketing costs (Neebe, 2020). This brand provides the company with over 27 billion dollars a year in earnings. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Great Value line using the SOSTAC (Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control) framework (Smith, 2011).
The SWOT analysis of Great Value Product Line is as follows (David, Creek, & David, 2019):
- Strengths: Brand recognition, presence and expansion, low prices, access to global supply and logistics system, effective HR and resource management system, the position of dominance over suppliers.
- Weaknesses: Imitation of other brands, unappealing package design, average quality of product, lacking outside of the Walmart shop chain.
- Opportunities: Improving in design, improving in quality standards, brand strengthening.
- Threats: COVID-19, competition with other cheap brands, imitation, controversies regarding quality, controversies regarding supplier treatment.
As it stands, the main selling point for Walmart’s customers in regards to this the brand includes the acceptable quality of most products for the money they pay. It allows most to overlook the bland and generic package design and reduces the backlash when the quality of the product is subpar. Some of the SO strategies would include improving brand recognition through package redesign (Neebe, 2020). The primary WO strategy should focus on improving the quality of the product while retaining the price. ST should utilize the company’s strong HR practices to eliminate controversies regarding supplier treatment (Neebe, 2020). Finally, the WT strategy should seek to give Walmart’s generic brand a recognizable face and qualities that are not easy to imitate, in order to strengthen it against the competition.
SMART objectives for the Great Value product line are based on SWOT analysis provided above, and are as follows:
- Design and implement a new recognizable and appealing package design by the end of this year.
- Increase the quality of products that received the most complaints from customers so that it is in line with others, by the end of this year.
- Re-negotiate the terms with suppliers, so that the press reports would create a better image of Walmart among customers. Reputation responses should improve by at least 10% by the end of the year.
- In light of COVID-19 and the general impoverishment of the population, reduce prices of products by 5% while retaining the existing profit margins.
The analysis of Walmart’s Great Value Line 4Ps is as follows (Steenkamp, 2017):
- Product: Great Value line features over 850 products covering nearly every venue of daily human needs (Fortune 500). Variety is very high; the brand is well-distributed.
- Pricing: Prices for the Great Value line of products are low, that is one of the main selling points of the product.
- Place: Great Value products are offered and sold in every Walmart shop. They do not exist outside of the chain.
- Promotion: Walmart implements a variety of practices to promote GV products. Their main tools include physical advertising, Internet advertising, giveaways, and reduced-price strategies.
The existing marketing mix is reasonably effective at maintaining existing positions and even generate small growth due to the fact that many people are forced to buy cheaper products due to the socio-economic changes in their lives. However, said growth could be enhanced by focusing on brand image, brand perception, brand quality, and prices (Steenkamp, 2017). Brand image and perception can be improved by addressing the issues with packaging appearance and poor reputation. These require 3 separate tactical approaches that will be discussed in the following segment. Brand quality is connected with Walmart’s relationships with suppliers and company control over the existing processes of production (Steenkamp, 2017). Current prices are formulated by the existing logistics and supply chain, expenditures for employee labor and retention, as well as the forces of supply and demand. In order to reduce prices, the company should either reduce expenditures or stimulate the economy of scale.
Tactics, Actions, and Control
The existing state of Walmart’s tactical approach focuses much more on processes rather than service and people. While the quality of Great Value is deemed largely acceptable in most positions, the quality of employees and services provided by Walmart is lacking (LeCavalier, 2016). This is the result of the company’s treatment of its employees, which ensures high turnover rates as well as reputation losses. It is possible to address these issues on a tactical scale while accomplishing the overarching strategic goals. Package redesign should be done with the accounting for the existing appeal – the brand should still be recognizable (Roberts & Brand, 2012).
However, the choice of colors in some products must be revised to make them appear more desirable to the customers. Controversies in regards to suppliers and employers should be addressed by improving the quality of their labor conditions and treatment (Neebe, 2020). Any expenditures associated with this initiative are likely to be covered by the reduced turnover rates and training expenditures. Quality issues can be solved in conjunction with suppliers, by having a quality manager from Walmart oversee their processes. Finally, prices should be formulated with an emphasis on generating more sales, which would be further stimulated by improved packaging, quality, and reputation. Some of the important control metrics for the KPI should include sales volumes, reputation surveys, quality surveys, and expenditures per unit produced (Neebe, 2020).
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