Walmart’s Business Strategies and Alternatives

Executive Summary

This report aims at analyzing and evaluating the possibilities of Walmart, a well-known American retail corporation. The task is to explain how Walmart should develop and introduce new business strategies to be more competitive and gain popularity among people around the whole world. The customer-oriented strategy is offered as the best alternative for the company to rely on. There are two more strategies such as the development of international market relations and the employee-oriented approach. Both of them are necessary for a huge company.

Still, the analysis of the financial aspects, the company’s mission, and the current situation with customers, the rationale for the customer-oriented strategy turns out to be more effective. The report focuses on Walmart as the company that can work with different people and identify their needs and expectations. However, during a long period, the relations between customers and the company were not as successful as they could be. That is why it is suggested to use a certain amount of money from the company’s budget to develop a customer-oriented strategy and explain how it is possible to develop the relations that can help the company, its employees, and its customers at the same time.

Background Information

Walmart is one of the oldest and most successful retail companies in the whole world. Being founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and opened in Rogers, Arkansas for the first time, Walmart became a powerful image of how a retail business should look like and why the idea to provide ordinary consumers with choice can lead a company. In five years, the company was developed considerably. Its owner was able to open 24 more stores and introduce itself as a solid competitor in the chosen sphere of business (Our history, 2015).

In less than ten years, the company gained the required portion of experience and skills to be recognized internationally. The idea to provide people with products at low prices was impressive and unusual for that time. People wanted to be sure that they got quality and options at the same place. Walmart could offer the guarantees people could not neglect. At the beginning of the 1970s, 52 Walmart stores brought $78 million to the company. The results were impressive, and more opportunities took place.

The Walmart Foundation was created in 1979 (Our history, 2015). This step helped to focus on the company’s ethics, corporate culture, international relations, etc. In 20 years of its existence, annual sales of the company reached a $1-billion point. It was the best result demonstrated by such company at that period of time. In 1992, Sam Walton died and could not observe the success of his company that took place the year after, $1 billion sales week (Our history, 2015).

Nowadays, Walmart is known for its ability to help people save their money and live better. Its mission is not only to hire people and provide them with good working places in more than 11000 stores that can be found in 27 countries around the whole globe but also to demonstrate how one single dream and desire to do something good for people can become a good start for a huge business.

Critical Analysis of the Current Company’s Strategy

There are three main business segments of the company: Walmart stores that are available to all American citizens, Sam’s Club that provides its members, who are ready to pay about $40 annually, with a number of opportunities, and the international market that is open to people on different continents and brings huge incomes. The first attempt to introduce Walmart on the international market was made about 40 years ago. Some attempts were successful indeed (China and the United Kingdom), and some attempts turned out unpredictably unsuccessful (German and South Korea).

The current business strategy developed by Walmart is to help people get what they want anytime and anywhere. The company shows how it is possible to treat people, cooperate with partners, and achieve success. There is no necessity to strive for money or make some complicated solutions. It is enough to set the goal, understand the priorities, and think about people around to meet their needs and expectations. As soon as people start respecting and loving an organization, the organization can get the required chance to become successful.

Still, Walmart is not the only corporation that could use the same tactics all the time. Many competitors can use the ideas offered by Walmart and introduce the conditions that could be better. The business strategies of the company are to consider price, differentiate access, stay competitive on assortment, and share the experience that has been gained during the last 50 years (Business & Strategy, 2015). Walmart has a customer-centered strategy with the help of which it is possible to understand what customers may want and how they want to experience their needs and expectations.

Problem Statement

Due to the existing competitions, technological achievements, and multinational culture, Walmart is not always ready to comprehend what steps should be taken further. The intention to meet customers’ needs cannot be explained and justified all the time. The company faces such challenges as the inability to set the prices that are competitive enough (Peterson, 2015), the necessity to expand its groceries and international markets, and the obligation to underline the importance of retailing and traditions concerning E-commerce that is developing fast today.

The main problem Walmart suffers from is not the inability to introduce interesting ideas and opportunities. The main problem lies deeper in customers and a human dilemma to get as much as possible with the help of the current technological progress and stay devoted to the traditions that have been kept for several years. Such kind of consumers’ instability is a serious problem for Walmart, and its task is to understand the peculiarities of combinations between the technological progress, traditions, and consumers’ needs.

Three main ideas can be offered to Walmart: to focus more on the opportunities that can be available to customers, to improve the conditions under which employees have to work and to investigate better the peculiarities of the international market regarding the existing competitors, suppliers, and even cultural preferences. The details of all three strategies will be discussed in the project. However, it is suggested to focus on a consumer and the opportunities that can be offered by the Walmart stores. As a rule, it is not expensive to pay more attention to consumers and gather their suggestions and opinions. As soon as the material is gathered, it is possible to understand what customers want to get and under which conditions. Such an approach corresponds with the ethics of the company, its missions, and its values. Besides, the development of new customer-oriented ideas is a part of the company’s goal that has been supported during the whole company’s life.

Literature Review

Any business strategy is an action plan that is created by an organization in order to guide it on how to achieve the visions set at the beginning (Ireland, Hoskisson, & Hitt, 2008). The researchers identify several types of strategies that can help to compete through rivalry. They mention several multiproduct strategies and the ways of how to integrate business. The ideas on how to develop a business-level strategy are explained in the example of Walmart. Ireland, Hoskisson, and Hitt (2008) introduce a business-level strategy that helps to compete in the marketplace regularly and do all things right in regards to the customers’ expectations. Despite the fact that Walmart worked on its cost leadership strategy for a long period of time, the company’s current strategy to add new services and approaches is understood and accepted by all employees and customers.

Harrison & John (2013) evaluate a low-cost business strategy as another attempt made by the company to distribute its products and services effectively. A growing demand and profitability of the company serve as the best reasons for why Walmart’s business strategy makes sense and works properly. The attention Hill and Jones (2008) pay to the leadership issues of the company helps to realize how Walmart can think about its customers and keep the minimal costs. The competition that exists between low prices is powerful indeed. Today, many retail companies can impress their customers with a low-price policy. However, the peculiar feature of Walmart is several distinctive features, product differentiation, and advertising that attract people’s attention (Hill & Jones, 2008).

The analysis and the evaluation of the past and recent achievements of the company show that Walmart does not find it necessary to focus on one particular strategy. At different stages of its development, the company could achieve success in different directions. In the beginning, there were poor advertising activities and product choice (Hill & Jones, 2008). In several decades, Walmart became a good example of how an organization can become a corporation with multiple choices for its employees and customers. The success of the company is a good combination of leadership strategies, properly chosen working approaches, and the ability to work with, for, and using customers around the whole world.

A new store introduced by Walmart is not only an opposition to the existing markets. It is a chance to introduce a new culture with low nearby prices and transactions that can facilitate human lives (Pope & Pope, 2015). Business strategies can be developed at different periods of time. Still, the main outcome is a chance to improve the already existing conditions and impress all stakeholders of the corporation.

Recommended Strategic Alternatives

Even though Walmart is a huge American corporation that is known around the whole world, there are several challenges that the company can face with. Due to the available chances and sources, Walmart can work with customers, develop strong leadership strategies, and achieve the goals that can differentiate its services and products. The main goal of the corporation under discussion is to understand what customers may want and how they expect to experience the services offered by Walmart. There are many strategic alternatives that can be offered to the company and improve the existing market penetration and orientation and product orientation and quality.

Product Development

A product is a result of the work completed by a number of people. Ireland, Hoskisson, and Hitt (2008) explain that any successful product should create value for a particular group of consumers. It is not enough to introduce and develop a product. The company has to prove the worth of the chosen product and explain why people should accept it and how the implementing process should be organized. Walmart is challenged by the necessity to create the products and services in different regions. It means that some cultural, political, and even religious aspects have to be considered.

Besides, a product should be regarded as not only a good or thing that can be touched and bought. The main product that can be developed for or by Walmart is the idea of how a strategy can help Walmart become strong. Product differentiation and customer orientation are the two main ideas that have to be discussed in the project. Certain challenges have to be evaluated and an alternative that can be chosen from the options available. Walmart should understand if it has enough sources to compete with its price policy, customer-oriented services, and a variety of ideas.

Market Development

A market-oriented concept in the Walmart’s work proves that the company wants to understand its customers and satisfy their needs and wants. Still, such a strategy does not make the company the only and evident leader. It should help to choose the right direction. At the same time, a number of solutions and achievements have to be made additionally. The market-oriented strategy is the advantage that can be used by Walmart anytime. In addition to the possibility to improve the quality of service and promote its variety, it is also interesting to observe the development of the corporate culture. The employees’ behavior, working relations, and international opportunities have to be used in the market development strategy.

Market Penetration

Walmart has already penetrated the retail market and use the available international variety of services, needs, and expectations. Market penetration is the demonstration of the company’s readiness and properly developed skills to overcome the challenges of a new market system. Walmart has already succeeded in American continents, Japan, and China. Still, its European experience was not rich. The United Kingdom is one of the countries Walmart can offer its services to.

The challenges of market penetration may be the necessity to unite the US dollar with the Euro and deal with the differences in the peculiarities of currency. Walmart has to deal with currency issues and the quality of services and products to succeed in different international markets. At the same time, one question arises: if it is necessary to move forward internationally. It is more interesting and effective to understand how Walmart can attract the attention of its American customers and differentiate the services and products to their possible extent.

The market penetration strategy should not be rapid or poorly evaluated. Walmart should make fast decisions and hurry to impress the customer. It seems to be more reasonable to understand what can be done in regards to the customers’ needs, and why Walmart can be the only organization that can successfully adopt this strategy.

Choice of Strategic Alternative

Taking into consideration the needs of the company and the expectations of the customers, it is possible to introduce several business strategies that can be more or less appropriate for Walmart in 2016. First, it is possible to focus on the employees’ needs and demands. Such a strategy should help to improve the quality. Second, the strategy that should help to develop better leadership qualities can be offered. Finally, customer-oriented services and products have to be strategically developed as well. The choice of the strategic alternative such as the development of customer-oriented approach is made. This strategy consists of several steps like the improvement of the customer experience, the possibility to win price competition, and the necessity to expand the product assortment. The alternative can be successfully implemented in case the market penetration, decision criteria, recommendations, and several studies of the company’s achievements and facts are discussed.

Market Penetration

The improvement of customers’ services is the goal that has to be achieved during the market penetration process. Walmart has already proved itself as a powerful retail figure on the market, developed good international contacts, and reached the goals that gathered the devoted customers of Walmart around the whole world. Still, people need the proofs that they have made correct solutions and their devotion to Walmart can be justified.

That is why the idea to improve and differentiate customer services seems to be powerful indeed. Business owners understand that it is very important to market the products and services offered by their companies properly. A company should learn how to advertise and promote new products. Walmart’s strategy corresponds to the EDLP idea. It means that Everyday Low Price is available to customers and remains to be strong for a long time (Our business, 2015).

The chosen customer-oriented strategy is a chance to attract more customers and to prove that quality and options can be available for people. Besides, the intention to help people live better should prove that Walmart takes care of people by means of not only the products and services offered. The team of Walmart treats its customers the way employees want to be treated in return.

Decision Criteria

There is a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) that can be used to make complex decisions. It helps to solve problems and choose the alternatives that are more appropriate for a company. Walmart has to understand what is important for the company, where logic is, and what ideas are easy to use in order to comprehend their customers and choose effective working methods. MCDA divides the activities into three logical parts: divide complex decisions into smaller parts that are easy to understand, analyze each part, and think about meaningful solutions that can be offered. Five main components should be identified: a goal of a problem that should be resolved, a decision-maker, several decision alternatives, evaluation criteria within the frames of which interests are considered, and the outcomes that are expected or should be avoided.

In this particular case, Walmart should rely on the interests of their customers. It is possible to organize online questionnaires or conduct short interviews. The main criteria that can be used in the chosen strategy are as follows:

  1. The effectiveness of the ideas;
  2. The impact on people;
  3. The ability to invite new people;
  4. The level of interest among employees;
  5. The presence of future prospects.

It is possible to give the answers: “High”, “Middle”, and “Low”. Besides, the evaluation of threats and negative outcomes can be given to comprehend what can be done to avoid them in the future. Sometimes, it is not enough to rely on answers and personal opinions. That is why it is reasonable and effective to make use of annual reports and identify if the suggestions have been used by the company and if they lead to some achievements.

In the process of improving customer services, it is assumed that Walmart will not break the law or some legal regulations. Political and social factors have to be taken into consideration as well. Because Walmart is an international type of market line, it is very important to pay attention to demographic and psychographic profiles of the area where a new store is going to be opened. Finally, supply chain operations should be supported because time and quality are the basics of any customer-oriented service, and delays are not acceptable for Walmart.

The customer-oriented strategy is a chance to learn better Walmart’s customers and understand what can make them choose this particular store. Walmart can win a lot in case more attention is paid to this strategy. It is not enough to segment customers and learn their preferences. Walmart gets a chance to build relationships so that people are willing to come back and prefer the products and services of the chosen company. Besides, it is very important to know how to get engaged in service recovery. Sometimes, it is easier for Walmart to find a new customer. Sometimes, it becomes easier to retain a regular customer. The business strategy helps Walmart to seek input from their customers and define how products and services can be improved.

Recommended Course of Action

In its customer-oriented business strategy, the penetration process should be gradual. Walmart should consider the importance to adopt new ways of communication and developing new types of relations. The current marketplace is competitive indeed. Walmart should be ready to comprehend that the neglect of customers’ needs is not an option, and employees have to realize their particular place in delivering services and underlying quality. The course of action that is required to succeed in the customer-oriented strategy penetration should touch upon the leaders of the company, employees, customers, and the nature of relations that has to be developed between different groups of people.

The role of customers

Walmart has a solid base of customers, who are ready to share their opinions, demands, and preferences concerning the services offered by the company. Ordinary people should give clear grounds and explanations of why they want to see some changes or why they prefer to leave everything as it is.

The role of employees

Even though the customer-oriented strategy is offered, employees have to understand how crucial their role in the development of this approach can be. Customers’ opinions are the basis for improvements. Still, these opinions should be properly developed and introduced. Walmart’s employees should explain how customers have to share their suggestions.

The role of leaders

Though the role of leaders may seem indirect, it cannot be neglected. Leaders and managers of the company have to provide customers and employees with the required portion of the emotional and financial support to make the penetration process possible.

Taking into consideration such development of the events, the course of action should touch upon three groups of people. Though it is crucial to listen to customers and analyze their ideas, it is also necessary to pay more attention to the ideas that are offered by employees. Employees know the sources the company may rely on and identify the main needs of customers in case proper relations are developed with customers.

Best Alternative’s Reasons

The choice of the customer-oriented strategy as the best option for Walmart in 2016 can be explained and justified. The reasons are based on different aspects Walmart has to deal with.

First, it is necessary to admit that Walmart has already gained the reputation of a retail giant in the world. Many people know about this store and its segments and want to use the services because of different reasons (access, price policy, attitudes to customers, etc.). That is why there is no necessity to spend much time on introducing new approaches or develop an advertising material to attract more customers. It seems to be more important to make the customers, who have already chosen Walmart, stay and continue using the company’s products.

Second, there are many competitors Walmart has to deal with. Customer sensitivity is a crucial factor in competitions (Ireland, Hoskisson, & Hitt, 2008), and Walmart is able to develop new customer-oriented strategies that can help to win the competition and overcome the rivals.

Third, Walmart is good at setting low price policies. There is no need to improve or change this aspect because people get used to the prices. Still, it is always pleasant and unexpected for customers to get more interesting services or options for the same price.

In general, the customer-oriented strategy should help to understand what the company could do to satisfy its customers and spend fewer efforts, money, and time.

SWOT and SO/WO Analysis

A more than 50-year old experience in the retail business makes Walmart a true expert in the identification of customers’ needs and demands. The company knows that all people cherish the same goal that is to live better. However, sometimes, the chosen vision seems to be too general. The company needs more definite goals and requirements. The customer-oriented strategy has to be developed to understand what Walmart can offer to its customers more. Low prices and good locations are not always enough. The penetration of the strategy should be based on the analysis of the current achievements, strengths, and opportunities.

The SWOT and SO/WO analysis can be used to underline the main issues that Walmart has to use and be careful with.

Strengths and weaknesses are the internal types of forces that have to be identified to comprehend what a company can do (Harrison & John, 2013). As a rule, this kind of force depends on the size of the business. Walmart is a huge company; that is why it is expected to get a long list with various strong and weak points of the company. Still, because the company is successful, and many customers are eager to buy Walmart’s products, the strengths should prevail over the weaknesses. The strengths of the company create a basis for the company’s opportunities and means that can be used to overcome the challenges. The weaknesses identify the presence of the challenges Walmart may suffer from.

The internal forces of the company depend on its external forces, threats, and opportunities. Walmart’s opportunities help to improve the existing business practices and think about some new approaches that can be used by the company. As a rule, the opportunities are connected with the global economic situation and the organizational culture that is based on the human resources available. Employees take a number of steps to improve the quality of services, choose the appropriate strategies, and learn how to deal with the threats dangerous for the company.

The list of strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats is given below to clarify if Walmart can use the offered business strategies readings its internal and external factors.

Strengths
  • Cost leadership is a key issue of the company that differs from other companies that can create competition;
  • Constant effective growth that can be explained by the effective work of a team;
  • Powerful brands that attract the attention of people;
  • The abilities to develop good relations with suppliers and promote strong supply chains throughout the world;
  • Properly developed distribution channels;
  • Aggressive global expansion
Weaknesses
  • Inability to analyze the worth of the company’s presence in different developed countries;
  • A general mission without the possibility to clarify the methods of its completion;
  • Poor explanations of a low-price policy so that some customers connect low prices with poor quality.
Opportunities
  • Online shopping;
  • The developing countries’ expansion;
  • The intentions to improve quality standards;
  • Awareness of the trends can be used by the company to get around the competitors such as Tesco, Metro, Staples, etc.;
  • Customers’ devotion can become a powerful reason for why Walmart should use its experience and work harder;
  • The attention to the current technological achievements and the possibility to use them to meet customers’ needs.
Threats
  • The existence of intense competition;
  • Unstable currency situation at home and abroad;
  • An extremely high bargaining power of consumers;
  • Unemployment;
  • People’s intentions to support a healthy lifestyle and address the stores that support a particular line of products.

SO/WO and ST/WT strategies can be developed on the basis of the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of Walmart:

  • SO: online shopping in developed and developing countries due to the global expansion;
  • WO: the participation in competition can help to understand how to improve the mission statement of the company;
  • ST: good relations with suppliers can be used as the explanation of how to deal with the problems of unemployment;
  • WT: the idea to support a healthy lifestyle can be used to attract the attention of new specialists and decrease the level of unemployment in developing countries.

In general, Walmart has a strong domestic environment. Still, some weaknesses can be solved using hiring new people and considering the opinions of customers. The global orientation is an opportunity that has to be used by Walmart to strengthen its organizational culture and involve more customers into the company’s life.

EFE/IFE/CPM/Space Matrix/QSPM

Many tools can be used to summarize, evaluate, and even understand the worth of the company’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, some consulting companies develop IFE or EFE matrixes as the main strategy-formulation tools for the development or improvement of a business (David, 2011). An IFE (Internal Factor Evaluation) Matrix may be based on personal judgments and the level of how personal intuition is developed.

An EFE (External Factor Evaluation) Matrix aims at evaluating different economic, environmental, cultural, political, demographic, etc. information that can influence the work of the company and the abilities to achieve the required goals and standards. The following table will be developed to discuss the external and internal factors that can influence the penetration of the customer-oriented strategy that can be used by Walmart to change the working conditions and the quality of services.

EFE Matrix

Key External Factors Weights (0.0 – 1.0) Rating 1 – 4 (1 – response is poor, response is superior) Weighted Score
Opportunities
1. Online shop 0.09 4 0.36
2. Developing country’s expansion 0.03 2 0.06
3. New quality standards 0.15 4 0.6
4. Customers’ loyalty 0.20 3 0.6
5. Trend awareness 0.07 2 0.14
6. Technological development 0.13 3 0.39
Threats
7. Intense competition 0.12 4 0.48
8. Unstable currency 0.05 1 0.05
9. Bargaining power of customers 0.08 3 0.24
10. Style of life 0.08 1 0.08
Total 1 3
IEF Matrix
Key Internal Factors Weights (0.0 – 1.0) Rating 1 – 4 (1 – response is poor, response is superior) Weighted Score
Strengths
1. Cost leadership 0.15 4 0.6
2. Effective growth 0.15 4 0.6
3. Powerful brands 0.12 3 0.36
4. Good supply chain 0.05 3 0.15
5. Global expansion 0.07 2 0.14
6. HR management 0.09 3 0.27
Weaknesses
7. Poor presence in developed countries 0.07 4 0.28
8. General identification of the mission 0.12 1 0.12
9. Poor explanation of the price policy 0.08 3 0.24
10. Flexibility in work 0.1 1 0.1
Total 1 2.86

CPM stands for the Competitive Profile Matrix. The development of this matrix helps to identify the main competitors of the company under analysis and identify the strengths that can be used in competition. Today, Walmart has many competitors around the whole globe. Still, the most dangerous and perspective competitors remain to be Costco Tesco with their revenues in more than $110 billion. The retail industry has developed considerably during the last several years. Many companies want to sell their products in specialty retail stores and make their products available to people. Walmart is ready to cooperate with many companies. However, its competitors do not want to leave behind. They are ready to take more action to succeed.

CPM

Critical Success Factors Weights (0.0-1.0) Walmart Costco Tesco
Rating Weighted Score Rating Weighted Score Rating Weighted Score
Market share 0.03 3 0.09 2 0.06 2 0.06
Price competition 0.4 4 0.16 2 0.08 2 0.08
Financial position 0.04 2 0.08 1 0.04 2 0.08
Brand awareness 0.25 4 1 3 0.75 3 0.75
Service quality 0.2 3 0.6 2 0.6 2 0.6
Global expansion 0.03 3 0.09 1 0.03 1 0.03
Customer service 0.05 3 0.15 2 0.1 3 0.15
Totals 1 2.17 1.66 1.75

The above-developed matrix shows that Walmart is one of the most successful companies in all critical factors. That is why it can be used as an example for many other retail companies to follow.

The Space Matrix is a powerful evaluative tool that focuses on strategic position and action. With the help of this matrix, it is possible to identify the nature of the company under consideration. The following factors have to be considered:

Financial Position: investment returns (4), inventory turnover (3), operating profit (4), net income (5) – Avg. = 4;

Competitive Position: consumer loyalty (-1), brand value (-1), product quality (-2), HR management (-1) – Avg. = -1.25;

Environmental Position: technology (-1), competitors (-5), barriers (-4), demand (-1) – Avg. = -2.75;

Industry Position: growth (6), profit (4), technological development (3), consolidation (5) – Avg. = 3.75

X = 1.25 Y = 2.5

CPM

SPACE

Walmart is an aggressive company with several opportunities to rely on.

Finally, the development of the QSPM (Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix) should help to clarify if the company is able to recognize the threats and take the necessary actions in time.

Key External Factors Weights (0.0 – 1.0) Strategies
Customer-Oriented Employee-Oriented International Market
AS TAS AS TAS AS TAS
External
Online shop 0.09 3 0.27 1 0.09 4 0.36
Developing country’s expansion 0.03 2 0.06 1 0.03 4 0.12
New quality standards 0.15 4 0.6 2 0.3 1 0.15
Customers’ loyalty 0.20 4 0.80 1 0.20 1 0.20
Trend awareness 0.07 3 0.21 4 0.07 1 0.07
Technological development 0.13 4 0.52 2 0.13 2 0.26
Intense competition 0.12 1 0.12 4 0.12 3 0.36
Unstable currency 0.05 3 0.15 1 0.05 4 0.20
Bargaining power of customers 0.08 4 0.32 2 0.08 1 0.08
Style of life 0.08 4 0.32 1 0.08 1 0.08
Internal
Cost leadership 0.15 1 0.15 4 0.6 1 0.15
Effective growth 0.15 1 0.15 4 0.6 1 0.15
Powerful brands 0.12 4 0.48 1 0.12 3 0.36
Good supply chain 0.05 2 0.10 4 0.2 2 0.1
Global expansion 0.07 3 0.21 1 0.07 4 0.28
HR management 0.09 1 0.09 4 0.36 1 0.09
Poor presence in developed countries 0.07 1 0.07 1 0.07 4 0.28
General identification of the mission 0.12 4 0.12 2 0.24 1 0.12
Poor explanation of the price policy 0.08 4 0.32 2 0.16 1 0.8
Flexibility in work 0.1 1 0.1 4 0.4 1 0.1
Total 1 5.16 3.97 3.94

The results of the calculations prove that the customer-oriented strategy has to be implemented soon in comparison to other possible strategies.

Goals and Objectives of the Recommendation

The necessity to support the idea of the customer-oriented strategy in Walmart is characterized by the following goals and objectives:

  1. To create a new mission of the company or improve the already formulated mission in a proper way;
  2. To introduce more online shops and make Walmart stores available to people;
  3. To build customer-company relations;
  4. To involve customers in the life of the company;
  5. To identify customers’ needs in regards to the latest technological achievements;
  6. To learn customers and understand what new products and services can be offered.

Methodological Approach

Walmart has to take several crucial steps to succeed in developing successful relations with customers. One of the main tasks is to conduct research that helps to define customers and their expectations from Walmart. The rationale for such kind of research is to focus on the needs of ordinary people and make their voices being heard by all departments of the corporation. The company should be in a position to interview customers, talk to people, and organize online questionnaires to find as much information as possible. This section focuses on the methodological aspects of the strategy offered to Walmart.

Research Design

This report aims at investigating the conditions under which the customer-oriented strategy can be implemented by Walmart in the nearest period of time. The current investigation proves the importance of the chosen strategy as a chance to involve more people in the life of the company and enlarge the demand for the products and services. The adoption of the strategy can help Walmart to learn its customers and their needs better. Besides, many working aspects can be improved as well. For example, employees should be ready to change their attitudes to customers and focus on communication to gather more information.

This study should have a qualitative research design to meet the goals and objectives set. It means that the company has to gather various facts from real people about the services and products offered by Walmart and understand if there is a possibility to change something to meet customers’ needs. The research design should be both, descriptive and analytical in order to gather the data and make some conclusions on its basis.

Data Collection

The way of how data is collected for research and analyzed during the working process defines the quality of the whole study. It is necessary to rely on the information taken from primary sources. It means that direct communication with the team members of Walmart and its customers is a crucial part of the work. First, it is necessary to identify consumers and clarify the reasons for why they address Walmart. Second, Walmart’s employees may be interviewed to identify what has been done to customers during the last few months. Finally, annual reports should be considered to clarify how the steps were taken and what results have been already achieved.

The data collection process should not be too long. Questionnaires may be sent via e-mail, interviews can be organized via Skype. Open- and close-ended questions should be used to gather qualitative and even quantitative information.

Sampling Design

The study is organized based on the answers given by the US customers of Walmart. Female and male consumers should be interviewed to avoid judgments and misunderstandings that can be caused by gender inequalities. It is also expected to work with people from 20 to 70 because the age factor can help to understand if Walmart touches upon the interests of people of different age categories.

The simple random sampling is the technique offered in the study. The answers of 200 people will be taken for the analysis. Beforehand, the participants of research should be informed about the ethical aspects of the work and provided with the guarantees to stay anonymous or properly introduced in the study.

Data Analysis and Presentation

The data collected from the questionnaires, interviews and reports of the company should be used to prove the correctness and appropriateness of the customer-oriented strategy. The value and worth of the strategy should be explained through the answers of ordinary consumers, who want to believe that Walmart has many ideas to impress its customers. Besides, the information should provide the representatives of Walmart with a solid basis for the customer-oriented strategy as a necessary tool and the answers as helpful tools to comprehend what changes are necessary and how they can be implemented.

Analysis of Findings

Analysis of Findings

Research and the evaluation of data introduce several aspects Walmart has to work on. First, the study proves the necessity to improve the quality and number of services available to the customers of the company. More than 80% of the customers underline the importance or, at least, their personal desire to observe some changes in Walmart. About 5% admit that no changes are necessary for the company. The rest 15% of people do not give clear responses. The results show that people want Walmart to change something and introduce new services and options for its consumers.

During the last five years, Walmart has been improving the customer propositions and experiment with prices, assortment, access, and experience (Walmart: annual report, 2015). The company helps to save customers’ time and money and have an amazing and enjoyable shopping experience that can make people come back to the store. Besides, Walmart’s customers have already got more choices with online possibilities. Still, there is no limit for improvements. Walmart should have more ideas to provide its customers with. The last annual report proves that Walmart’s attempts are justified and beneficial for the company. 2015 was a rich year for the company in comparison to the previous four years.

Analysis of Findings

It is hard to give a clear number of the consumers, who visit Walmart regularly. Still, the observations show that there are thousands of people, who are eager to visit Walmart’s stores during a day.

The customers’ answers show that people are interested in the development of the company. They want Walmart to develop and improve its services. They expect to observe more changes in 2016. Some people are ready to give clear reasons for why they may need more changes. For example, some people are going to change their places of living. Still, new places do not have Walmart’s stores. People want to be sure that they can buy products at their favorite stores.

Discussion

Implementation and Action Plan

The above explanations and findings show that Walmart has all changes to increase the quality of the services offered to its customers. Besides, consumers are eager to share their personal opinions and expectations from the company. Among a variety of the steps that Walmart should take to succeed in the customer-oriented strategy implementation, it is necessary to underline the importance of the development of the relations between customers and the company. It is a fundamental action that cannot be neglected. Walmart has been proved its care for customers during the last years. Its mission and visions are based on the necessity to provide people with chances to live a better life.

As soon as the relations are defined, it is time to focus on the needs and ideas of the customers. Sometimes, it is enough to listen to people and memorize their words. People have to understand that their role in Walmart is crucial. Their respect and choices are preferable. Their ideas and suggestions serve as the basis for the company to work on. A regular consumer may share the ideas and innovations that can help to improve the company. Finally, the identification of the main changes and the ways of their implementation in a working process should be discussed with a team.

In brief, the implementation plan looks as follows:

  1. To develop trustful relations with customers;
  2. To research the market;
  3. To identify customers’ needs;
  4. To provide customers with a chance to purchase on their turns;
  5. To clarify new standards;
  6. To train employees in regards to new standards;
  7. To introduce new products and services;
  8. To analyze the effectiveness of innovations.

Assignation of Responsibilities

Walmart should identify the responsibilities according to the activities mentioned.

Activities Relations
Relations with customers Managers
Market research Research and Development Department
Analysis of needs Analytical Department
New standards Department of Labor
Employees’ training HR Department
New products Marketing Department
Analysis of the work Analytical Department

Budget

The implementation of the activities and ideas is not a free process. The work of managers, analytics, and developers has to be paid. Besides, a certain amount of money is necessary to implement new products and services. The organization should have money in its budget to cover the costs discussed in the table.

Activities Costs (US$)
Relations with customers 1,000,000
Market research 1,000,000
Analysis of needs 500,000
New standards 2,000,000
Employees’ training 2,000,000
New products 3,000,000
Analysis of the work 500,000
TOTAL 10,000,000

Timeframe

Walmart has to divide all work properly regarding the goals and expectations of every new task. The table will help to understand the timeframes for the employees and managers of the company: some activities should be regularly taken, and some activities have their timing frames.

Timeframe

Measures of Success/Failure for Each Activity

Walmart is a powerful retail corporation that has to prove its brand, history, and experience day by day. The implementation of a new customer-oriented strategy and the development of trustful and effective relations with customers is the task number one for the employees of Walmart. To succeed in the implementing process, the company should define certain criteria or some kind of metrics according to which the work can be evaluated.

First, the company should deal with the level of understanding of customers’ needs and behavior. Second, Walmart has to investigate the current market and identify the ideas offered by its competitors. Then, there should be a group of people, who can promote the connection between the consumers of the company and its workers. Finally, ethical and cultural aspects have to be identified in order not to bother people or frustrate their expectations. The guarantees and obligations have to be identified before the study is developed. At the very end of the implementing process, the comparison of the results in 2014, 2015, and 2016 should be organized to identify the achievements, mistakes, and effectiveness of the strategy offered.

Possible Coordination Issues

It is not enough for Walmart to underline and explain the importance of the customer-oriented strategy. It is more important to offer effective coordination with the help of which customers and employees can understand what they have to do. Taking into consideration the fact that different departments and groups of people are involved in the implementation process, there should be one person or several people, who control the completion processes, coordinate the activities of people, and use the achievements to set some new goals. Sometimes, it is better to hire a new person, who is free from judgments, personal attitudes to particular employees, and the already developed relations. This person should focus on the effectiveness of the work and the results achieved.

Possible Barriers

Walmart is the company that is available to all people. Because the strategy presupposes the cooperation with customers and the analysis of their needs, the possibility of cultural barriers and racial inequalities should be considered. Employees have to know how to communicate with different people and react to their words. Besides, the development of interpersonal communications should be guided by an expert. The company may address a professional psychologist to understand what some needs and ideas can mean.

At the same time, employees should understand that not all people may know English. The language barrier should be mentioned as well. Finally, employees’ willingness to participate in a new activity can be a challenge. Not all people are ready to communicate and analyze information simultaneously. Training can solve this problem.

Conclusion

In general, the analysis of Walmart helps to realize that even the most popular and powerful representatives of a particular industry may need some help and improvements. Walmart has an almost 50-year-old history. The experience of its workers and the attitudes of its customers serve as the best proof that the company’s success can be justified. Shopping is an integral part of human life today. It is impossible to imagine a day without buying something to feed, wear, use, enjoy, etc. The reasons for shopping are various, and the quality of services is one of the reasons.

The customer-oriented strategy and the possibility to develop trustful relations between a company and its consumers is a serious task. Not all huge organizations are able to understand what kind of work has to be done, what order of the steps should be, and what outcomes should be expected. Human nature is complicated indeed. That is why it is hard to understand what Walmart’s customers may want. The task is not only to develop the relationship. The task is to realize how effective these relations can be.

The efficacy of the chosen customer-oriented strategy lies in the possibility to combine the current technological achievements, personal needs of customers, and the company’s resources. The success of the implementation of this strategy depends not only on the ability to gather the material and identify the needs of customers. The organization should also know how to make the required changes and satisfy customers. The relations between the company and customers should not be developed due to the exchange of information only. Walmart’s experience can be used to comprehend that people want to live better. The low-price policy is a kind of help offered by the company to its customers. Still, low prices should be clearly explained so that people cannot have some doubts concerning the quality of the services offered.

References

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