Analysis Of Walmart Inc.’s Marketing And Management Strategies

Company overview

In this current era, knowledge plays a very crucial role in the economic processes. Such organisation that have enough knowledge do have a competitive advantage over the others with lesser skills and knowledge. In a knowledge based economy, innovation plays the central part. A company could maintain a competitive advantage by means of price, quality and employee satisfaction (Saeidi et al., 2015). The companies does innovation so as to maintain and defend their competitive stand as well as to seek their competitive advantage. However, for this report, the organisation that has been chosen is Walmart Inc., an American multinational retail company which operates a chain of grocery stores, departmental stores and hypermarkets. It is going to elaborate on analysing this company, its goals and strategies of marketing and management that it makes use of to gain a competitive advantage. It shall also discuss about its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It would also assess its social media presence and would evaluate the quality of their communication about its goals and achievements with the public.

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As discussed above, Walmart is an American multination retail corporation which runs the chains of large warehouse stores and department stores. It was founded in the year 1962 by Sam Walton and was incorporated in the year 1969 (Barney &Peteraf, 2014). It publicly traded in the year 1972 on the New York Stock Exchange. The headquarter of Walmart is located in Bentonville, Arkansas. It is also to state that it is the second largest public corporation in the world as per the list of Fortune Global 500 in the year 2013 (Morris, 2016). It also holds the position of the world’s biggest private employer and is considered to be one of the most valuable organisations in the world. It is family owned business and is owned and controlled by the Walton family. The family owns 48% stake in Walmart. At present, Walmart is the largest grocery retailer in the United States.

The organisation also operates and owns the warehouses of Sam’s Club based in North America. It operates in more than 10,900 retail units and that too under sixty nine banners located in 27 different countries along with its e-commerce websites in ten nations (Getkate, 2017). They employ about 2.2 million of associates all around the globe and among them, 1.3 million associates are from United States alone.

The main aim of the company is to create opportunities for people to live their life better. They consider it as their responsibility to make a constructive impact on the communities that they serve. Their vision is to offer good services with good quality to all their customers while remaining the market leader as well as striving regularly in order to be the most loved and admired company (Elder &Dauvergne, 2015). However, the vision statement of the company focuses on the quality of the product, lower product price along with manufacturing and growth opportunities for its employees. With the same, its mission statement describe about enhancing and improving the daily life of the customers through selling best quality products all around the world. The objectives of the company is also the same and it is of providing best quality services and products to its customer globally as well as to provide employment opportunities to the worthy talents. Furthermore, it also wants to expand its multi-channel initiatives while keep on growing in the United States.

Marketing and management strategies

Walmart makes use of demographic and psychographic segmentation strategy as this strategy helps in assessing and understanding the various sub-segments of the customers as well as their changing needs and requirements.  It understands the spirit of the customers as well as knows that what they actually want every day and that is- they want their daily goods at lower prices. Hence, the company has introduced the EDLP (Every Day Low Prices) strategy.

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With the same, the company also makes use of the undifferentiated targeting strategy in order to apprehend the global market. It does not the differentiated strategy to a greater advantage as everyone is a prospect for this company. However, the product price is the key differentiator for this company. Also, Walmart makes use of positioning strategy and it plays a great role in the overall success of the company (Martynov, 2017). It has positioned itself as an organisation that offers the products as the lowest price possible. It also makes use of the pricing advantage in order to be sustainable in its very own business model. As because of its so low price positioning, the company has destroyed many of the smaller retailers over the years of its existence.

“Black Friday” is one among the most famous events of Walmart that offers huge variety of products and services at just throw-away prices. It is considered to be its most successful strategies that is being copied by many of the retail companies all over the globe.

Walmart is continuously motivating its employees for making a commitment for exceling in the business and it is seen in the quality of the company’s customer care services that it provides at the store. It achieves the same by making sure that all its employees are becoming a part of its business objectives and goals. The culture of Walmart is defined through the manner in which each and every employee makes continual effort which they always maintain the top most position that the organisation holds.

The classical perspective of management comprise of the scientific management in the Walmart which are focused on improving the productivity of the employers, the bureaucratic companies is managed on a rational and an impersonal basis and this  makes the manager to use power instead of  personality  for administrative and delegating the principles that are focused on the whole organisation (Vidgen, Shaw & Grant, 2017).

As it is discussed by one of the employee of Walmart, the below mentioned strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats present for the company are been evaluated:

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis

Strengths-

  • It has a very good brand image in the field of retail business. It emulates both the quality as well as the value of the product. It is helping in retaining the existing customers’ loyalty and is also playing the part of a magnet in attracting more new customers towards its operation.
  • It is providing a wide range of products that are likely to satisfy the most of their needs and therefore, it can be said that Walmart is being very convenient to all its consumers.
  • It has acquired some major retail companies such as ASDA (UK) and this is making it easy for Walmart to enter into international countries.
  • The company is also making optimal use of the technologies in order to manage the logistic operations at both domestic and global level (Castillo et al., 2018). This is helping Walmart to smoothen its task of procurement. It is also to note that by the help of the arts technologies, the company has attained the potential of defeating strong competition and at the same time, it has gained the ability of catering to the needs of the large market.
  • As because of the fact that the company has exposed to the international markets, it has now gathered an expertise in operating at both the national and global level (Dubey et al., 2017). In this way, as the company size has been increased, so is its ethnic diversity and market coverage.

Weaknesses-

  • Walmart is still limited to only few number of countries and it is facing difficulties in entering in other countries in the recent years. Like for example, in India it operates as cash and carry with the bharitis and there, the company is not allowed for setting up its own retail chain.
  • It does not serve to the same variety of products lines like any single brand retailer would.
  • There is a huge diversity in the range of suppliers of Walmart and this is making the supply chain of the company more complicated (Elder, 2016). This in turn also increasing the frequency of logistic.

Opportunities

  • It could open up fashion goods category in its wide range of products and could decrease in the disposal income
  • The increase in sustainability as well as wealth of the middle class is one of the most significant opportunities available for Walmart (Jacobs &Singhal, 2017)
  • There is a retail market growth in the emerging markets
  • Customers today have become more health conscious than ever before. They are rapidly choosing health over taste. This is also a great opportunity for Walmart to flourish in its business of  healthy and quality services
  • With the advancement of science and technology and in this period of globalisation, there is huge growth in the field of online shopping.
  • With the same, through merging with the global retail companies, Walmart could gain local knowledge very easily and would not make the common ethnic mistake which might prove to be catastrophic (Bai, Sarkis& Dou, 2017). It would help it in strengthening their existing operations as well as prevailing over their competitors.

Threats

  • It is facing stiff competitions from both the national and international players (Katiuscia Moreno Galhera&Veiga, 2018). It is putting a constant pressure on Walmart in order to maintain and retain its customers as well as acting as a barrier in developing new business strategies or implementing those strategies throughout its business. Some of its key competitors include Sears, Target and K-Mart (Duggal&Verma, 2017).
  • Now a days, there is a huge increase in the expenses required for expanding a business internationally.
  • Also, the stringent banking rules and regulations by RBI is acting as a strong threat in operating retail chains in the market (Kashyap, Bhandari &Jaswani, 2016).
  • As because of the fact that the option of outsourcing is available for many of the manufacturing companies today, the price of the products have been significantly brought down and this has resulted in price wars among the retailers.

In today’s world, social media  is playing the role of the most  vital marketing channels for each and every company as because of the fact that it offers a unique way to them to communicate and get in touch with their customers worldwide (Moreno-Munoz et al., 2016).

  • Facebook- Walmart has put in a great effort in the development of its Facebook page and has also embraced the timeline in order to showcase how it has grown over such as short period of time.It has now gathered more than 26 million fans worldwide, which is an increase of 9 million since July. It constantly keep its fans confused through providing them with a wide range of updates.

                                                                       

                                                                                                              Fig 1: Facebook Page of Walmart

  • Twitter- Walmart generally makes use of Twitter in order to post different questions with different topics of sports and caption contests for its followers as well as requests for retweets if they agree with it on a certain statement. Majority of its tweets get good number of responses and it really does a great job in answering the users. It has the hashtag of #WalmartElves so as to help it customers in gathering information about gift inspiration. It also operates many different Twitter accounts which focus on its healthy food, community programs, sustainable initiatives and charity programs. It is also to note that Walmart has managed to gather more than 308,000 followers in its main twitter account.

                                                                     

                                                                                                           Fig 2: Twitter Page of Walmart

  • Pinterest- Walmart have a total of two Pinterest accounts. One is aimed at product ideas and the other one is promoting green living. The former account has more than 13,000 followers and has also created near about 66 boards. The later too has more than 2,000 followers. Its main account makes use of marvellous imagery in order to promote innovative and creative ideas in many special occasions such as Easter, Mother’s day and has also created seven new boards for the Christmas alone.

                                                                       

                                                                                                         Fig 3: Pinterest page of Walmart

For the convenience of its customers, Walmart has introduced its personal websites for online orders and services. Its website has more than 100 million of monthly visitors as compare to itsrival company- the Amazon-com, which has 180 million (Turban et al., 2017). It is also planning to redesign its website by cluttering the listings of the products and de-emphasing its name. The main goal to do so is to make their website more appealing to the higher end brands as well as to encourage the shoppers for browsing new products. Its website link is- www.walmart.com.

Social media presence

The marketing budget of Walmart is equal to 204 billion USD in the year 2015 and 2014 and around 2.3 billion USD in the year 2013. All these funds are invested in the marketing communication of Walmart and this include media and print advertisement, sales promotions, viral marketing, public relations, events and experiences as well as direct marketing components of the marketing communication mix (Hisrich&Ramadani, 2017). Earlier, the media and the print advertising has represented as a core of the marketing strategy of Walmart for huge number of years. However, in the year 2015, the Vice President of Walmart- Wanda Young had announced a planned shift in the main focus of it from print advertising to mobile marketing campaigns. With the same, the viral marketing is also one of the other directions that has been extensively used by the company with different level of success. Like, for example, the marketing video of Walmart- “Work is a Beautiful Thing: Meet Patrick”, which was released in the year 2014 has attracted many viewers in just 6 days along with thousands of  constructive and positive feedbacks as well as with positive implications on the company’s brand image. However, it is also to note that the company is still making use of media and print advertising to a good extent and it places advertisement on the magazines, TV channels and newspapers that are popular among the target consumer segment (Edgerly, 2015). It also uses sales promotion on a regular basis, especially before and during the public holidays or other special occasions, particularly, as mentioned above,the Black Friday is a great promotion day for this company which is anticipated by millions and millions of customers every year. It also maintains a section of Daily Saving Centre in its website where both the online and the offline sales promotion offers are been announced. It is also adapted as a very effective tool in increasing the sales of the Sam’s Club segment of the Walmart business. Hence, it can be said that the quality of communication strategy that Walmart is currently using to get in touch with its customers is quite high and impressive.

Conclusion

From the above discussion it can be concluded that Walmart is one of the undisputed leaders in the retail industry and that it has set and benchmarked for about multitude of practices which is helping it in maintaining its position in the market. It is also the best when it comes to the issue of supply chain management and marketing by means of promotional strategies. However, as now Walmart has become an international player, it must try hard to avoid the cultural mistakes such as what happened in Germany.  In Germany it has made the employees working there to sing the national anthem of United States. It has proved to be a catastrophic for their brand image. However, its innovation strategy is indeed unique as well as SMART and the main reason behind this is the fact that its strategy is specific, measurable, attainable and timely. It is specific as because of the fact that the company venture into a specific market, then establishes and finally compete. In its innovation strategy, the attainable and measurable targets are set. One can easily see it in the manner it produces a particular product for a particular market, e.g. the Green Bulb. Today, each and every body is encouraged towards going green so that to curb the global warming and Walmart has curved the niche setting attainable and measurable targets.

Marketing communication

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