The paper explores four aspects of Wal-Mart brand: product section, place section, promotion section, and price section. In product section, characteristic features of Wal-Mart goods and services are described according to the up-to-date Wal-Mart products variety. The peculiarities of the location of Wal-Mart stores are the main theme of the place section. Promotion section is connected with all the activities Wal-Mart Corporation does in the advertising sphere. The forth section includes data of pricing policy of Wal-Mart stores.
Wal-Mart is one of the greatest retailer corporations of the world. The brand started its existence in 1962 as a family business and began public trading in 1972. Wal-Mart specializes in grocery retailment, but today a consumer can find almost any kind of product in the chain of Wal-Mart stores. There are three retail formats of Wal-Mart presented in the USA: Wal-Mart Markets, Discount Stores and Wal-Mart Supercenters. Supermercado de Wal-Mart should also be mentioned in this list as the chain of stores appealing to Hispanic community.
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Considering the products and services that Wal-Mart offers, we can group them according to the departments presented in traditional Wal-Mart stores: name-brand grocery, regional favorites, consumer electronic items, snacks, etc.
Almost forty per cent of Wal-Mart products are the private label store brands.
The corporation’s business strategy model bases on selling general merchandise at the lowest costs. Wal-Mart staff does everything possible to satisfy all types of customers. There are “greeters” (working stuff that is trained to answer all possible questions from the customers and inquires about their needs) in traditional Wal-Mart stores.
To make sure that the customer is fully satisfied with the visit, Wal-Mart offers a packing service, which means that the check-out personnel is always ready to help with packing the goods.
Corporation’s image has been positive within all the years of existence, but as there are many businesses of this kind, Wal-Mart suffered corporate image attacks, the consequence of which was the loss of faith among customers. Now the Wal-Mart authorities and stuff work hard to avoid any threats of ruining Wal-Mart’s image. Wal-Mart is highly confident of the quality of products. If the customer complains about the quality and is not delighted with the purchase, it is a requirement to provide the customer with refund and replacement of a product.
The fact that geographic expansion should offer the access to all Wal-Mart stores is presented in Wal-Mart’s location policy. That means that Wal-Mart Corporation strives to locate its stores taking into accounts the geographical factors and urbanization of the citizens. If the area of a settlement is wide according to its geographical parameter, a few Wal-Mart stores can be found within the territory. It concerns big metropolitan cities such as New York or Chicago.
Charles Courtemanche (2010) proves that “widely acknowledged problem with identifying the casual effects of Wal-Mart is endogeneity bias from the non-random nature of Wal-Mart’s locations.” (p. 11).
Wal-Mart stores are presented in 50 states of the USA.
Once established in the USA with the headquarter in Bentonville, Arkansas, the corporation locates its stores in fifteen countries including China, India, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and United Kingdom.
Wal-Mart owes more than 8,500 stores with different names all over the world. Here are some names of Wal-Mart: Walmex (Mexico), Asda (the United Kingdom), Best Price (India), etc.
Wal-Mart’s hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week. There is a difference of operating hours at Wal-Mart Pharmacy Section, as it is available Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. It gives the customers the opportunity to use Wal-Mart services at the comfortable time, even if the location of a store is not that close.
Wal-Mart is now offering the “one-day delivery service” to its customers for online orders via Internet. The service will be available within a short period of time with tracking 10 dollars per one order. It is one of Wal-Mart recent innovations, which broadens the number of services presented.
Wal-Mart spends a lot of money and efforts every year on its promotion companies, as it strives to be the best. Though Wal-Mart is a highly developed and famous brand, its authorities understand the importance of keeping the business at the same level and being recognized as a leading industry.
The Pricing Journal (2011) states that recently Wal-Mart started a new advertisement campaign with a slogan “Low Prices. Every Day. Everywhere”. Anyway, with the trial and error method Wal-Mart promoters try to develop the name of a well-known chain of stores.
To provide a stable existence of the corporation and remain at the international area of marketing, the authorities and the management team provide some long-term vision of the situation with promotion policy. There was an agreement made beforehand with world’s leading industries which has improved the capability to compete at international level.
The factors of worldwide policy influenced the promotion sector of Wal-Mart greatly. It gave the “right direction” for the management team. Every store which is located outside the USA has some national characteristics depending on a country. For instance, Chinese Wal-Marts include national symbols and Chinese oriented goods.
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The Internet “Pricing Journal” (2011) interprets the act of changing Wal-Mart’s logo in this way: “With this new ad campaign, Wal-Mart is returning to Sam Walton’s founding philosophy: everyday low prices. This shift in strategy highlights two great lessons in pricing: (1) prices leave lasting messages and (2) pricing and corporate strategy must be aligned.”
Pricing mission of Wal-Mart stores consists in the fact that the customer should be satisfied with the prices presented. It means that the prices are always lower than those that the competitors have. This pricing policy is to be achieved through the process of attracting as much customers as possible. In this context, pricing strategy should be aligned to corporate strategy.
Zheng Wei (2011) believes that “because the Wal-Mart improved its customer service, so its sales are more than its competitor Carrefour’s sales. The company provides better service and convenience to fulfill their customer needs and increase its customer satisfaction.” (p. 89).
There is a tendency about Wal-Mart stores that occurs every time a new store of the corporation opens. When Wal-Mart enters to the market of any city or town, it has a strong impact on other competitors within the same territory. The median sales drop gradually in similar stores. It helps us to make a conclusion that the “pricing strategy” of Wal-Mart corporation has real results.
The customer service is the key point in Wal-Mart’s business strategy. The corporation is a great success by all means, as it has the most developed economies of scale and cut-like work force in comparison with other retail companies of the world.
Wal-Mart gained the reputation of one of the best customer-oriented services among all market retail suggestions.
According to its sales volume, which increases gradually, we can judge about Wal-Mart as a market with high serving standards and moderate price policy.