Chris Ohlinger | CEO of SIRS
The following article is written by Chris Ohlinger, founder and CEO of SIRS (Shopper Insights & Retail Solutions). His work with SIRS has enabled many retailers to improve their marketing decisions through the use of tested, sales-predictive techniques. In the following paragraphs, Ohlinger extracts a few lessons from Walmart’s model that local retailers should consider.
WALMART got its Trust and Price mojo back just in time to take advantage of the biggest economic crisis and the most significant consumer shift in the past 30 years to become even more dominant. But they aren’t resting on their old strengths. Today they seem to be morphing into an even larger and more different colossus at a time when many retailers continue to struggle.
And this time it appears Walmart is not only morphing again like they did in the ’80s with Sams, the ’90s with SuperCenters and the ’00s with International, but they are going for the knockout punch.
In addition to actively going after large targeted retail segments like electronics, food, toys, crafts, books and education related categories, financial services and health-and wellness, they are also adding services well beyond their most aggressive model for doing business.
Walmart appears to be expanding on the web attacking both Amazon and Ebay’s realms, beginning to expand their small store concepts and opening hundreds of health care clinics.
They are even actively helping consumers make green choices. Since a huge number of options have some shoppers questioning the green label, Walmart is developinig a sustainability index, and an iPhone application to help guide consumers to best buys in stores with Twittering capabilities and beyond.
Walmart is also one of the very few retailers that has successfully developed major new concepts outside of their original model (the Discount Store) – and even outside of the retailing model (In-store TV, etc.)
Oh, and recently they have announced they are lowering prices, again. It just doesn’t seem fair. It makes you wonder when the government will take them over.