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They have decided to add a few upscale lines in their product line to attract the upscale customer. (Lavelle, Marianne p.36-38) This is done in an effort to appeal to all the classes, thus bringing in more revenue and increasing the shareholders stock value. The goal: to close the gap with discount competitors such as Target Corp., whose flashier merchandise and stylish stores are luring bigger spenders (Barbaro 2005). By increasing the quality of their merchandise, Wal-Mart can become a direct competitor with the other discount stores. Not, only are they looking at the quality of their merchandise, but at their overall store presentation. They are also looking to install laminate hard wood floors throughout the “apparel departments of new stores to evoke the inside of a boutique.” (Barbaro 2005)
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Wal-Mart's strategy is providing low-cost goods. In any low cost strategy, efficiency is required in production, distribution and taking advantage of economies of scale is required. Another strategy is to start adding a new fashionable collection to attract upscale customers. In place of hodgepodge of seemingly random colors, a handful of carefully chosen shades—baby blue and lime for the spring season—will now dominate clothing and housewares to send a clear message about what’s trendy. (Barbaro 2005) So far the strategy has not worked as planned the merchandising of the product has not been differentiated from the low cost goods.
On their Balance scorecard Wal-Mart focuses on the learning and growth to support other parts of their strategy. In the learning and growth they focus on training their staff on new technologies, and work processes to enhance and improve their production. That automatically connects to the internal goals which are producing low cost products at high pace, which eventually translates into low cost products for the customers. (Bateman, Snell, p.12-24) Becoming a successful international company is another goal. Wal-Mart is running out of room to grow in the United States, its largest market, where it already operates about 4,000 stores. With each new store, it risks eroding sales at older stores. (Kavilanz 2007) Going international is their only other option. Although they have made some successful transitions around the world, some countries have not been so accepting to the Wal-Mart concept. Wal-Mart may rule the retail roost at home, but it hasn’t met with the same measure of success abroad. In key markets like China, European competitors like Tesco, Carrefour and Metro have outperformed Wal-Mart and grabbed more market share. (Kavilanz 2007)
From a technology perspective, Wal-Mart has asked most of their suppliers to start using the internet as a pre-requisite. By that they were able to track inventory, track orders, and deliver better service to their clients. Furthermore, Wal-Mart was able to have a competitive advantage over their competitors.(Ham, Steve p.7) Wal-Mart has also realized that focusing on inventory management technology they are able to increase their product lifeline on the shelves. (Bateman, Snell, 2007, p.8-19) This will enable Wal-Mart to make sure their items are always in stock, and even provide insight as to what products sell the most in certain areas. When it comes to managing high-impact innovation, there is no contest—Sam Walton still matters more than Bill Gates. (Schrage 2002) Wal-Mart has been extremely successful in its implementation of technology and productivity. Microsoft and Cisco may set technical standards; Wal-Mart sets business process standards. (Schrage 2002)
From an Ethical perspective Wal-Mart was known in the market that they do not pay their employees well, and that had a very negative impact on them. Not only that, but many labor organizations and communities viewed them negatively. Wal-Mart has created a new pay scale that now does not allow employees to get merit raises, instead the company has added salary caps. With the new pay scale and the recently discontinued merit raises—Wal-Mart employees say they now get one chance a year to get a raise—at their year-end evaluation where their manger decides if a raise is warranted. (Brennan 2006) Wal-Mart immediately put a very expensive campaign together to fight that idea and show that they are a fair and generous retailer. . (Bateman, Snell, 2007, p.12)
In an organization there are many factors to consider in order to have a successful and prosperous year. Wal-Mart offers a great variety of merchandise and services to its customers, and offers prices that compete with the best discount retailers, however, their merchandise is not the best quality. They’ve planned and implemented ideas that should help appeal to a high end customer. Wal-Mart has become organizes by incorporating technology to keep track of their stock, and the method with which they replenish. Using Technology to assist them in controlling their merchandise and online website has allowed Wal-Mart to become a worldwide phenomenon. They are leading the industry in the United States, but still need to find how to compete with the rest of the world. By providing high end merchandise, incorporating technology and making their services eco friendly, they will be able to incorporate new clients to their Wal-Mart family.
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Brennan, Courtney, (August 2006), Wal-Mart Caps Employee Wages, WQAD CH8, Retrieved 8/10/08
Hamm, Steve, “B2B Isn’t Dead. It’s Learning,” BusinessWeek, December 18, 2002.
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matters—when it delivers “everyday low prices.” Technology Review, Retrieved 8/10/08
Lavelle, Marianne. U.S. News & World Report, 6/27/2005, Vol. 138 Issue 24, p36-38, 3p, 1 color