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History of Walmart: Timeline and Facts

Walmart is an American international retail business that operates superstores, retail stores, and grocery stores. Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and was established by Sam Walton 1962. Walmart also owns Sam’s Club warehouses. What started small, with a single discount store and the simple idea of selling more for less, has grown over the last 50 years into the largest retailer in the world. Each week, over 275 million customers and members visit our more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites in 10 countries (“About Us”, 2019).

Walmart has over fifty different names for their stores. For example, in Mexico and Central America they are named Walmart de México y Centroamérica. In the United Kingdom, they are called Asda, in Japan the Seiyu Group, and in India they are named Best Price. Walmart also has operations located in Argentina, Canada, South Africa, and Chile.

Walmart’s everyday low prices on a broad assortment – anytime, anywhere (“Our Business”, 2019) is why they are a well know retailer bringing everyday low prices and an assortment of merchandise to communities nationwide.

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Their mission statement is “Saving people money so that they can live better.” (“Walmart’s Mission Statement & Vision Statement, Generic & Intensive Strategies – Panmore Institute”, 2019). Amazon is considered to be one of Walmart’s major competitors. Amazon offers the same type of products and amenities (i.e. gift cards, gift registry) to their customers. Amazon offers the same type competitive prices and shipping prices that Walmart does. Both organizations have the various items available to their customers through the use of the internet.

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The one thing Amazon does not have is a brick and mortar store like Walmart does where customers can actually touch, try on, or see in person their products. The ability for one-on-one human interaction is a driving force with consumers. Some also may insist on the ability to have a product in hand and the ability to have it right now, this second, as the transaction is complete instead of the time needed to ship to or transport a product to its final destination. The ability to interact with someone whom, ideally, is knowledgeable with whatever product a consumer may be there to purchase, is invaluable as some consumers may need help in selecting which product best suits their needs or how to properly use, set up, integrate, etc. any product purchased. Amazon has the ability to offer wider assortment of product from retailers worldwide as the square footage is finite supporting a finite amount of product that can be held in said space. The World Wide Web is all but infinite and the “catalog” of products is only as limitless as the suppliers themselves

Walmart is recognized for its capability to produce revenues by reducing needless costs and operational superiority. With revenues at $128.03 during the 2nd quarter of 2018 (“Walmart shares soar as earnings top expectations, boosted by 40% US e-commerce sales growth”, 2019, the ability to add superior products and reinvest in itself helps put Walmart ahead of the competition. Sam Walton once said, “Capital isn’t scarce, vision is” (“Green Era Capital”, 2019). Walmart is extraordinary in all fundamental areas of profitability, specifically its Return on Equity. Return on Equity is a financial ratio calculated by dividing NIAT by total stockholders’ equity (Abraham, 2019). Walmart functions with a lesser amount of control than its competitors and can create high Return on Equity. With fiscal year 2019 revenue of $514.4 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. It’s all part of our unwavering commitment to creating opportunities and bringing value to customers and communities around the world (“About Us”, 2019). Walmart’s sales and profits have continually risen since their opening in 1962. Walmart’s sales profit has been progressively rising for decades; demonstrating that Walmart can offset everyday low pricing with its incredible buying power.

SWOT analysis is an acronym that explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to an organization. Strengths: factors that give an edge for the company over its competitors. Weaknesses: factors that can be harmful if used against the firm by its competitors. Opportunities: favorable situations which can bring a competitive advantage. Threats: unfavorable situations which can negatively affect the business (Jurevicius, 2019). The information collected, on both internal and external elements effect an organization. Conducting a SWOT analysis takes into account the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s beneficial to determine strengths and weaknesses compared to the previous year and also with current competitors (Abraham, 2019). With other competitor’s attainment of a foothold in the marketplace, Walmart must be able to foresee and understand the need to move and/or look ahead and be able to carry out new changes. This is what will set an organization apart from others in the fickle world that lives our consumers.

Walmart’s SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Walmart has specialized techniques involving its use of computerized information to assist Walmart’s intercontinental control system. Walmart will be able to see how products are doing throughout the countries and have a store-by-store glance at how they are selling. Walmart has the technology and understanding of their products and how to push their merchandise so that they are earning revenue and not losing profits.

Walmart also has a strategy in place for Human Resources and the development of their staff. Personnel are important to Walmart’s organization and they provide time and money in training and development for their people. With proper training and development, Walmart will retain their staff and said staff will be properly trained on how to meet the needs and expectations of Walmart’s customers.
Walmart has flourished significantly over the years and has expanded globally, having purchased Asda in the United Kingdom and Best Price in India. These purchases into other countries has added to the sales and profits of Walmart.

Weaknesses

While Walmart sells a variety of items such as clothing, food, and household goods, Walmart does not have the flexibility that Amazon does offering goods from the sheer about of merchants that Amazon does.

Amazon is Walmart’s biggest competitor. Retailers, such as Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General, have been able to find a place in the market, and successfully competed against Walmart in sales. While the “dollar stores” are competing with Walmart they have found a way to attract customers and compete with Walmart.

Walmart is the largest grocery store in the world, regardless of its control and technological advantages, Walmart can be vulnerable in certain areas due to the massive range of control. Walmart is not always the lowest priced grocery store in town, but they have taken measures to make sure that they can compete or offer their customers an advantage for shopping at their store.

Opportunities

Walmart has the opportunity to take possession of, partner with, or create strategic partnerships with other worldwide merchants, concentrating on specific marketplaces. Walmart expanding into new territories will help them to grow into a multi-national conglomerate a one to reckon with.

Walmart presently only trades in a number of countries, as a result, there are a lot of opportunities for Walmart to expand its marketplace. Walmart venturing into more trade deals will also make their company more substantially sound.

While Walmart does offer a few services for their customers such as automotive repair, hunting/fishing licensing and grocery pickup Walmart can grow their company by offering more services to its customers, services such as the installation of appliances and electronic/media repair just to name a few.

Threats

With Walmart being the number one retailer, competition is a threat locally and worldwide. Local and worldwide retailers are slowly expanding into Walmart’s customer base and offer customers the same type of perks and services that Walmart offers.

Walmart being a worldwide retailer, they are subjected to diplomatic difficulties in countries that Walmart operates in. Operating in different countries can be a bit of a challenge for Walmart, they would need to understand the countries laws, cultures, and beliefs so that they do not offend that country.

Many product cost to produce has diminished because of lower industrial costs. Industrial costs have fallen because of outsourcing to regions that produce products cheaper. Outsourcing production to lower-income countries has cost companies substantially lower amounts but the quality has also diminished. This has caused price wars between Walmart and Amazon, causing price reduction in some areas.

A SWOT analysis should be, and is, an essential portion of Walmart’s strategic planning development, as it presents a beneficial wide-ranging picture of Walmart’s existing and future state. The strengths and weaknesses portions of the assessment offers glances at the organization’s present situation. The opportunities and threats portions aid the organization in development opportunities and predicting problems moving forward. Each of these have singular benefits to the analysis as a whole. With the intention to develop a successful strategy, Walmart must be aware of their state-of-affairs. This would consist of running an Internal Analysis of Walmart and an External Analysis of the countries in which they conduct business in.

The three areas I feel are essential to a strategic plan are weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Most people would focus on the strengths, but I feel you can’t get better without focusing on the other areas first so long as the strengths are not all together neglected. Threats, in my opinion, should be considered the first section of SWOT analysis that Walmart should investigate. Knowing what their threats are and how to properly plan to diminish these threats are important. Learning the areas of opportunities will help an organization to improve their business for the better. Fixing weaknesses within the organization will also give them a more competitive edge over their competitors.

Walmart’s strategic plan will be utilized overtime to make certain that they have accomplished the intended goals and changes that they have set in motion. Walmart will measure the profit earned and the operational costs of the organization. Strategic planning will determine how proficient employees are when conducting their duties. The benefits of moving forward with a proper strategic plan in place will allow personnel to be more efficient in executing their duties. Offering customers more products will help Walmart be more successful. New products will help reduce the number of customer complaints received about the lack of products Walmart offers. With more products offered Walmart’s profits and sales will increase yearly which will make them more successful. More customers will mean that Walmart will have to grow and expand into new neighborhoods and geographical areas. Walmart will have to calculate financial allowances and budget to expand into other areas.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Walmart can always improve their organization’s strategic planning utilizing its SWOT analysis to the fullest of their abilities. With Walmart’s dependence upon their customers, they are hoping that expansions and new products will help the organization continue to flourish into the future. With the fickleness of today’s shoppers, and the ability to shop anywhere with the push of a button, this SWOT analysis will lend to an organization’s strength, betters their weaknesses, expands their opportunities, and holds threats from becoming an issue to the organization. A strategic plan and a SWOT analysis are necessary for an organization plan to work successfully. Once a strategic plan is successfully implemented, the analysis and strategies will improve Walmart and will help thrust the organization further away from Amazon in the competitive world that is retail.

“There is only one boss-the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else” (“Sam Walton”, 2019). The world of retail is a crowded market. The ability to do it better, quicker, and more memorable, for whatever the reason, is what provides customers reasons to spend their hard-earned money with them and not at retailers down the road or on the next web page. The lack of desperation at making huge sales at every purchase and the ability to offer the cost-saving pricing well as user interactions as learning experiences allow companies to learn from interactions, helping to carve out and perfect their niche. Customer loyalty built through the successful use of these techniques helps build a basis of loyalty. If you build and continue to build upon and improve that customer loyalty, you set yourself up for future earnings as well as ensuring each customer becomes more valuable. Ensuring a satisfactory customer experience, no matter what form of retail, goods, or services you offer or provide helps ensure a returning, loyal consumer base.

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History of Walmart: Timeline and Facts. (2020, Sep 27). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/history-of-walmart-timeline-and-facts-essay

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