Assignment Help on Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is a multinational retail chain headquartered in the US. It comes second in the list of the largest public corporations in the world. Wal-Mart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton and it is listed in the New York stock exchange (Hausman and Leibtag 2007). Its net income is about $17 billion and has assets of over $200 billion. It is a family owned business of the Walton family. It has over 2.2 million employees worldwide. Wal-Mart has been a company with a sharp focus on price points and customer service. These qualities have enabled Wal-Mart to create a niche in the retail space and the constant quality evaluation and improvement at Wal-Mart helps the company to consolidate its position.
Wal-Mart`s vision is, “We save people money so they can live better”. Hence it is very clear that Wal-Mart`s most important advantage in the market is price. To maintain the price advantage from the early 1960s to the retail market of today, Wal-Mart has continuously strived to minimize costs and use technology to keep competition at bay. Along with cost minimization, Wal-Mart ranks very high on customer satisfaction. The company has many guide lines in place for customer satisfaction (Holmes 2011).
The company invests heavily in IT, to integrate the systems and reduce costs. All these improvements over the years have made Wal-Mart the king of the retail business. Some of the landmark quality mile stones in the history of Wal-Mart are: The concept of everyday low prices (EDLP), integrating suppliers through IT, efficient communication with employees and customers, promoting their own private label. The EDLP concept was launched when the management at Wal-Mart realized that customers tend to consume more when they find a product at a low price even though they don’t need the product urgently.
The concept of everyday low prices ensured that every customer who walked into the store was likely to make a few unplanned purchases. Integrating the suppliers with the help of IT reduced Wal-Mart`s burden in a big way (Holmes, 2011). The suppliers receive real time information about the movement of their product at the Wal-Mart store and send in the next shipment accordingly. This enables Wal-Mart cut heavily on overhead costs. With supply chain strategies like cross docking and the IT infrastructure to support it, Wal-Mart has a fast and fool proof distribution system (Hausman and Leibtag, 2007). With regard to relationship with employees and customers, Wal-Mart has its own answers in the form of Wal-Mart cheer which is a morning routine to cheer up the entire work force, the sun down rule which ensures all types of queries both internal and external are resolved on the same day, 10 foot rule where a customer is offered assistance when he comes within 10 feet of any Wal-Mart employee, the open door policy which ensures anybody at Wal-Mart can approach the top management directly with suggestions and queries. With regard to giving back to the society, Wal-Mart for the first time in 2012 crossed the $1 billion mark in charity. The company also encourages its employees to constantly take part in social activities and serve the society (Kampf, 2007).
Quality is a key factor in the retail industry. With increased competition and reducing margins, attracting and retaining the customer is critical for the success of any retailer. Wal-Mart as the market leader faces pressure from its competitors and its customers to stick to its USP of everyday low prices. Wal-Mart strives to achieve this in spite of the various socio economic and market factors across its locations of operation (Holmes, 2011). Wal-Mart is the biggest spender on IT among the retail chains of the world and uses this strategic advantage to constantly improve its service by means of demand forecasting, customer feedbacks and other such strategies.
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