Is Walmart the "archtype" of future retail business?
Will small business be forced out of competition?
What chance does a "small business entrepreneur" have of being successful?
I'm not sure...
I do know that in our town mall over half of the stores are closed down as are many stores in the strip malls. I lost my job as a manager at a Blockbuster store over the summer because they are closing.
I hate to say but I think that is the way we are going. I think people prefer to either go to a "Walmart" type store or to shop on line from Amazon.
Well Blockbuster was certainly hurt by Netflix, which just beat Blockbuster to the punch with through-the-mail rentals and then parlayed that success to beat Blockbuster at downloadable movies. Blockbuster was left sitting with shelves filled with DVDs and VHS tapes when fewer and fewer people are using those formats, and in the case of DVDs they've found more convenient ways to get them.
I think there is still room for the "Mom & Pop" stores, but they have to demonstrate that they can make a much better product than is available at Wal-Mart. You can't beat Wal-Mart on price margins, but you can always beat them in quality if you put in the effort. Websites like Amazon will be used by many of these small businesses to sell their products around the world.
The new business model that seems to work best is this: develop a product that doesn't exist or is much better quality than currently exists, build upon this product while minimizing expenses (this often means at-home manufacturing), broaden from local to global market by selling online and/or through chain stores (yes, this sometimes means Wal-Mart), use profits to expand production.
I strongly believe that along with "global"izing forces there is now a strong shift towards "glocal"ization. In Italy there has been a boom in hypermarts and supermarkets, that effectively killed off small "alimentari", or grocery stores.
Lately, however, these small stores are starting to re-emerge by catering to targeted niches, namely:
-Healthy, organic and slightly more expensive
-Friendlier, vis-a-vis marketing
-Catering to local brands and appetites
I don't think all hope is lost, as in all things, it is a question of evolving. There will always be those who would rather skip convenience and cheap, in favor of health and quality.
You could extend this line of reasoning to any retail business and idea.
It is if we continue to elect Conservative Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats.
Nope....the creative will conquer. Walmart is about scraping the top of the cheap heap. Cheap is about to disappear.
Costs are rising steadily...kind of like a flood. Even Walmart has to go with the flow. Many large retailers are tightening their budgets and rearranging their staffs already.
Corporations such as Walmart have been selling low to medium quality goods at bottom level prices. ( I bought two coffee makers at Walmart within a year that turned into trash after 90 days of use)
The pendulum is swigging back to quality and Corporations that sell shit are about to be constipated. There will always be a market for babbling idiot fish people who will bite at anything shiny...but money is being sucked in all directions. Even idiots will pay the utility bill before buying a Martha Stewart designer toaster.
We are returning to quality and necessity shopping. Just take a walk through Walmart and try to find quality necessities.
Walmart can't afford to buy and sell quality because of massive overhead.
Mom and Pop can.
WAlmart has a very liberal return policy. I bought a room heater from them. The thermostat was screwed up.I took it back with the receipt, exchanged it with no questions asked. The same make heater I exchanged it for has been with me now for 3 winters and works like a charm. It cost me $15 bucks.
My son has a business in Fla. The 1st $5000's goes for rent. His quarterly taxes are next. He has had to raise prices every 6 months and cannot compete at all with Walmart. Needless to say, he hates 'em and won't shop there. He had to dump his help and now runs the store 10 days a week himself.
10 yrs ago his little store was grossing just under a million a year. Today? He's just making ends meet and Walmart is booming.
I have my fingers crossed for him and my grandkids.
time will tell.
Yes...time will tell. I hope your son wins out in the battle. I'm a Field Tech for retail stores and they are watching every dime.
Reducing waste in energy and the lowering the cost of environmental friendly energy is a severe problem. I'm seeing electrical components lasting less than half as long as they did twenty years ago.
Walmart is a dragon...but it can be slain.
Tho and Wendy:
I think world economy will be the determining factor.
I find prices are higher in the small stores. They have to be.
I also find that the quality of merchandise in the smaller neighborhood stores is really no better than that ya find in Walmart.
My son is a small business owner. He tries to sell bicycles at his price and makes only about a 25% profit on them.Walmart sells bicycles of equal quality for much less and still makes a profit.
We all understand why Walmart can do this.
I have a feeling the small business "guy" is sliding down a slippery slope to extinction.
Small business tax is ridiculous too!
Walmart and it's corporate tax experts are paid well to see to it that Walmart finds all the tax loopholes.
I could be wrong but it doesn't look good for the "little guy."
But when you really need help picking out the right bicycle, and perhaps getting it repaired, and learning about the biking scene and the races, and where the best bike paths are, you gotta go to the small guy. And we need to learn that there is value in the small guy because he's part of our community in a way that the coprorate heads a thousand miles away aren't.
They can take time with you, where the big box employees have to keep moving on. I value this and choose small whenever possible.
Oh, and I only buy my milk and butter from local organic dairies. And the same thing for eggs. They're organic and first come from Massachusetts and if not Mass. then some place in New England. I prefer pictures of the people who own the farm on the packaging. I pay a goodly more to know that the people making and raising my food care about my health. Sometimes if I'm out traveling, I stop in and say hello.
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