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Walmart the ultimate retailer – Always Low Prices
Sam Walton and his brother opened the first Walmart discount store in 1962 at Rogers, a small town in Arkansas, USA. They sold everything from apparels to automotive supplies to small appliances in this large warehouse type store. Their prices were very low. Although the conventional wisdom suggested that discount stores could succeed only in large cities, Walmart, from the modest beginnings, exploded onto the national retailing scene.
Today, Walmart is not just the world’s largest retailer, but also the world’s largest company. Their annual sales are around $300 billion. They are the number one seller in multiple categories of consumer products. Walmart sells 30% of the disposable diapers purchased in US each year, 30% of hair-care products, 26% of toothpaste, and 20% of pet food. Walmart’s total sales per day is larger than the GDP of some countries. The company is now expanding rapidly into international markets. The giant retailer has a substantial impact on the U.S. economy.
Evolution of the Walmart Logo
Walmart Supercenter interior
What are the secrets behind their spectacular success? Mostly, day in and day out, Walmart lives up to its promise: Always Low Prices, Always. Its mission is to “lower the world’s cost of living”. To deliver on this promise, they listen to their customers and take care of them, treat employees as partners and keep tight rein on costs. The company stays close to the customers, talks directly with them and delivers what customers want: a broad selection of carefully selected goods at unbeatable prices.
Beyond listening to customers and taking care of them, Walmart also takes good care of employees. They believe that the company’s people are what really make it better. Walmart was the first to call employees as “associates”, a practice now widely copied by competitors. The associates work as partners and they become deeply involved in operations and share rewards for good performance.
Walmart delivers real value to customers by keeping a sharp eye on costs. It has the lowest cost structure in the industry and that lets the giant retailer charge lower prices but still earn higher profits. Walmart’s lower prices attract more shoppers producing more sales, making the company more efficient and enabling it to lower prices even more.
Walmart’s low costs result in part from superior management and more sophisticated technology. Their huge, fully automated distribution centers employ the latest technology to supply stores efficiently. Walmart spends less than its competitors on advertising because its reputation has spread rapidly by word of mouth.
The success of Walmart, the ultimate retailer, has resulted from an unrelenting focus bringing value to its customers. Always Low Prices, Always.