Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why do people shop at Walmart?

Everyone hates Walmart. Customers, local governments, and competitors all loathe them. Suppliers especially hate Walmart.

So why do people shop there? Let's make the question multiple choice:

a) sado-masochism: they like being abused by appalling customer service
b) they think the company's business practices are unethical, so supporting them makes us feel naughty (and being naughty makes us more attractive)
c) because it is so easy

The correct answer is (c). Maybe you have abundant leisure time to shop and afterwards site in a sidewalk cafe' with your friends chatting about fashion trends. But most people in America are tired a strung out. They don't want to think about where to get the best deal. They have to buy groceries and school supplies and vitamins and cheap clothing, all between 10:00pm and 10:45pm after getting off of work. Driving 40 minutes to a mall (that is already closed anyway) is an unattractive option.

We're returning to our hunter/gatherer roots. We have to quickly forage. And Walmart helps us do it.

As a competitor, you have a few choices.

- Out-convenience Walmart.
-  Ignore the masses and focus on winning customers who relish shopping in between sitting in cafe' parlors.
- Sell a niche product, but to all the people all over the country who love that particular product.

Try the first option, and you'll probably be clobbered. Walmart has made simplicity into an art form.

1 comment:

Nauvoo Commuter said...

I never, ever, shop at Walmart. Which means that I hide the white Walmart plastic bags so no one finds out.