Walmart’s marketing mix revolves around the nature of the firm’s retail business. The company’s cost leadership generic strategy also defines the marketing mix. The overall behavior of Walmart in the global retail market is linked to its marketing mix strategies. With its continued leadership as the biggest retailer in the world, Walmart expects to use the same marketing mix as it expands globally. The strategies included in the company’s current marketing mix have already shown considerable success. Thus, it is realistic to continue using it as is. However, Walmart can improve its current marketing mix, especially in the place/distribution component.
Walmart’s marketing mix is a key success factor in this retail business, although the company can focus more on the place/distribution component of the marketing mix to strengthen its global position.
Elements of Walmart’s Marketing Mix
Product. Walmart’s product is its retail service. In general, retail firms are service businesses. The company attracts customers by providing convenient and effective service. For example, Walmart’s sales personnel are trained to effectively assist shoppers in finding the goods they need. Convenience is achieved because the firm offers a wide array of goods in its stores. Most shoppers expect easy one-stop shopping at Walmart stores. The product component of the marketing mix affects Walmart by defining customer experience. The company’s sales personnel directly influence how customers feel when they enter the stores.
Prices and Pricing Strategy. Walmart uses an Everyday Low Price (EDLP) pricing strategy. In fact “Everyday Low Price” advertisements are frequently seen in Walmart stores. The objective of this pricing strategy is to attract large populations of customers. This strategy supports Walmart’s generic business strategy, which is cost leadership. The company has low costs and low prices. However, the large sales volume enables Walmart to generate profits. Thus, in the marketing mix, the pricing component is the main contributor to Walmart’s competitiveness.
Promotion (Promotional Mix or Marketing Communications Mix). Walmart’s promotional mix is composed of advertisements, sales promotions, personal selling, and public relations. The company advertises on newspapers and websites. Walmart uses sales promotions in the form of special deals and discounts. Personal selling happens at Walmart stores, where sales personnel persuade customers to try new products or package deals. In terms of public relations, the company uses press releases to inform customers and investors about policies, programs and strategies. The firm also occasionally sponsors charity programs. Thus, the promotion component in Walmart’s marketing mix helps improve the company’s ability to attract customers to its stores and helps build brand recall.
Place (Distribution). Walmart uses the intensive distribution strategy or intensive distribution channel design. In this strategy, Walmart stores offer the same variety of goods, while the same employee roles and responsibilities apply to each store. In addition, the company continues to open new stores to reach more customers. Thus, the place/distribution element of Walmart’s marketing mix helps attract customers by making shopping convenient in terms of location.
Recommendations based on Walmart’s Marketing Mix
Walmart’s marketing mix has proven effective in supporting the company’s success. However, there are still many locations where Walmart stores are absent or difficult to reach. This is especially true in the markets of developing countries. Therefore, based on the characteristics of its marketing mix, Walmart should improve on the place/distribution component. Specifically, the firm can enter new markets and penetrate current markets through foreign direct investments and joint ventures. In this way, the place/distribution element of Walmart’s marketing mix can provide stronger support for the company’s competitive advantage and continued success in the global market.
- Brea-Solis, H., Casadesus-Masanell, R., & Grifell-Tatje, E. (2012). Business Model Evaluation: Quantifying Walmart’s Sources of Advantage. Harvard Business School.
- Gerdeman, D. (2011). Getting the Marketing Mix Right. Harvard Business School.
- Gerdeman, D. (2012). Location, Location, Location: The Strategy of Place. Harvard Business School.
- Ghemawat, P., & Mark, K. A. (2006). The Real Wal-Mart Effect. Harvard Business School.
- Huang, R., & Sarigollu, E. (2012). How brand awareness relates to market outcome, brand equity, and the marketing mix. Journal of Business Research,65(1), 92-99.
- Rahmani, K., Emamisaleh, K., & Yadegari, R. (2015). Quality Function Deployment and New Product Development with a focus on Marketing Mix 4P model. Asian Journal of Research in Marketing, 4(2), 98-108.
- U.S. Department of Commerce (2015). The Retail Services Industry in the United States.
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2015). Wal-Mart Announces Merchandising and Marketing Leadership as It Moves into Second Phase of Three-Year Strategy.
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2015). Walmart Form 10-K, 2015.
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2015). Walmart’s Official E-commerce Website.