Global Retail Strategies and Channel Structures


Global retailing involves the selling of commodities internationally by small-scale and large-scale vendors. It also entails multicultural and cross-bordered transactions. This type of trade expands the available opportunities for customers and retailers.

Forms of Retailing

Retailing involves the reselling of goods bought from producers or wholesalers to consumers. The different forms of retailing depend on the products sold and can be classified as industrial or domestic retailing. Domestic retailing involves the sale of products meant for individual consumption while industrial retailing involves the selling of commodities meant for industrial use.

Retail Strategies and Channel Structures

Retailers use different marketing strategies, which include standardized global marketing, differentiated global marketing and concentrated global marketing (Keegan & Green, 2013). Walmart and Alibaba are two major retailers that are based in two different countries. The markets targeted by these two companies vary greatly. Walmart started in the 1950s in Arkansas (U.S.A.) and has grown into a worldwide retail outlet. The expansion of the company to other regions can be attributed to competitive consumer prices. Alibaba, conversely, is a Chinese online store that offers a virtual site that allows sellers and customers to meet.

Typical Channel Structures

Walmart deals mostly with consumer products while Alibaba deals with industrial and consumer products. Walmart uses stores where customers shop for their products. Alibaba, on the other hand, runs three different platforms including Taobao marketplace, which is China’s largest online consumer-to-consumer shopping site. Other platforms are Tmall, the third largest third-party business-to-consumer platform for branded goods, and Juhuasuan, which is China’s most popular marketplace that has active users every month (Humphreys, 2010).

Mobile Phone Development in the Two Countries

The use of smartphones around the globe has changed the responses of the two companies. The increased use of mobile gadgets has necessitated the targeting of customers who use these devices. Some of the trends exhibited by young customers include using smart phones to access the internet as well as to play music. Therefore, these companies and similar market segments need to focus on the needs of this group of customers. Apart from having fair prices, Walmart stores have good interior decor and fittings that attract customers to their stores hence increasing the company’s sales. The company also focuses on saving costs by having an efficient supply chain, which gives the company an edge over its competitors (Passariello, 2010). However, Alibaba’s online presence gives it an advantage since various products can be purchased by a click of a button.

Sales Promotion Tools and Strategies Used by Each Company

The advertising schemes used by Walmart to advertise its products are localized in the United States. The company uses local media such as newspapers, television and the internet. The targeted clients are people with steady incomes to ensure that the probability of purchases is increased. Alibaba, on the contrary, uses a standardized approach to advertise its products in all market segments, which helps the company to acquire more customers.

Product promotion, which employs numerous promotional strategies, is important in attaining and maintaining sales (Hymowitz, 2007). Walmart uses psychological selling to increase its sales. This strategy involves pricing goods at a price perceived to be low due to a slight deduction of a single monetary unit, for instance, pricing a shirt costing $100 shirt at $99. Alibaba issues free coupons when one purchases particular products. Free coupons encourage customers to buy more goods hence creating a larger customer base for the company.

To hit the targeted sales, Walmart uses a discount scheme to counter Alibaba’s presence in various countries. Walmart also uses a standardized global marketing strategy that involves creating of similar marketing blends for broader markets with potential buyers (Simon, 1996). The existence of broader markets in different regions enables the company to open more stores. The stores have cheaper prices than other similar retailers, which attract more customers and contribute to the success of the company. Alibaba uses a differentiated marketing approach that focuses on various market segments (Hymowitz, 2007). The various market segments allow the company to cover a wider market, which increases the number of potential customers (Kahn, 2003). The ability of the company to carry out its operations via the internet leads to wider market coverage that contributes to its success.

Disadvantages of Promoting Sales in Different Countries

The sales promotion method adopted by Walmart may challenge local businesses in countries with few local large-scale retailers. Governments, thus protect such firms from facing stiff competition from Walmart. In contrast, Alibaba’s coupon tactic does not cause conflicts like other methods used by other businesses. Walmart should price its products reasonably to ensure that its approach is fair. The company ought to charge consumer prices that do not differ significantly from its rivals’ prices.

Digital Marketing/ Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel uses digital marketing by incorporating social media in covering a wide area of different market segments. Digital media marketing is more efficient as it offers a broader market access at a cheaper cost compared to physical marketing, which is demanding in terms of time and resources (Alexander, 1996). The hotel uses social networks to create custom advertisements for different markets to improve its marketing effort. The hotel should use travel agents and government sources to obtain information regarding trading regulations in various countries because the digital opportunities available globally are great and can offer robust customer potential.

Conclusion

Marketing requires clear definitions of market segments. Currently, most segmented markets are easily accessible digitally due to the increased use of social media and networking applications. Therefore, the marketing of companies’ products can be improved tremendously by taking advantage of social media and networking applications.

References

Alexander, N. (1996). International retail expansion within the EU and NAFTA. European Business Review, 96(3), 23-35.

Hymowitz, C. (2007). Marketers focus more on global tribes than on nationalities. Web.

Kahn, J. (2003). Made in China, bought in China. Web.

Keegan, W. J & Green, M. C. (2013). Global marketing (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Custom Publishing.

Passariello, C. (2010). Danone expands its pantry to woo the world’s poor. Web.

Simon, H. (1996). Hidden champions: Lessons from 500 of the world’s best unknown companies. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.