Walmart’s Global Success: A Case Study

Subject: Case Studies
Pages: 2
Words: 693
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Walmart Inc. is an American multinational corporation, the largest company in the world by revenue, and the world’s biggest employer with more than two million people employed. Headquartered in Arkansas, Walmart Inc. operates hundreds of retail stores and hypermarkets in 24 countries under different names. Its extraordinary success in domestic and international markets riles on its strategy that expands far beyond low prices and small wages of its employees. An analysis of its success and its disadvantages and market failures is necessary to learn how multinational companies operate and influence local markets in the context of today’s globalization.

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Walmart and International Expansion

Today’s world’s largest private employer emerged as a typical retail chain in the 1960s. It offered lower prices and assured its presence in critical areas to acquire as many customers as possible. To address all customers’ needs, Walmart embraced a one-stop shop concept, fostering customer loyalty, ensuring higher profits, and weakening its competitors. This strategy has led to Walmart’s huge commercial success; the company has expanded to every state in the first thirty years and began conquering international markets starting from the early 1990s. Today, Walmart Inc. is the world’s biggest retailer and encompasses nearly 1 percent of the entire American workforce, including young adults, retirees, and formerly incarcerated people (Reich & Bearman, 2018). The “everyday low prices” strategy has brought the company huge international success and allowed Walmart Inc. to establish itself on the world’s biggest and dynamic markets, such as India, China, and South America.

An overall successful universal approach to international markets, however, sometimes proved to be inadequate. In 2006, Walmart Inc. exited both German and South Korean markets, partially due to disregarding countries’ culture and consumers’ habits (Hunt, Watts, & Bryant 2018). The company has also struggled to implement its approach in other countries, like Japan or Brazil, and faced intense competition, particularly from English and French retail giants. In general, cultural ignorance and reliance on English-speaking executives were Walmart’s main missteps in some local markets.

Sometimes, Walmart’s overwhelmingly successful strategy simultaneously became disadvantageous when placed in other economic and cultural settings. For example, the “stocking up” consuming philosophy, popular in the US, appeared to be irrelevant in South Korea, where consumers value fresh, high-quality products and prefer to shop close to home rather than in big remote hypermarkets (Hunt, et al., 2018). However, in most cases, Walmart’s universal approach to foreign markets succeeded over differences in purchasing culture, making the corporation world’s leader in revenue.

Key Elements of Walmart’s Strategy

Some key features of Walmart’s globally successful strategy demand particularly close attention. The corporation’s approach both to the customers and its internal management embodies the complexity of the modern economy in its international context. For example, analyzing the company’s missteps on foreign markets opens a debate on whether cultural aspects should always define the economy and our purchasing preferences. Studies show that Walmart Inc. approaches foreign markets with the same plan that brought it success in the US, and it generally becomes adopted into the country’s market. Cheap prices, big malls that require customers to get there by car, one-stop shop experience, and long store hours aimed to maximize effectiveness turned out a universal success (Moghadam, 2021). Walmart’s philosophy of the world’s largest employer also stands out: with millions of employees around the globe, its approach to human resources is a striking example of global universality. The world’s biggest enterprise faces a lot of criticisms, ranging from the low quality of its products to exploiting the workforce and disrespecting local customs; however, Walmart today remains the biggest retailer in the world with growing profits.

Conclusion

The richest corporation by revenue and the biggest private employer globally, Walmart Inc. represents one of the most interesting case studies of international corporate success. Some of the company’s missteps in foreign markets allow debating whether cultural aspects should define economic interests or vice versa. Criticism of Walmart’s overall strategy includes its reliance on low-paid labor and price policy-oriented on “stocking up” consumer philosophy. Nevertheless, the company’s ongoing expansion and its successful adaptation to aspects of today’s digital economy indicates the general overwhelming success of the corporation and its strategy.

References

Hunt, I., Watts, A., & Bryant, S. K. (2018). Walmart’s international expansion: successes and miscalculations. The Journal of business strategy, 39(2), 22-29. Web.

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Moghadam, V. M. (2021). What was globalization? Globalizations, 18(5), 695-706. Web.

Reich, A., & Bearman, P. (2018). Working for Respect: Community and Conflict at Walmart. Columbia University Press. Web.