Marketing and Walmart

The marketing plan is a comprehensive blueprint, design, or proposal, which outlines an organization marketing efforts. Most organizations use marketing plans for the purpose of increasing profit, revenue, and shareholders’ wealth (Kerin, Hartley, & Rudelius, 2011). The task of Charlie Team consists of completing the marketing planning phase one. Charlie Team will use the outline of the marketing plan from the student website for assistance in accomplishing the following process of the marketing plan phase one.

Selecting an existing organization and discussing its overviews is the first step in phase one. The second step is giving a description of the new product or service. Step three is explaining the importance of marketing for organizational success. The fourth step analyzes the factors of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends (SWOTT) of the new product or service. Step five is the marketing research approach for developing the marketing strategy and tactics of the new product or service (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Organizational Overview

Team Charlie chose the Walmart organization for completing this assignment. Walmart is one of the best known organizations in the world that have successful marketing plans and strategies. Sam Walton is the founder of Walmart and opened the first store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago in 1962 (Walmart, 2012). Currently Walmart operates in more than 10,000 retail stores under 69 diverse banners in 27 different geographic locations across the world. They service customers and members in excess of 200 million times per week with sales of approximately $444 billion continually for the fiscal year 2012 (Walmart, 2012).

Sam Walton’s visionary leadership and focus point centered on helping customers and communities by saving money and living better. His personal goals for Walmart consist of creating great value and great customer service. He believed that leadership through service would support the success of his business.

Because of his belief in leadership and service, he used this for creating the principle foundation of Walmart. According to Sam Walton, the principle of Walmart is true leadership depends on willing service (Walmart, 2012). Walmart basic values and philosophy include Sam Walton’s personal goals and the organization principle that established the mission statement: Save money. Live better (Walmart, 2012).

The product mix that Walmart host contains a large variety single products and many product lines. For example, their product mix include books, electronics, movies, music, furniture, jewelry, toys, grocery, health care products, pharmaceutical products, and many more (Walmart, 2012). Walmart’s product mix meets and satisfies just about any household needs and wants.

Walmart also provides a number of different services within their retail stores. Some of these services include photo lab service, pharmacy, automobile service, financial service, vision center service, and wireless services. A different Walmart may provide a different service depending on geographic location, population size, consumer needs, and wants (Walmart, 2012). Because of Sam Walton’s belief in creating great value and customer service, the Team wants Walmart consideration for the marketing plans of incorporating a new Express Shopping Service. * New Service Description

* Imagine developing a convenient, quick, and fast way of shopping, when customers are on the go and timing is an essential element. Adding an Express Shopping Service to the Walmart shopping experience will support the mission statement of saving money and living better in a timely manner. Giving the Walmart customer the advantage of buying on the fly will satisfy the demanding wants and needs of expedient shopping. * The Problem

* A Walmart surrounding a heavily populated area, such as a military base, several high schools and hospitals, fast growing neighborhoods, and communities become victims of long waiting shopping lines. Running inside a store, picking up a few essential items, and checking out of the express line has become a slow process. Customers on the go, such as military soldiers late for duty, fire fighters awaiting unexpected calls, policemen rushing to protect and serve want and need an Express Shopping Service. * The Solution

* Walmart New Express Shopping Service to the rescue. Customers rush in and rush right back out. Allowing customers the advantage of quick shopping through the Internet, phone, and mobile devices, choosing a date and time for picking up item inside the front of the store will satisfy wants and needs buying on the fly.

On the Walmart website purchase 10 items or less, pay by credit, gift, or debt card come to the store at his or her convenience receive items in a timely manner and out the door the customer goes (Walmart, 2012). With cash or check in hand customers may pay at the time of pick up. * The Service Structure

* Stage the Express Shopping Service near the front entry of the store. Not obstructing regular traffic flow by dividing the pathway of travel between regular shoppers and express shoppers. Provide immediate response agents with five available cash registers, and bagging essentials. Install an electronic messaging board for informing customers when his or her items become available for pick up. Adding necessary equipment, such as freezers, holding bends, and product handheld scanners will accomplish the Express Shopping Service goal and objective. Assign a daily manager from the service department for controlling, supervising, and improving the Express Shopping Service experience. * Key Benefits

* The key benefits of express shopping is the power of purchasing products or items quick, fast, and speedy. Shorter waiting line that move in a matter of seconds or minutes. The limited number of items will encourage the use of the express service. Customers will benefit from buying on the fly when timing is important. Walmart benefits from the additional service for satisfying the wants and needs of the consumers.

The competitive advantage is offering this service before any other organization (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Carrying on the vision of Sam Walton leadership belief in helping save money and live better through the Express Shopping Service will improve the efforts of Walmart’s marketing strategy and tactics. * The Importance of Marketing

* One of Walmart’s main reasons for success is because of the different ways that the organization uses the tools of marketing. This is important to Walmart’s marketing strategy and tactic for building on the goals, objectives, and the mission set forth by its founder (Walmart, 2012).

As technology and innovation continually change, the organization forces itself to stay ahead of its competitors through the advantages of first place marketing. * Walmart always strove for excellent by marketing new products, services, or improving them for keeping up with the wants and needs of consumer demands. The ability to market different products and product lines under one marketing strategy deter competitors from entering the market before Walmart (Walmart, 2012).

This advantage allows the organization many approaches to marketing new products or services before they become available. Keeping on top of the advantages and benefits of marketing is what makes Walmart so successful. * SWOTT Analysis

The method the organization will use for determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends (SWOTT) is through the use of a SWOTT analysis (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). This analysis is extremely important in the decision to implement a product or service by listing the informational factors for each category. The following information about each category will aid in the final decision-making process of this new service. Strengths

A major strength includes providing customers with another service from the retail leader. Customers can place a prepaid order online, and the purchase will be available for pick-up upon arrival (Walmart, 2012). Walmart’s ability to provide this service is an enormous strength for the organization that already provides products at a dollar value the customer continues to expect.

The organization will continue to match competitor’s prices using the price match software currently available during the checkout process. Walmart’s increasing customer base helps the organization remain the retail leader, and places the organization in a perfect position to develop and implement the new express shopping service (Walmart, 2012). Weaknesses

A weakness in the implementation of this new express shopping service includes the designation of one row of current customer parking space to provide parking for express service customers only. Walmart will have to limit the number of items a customer can purchase to meet the time sensitive needs of the customer. The uncertainty of how successful the new service will be and the ability to meet the demand of the new service initially will be a weakness to contend with by the organization (Walmart, 2012).

The new express shopping service will not allow the purchasing of prescription drugs because of federal and state regulations that requires special handling of any prescription drug. Because the orders are prepaid, the customer must go physically inside the store to the customer service department to resolve any returns or exchanges. Opportunities

The opportunity to create an additional service may add new customers or continue to broaden the current customer base. The new express shopping service will appeal to customers in a rush or on a time limit that may deter the customer from entering the store to shop and waiting in long lines for purchases of 10 items or less. This new express shopping service will gain an additional competitive advantage over Walmart’s current competitors (Walmart, 2012). Threats

A threat to the new service is the competitors will duplicate this service to remain competitive. Other similar organizations will begin to fine tune this idea by broadening some of the restrictions that Walmart will put in place for any similar service policy another company decides to create. The city, state, and federal regulators may have and increasing amount of involvement in regard to city planning and zoning regulations, taxation differentiation between location, and possible legality issues concerning privacy issues of customers placing orders online through the organization’s website (Walmart, 2012). Trends

The trend of shopping online is increasing in popularity. The process of online ordering is becoming easier for the customer to navigate and make purchases. Organizations are placing more focus on security and privacy to protect the customer and encourage online ordering (Walmart, 2012).

Because Walmart can reduce labor costs by offering this service and satisfy the needs of customers previously unreachable, Walmart chooses to be the innovator and leader in the early growth of this new express shopping service. By creating this new express shopping service, Walmart will accomplish that objective. * Marketing Research Approach

* Acceptable marketing research approach for developing the marketing strategy and tactics for the new Express Shopping Service is using both details of consumer analysis and market industry analysis. Consumer analysis should contain information, such as demographics, psychographics, purchasing behaviors, geographical considerations. The market industry analysis will show important information and data from conducting a competitor’s analysis (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). * The marketing research approach will also include statistical data the organization currently uses for forecasting trends and consumer needs.

The use of secondary and primary data will be an important part of the market research in the collection of data to analyze (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart must analyze the data carefully for making sure the data available is not out-of-date and specific enough for the marketing research. Marketing Plan Phase II

The marketing plan phase two will explain market segmentation and identify the segmentation criteria that will affect the target market. Phase two will also identify Walmart’s target market. It will describe organizational buyers and consumers, factors that influence their purchasing decisions, and discuss how these factors will affect Walmart’s marketing strategy. Finally, phase two will analyze current competitors and define the competitive landscape for Walmart’s Express Shopping Service.

Market SegmentationThe definition of market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinctive subgroups of buyers with similar wants, needs, and demands that may require separate products or services (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). When Walmart formulates a market segmentation plan, it is critical to evaluate the market for determining the segment of the market that best fulfills the marketing plan. Market segmentation comes through the direct effect of the observation that potential users of the service are different (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011).

Marketing strategy and tactics depends on Walmart ability to divide correctly the market segments into subgroups for effective targeting. Accomplishing this task relies on breaking down the market segmentation into variables and characteristics. These variables and characteristics make up the four basic market segmentation strategies: demographic, geographic, behavior, and physiographic (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Demographic Segmentation

Dividing the market into groups based on variables, such as age, family, education, occupation, and income is demographic segmentation (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). It is the most popular basis for dividing groups because consumer wants, and needs usually match demographic categories. Walmart may use demographic segmentation because the variables are easy to measure and obtain. Geographic Segmentation

Dividing the market into groups based on the variable of location, neighborhoods, cities, states, counties, nations, and regions is geographic segmentation (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Walmart should tailor their marketing plan and strategy for fulfilling the wants and needs of individual geographic areas. The studies of the population density, cultural differences, or regional climate are factors Walmart must consider in geographic segmentation. Behavior Segmentation

Dividing the market into group characterization focused on the efforts of consumers’ researched behavioral toward a product or service is behavior segmentation (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). The division of the target market is set up according to benefits, rate of use, brand loyalty, user status, and occasions that stimulate purchases. Behavior segmentation permits Walmart dividing potential buyers into groups based on their knowledge, attitude, uses, or responses to the product or service. Physiographic Segmentation

Dividing the market into groups characterized by consumer’ lifestyle preferences is physiographic segmentation (Kotler & Keller, 2012). When segmenting a market according to consumer standard of living, activities, interests, opinions, attitudes, value, or personality characteristics. Walmart can promote their product or service as expressions of lifestyles. Also Walmart may use factors of personality for matching their product or service with consumer personalities. Segmentation Criteria

The key role of segmentation criteria is splitting the market into actionable segments. Basic criteria for market segmentation are customer needs and demands (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). The effectiveness of the market segmentation depends on certain viable criteria that the selection groups must comply with. The five criteria for effective market segmentation include measurable, relevant, accessible, distinguishable, and feasible (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Measurable

Obtaining the values of the variables must remain true and measurable in terms of its size in purchasing power and profiles. This is important to Walmart, especially for demographics and geographic variables. Some aspects of segmentation become difficult to measure, whenever possible the process must remain doable (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Relevant

Potential size and profit of the market segment must prove large enough to justify economically separate marketing activities. This means that Walmart marketing activities must ensure it will cover expenses, return a larger profit, and justify the resources required for targeting the audience. If it is not relevant enough, the justification is not worthwhile and should receive reconsideration or eliminated (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Accessible

The segment is reachable through distribution channels and communication. Walmart should have target group specific media advertisement, magazines, and website ads that the target audience likes. Accessibility ensures that a marketing strategy can target a segment group effectively (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Distinguishable

Segments must respond differently to dissimilar marketing mixes. Using unique needs, Walmart may create and justify separate offerings in different marketing mix. Some market segments may show their distinctive characteristics by slightly modifying a product or service differently from competitors (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Feasible

The possibility of approaching each segment with a particular marketing plan and drawing from the advantages they offer. Walmart must have the ability of drawing a cost-effective marketing plan for its targeted customers and markets. The feasibility of the segment has reasonable price with minimum risk (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Criteria that Affect Target Market

Targeted marketing segments can use different criteria and marketing mixes to approach the most profitable markets. However, some criteria may affect Walmart’s target market, such as identifiable, accessible, unique, and durable (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). These are four major criteria that have negative effects on market segmentation. Identifiable

If Walmart target specific market segments, they must first identify the distinguishing characteristics that make consumers in the segment similar. These similar attributes will complete the criteria requirement for measurability. Walmart cannot effectively determine how to best market a segment or how much to invest, without clearly identifying what makes the customers unique and similar (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Accessible

Without possessing access to the market for communication, Walmart will not reach the target market with a positive effect. The inability to assess a particular segment renders that segment useless for marketing purposes (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Accessible and serviceable communication is amust for targeting specific segmented groups through media advertisement, magazines, or Internet websites. Unique

Each Walmart’s market segment must respond and react to different marketing mixes for justifying their separation as segments in unique ways. The lack of establishing uniqueness between market segments similar attributes will affect the development of specific messages for different targeted markets (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart should consider combining segments with high similarities. Durable

Walmart investing in unstable market segments can lead to significant expenses in new marketing strategy and tactics. They must establish themselves for long-term success. Walmart can accomplish this by identifying and using segments likely to exist in the future. When a market segment ceases to exist or reduce in value, Walmart must invest in new market development (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Target Market

Target marketing involves breaking a market into segments, as seen above, and concentrating the marketing efforts on one or a few key segments. The importance of target marketing is that it makes the pricing, promotion, and distribution of the product or service easier and more cost effective (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart’s goal is to reach a subset of the population who has an interest in their new service. That group of people is Walmart’s target market.

The targeted market for the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service will center on geographic locations with high populations within the United States close to military bases. Walmart established superstores in these areas as an attempt to satisfy the wants, needs, and growing demands of consumers living in these locations. However, focusing the attention on target markets will further support Walmart’s mission of saving money and living better (Walmart, 2012).

Walmart target markets will include their target audience with common characteristics that set them apart as different groups (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The target market for the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service main focus is customers on the go. Military soldiers, fire fighters, and policemen are examples of Walmart’s target market. Organizational Buyers and Consumers

There are many similarities between organizational buyers and consumers. The most important similarity is that price matters to them. Both expect quality specifications, customer satisfaction, and service guarantees. They both make judgment decisions based on experience (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). However, the organizational buyers and consumers for the Express Shopping Service are the people in charge of purchasing products and services for personal or organizational use (Web Finance Inc, 2012).

Offering the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service to any type of customer will improve the profit margin. Consumers, such as military soldiers, fire fighters, and policemen in need of products for personal consumption are always welcome to use the Express Shopping Service. Organizational buyers, such as businesses, corporations, governments, manufactures, and resellers are also welcome as well to use the service. Factors Influencing Purchasing Decisions

The most important factor influencing purchasing decision is pricing of products and services. Understanding the factor that influences purchasing decisions, starts with researching, and studying consumer buying behavior. Various factors influencing purchasing decisions involve personal, social, psychological, and cultural factors (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Factors Affect Walmart’s Marketing Strategy

The above factors that influence purchasing decision can also affect Walmart’s marketing strategy. This is because their strategy focuses on understanding needs, wants, and personal characteristics. Before Walmart effectively market a product or service they must pinpoint exactly, which potential buyers will concentrate on their efforts (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). If not, Walmart may risk wasting time and money on buyers loyal to other product brands or services. Analyzing consumer behavior can guide Walmart toward better marketing strategy and tactics (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Current Competitors Analysis

The competitive analysis helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Walmart’s competitors. Using a competitive analysis will indicate the areas Walmart can focus on improving on what the other competitors are doing. Walmart’s current competitors in the general merchandise retail business are primarily Target and Kmart.

Because Walmart’s new Express Shopping Service focuses on the retail grocery industry, the competitive landscape will include organizations, such as Howard Edward Butt (HEB), Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway in the competitive analysis (Walmart, 2012). Difference in price is the primary focus of concern when choosing which organization the customer chooses to shop with. Competitive analysis indicates that none of the organizations offer an Express Shopping Service. The Competitive Landscape for Express Shopping Service

Competitive landscape refers to the analysis an organization uses to identify competitors both online and offline (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). The grocery industry is a highly competitive industry. Competition has been why many smaller grocery stores have gone out of business or have become part of larger grocery store chains.

Research shows, through the use of competitive analysis, any organization posing a potential threat to Walmart. Organizations such as HEB, Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway compete with Walmart daily to capture the largest market share available. Price, variety, selection, and quality are specific attributes the consumer desires in achieving a favorable shopping experience (Walmart, 2012).

The one identifiable service each organization has in common is an online website. Each of the online websites give an overview of goods and services available to the customers by each of the organizations Walmart and Safeway are the only organizations in the list of competitors that offer some typeof online grocery shopping. Walmart offers a selected list of grocery items that customers can order online (Walmart, 2012).

Safeway offers a similar service as Walmart along with delivery service in limited demographic areas (Safeway Inc, 2012). The population and income target market variables for the organizations are similar. After reviewing the online websites of each respective organization, research shows there is no service provided by any of Walmart’s competitors that matches the new service that Walmart plans to offer. The Express Shopping Service gives Walmart the opportunity to increase the organization’s competitive advantage and reach an otherwise ignored target market. Marketing Plan Phase III

Team Charlie decided that introducing an express shopping service into the Walmart Corporation will create, establish, and ensure a competitive edge because this type of service is nonexistent in the discount variety store industry. The team’s market analysis reveals a potential and successful marketing opportunity that allows Walmart the advantage before its competitors.

The express shopping service will open the doors into a new marketing structure for discount variety stores. Charlie’s marketing team must consider the marketing plan phase three factors for generating a successful marketing strategy and tactics. Within the marketing plan it is importance that Walmart have an awareness of, knowing, and understanding service marketing. Marketing services evolved from a product-dominated view, in which tangible output were the focus into a service-dominated view refocusing on intangible processes related to providing services (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

The marketing plan of phase three starts with describing the attributes of the Walmart’s Express Shopping Service in detail. The second objective deals with the product life cycle and the pace, which the service will move about the life cycle through the factors that will affect its movement. Also, describing how the product life cycle may affect the marketing of the express shopping service. In the third stage of phase three, is the indentifying strategies for positioning and differentiation of the service. The final stage will classify the Walmart’s Express Shopping Serviceappropriate price strategy. Express Shopping Service Attributes

The American Marketing Association defines service attributes as characteristics, which indentify, and differentiate features, functions, or desired unique elements that benefits the target market (Marketing Power Inc, 2012). Walmart’s awareness of the importance of the consumer’s store shopping choice process will give the organization insight into express shopping service attributes wanted, needed, and desired by customers.

For example, consumer’s store shopping choices include both retail outlets, and shopping modes. Retail outlets provide consumers with different places of obtaining products. The shopping modes allow consumers purchasing through different means, such as locally, out of town or shopping from home through the mail, telephone, and Internet (Kerin & Hartley, 2011).

Using the above examples for consumer’s store shopping choice process will uncover Walmart’s Express Shopping Service attributes. In addition to developing, Walmart’s marketing plan phase three. The attributes include features, functions, unique elements, and consumer benefits relating to consumer’s shopping choices and modes (Kerin & Hartley, 2011). Details in the following paragraphs will describe the attributes of Walmart’s Express Shopping Service. These attributes will also limit customer desires and needs for different shopping choices and modes. Features

Characteristics consisting of technical innovation, such as mobile phone, wireless, and Internet shopping will headline the major features. Technology improvement of communication methods encourages consumer’s purchasing behavior (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Up-front in store pick-up access with available designative parking spaces will add the features of drawing customers awareness to the newly provided express shopping service.

The most attractive feature focus on supplying customers with service status information updates through the use of electronic messaging boards. Service status information will display customers appointed dates and times of pick-up, positioning regarding purchase movement, such as in progress, service completed, and awaiting customers’ final transaction. Functions

The purposes for the design, role, or existence for how the service works or performs in relationship to its actions and activities are functions (Perreault, Cannon, & McCarty, 2011). Walmart’s Express Shopping Service main purpose is for supplying the target market a faster way of purchasing goods and products when he or she wants or needs them quickly. The design, role, or existence of the service works by allowing customers additional ways of ordering, purchasing, and obtaining products with and at a convenience determined by the customer. Features of the service also relate to the different functions that the express shopping service offers. Un