How to open a retail store – lessons from wal-mart

How to Open a Retail Store – Lessons From Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is not just the biggest retail chain, but the world’s largest corporation, and has achieved its massive scale and profits by seeking efficiency and low costs in every aspect of its work. That is how they can discounting products below what other stores can compete with. For a new retail store, Wal-Mart may seem like the enemy – a store that will either be your top competitor or a potential top competitor if it ever opens in your store’s vicinity. However, there is much to learn from Wal-Mart’s practices, even for a small store.

Greeting Customers

Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, dictated that each Wal-Mart customer would be greeted at the door. Because of the volume entering Wal-Mart stores, this creates jobs specifically for Wal-Mart greeters. Although your store will not likely need a full-time greeter, the idea of an employee or employees devoted to greeting and helping customers on an individual basis can have a tremendous impact on your sales. The greeting itself, along with an offer to help the customer find anything, makes customers feel noticed and appreciated even before they decide to buy. Having employees go further, by directing customers to other products or better products can take this individual attention to the next level for the customer and for sales.

Products as Loss-Leaders

Wal-Mart is a huge seller of DVDs, but is content to sell these items at their “everyday-low-prices” even upon their release, when they are more expensive to receive from manufacturers and have to be sold at a loss. Wal-Mart considers DVDs to be loss-leaders, products that are unprofitable in and of themselves, but attract customers to the store where they are then encouraged to purchase other items.

Are certain products potential potential loss-leaders for your store? Are there items that you can stand to sell at cost or even below in order to attract the kind of customers you’d like to introduce to your other products?

Wal-Mart is Not For Everyone

Finally, remember that the big box store is not for everyone. While these stores offer low prices and a wide range of products, their domination creates opportunities for small stores with deep expertise in a certain area and high levels of service, even if prices are higher. When looking carefully at Wal-Mart and other big box retailers, pay attention to what they lack in these areas and define your customer target market to serve those who feel disenfranchised in the Wal-Mart era.

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