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The Walmart Group of Companies was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, since then the Company has curved an inch for itself as being the leader in running and management of the retail stores around the world. Sam Walton like any entrepreneur didn't aim at making the company to be among the largest chain of retail stores in the world, he just wanted it to the best performing. Due to excellent marketing skills of the company and its good rapport between with the customers, it however managed to perform better than its competitors and hence its rapid growth. The Walmart Group of companies employs thousands of people and operates hundreds of stores around the world, the company's major departments in most stores are: apparel / jewelry, baby stores, electronic shops, pharmacy, grocery stores, health and beauty services, furniture etc.
The purpose of this paper will not be to discuss the activities and the performance of the company but rather to review a book whose authors Don Taylor and Jeanne Smalling Archer focused on the company when they wrote the book. The book is titled Up Against the Wal-Marts: How Your Business Can Prosper in the Shadow of the Retail Giants, 2nd edition and it was published 1994 under the Amacom Books, American Management Association label. The paper will look at the different chapters in the book and discuss the message that the authors were trying to pass across to other retail stores that are trying to fight for consumer attention with their goods and services. In addition to that the paper will explain how the chapters reviewed in the course of the study are relevant to the performance of the company in world. In conclusion, the paper will give a brief summary of the important points that were discussed in the paper.
The book Up Against the Wal-Marts: How Your Business Can Prosper in the Shadow of the Retail Giants, is a business oriented book that has twelve different chapters and each of them conveys a different message to small scale retailers on how to small scale retail business can weather the storm from giants stores and remain relevant in business. The first chapter in the book is the Game is Changing, it is then followed by Fourteen Success Strategies while the third chapters is title Creating Customers. This chapter focuses on the Six P's of the marketing mix, the marketing plan, how to design and build a customer base and finally the serious signs of customers. The fourth chapter of the book focuses on customer retention and here the main focus is on the four P's of attracting and retaining customers.
The fifth chapter of the book discusses the attitude that the entrepreneur should have when hiring staff for his/her business. The purpose of any business is to ensure that the business makes constant sales and generate the needed profits to sustain and expand it, these skills have been bought out in chapter six of the book; Selling is a Service. Chapter seven of the book addresses the different promotion approaches that can be adapted by a retailer to ensure that his/her goods and services are selling at a steady rate. The next chapter looks at how having relevant business knowledge and record keeping skills can help save the business from collasing. Chapter ten of the book is the manager's tool box which addresses ways in which the entrepreneur can measure the consumer satisfaction. Another import chapter in the book that cannot be overlooked is chapter eleven; The Kaizen Strategy. On a general note each and every chapter in the book is rich of content that cannot be ignored by and any small scale retailer but there are some chapters that if analyzed in details can bring out more content that might be important to the entrepreneur.
Chapter Two: Fourteen Success Strategies
The success of any business depends on the strategies that the business owner uses in order to win over consumers. In chapter two of this book, the authors Don Taylor and Jeanne Smalling Archer, have discussed this fourteen must have strategies that will ensure that the business prospers despite the stiff competition from established enterprises. These strategies include, the business owner needs to become an excellent marketer and promoter of his/her business, the core reason for starting the business is to satisfy the end user who is the consumer. This means that all the activities that take place should be aimed at satisfying the client. Another strategy to success is the value of the goods and services given, it is therefore important for the business to ensure that the goods / services are of the best quality. According to the authors, another important business strategy' that should be taken into consideration by an upcoming retailer is that they should conduct business with integrity and honesty. There are other strategies that have been given in the chapter; however the last strategy that is worth noting is that the retailers should not only strive to make profits but must also be result orientated.
This chapter has gone a step further and discussed these strategies in detail and giving out all the information that might be relevant to new entrepreneurs as well as the existing ones in the business world.
Chapter Three: Creating Customers
In business there is nothing as enjoyable as having loyal and reliable consumers, this is what chapter of this book covers. It is however important to note that unless the customers are created then it won't be able to keep them. One important segments to that the authors have mentioned in the chapter are the six P's of marketing mix. These are price, product (service), place, promotion, people and positioning. Product, this is the first element of the marketing mix. This aspect of marketing planning and strategies covers the following areas, product and service classification system, the product life cycle, introduction to product matrices, Boston matrix (growth/share), handoff's matrix (product market). It therefore important that for any retailers to make an impact in the market, they should ensure that their products meet some of the above mentioned points. The pricing element deals with the pricing strategies and exercises. In addition to that, this aspect helps the entrepreneur to tell the different ways in which they can "increase" prices without necessarily increasing the price, i.e. increasing the price in such a wway that the consumer will not be able to tell. The reason for this as you increase the price so do you improve the quality of the product.
The third aspect of the six P's of the marketing mix is the place which covers the channels of distribution. There are six main channels of distribution that can be applied in the marketing planning and strategies. The channels include: Direct or indirect channels, single or multiple channels, length of channel and finally the types of intermediaries. The promotion of a product or service can be carried out in different ways. There is promotion through the media which covers Television commercials and radio advisements; there is advertising through the print media which covers magazines, newspapers and other journals. Another form of advertising is by use of brochures, hand outs and on the bill boards.
The rapid growth of the internet and communication sectors and the positive impact it has had in business cannot be under estimated, therefore the final way in which promotion of a product and service can be carried out is through the internet - which is popularly and commonly used. The introduction of social websites like face book and tweeter have made the online advertising a walk in the part to many investors, however there are websites that are specifically reserved as marketing site depending on the product / service that you wish to advertise and promote. One question that every business person should ask themselves before commencing business is what are my target clients? This marketing mix element has been briefly discussed in the chapter and the importance of it is that by knowing your target group, the retailers will be in a better position to supply the required goods and services. It is important to note that some of the points mentioned in chapter three are closely related to the content in chapter seven which focuses on low cost promotion strategies.
Chapter Six: Selling Is a Service
A business that does not record any sales is not a business; therefore retailers should be aware that the act of selling their goods and services is a very important service in the business world. Chapter six of the book has looked at various ways in which a business can improve the service of selling of its goods and services and by so doing ensuring that the business records improved sales and in the end good returns.
Summation of the Paper
The book Up Against the Wal-Marts: How Your Business Can Prosper in the Shadow of the Retail Giants, is a book that any person who has the desire to make a impact in the business world must read. The aim of this paper was to revive the book; however the paper has started off by giving a brief history of the Wal-Mart company and the main purpose that the company was started. The paper has then given a general review of all the chapters in the book and the message that the authors wanted to pass across. It is however the next part of the paper that is more interesting, in this section the paper has singled out three important chapters from the book and critically discussed and reviewed them. These are chapter two, three and six.