Restricting assortments to attract customers might not be the best option, even if it makes the store look better, cleaner and streamlined in its offer. After all, customers do not walk into a store only for its visual appeal. They are drawn into a store that offers what they want.
In its quest to simplify the shopping experience and boost sales during the U.S. economic downturn in 2008, Wal-Mart embarked on a new strategy dubbed Project Impact (PI) for its hypermarket format Wal-Mart Supercentres. It intendedto de-clutter these stores, make the jammed aisles easier to navigate, and finally improve the look of the outlets. Yet this ‘de-cluttering’ strategy only resulted in loss of customers. Here’s a possible look at the whys.
Anatomy of Project Impact (PI)
The remodelled stores under PI were based on three strategic initiatives – Save Money, Live Better; Win, Play, Show; and Fast, Friendly, Clean.
The Save Money, Live Better initiative has a number of components that Wal-Mart has been following since long, such as price leadership. The company is well known for its “Every Day Low Pricing”, but this time the retailer was aiming to offer the consumer greater value for each product category. By achieving price leadership, the retailer hoped to counter the efforts made by its rival retailers from gaining market share. Another component of the first initiative was called Consumables, where the retailer was looking to reduce the outlay and had made changes in its promotional approach, seasonal advertising and in-store signage.
Private label – Wal-Mart expanded its private label categories, as during the economic climate when the project was launched, consumers were looking to save money. Integrated brand communication – Although under the remodelling strategy Wal-Mart was looking to reduce the overall number of suppliers and products, the company was also looking at remaining vendors to increase co-branded advertising Campaigns.