Walmart’s First Stores
Walmart, considered to be one of the most successful companies in the history of the world was founded by Sam Walton. The first Walmart stores were opened in rural Arkansas in the 1960’s.
Sam Walton bet the other way when it came to building up his discount store empire. In the 1960s, Walton’s biggest competition was from the big department stores that were focused on setting up stylish stores in the urban markets. Walton understood that his competition wasn’t servicing the suburban and rural markets. So, he saw an opportunity to build up a successful business around the underserviced rural and suburban shoppers.
Today’s Walmart locations are found in rural, suburban, and urban locations. In the last decade, Walmart introduced selling organic produce in addition to its regular bulk food items. Offering fresh, organic produce at discounted prices attracted a new generation of shoppers interested in healthier lifestyles. As well, Walmart has even managed to build a thriving e-commerce arm, walmart.com, that rivals the biggest and best online retailers anywhere on the globe.
There is Only one Boss
Sam Walton once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Given this insight into Sam Walton’s thinking, perhaps Walmart’s success can be attributed to more than just his penchant for identifying underserviced markets? Maybe the secret to Sam Walton’s success is how he valued his customers and cared about creating a positive customer experience. Perhaps the combination of strategic business practices and placing a high value on the customer experience are the reasons why Walmart became one of the most successful businesses in the history of the world.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada