Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
1 November 2017
Who wants to attend a Walmart Christmas party?
Improving the in-store experience seems to be the cure-all for retailers’ woes. Or, at least, that’s what they think. In that vein, there are now Walmart Christmas parties at 20,000 locations with the themes of “Toys that rock” and “Rock this Christmas.”
Calling it a party is a bit of a stretch. They’re more like a themed sale where products related to the party theme are sold. Think any toys will be on sale for the “Toys that rock” party?
Recently, I experienced Walmart’s in-store experience, picking up some last minute items for a camping trip. Before I even parked my car, I remembered why I hate going to Walmart. In all honesty, I would rather stick sharp sticks in my eyes than visit a Walmart. But rather than visiting three different stores, I chose Walmart.
“Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I found a half gallon of milk next to the hats. I found opened boxes and half eaten bags of chips.”
This is what a Walmart Christmas party looks like
The clock read 7:30 in the evening. A constant flow of people entering and exiting both on foot and in cars flooded the parking lot. Making my way into the store, I grabbed a cart with a flat wheel. A second cart sported a front wheel that just spun. So I found a third.
Entering the store, I saw a mass of people. Apparently 7:30 pm is a very popular time to shop at Walmart. From the looks of it, it was also a very popular time to restock the shelves. So not only did I have to wade through a sea of shoppers, I also had to navigate the rows and aisles of inventory waiting to be shelved.
Here’s all I needed. A cheap headlamp for my daughter, a beanie for me and a few food items I forgot earlier at Harris Teeter.
Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I found a half gallon of milk next to the hats. I found opened boxes and half eaten bags of chips. Don’t get me started about waiting in the check out line. All in all, it was one big constant reminder why I despise going to Walmart.
And to me, this is the real problem with Walmart. No amount of Walmart Christmas parties is going to improve the in-store experience. It’s nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. You wasted some perfectly good lipstick and you still own a pig.
Walmart competes with Amazon for the retail throne, but it also needs its brick and mortar business. In my experience, the Walmart in-store experience is so fundamentally bad that it reduces its appeal to me even as an option for online purchases. In this case, fixing the in-store experience will improve its online sales. Ho-ho-ho.
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