Friday, January 14, 2005

Wal-Mart fights back

Yesterday Wal-Mart launched a high-profile campaign to answer their critics. The retailer did more than buy full-page ads in over 100 papers, they trotted out their very poised and likeable CEO Lee Scott. In an interview with Neil Cavuto, Scott said a few things that caught my attention.

First as to what motivated Wal-Mart to undertake this campaign: "Well, for me, in some ways the catalyst was really the Friday after Thanksgiving." That day, Wal-Mart didn't offer the traditional super-saving bargains and they took a beating. Guess that shook 'em up over in Bentonville. Scott thinks that Wal-Mart wasn't "as aggressive as maybe we could have been on that doesn't just apply to merchandise, pricing and other things, it really applies to our outreach and communication with the outside world." They had to be reminded that they're Bargain King and that, in turn, aroused their pride in being Bargain King.

Then this: " we start combining these digital products and they interface with each other, you'll see that represented in Wal-Mart. It's hard for us in our stores to be a leader in technology. Our customer base is not necessarily a leader, an early adopter. But what you see in Wal-Mart today, we're selling plasma TVs, we're selling LCD TVs, we're selling different kinds of PDAs. We're selling a lot of cell phones. And you're going to see us start to integrate that digital media into one place and take a leadership role in that." Hmmm. I'm intrigued. Very intrigued. Even though as a Mac person, it will all exclude me.

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