Walmart’s mission can be summarized as “helping people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.” While its vision is to “make every day easier for busy families.” Walmart defines “busy families” as the bull’s eye of its business strategy and Walmart’s business model.
Walmart’s business model evolution
Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, said that “the secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want.”
And he continued, “and really if you think about it from your point of view as a customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good-quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.”
While those are things that people did want in the past, the world has also changed substantially. As technology has evolved, the experience of Walmart customers has also moved from physical to digital.
That has made Walmart adjust its core value proposition, and it also made it adapt its business model. At the core, as we’ll see in this analysis, the three elements (price, assortment, and experience) remain three critical values of Walmart’s mission statement.
Breaking down Walmart’s mission statement
Walmart Inc. helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores and through eCommerce.
Therefore, Walmart’s mission informs its business strategy and how also this has changed over the years. For instance, while the core of the Walmart business model has stayed the same, its strategy has adapted to new technologies.
E-commerce was not a core part of the Walmart business strategy. Currently, instead, Walmart has incorporated this part within its mission.
As highlighted in the Walmart Investment Community Meeting of 2017:
90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart. There’s 1.4 million associates, and Walmart’s the largest grocer in the U.S. So when we think about some of these assets and we think about playing offense, we think about it across 3 dimensions: price, assortment and experience.
Therefore, Walmart’s mission and business strategy revolve around three critical dimensions:
- And Experience
The remaining vital aspects are related to the following:
- Price, by allowing families to “saving money,” therefore low prices
- Assortment, by making Walmart “anytime and anywhere,” which is reinforced by the presence of Walmart stores across the US
- And experience by leveraging experienced and knowledgeable salespeople
Let’s see more in detail about Walmart’s vision statement and why that matters.
Breaking down Walmart’s vision statement
In its Investment Community Meeting of 2017, Walmart executives highlighted where its direction for the future:
What is the direction? We want to be the destination for customers to save money no matter how they want to shop, whether it be pickup, delivery in 2 days or deliver in 2 hours. The idea is to save customers money at any service level.
And it clarified its vision as:
We want to make every day easier for busy families. That’s our vision
Understanding Walmart’s vision is essential, as well as understanding its business strategy. Which is summarized in the Investment Community Meeting as follows:
In summary, the strategy is very simple. We’re going to be maniacally focused on just nailing the fundamentals. We’re going to look for ways to play offense by leveraging unique assets. And we’re going to be focused on innovating for the future.
Therefore, Walmart’s business strategy leverages three key ingredients:
- Maniacally focusing and nailing the fundamentals
- Play offense by leveraging Walmart unique assets
- Innovating for the future
What does Walmart mean when it says “making every day easier for busy families?”
Understanding its definition and why Walmart picked this market segment will help us capture its direction:
So let’s talk about making every day easier for busy families. Why busy families? Well, it’s a big part of the market, and we’ve learned that what we do to effectively serve them helps us serve everybody else, so they’re the center of the bull’s eye.
Choosing a big enough market is a fundamental problem in the entrepreneurial world.
That is why investors often demand startups clearly understand their TAM or total addressable market.
To clarify, this isn’t a straightforward issue.
When companies are opening up new spaces and markets, none knows how big that market will be.
For instance, when smartphones took over, it became a massive market, and many companies have already moved to a mobile-first world.
Walmart picked the “busy families” because, according to them, it represents a good chunk of the families.
That makes them focus on a particular segment and informs their business strategy.
This focus allows a better and more effective execution. It also creates a flywheel or virtuous cycle.
As Walmart points out, they learned that by serving a specific segment, they end up doing anyone else better.
But who are those busy families? As pointed out in the Investment Community Meeting of 2017:
So we really have 1 member. And I want you to think of them like this. It’s a busy family, typically living in the suburbs of 1 or 2 incomes. They make somewhere between $75,000 and $125,000 a year. They may own a couple of cars. They may be employed or self-employed. They may own a small restaurant or run a small office and purchase a few things for their business.
Walmart has a clear idea of its key market segment.
Once again, this is a simplification. And it allows focus, as specified by Walmart executives:
So we’re moving forward and we’re moving quickly to align the entire business around this more narrow focus. We’re evaluating everything from our membership offering to our merchandise categories to our locations, and we’ve got some important choices to make in the future.
And what’s going on with those busy families, according to Walmart?
What’s happening with them? Well, you know they’re more connected. They’ve embraced mobile in a big way. In fact, globally, around the world, mobile commerce has grown by about 80% just in 2 years.
Therefore, as technology evolves, Walmart uses it and incorporates it in its mission and vision to serve better its target segment.
And that is why Walmart is becoming more and more of a digital company:
Technology will also help serve up things to customers that they might want to do. So becoming more of a digital company and learning how to work with speed is important to us throughout.
As Walmart’s business model adapts to the future technology landscape, it also adapts its value proposition!
This is critical as a business model is the fruit of a long-term vision and a shorter-term mission.
And as a business strategy changes and adapts, the fundamentals of a business model (its value proposition) also adapt and change. This is eventually reflected in the financials.
It is important to remark that technology helps an organization to better serve its target. This also implies a change in its monetization strategy.
However, its core values stay the same.
For instance, in 2018, Walmart started to roll out a program called Jetblack to serve “busy families” that, for a fixed membership price, could get a customized sales experience.
Walmart in numbers
Let’s look at some of Walmart’s critical financials for 2021:
Read: Mission Statement Examples.
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