Perhaps they're put off by the cracked floor tiles or the cobwebs on the headless, foam-rubber mannequins. Whatever the reason, the store's rock-bottom prices and helpful service clearly aren't pulling in many shoppers" (Fairlamb and Cohn, 2003).
After nearly a decade of trying to penetrate the German market, Wal-Mart counted its losses and exited Germany. A Wal-Mart spokesman argued that, despite the million dollar losses, the experience was a positive one as it represented a turning point and a lesson for the future. The lesson was that in spite of its national success, Wal-Mart is vulnerable in the international context (Lander and Barbaro, 2006). Similar situations are also encountered in Asia, and the question that is being posed here refers to the future strategies Wal-Mart could implement in order to reduce its vulnerability and increase its position in the global context.
Two recommendations are of vital importance when addressing the previously stated matter:
an adaptation to the cultural features of the region penetrated change in the internal politics of Wal-Mart
The second course of action is necessary as, unfortunately, Wal-Mart has created a negative perception throughout the world. While some causes of this perception are independent of them, some did emerge from their actions that could be readdressed. The independent reasons could include the blaming of the capitalist era or the assimilation of globalization with Americanization and the belief that the United States wants to rule the world. The forces emerged from within the company could include the treatment of their employees and that of the customers. The first thing they could do then is to strive and increase employee-on -- the job satisfaction. This could be achieved through the offering of incentives, such as medical coverage, premiums and bonuses, promotional opportunities or flexible schedules. Training programs could also be offered to increase the sentiment that the associate is being valued by the employer, but also to create a stronger sales force which is better able to satisfy the customer. Aside the increase in the quality of the products and services offered, customer strategies could also integrate increases in the security levels in the Wal-Mart parking lots. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005) reveals that the chain does not employ surveillance of their parking lots and that numerous violent incidents occurred here, some even ending with the death of the victims, both customers and employees.
The first strategy has been intentionally left to be discussed last for the simple reason that it requires more specific measures and is applied directly onto the foreign market strategies, rather than the company. In this order of ideas, the adaptation to the cultural values of the new market should commence with the recognition of these values, different from those in the U.S. Wal-Mart entered the European market with great pride and simply expected that their reputation would ensure success (Lander and Barbaro, 2006). Once they have recognized the cultural diversity, Wal-Mart must also become aware that they are new comers to the region and must prove their worth before expecting to see beneficial results. Other suggestions that could be made refer to the elimination of the morning greet, as the Europeans are generally more reserved and less exuberant than the Americans and might find this behavior awkward, or the elimination of the requirement for the cashiers to smile all the time as some male shoppers might find such behavior flirtatious (Lander and Barbaro, 2006).
The freedom and democracy which govern the contemporaneous global market allow players the implementation of various strategies that ensure their success. The same principles however increase the standards to be acquired in order to triumph and make the task of international expansion an extremely challenging one. Wal-Mart and Carrefour managed to expand territorially, but despite the fact that Wal-Mart remains the number one global retailer, its international strategy has been inferior relative to its French competitor's. To ensure its success and avoid a repetition of the events occurred in Germany, the U.S. based retailer should develop courses of action that recognize and adapt to the individual characteristics of each new location.
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