Fashion at Wal-Mart? iPods & Digital Cameras at Wal-Mart?: Wal-Mart’s Aggressive Marketing & Moves on Target, Best Buy, Circuit City and Others
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has an attack plan. It has a new aggressive business model that is putting the 3,100 strong stores in uncharted territories. Wal-Mart is now considering attracting and giving upscale shoppers a reason to shop within the walls of its stores. The company’s leaders realize that fashion, electronics and extended warranties will lead its stores to holy grounds of profits, more profits.
In fact, Wal-Mart wants to be the sought-after destination for urban hip hop loving, cool-clothes wearing shoppers. If you are a hip fashionista, Wal-Mart wants you to find every product you need from toothbrush, detergents to clothes designed by top designers and hot iPods and digital cameras. As if the company thought you might go to competitive stores such as Best Buy, CompUSA and top electronic seller Circuit City, Wal-Mart wants to sweeten the deals for you. It wants to offer you much lower extended warranties on your purchase.
Wal-Mart and Fashion
On October 6, the world’s largest retailer and provider of merchandise at “every day low prices” announced the creation of Metro 7. This is a new brand of urban women’s apparel that you can find in more than 500 stores nationwide. With Metro 7, Wal-Mart wants to offer its customers more variety and something more than the regular cereal, detergents, vegetables, cards and toys. Upscale shoppers used to leave the store and head to Target to shop for the latest trends in fashion at reasonable prices. To put the word out on Metro 7, Wal-Mart has been placing ads in top magazines such as Vogue. The face of Metro 7 is Marc Anthony’s former wife, former Miss Universe, Dayanara Torres. With Metro 7, Wal-Mart is leaving behind the repulsive fashion and clothes that are currently all over its display. Metro 7 is supposed to be for the urban fashion connoisseur, the fashion-savvy customer. Wal-Mart wants to cash in on customers who want to spend top money to look good and wear top brands and merchandise. Jewelry rental is catching up. Customers who are friends or related through family, work or marriage sometimes pool their money to buy an expensive gemstone which they take turns wearing. The new thing out there, the new buzzword is prestige for the masses or “masstige.” People want to look good at all prices.
To give a chance of success to Metro 7, Wal-Mart is willing to spend in its marketing plan. It has hired a former Target executive, John Fleming. John left his position as chief executive and CEO of Wal-Mart because he was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer of Wal-Mart. The company also hired former Chief Marketing Officer of Pepsico’s Frito Lay division to develop and help implement Wal-Mart’s marketing strategy and brand development. It must be noted that at Target, Fleming had extensive experience in developing the store’s fashion division. Wal-Mart wants to capitalize on his experience. Hey, that’s why they are paying him the big bucks. Keep in mind that Wal-Mart is not set up like, say, Costco where employees make decent money according to a 20/20 report. The question to ask right now is whether Wal-Mart is going to hire some top designers to design for Metro 7. Just like Target has been doing, John Fleming knows that urban fashion-savvy customers are attracted both by the designers and the dresses or clothes that are displayed on the shelves. The war of retail discounts is on. Target which is one of the company’s major competitors, has an established history of working with posh, high-end designers such as Isaac Misrahi and Cynthia Rowley. The pressure is on Wal-Mart to have a successful fashion line with Metro 7 as more and more fashion chic companies such as H&M are opening stores in San Francisco’s Union Square district. Wal-Mart wants what no. 2 discounter Target has, a line of clothing that attracts higher-end shoppers with fat wallets. With Metro 7, Wal-Mart intends to offer such designs as low-priced velvet jackets and camisole tops, luxurious linens and a broader array of consumer electronics items that should include higher-end plasma TVs, video game machines such as video iPods, MP3 players and digital cameras. Watch out Circuit City and Best Buy! The only place that Wal-Mart has been able to attract affluent shoppers is through its walmart.com site which is loaded with high priced items such as expensive diamond rings, flat-screen TVs with built-in DVD players and other expensive gadgets that attract both male and female customers.
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