Walmart’s Experience Redesign Makes Sense

What do you get when you combine Walmart’s low prices with smart merchandising and good service? Trouble for competitors. And Walmart’s Project Impact is aimed at doing just that.

According to Walmart’s Northeast general manager:

We’ve listened to our customers, and they want an easier shopping experience. We’ve brightened up the stores and opened things up to make it more navigable.

Here’s an example of Walmart’s new store experience:

Source: BNET

My take: There’s no reason for companies to make trade-offs between low prices and good in-store experiences (or good experiences in other channels like the Web and the phone). That’s the core premise of the post My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free

When companies focus on their target customers, it becomes very clear that customer experience is not an optional ingredient. But that doesn’t mean that Walmart or any other retailer should replicate the experience model of Nordstrom’s or even Michael’s Crafts. The key is to understand what your customers’ need and want.

Employees are also a critical component of customer experience. As I’ve discuss in my eBook The 6 Laws Of Customer Experience: Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. That’s why every one-tenth-of-a-point increase in employee engagement at a Best Buy store increases it profits by $100,000 a year.

Is there a blueprint for getting this right? Yes. Experience-Based Differentiation.

The bottom line: Customers notice when you neglect their experience.

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

One Response to Walmart’s Experience Redesign Makes Sense

  1. Although many retail stores start to get it right, I am still wondering whether it’s possible to get a really good end-to-end experience.

    I am shopping at my local retail store four to five times a week (because, believe it or not, in Switzerland, stores close at 6:30 pm to 8 pm and this is the only store open until 9 pm) – rushing in and out in less than five minutes, grabbing stuff I want to eat for dinner. The store is really great, supporting this behavior as the retail chain found out that this is what most people want to do who live in this area of the city: Go there often, and be in and out in under five minutes.

    BUT – and it’s a huge *but* – then I am home with the stuff I bought and I start fumbling around with the packaging. It takes me about four minutes to get the “ready made” salad on the plate (longer than it took me to buy it).

    So how do I adopt my behavior to the good retail experience?

    I go there often (even more often than I used to in the old store design), but I start buying things that are easy to unpack! This may sound ridiculous, but it’s true: I started to buy other products, because the retail chain optimized the PURCHASING EXPERIENCE but it’s not in their might to optimize the PRODUCT EXPERIENCE.

    Where does that lead to? I would not go so far as to say horizontal integration – but where, then?

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