You may have heard that Walmart shut down their doors on the Sunset Strip and moved to online sales. To best know how this happened, and what impact it has had on the neighborhood, we need to go back to the beginning. Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is the Walmart superstore?
The first Walmart superstore was built in the ‘70s in California, and it was originally known as the Walmart City. After many successful years of business, the company decided that it wanted to branch out of California and into other states. They found a location in Victorville, California, and began construction on what would become known as the Walmart complex. The first Walmart Superstore opened its doors in October 1979, offering discount department store goods and services to customers. This was a novel concept, especially since up until that point, most supercenters had focused on housing a large number of grocery items and staples. Walmart has always been a company dedicated to providing its customers with affordable options, and the Superstore was a chance to fulfill that vision. In addition to the city’s namesake store, additional Superstores opened in Georgia, Florida, and Texas.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Walmart continues to be one of the biggest corporations in the world. The company is a household name, and despite its controversial reputation, you’ll often hear people say that they love shopping at Walmart. With almost 4,500 stores around the world, the retail giant is a company that truly does represent the American Dream. It’s hard to believe that just 40 years ago, Walmart was nothing more than a small business with a few locations in a couple of states. The future looks incredibly bright for Walmart, and it’s easy to see why. With all of the new technologies and innovations, there are countless ways for customers to find what they’re looking for and have it delivered to their door. This is made easier by the fact that Walmart stores stock a large number of the items that customers might need, from food to clothing to household supplies. So even if you don’t plan on buying anything at Walmart, you’ll still find something there that you might need. It would be a shame to see a neighborhood business go under simply because it couldn’t compete with the big-box stores that had set up shop in the area. With Walmart offering such high quality and variety, it’s no wonder that so many people still support them. This is especially true given the way Walmart engages with its customers and attempts to better understands their needs. Many big-box stores, on the other hand, are completely unaware of what their customers want. They simply stock what they think that customers will buy, regardless of whether or not the items are relevant to what their customers want. This sort of disinterest in understanding the needs of its customers leads to a sense of complacency that allows the big-box stores to get away with less than ethical behaviors for far longer than any small business could hope to survive. Despite the risks that come with being a small business, there are a number of advantages to being a local shop. You’re aware of what your customers want and need, and you have the opportunity to create a community. These are all reasons why we should be supporting the small businesses in our area instead of looking down on them simply because they couldn’t succeed where others had. The world is changing, and small businesses are changing with it. Customers are looking for more personalized experiences and connections to products. The key for local businesses is to find a way to adapt and fit in with the changing times while still providing value to their customers.
Will It Adapt?
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what made the Walmart superstore so successful, let’s discuss whether or not it will continue to be a factor in the future of retail. First, it’s important to remember that Walmart is a very adaptable company. In a world where rapid advancements in technology make almost everything possible, Walmart has continued to evolve and change with the times. Despite being headquartered in Texas, Walmart operates very intensely in all areas of commerce, whether online, in a physical store, or some combination thereof. This adaptability, paired with their willingness to change with the times makes them a cut above the rest. There are a number of examples of this. For example, back in 1999, Walmart experimented with a smaller version of the Superstore format. Instead of a large city, the company implemented a concept called Walmart Express. This was aimed at providing quick service for customers in smaller towns and developing a smaller number of centralized hubs for the company to operate out of. In 2015 alone, Walmart spent over $13 billion on online marketing and about $20.5 billion on brick-and-mortar stores. These are not insignificant numbers, and it’s clear that Walmart is dedicated to remaining relevant in a world that continues to turn to online shopping.
So, what is the future of the Walmart superstore? As we’ve established, Walmart is a company that is very dedicated to adapting to the times while providing value to its customers. This is what has driven their success, and it is also the reason that they have been able to maintain a positive image in the face of some very questionable practices. Despite this, Walmart has decided that it wants to branch out of the retail world and into the realm of investing. The company is reportedly looking at a number of different areas, including e-commerce and pharmaceutical sales, and it’s seeing these as a way to remain financially stable in an ever-evolving world. The decision to invest in e-commerce is, in part, a response to the fact that so many people are shopping online. It makes sense for a company that is wholly dedicated to online commerce to decide to branch into brick-and-mortar stores as a way to offer its customers a personalized shopping experience that they can’t get online. This is why we should be supporting local businesses instead of big-box stores. Even if you don’t plan on shopping at Walmart, you can still support a local business that you know and trust will be there for you if you ever do decide to visit.