This article was originally posted by the Retail Justice Alliance.
Remember Walmart’s “bold commitment” to “leading an American renewal in manufacturing” and “bringing jobs back to the U.S.”? (You know, the “bold commitment” that garnered instant skepticism from industry observers?) How’s it going so far?
According to a Huffington Post story yesterday, a new report is out just in time for Cyber Monday, examining the ways that Walmart and other retailers track consumers online. Released by the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange, and SumOfUs, the report is the first independent analysis of Walmart’s efforts to gather and track consumer information online and use that information to shape marketing strategies.
Granted, it’s an old book, but after recent public gaffes, maybe Walmart should consider passing out Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” at the next Saturday morning in Bentonville.
More takeaways from last week’s analyst shindig:
Last Tuesday, Walmart brought Wall Street analysts down to Arkansas to get them up bright and early and show them PowerPoint presentations for hours (aka the “20th Annual Meeting for the Investment Community.”) Our invitation must have been lost in the mail, but we’ve sifted through the transcripts, news reports, and PR spin, and have some takeaways of our own. Here’s the first set:
Following several reports last spring on the inconsistent and sometimes poor condition of the produce on store shelves, Walmart announced plans last June to improve the quality of the fruits and vegetables it sells. (Problems in produce, of course, exemplify the negative effects that Walmart’s persistent understaffing has on store operations.)
Remember Walmart’s “Buy American” campaign back in the 80’s? In 1992, a shocking Dateline NBC report on the campaign caused a PR disaster for the company. The show reported that Walmart had in fact sharply increased foreign imports during the campaign, that Walmart suppliers in Asia were using child labor, and that company stores had misleadingly labeled foreign-made garments as Made in America.
Many are probably asking “What’s Kremlinology?” The term refers to the art of deducing and guessing what is really happening within an organization based on observations and comes from the Cold War era. During that period, analysts had to rely upon what might seem like small things like the removal of an official portrait or where people were sitting during a meeting—which brings us to the Walmart management update.