business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN reports on a new study saying that there are five companies – Publix, Walgreen, Best Buy, Target, and PetsMart – proving that it is indeed possible to compete with Wal-Mart.

“A new report says the secret to retailers' survival in a Wal-Mart world isn't about attempting to outrun the 800-pound retail gorilla but about the ability to maneuver around it, according to a recent study entitled ‘Outsmarting Wal-Mart’ from the global retail practice unit of New York-based consulting firm Bain & Company,” the news service writes.

The key, according to the report, is understanding that even if Wal-Mart owns 30 percent of the market, that still leaves 70 percent of the market in play. Competing retailers shouldn’t be intimidated by Wal-Mart, but rather energized by the fact that it forces them to raise the level of their game.

Included in the report’s conclusions:

  • "Wal-Mart clearly wins on price, and to a lesser degree, selection -- but nowhere else. Price isn't everything."

  • "Two-thirds of shoppers find Wal-Mart's assortments, middling product quality and limited services not worth the savings. That means, regardless of Wal-Mart's proximity, there are plenty of customers looking for alternatives."

KC's View:
The challenge, of course, is that you actually have to be an alternative.

Physically. Philosophically. Strategically. Tactically.

Just being there isn’t enough, despite the fact that Woody Allen once said that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” He wasn’t talking about retailing.