Lately, it’s become kind of en vogue to pick on Walmart and I wanted to take a moment to buck the trend and mention some of the things they still do right. Note, I’m not being paid to say any of these things. It’s just a couple of recent incidents made me realize that Walmart still does do some things pretty darn well.
No Loyalty Rewards Cards
Okay, the reward card craze is seriously getting out of control. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t go anywhere and buy a sale item without whipping out a plastic card first. I have at least 20 of these stupid cards and the only ones I use on a regular basis are my grocery store ones. Wouldn’t it be great to just be able to buy an item on sale without wondering if you brought the right card with you?
I like that the price at Walmart is what it is, period, end of story.
Website to Store Option
It drives me bananas that Target’s website pricing does not match their in store pricing. In addition to that, they don’t have a site to store option, so I can’t even utilize sale items without incurring additional shipping charges.
I ran into it again yesterday at Gymboree online. I had a merchandise credit that I was trying to use and when I got to the checkout, it wouldn’t accept my card number. I call customer service and they tell me I can only use the merchandise credits at a store and not online because they are two separate companies. Plus, the nearest store to me is an outlet and I think the outlet won’t take non-outlet cards and vice versa. So you have 1 store called Gymboree but 3 different sets of policies and none of the stores are linked in any way? Infuriating.
I like that Walmart has one face to the customer . Even if the online store is a separate business unit, I love that it’s seamless to the customer experience.
Walmart has great prices on photo services. The website for holiday cards is extremely user friendly and even people with very low IQ’s can figure out how to use it. I don’t have to fight the crowds to get my photos done. I can just do it in the privacy of my own home and pick them up when they’re ready or get them delivered to my house for an extra fee. I am pleased to have both options and I’ve always thought the quality was worth the price I paid.
If you’re so inclined, Walmart will price match any sale fliers for your local stores. I find that they aren’t always the cheapest anymore for grocery items, but at least I know I still have the option to get the lowest price on something if I want to shop there. In my area, super duper sale items tend to stock out at my local stores and I’m horrible at redeeming rainchecks. Now when that happens, I usually just go to Walmart with my flier and get it there.
Focus on Sustainability
Walmart’s gotten a bad rap over the years about their impact to the environment. As a result, they now have a structured sustainability initiative. They just had a press release about promoting sustainable agriculture and doing more to support small farms. Someone with this kind of buying power can really move the needle. This is a perfect example of people’s shopping habits leading to action on the part of big corporate America. Consumers are really starting to support the little guy in lieu of big box stores like Walmart. In many cases we are paying more for those products too. Someone smart at Walmart is realizing if they can’t beat them, they better join them.
I’m digging that Walmart seems to be listening to consumers and responding. I’m sure readers will chime in and tell me they still do a lot of things wrong, but lately, I’ve been pretty happy with the way they are being managed.
The few cons I have is that they are no longer the cheapest place around and you can’t just assume they have the best prices anymore.
I also never buy clothes there unless I’m desperate. Last season I bought a pair of winter gloves and they were falling apart at the seams before they were even worn. I returned them as soon as I noticed. The same goes for generic toys. This summer I bought some el cheapo squirtguns and they had a 50% out of the box failure rate. I’d rather not have the option to buy a $3 squirt gun if it’s not going to work or last more than a week. Charge me $5 for a working one, please. Sometimes I wonder if they have quality control standards at all.
So what’s your take on Walmart?