Tuesday, October 03, 2006

If Preppies Took Over Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart had been known for the blue vests with the words “How may I help you?” on the back, which was to convey the working-class image. However, now Wal-Mart is testing a new look to attract more upscale shoppers by having employees where a polo shirt and khakis. Also, they plan to sell items that are more expensive, like flat screen TV’s and 300-thread-count sheets. Wal-Mart now advertises in more upscale magazine like Vogue. They have also opened an office in Manhattan to watch for the new trends and created an urban line to improve the individual store sales.

The new idea for the uniform was said to be “very classy” by Stan Herman, who designs dozens of corporate uniforms. With the new uniforms it will raise the status of all the Americans who work for the chain. The working-class image will be now more like a business casual image for the store. Taraynn Lloyd, the director of marketing at Edwards Garment, says Wal-Mart’s uniform improvement is happening too late, now businesses are moving away from the polo shirts and going for button-down shirts.

The employees are also complaining about having to buy khakis themselves because the company is struggling enough to supply each of the 1 million plus employees with two polo shirts. Some employees don’t want to spend fifteen dollars on pants they will only wear for work

I think the change would be good for the image of the store, but I have always thought of Wal-Mart as a place where I could go when I don't want to spend that much money. Places like Target were always more expensive, so if I wanted something cheap I would go to Wal-Mart. With this change, I don't know if that will still be true. Do you think the upscale change of Wal-Mart will hurt the company or will it make the store more appealing and higher class so that more people shop there?


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/business/03uniform.html?ref=business

8 comments:

Julie_Boyce said...

I think that the change will be something different for Wal-Mart, but honestly, I don't think that it will really effect too much. Yes, there will be many complaints about the change and such and maybe there is the chance that a higher class will start to shop there. The prices may rise and I think that another reason that this may happen is because Wal-Mart is such a large business. It (at least where I'm from) has even put other businesses out of business with it's "Lower Prices". Wal-Mart is known for having basically everything needed and all in one place, I don't think that customers are going to fret over a little increase in price because it beats driving to a number of different places.

BBechtel said...

Wal-Mart has started to drop their one store fits all aproach to consumers. In the past all stores have had similar layouts and products across the nation. They've recently decided to lessen that approach and to start marketing more to the consumers in the region. More personalized service to their consumers varying by location. With the introducion of new uniforms and higher quality Wal-Mart may just be trying to broaden their profits by appealing to more people.

Leland said...

Where i grew up in New York, we didnt have a Walmart. We really only had target. When I got to Marietta I quickly found out the hierarchy of "everything" stores, with Walmart being the cheapest and Target the most expensive. I do feel that their is a place for all these sore in our economy, however if Walmart wants to make a better name for itself than it should go for it With these new chages i fee like Walmart can maybe get itself into new markets, which may be good for buisiness.

Erica Rath said...

Isn't Wal-Mart's goal to go into a new area, drop prices so they beat out the little guy, and when the little guy does close, they raise the prices again to make more profit? No matter what class, if you need something fast and easy, you go to Wal-Mart. If they are changing to appeal to the upper-class, they are making a mistake. They need to appeal to the middle and lower class because this is where their market is. Wal-Mart is loved and hated all over the country and they are everywhere. Whatever they have done so far seems to be working!

touka said...

From a consumers point of view, I don’t really think what the employees at Wal-mart are wearing matters. I do think by wearing khakis and a polo shirt, they may look “classier”, but I don’t go to Wal-Mart to check out the employees and grade how classy they are. I go there as a consumer for the cheap products they have, and I am sure this is the same for a lot of consumers who repeatedly go to Wal-mart. As long as the price stays cheap, I am a happy shopper. Also, I am sure the “higher class” consumers go to Wal-mart regardless of what the workers are wearing. Plus it will be no fun for the employers to buy their own khaki pants, and I sure do hope the Wal-mart company itself doesn’t have to buy it for them… Because it might effect the price of retails at Wal-mart! Wal-mart should stay the way it is, I have no problem with the way the employers are dressed, and I actually think their little message on the back is nice and friendly!

Kati Roberson said...

I think that the upscale change of Wal-Mart will hurt the company. Most of the people who shop there are expect the lower prices because of how Wal-Mart advertises itself. If they start to try and change their image and begin to sell more expensive items, I think they will lose business because people can find those things at other stores. Wal-Mart isn't known as a "classy" place to shop.

Mica Seman said...

I don't think these changes are in the best interest of Walmart. I agree with Ashley when she states that she looks to Walmart to be the cheaper 'everything' store, compared to other stores such as Target. I enjoy going to Target, but Walmart's "Rolling Prices" seem much more appealing to the lower and middle classes. I think that changing their look and upgrading their products will only hurt their profits.

brandi mitchell said...

Being that I'm a sophomore now, I spent much of my freshman year in Wal-Mart, spending my money. I went to Wal-Mart because it was fast and CHEAP! I could always find a great deal. Many people go to Wal-Mart because of their cheap prices and if they were to raise them, I figure many people would return to their homewtown stores in which they know they can buy things cheaper.

Personally, by giving the workers a new uniform I think would take away from their personality. Yes, they all wear the blue vest, but they also get to wear whatever they want underneath. Everytime I have had a job I had to wear a uniform- BORING! I dreaded putting on the same thing, day after day. And if you really look at the people working at Wal-Mart, you tend to see either elderly people or people on the "poorer" side of the spectrum. I don't blame them for not wanting to buy knakis they would only wear to work. I say no to the uniforms and definitely no to the price raising!!