Walmart’s customers love its low prices but still have gripes
Walmart seems to have improved its public image a lot over the past few years, but a new study indicates that consumers are still not huge fans of shopping in the retail giant’s stores.
In the 2021 American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) study, Walmart finished last in retail, drugstores, supermarkets and online retailers, according to TheStreet. It had the lowest score of any retailer in the supermarkets category and finished well below average in every category. It also dropped year-over-year in all categories besides retail, where it remained the same. The retailer’s score in each category was on par with the scores of unpopular cable and internet providers elsewhere in the survey. Walmart was significantly outperformed by both Costco and Target.
Walmart over the decades developed a reputation in some quarters as a suburban big box retailer that displaced mom-and-pop grocers and offered an impersonal, dingy, low-quality store experience along with its big draw – everyday low prices.
The chain has been actively working to escape its negative customer perception and improve its store and online experiences.
In 2017, after a spate of acquisitions of independent and direct-to-consumer brands like Modcloth and Bonobos, Walmart launched its Store No. 8 tech incubator, meant to develop higher-end, high-tech offerings not typically associated with shopping Walmart.
More recently, in 2020 Walmart launched its Walmart+ subscription service to try to boost customer experience and loyalty. Walmart+ is a membership perks program analogous to Amazon Prime. The retailer this week announced a major expansion of gas discounts for Walmart+ members.
The chain is currently engaged in remodeling stores to make the shopping experience more enjoyable even as it continues to focus on helping Americans stretch their dollars further in inflationary times.
With environmental sustainability emerging as a big concern for some shoppers, the chain launched a “Built For Better” product label last year to let customers identify products on the shelf that Walmart defines as more sustainable.
And with labor activism in the U.S. catching on at a rate not seen in decades, Walmart announced last year that it would raise wages for 425,000 employees.
- Costco and Target Have a Huge Edge Over Walmart (It’s Not Price) – TheStreet
- Will a bigger gas discount drive Walmart+’s subscriber numbers higher? – RetailWire
- Is Walmart’s Store No. 8 breaking boundaries or bonds with its core customers? – RetailWire
- Walmart gives workers a raise and weighs in on the minimum wage debate – RetailWire
- Will Built for Better put Walmart in a better light? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think customers that love Walmart’s low prices remain dissatisfied with the shopping experience? What do you see as being the most significant steps Walmart is taking or can take to improve its customer satisfaction score?