One day, a man decides to write history with the motivation of serving mankind by giving them goods at a low price. He initiates a store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Due to his honorable cause, god gives him so much respect and success that today not just 10,500 marts and clubs are working under him but he is serving in 24 different countries around the globe like Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Britain, Argentina, and South Korea with 2.2 million employees.
The revenue of his business is 559.2 billion US dollars. This man was none other than Sam Walton, founder of Walmart which can also be written as Wal-Mart. According to The NPD Group, 95% of Americans shopped at Walmart in 2016.
Yes, Walmart is working in Japan but not just by its original name but under the name of a local retailer company, Seiyu. It entered Japan in 2002 by its name though.
Even though Walmart as a multinational retailer is of gigantic success. Still, there are some countries like Japan, India, Russia, South Korea, and Germany in which it failed. As Stephen Hawking once said, “one of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”
Reasons which caused Walmart failure in Japan
Failure in the adaptation of culture
As we all know, the Japanese are so rigid in following their norms and values that’s why whoever tries to go against their customs by introducing something new, simply rejects it by giving more importance to the least of the locals than the top of the world. This is exactly what happened in Walmart’s case too. Following are the differences between shopping or customer service in Japan and some other corners of the world.
Huge marts instead of small stalls
The local acceptable style of marts is small unlike other marts in the world.
Stored food instead of fresh food
Buying eatables in bulk is so much convenient for people that they even overlook the fact that the food which they are buying is not going to be fresh when they will use it but then again Japanese tend to consume food in its most fresh form by buying it day-to-day.
Difference in shopkeeper and customer relation
The difference between general shopkeepers and customer is massive as compared to the relationship between Japanese shopkeepers and customer relations. Some aspects are written below:
In Japan, the staff is bound to keep the customers ahead of themselves. They are not allowed to say or do anything which could hurt them no matter what.
In other countries, customers are bound to wait for the shopkeeper to arrive and serve them.
Talking during customer
In Japan, it is strictly prohibited to talk during their job so that they could fully focus on serving the customers.
While in other countries, it is normal, not an issue at all. Besides, the most important things occur just when a customer arrives.
Eating during customer service
In Japan, staff members are not allowed to eat under the nose of customers especially when you are working in a restraint.
In other countries, staff attends to customers while eating or taking tea and makes customers wait until they get free.
In Japan, packing is a must thing, they even use waterproof wrapping in a rainy situation or double packing the shopped item so that it could remain safe from rain.
In other countries, if the customer is forced to wrap a gift, the shopkeeper takes offense and gives wrapping paper and tape to the customer to do it by himself.
Treasure hunt of Price
Japanese are very conscious about prices. They have a very skeptical approach about the thing “on discounts” or are called “cheap”. Whereas, the basic motive of Walmart was selling goods at low rates. Thus, Walmart failed to win the hearts of the Japanese.
Eccentric mode of doing groceries
People around the world prefer to shop in a bulk at the start of every month for the whole of the month at once whereas people of Japan choose to buy fresh fruits and vegetables on daily basis.
Lack of experimentation
When you enter in world’s 2nd largest economy with a vision to expand, you better try to mold your strategy with the cultural norms of that country at least if you want to survive for a large period but Walmart didn’t bother to cater.
Importing goods from China
Walmart faces skepticism from Japan by buying supplies from China at a low cost instead of purchasing them from Japan and then selling them to Japan as if they can’t afford the real cost.
Vanishing of popular items
When Walmart handed over its shares to Seiyu, people found many popular items missing from the new chain of supplies, which also proved itself one of the causes of downfall.
One thing is on which everyone agrees that the Japanese are full of racism. Although they are trying to get over it it will take a long period. Their level of racism can be understood by this that 99.10% of the total population is Japanese speaking.
Walmart’s strategy is to choose a country where Wal-Mart wants to open its stores then look for one of its local retailers and enter to attain its minority stake with the same rules and regulations like a stubborn child who takes his bat and ball and goes straight to the neighbor’s home to play cricket bounding others to play with the same rules and regulation that he always plays with. Walmart initiated business in Japan, 2002 by purchasing a minority stake of Seiyu. Till 2008, Walmart invested 1 billion dollars but afterward, it declared Seiyu as a fully owned subsidiary.
People who are in favor of Walmart should not lose hope as Walmart is trying its level best for a comeback in Japan by taking help from a well-known online retailer brand from Japan named Rakuten. The only way to be able to work again in Japan is that Walmart put some flexibility in its way of working by taking a little of its own company’s norms and taking more of the country’s norm with which they want to work with.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the slogan for Walmart?
The Walmart slogan is “Save Money. Live Better.”
- Is Rakuten Walmart?
No, Rakuten is an online retailer with which Walmart made a collaboration in 2018 with a motive to make its way back to Japan.
- Where the headquarters of Walmart is situated?
The headquarters of Walmart is situated in Bentonville, Arkansas, United States.
- What are the divisions of Walmart?
Walmart has divided itself into two divisions, Walmart U.S. and Walmart International.