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Creativity And Innovation At Walmart Case Solution
Walmart is the largest retailer in the world established in 1962. In 2009, with sales amounting to 469 billion dollars and 17 billion dollars in profits, Walmart is the biggest private employer in the world with 2.1 million employees working in more than 6,100 supermarkets and hypermarkets (Walmart, 2015). In recent years Walmart has exhibited its commitment to sustainability which continues to be the driving force of progress at Walmart. The company is committed to creativity and innovation in its management (Walmart, 2015). To meet this objective Walmart works with its suppliers to improve the quality of products it sells and to make them more affordable for all. The case is based on the model ‘crossing the chasm’ proposed by G. A. Moore and evaluates the application of the model by Walmart in terms of bringing about creativity and innovation at Walmart.
Following questions are answered in this case study solution
Experience of ‘Crossing the Chasm’
Applicability of the Innovation Model
Key Challenge in ‘Crossing the Chasm’
Key Techniques adopted by Walmart’s Management
Case Analysis for Creativity And Innovation At Walmart
2. Experience of ‘Crossing the Chasm’
A major innovation at Walmart which fulfills the conditions of Moor’s model of ‘crossing the chasm’ is the launch of e-commerce at Walmart. One of the first projects originating from this initiative was Shopycat, a gift-recommendation app that Walmart.com launched on Facebook before the 2011 holidays. Shopycat scans the friends’ profiles to identify interesting gift ideas from their stream of likes, comments, and status updates (Pope & Pope, 2015). Shopycat then seeks out an appropriate gift from Wal-Mart’s product database. For the 2012 holidays, the team built Shopycat into a section of Walmart.com called Walmart Gifts; customers will log in with their Facebook or Twitter account to get personalized recommendations (Mark, 2014).
Another of their more interesting ideas is ‘Get On-The-Shelf’. Walmart held a competition and invited all comers to post their product ideas for consideration. The winners get the privilege of having Walmart shelf space dedicated to their products. They have always been an excellent company at collaborating with their suppliers. This idea just expands that collaboration a bit. This strategy is a clear signal of Walmart’s serious intent to compete in digital e-commerce and blunt the looming threat of Amazon. Having marginalized Barnes & Noble and Best Buy, Jeff Bezos has his eyes on a bigger target (Pope & Pope, 2015). Amazon has been moving aggressively to sell Walmart staples such as diapers, soap, pet food, and cereal, even letting customers subscribe for items they want to receive regularly. Such knowledge is difficult to transfer or embody in a new product, process or service. However, it is not only essential but often comprises the most valuable component in the innovation.
There are two steps to finding the perfect gift. The first step is to know the tastes and interests of the recipient. Shopycat infers the interests of each of your friends by analyzing their Facebook activity through likes, shares and posts using the Social Genome technology. For example, Shopycat notices that a friend Joe keeps posting about the Red Sox, and infers that he is a Red Sox and therefore, a baseball fan. Shopycat analyzes likes and shares to infer tastes as varied as Harry Potter, running, Angry Birds, sushi, yoga, and parenting to recommend gifts.
The second step is to search across a large universe of products to find the one “wow” gift that doesn’t break the bank. Shopycat matches users’ interests to a giant catalog that includes products from Walmart.com, Walmart and sites including Barnes and Noble, RedEnvelope, ThinkGeek, and Hot Topic. For users who are not very active on Facebook, Shopycat will recommend appropriate gift cards from Walmart, iTunes, Starbucks, and Zynga. And for last minute shoppers, the app also shows the location of the nearest Walmart store to pick up the gifts.
Human beings are inherently social and gift giving is one of the most social activities they engage in. The “perfect gift” is a complex and subjective notion and depends as much on the giver as it does on the recipient. Shopycat shows a diverse array of gift recommendations for each friend; not all of these will be the perfect gift, but the hope is that for each friend, there is one recommendation that makes the user go “wow.”
The application figures out friends’ tastes by mining and analyzing “likes,” status updates and declared interests, then matches that data against the Wal-Mart product catalog, and the catalogs of partner merchants such as Barnes & Noble, NBC Universal and RedEnvelope, to offer up a selection of suitable ideas. For example, if a friend has repeatedly expressed his adoration of the Chicago Bears or has been known to quote from the beloved syndicated sitcom Seinfeld, Shopycat will come up with gift ideas best-suited for your passionate pal. If one wants to question Shopycat’s judgment, you can click on a gift idea for a detailed explanation of why it was suggested. One can even spy on and tweak the gifts that Shopycat is recommending that the friends buy.
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