Is Walmart’s Core Customer Persona Shiftable?
Large companies and startups alike share a common problem: customer acquisition. With time companies develop personalities and reputations, informed and reinforced by their actual customers. This is perfectly reasonable while the supply remains intact, but when a segment becomes saturated or a new one emerges, gaining escape velocity can be extremely difficult.
Walmart has leveraged a hub and spoke model, where their core persona remains intact and new spokes allow them to expand their customer base through a series of acquisitions. Each acquisition, like Bonobos and Modcloth, give them access to new customers and buyers.
Walmart is rumored to continue to expand on its strategy, this time eyeing Birchbox.
“Walmart could rely on Birchbox to expand its audience beyond its base, which is considered to be middle-aged, midwestern females with a household income of around $55,000 a year. Subscription services, on the other hand, over-index for younger, coastal women with household incomes exceeding $100,000 a year, according to the Hitwise study.”
Source: “What the Walmart acquisition of Birchbox could mean”, Glossy.co
Every company that wants to innovate its way to the future must find ways to expand their understanding of their customer personas. Customer perceptions and expectations are evolving at record pace forcing every brand to take stock and act faster than comfortable. While it’s a smart strategy, if it is not driven from the top, customers will never get over the perception hump, leaving you stranded.
Walmart has a well-worn brand persona. The brand is perceived in almost binary terms. As Doug Stephens notes:medium.com
Where does transformation originate from? Is it top-down, bottoms-up, or customer-driven? Done right, change is both…medium.com
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Gregarious Narain is a serial entrepreneur and product strategist. A reformed designer and developer, he writes on his experiences as a founder, strategist, and father on the regular. Work with him at Before Alpha, connect on LinkedIn, follow on Facebook, or say hi on Twitter.