Walmart’s $1.85 billon dollar mistake

Good companies listen to their customers – better customers figure out the appropriate questions to ask BEFORE they ask for feedback from their users! There may be other  factors (economic factors, for example) that may be involved, but this case study shows the dangers of poorly designed user research and the inherent dangers of (just) listening to your users and customers!

Here’s the beginning of the Daily Artifacts article:

 $1.85 billon dollar customer experience mistake made by Walmart (a conservative estimate of lost revenue that does not include the hundreds of millions spent on remodeling stores)
– What happened? Walmart rolled out “Project Impact” – a major change in strategy and store customer experience – starting in 2008 
– Why? Customers answered a Walmart survey and told Walmart that they would prefer less clutter in the stores
– Walmart revised their decades-old strategy of low price and wide selection
– 15% of the inventory removed from the stores 
– 30% – some suppliers reported losing 30% of their stock in Walmart stores due to the revamp
– Removed pallets of items like juice boxes or sweatshirts stacked in the centers of aisles. 
– Slimmed down merchandise on “end caps,” displays at the ends of aisles
– Shortened shelves
– Revamp not only removed items but cost “millions of dollars” per store in refurbishment costs
– Saw an immediate loss in sales and decline in same-store sales data

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