Monday, August 18, 2008

[Feature] Wal-Mart TV

I love grocery stores and large-scale chain stores. There's really no explanation for it, but something about the bright lights and shiny packaged products is so appealing to me, as well as the fact that I never leave one without buying something. My favorite store ever is Target, where I go maybe once every 2 weeks and end up spending an average of $40 on things I need and don't need. Target may be my favorite store, but I am utterly fascinated by the gigantor conglomerate Wal-Mart, the biggest retail chain in the history of retail chains. Ok, I don't know if that's an actual fact, but the company is the world's largest public corporation. I would say Wal-Mart makes enough, employs enough, and does enough (good and bad) to be a country of its own.

Wal-Mart was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, a businessman and entrepreneur, who also founded Sam's Club. Within 5 years of its open, Wal-Mart was bringing in a profit of $12.6 million in sales. Um, that's a lot of money now, imagine the value of it in 1968. Now with stores across the country and the world, Wal-Mart brings in over $300 billion in sales annually. In the US alone, their customer base is 100 million weekly, which is like a third of the US's population. See what I mean by Wal-Mart being a country of its own?

Something I read about recently is also another reason why Wal-Mart fascinates me. Have you ever been to a supermarket or a Borders or something and seen TV screens airing in-store advertising, entertainment clips, things to buy, etc? I never really pay attention to those things, but in-store tv networks are interesting waves of the future, in regards to how things are marketed and advertised to consumers.

So it's not surprising that the Wal-Mart in-store TV network is the country's biggest and most sophisticated. About 3,100 out of 4,022 Wal-Mart stores carry Wal-Mart TV, which means that it has about 130 million viewers every 4 weeks. That number makes it the 5th largest television network in the US after NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX. Isn't that crazy??? And in addition to the money Wal-Mart makes selling stuff annually, you can add another $100 million to that, in the ad revenue they generate from selling spots on Wal-Mart TV to advertisers.

What does that matter to you? Well, later this year, Wal-Mart is rolling out their second generation network, which means they're really going to try hard to get your attention, and influence what you buy. They plan on building TVs closer to eye level as well as installing them at the ends of aisles, at checkouts, and even among shelves. So if you've never really paid attention to those in-store TVs before, you will now.

They'll also create special packages for advertisers. Say you're Dole and you want to sell bananas. Why, the TV in the produce section will pretty much point consumers to where they are, and that they should be buying the Dole brand. In the CD section? You might catch an ad for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, complete with a display right next to the TV with CDs/DVDs/products from the nominees. Genius or annoying? How about both? We live in an age where consumers are getting smarter and more perceptive. Advertisers have to keep developing new ways to get our attention and keep it, without getting us annoyed. That's probably the hardest thing to do, but its interesting to see what advertisers come up with to try to reach that goal.

So the next time you're at a Wal-Mart, pay attention to what's going on around you. And if you walk out with items you didn't intend to buy before you entered the store, well, you've just made the-powers-to-be very happy.


j9 said...

walmart is evil!

sang said...

I don't shop at walmart. target for the win.