Walmart Adds Name to Marketside Concept

Discussion
Jun 11, 2009
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Wal-Mart Stores’ answer
to Fresh & Easy is undergoing a change. The first few concept stores
in Arizona went under the Marketside name. The
newest location, however, carries the Marketside by Walmart banner.

With the first few stores,
it appeared as though the company thought it would better attract affluent
shoppers by playing down any association with the behemoth from Bentonville.
Now it seems the company has had a change of thinking.

David
Livingston, principal with DJL Research and a member of the RetailWire BrainTrust,
told the East Valley Tribune, "Obviously, they’re just making
a business decision. If you’ve got a name like Wal-Mart, which is a household
name, why not use it to its full extent?"

Tom
Rex, an economist with Arizona State University’s WP Carey School of Business,
agreed.

"There’s
quite a market already for Wal-Mart,"
he told the Tribune. "So yeah, it would make sense to me that
they’d keep pushing their name."

Discussion Questions:
What do you think of the renaming of Marketside by Walmart? Is the concept succeeding?

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20 Comments on "Walmart Adds Name to Marketside Concept"


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Anne Howe
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

Walmart is activating on a no-brainer to add their corporate banner to the Marketside concept. Recognition and trust in the brand’s value proposition are at a high point right now, and driving footsteps to the new store concept is the name of the game in launch mode. The more shoppers they get at Marketside, the more they can learn. More learning typically leads to more adjusting to get it right for the shoppers, which Walmart has proven they can and will do. It’s a smart and timely move.

Kevin Graff
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

No-brainer. Marketside? What’s that? Walmart…not only is known by everyone, they know what the brand stands for. The only question is why they didn’t use the name originally (and whether or not the person who made the decision not to still works there!).

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 11 months ago

The current Gospel according to Bentonville: Take not the Wal-Mart name vain; rather select a time and place when it will have greater effect as in the Arizona Marketside.

Dick Seesel
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

I can’t comment on whether Marketside is succeeding or not…but the name change suggests that the formula needed some tweaking. I commented several months ago that it would be a challenge for Walmart to communicate value in this new format without trading on its own brand equity. So this move makes sense, and now it’s time to see how quickly Walmart accelerates the concept development into a national footprint.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

The Marketside brand had no recognition in the marketplace. Adding Wal-Mart to it the stores gain instant credibility. The store also gains a price point position in the consumers mind. In today’s economy that not a bad thing. The Walmart name might not have meant much to a food buyer years ago, but it certainly does now.

W. Frank Dell II
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

With the aging of America, a smaller format is the future for retailers. Wal-Mart has created a great consumer image from years and millions spent on advertising. It does not always work to link a company name with another format. Sam’s Warehouse has not really benefited. Home Depot’s test formats have failed. For Wal-Mart the linking with Marketside is right on track. Supercenters and Marketside are stocking the same items, thus supporting the image. They should have done this in the beginning.

David Biernbaum
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

Marketside by Walmart is a much better name for the company’s own version of “fresh and easy.” The name, “Marketside by Walmart” accurately conveys exactly what expectations should be. Very well done.

Phillip T. Straniero
Guest
Phillip T. Straniero
11 years 11 months ago

I agree 100% with the other comments posted on this topic. When you are Walmart and you are on a roll given the current economic conditions, adding the “Walmart” name to the Marketside banner is the right thing to do.

It may also give Walmart a built-in advantage over TESCO in terms of brand trust and brand loyalty.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

The Walmart brand has come a long way over the last decade. Rightly or wrongly it was once vilified for labor practices and vendor relationships. That has gone away and Walmart has positively raised its image. The Walmart demographic is broadening as their fastest growing segment is those whose income is over $100,000.

I can only agree with my colleagues. Add the Walmart banner. That alone will attract new customers who might have not been compelled to stop by the Marketside.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

I don’t think the name matters much.

Walmart is good at big-box retailing. I have never understood how a company that perfected operational excellence in a tonnage business thought it would either a) interest customers or b) make money at the exact opposite retail type.

In fact, even though I thought Tesco would do well with Fresh & Easy, the fact that it didn’t just validates my own point…no company can be all things to all people. Just doesn’t work.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
11 years 11 months ago

Shoppers need a reason to consider a new location. The retail landscape is crowded with many choices where to shop. People are more comfortable with trying something they know–exploring an unknown store in terms of quality or unfamiliar brands needed a stronger driver to bring people in. The association of Marketside with Walmart will provide it.

Steven Johnson
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

This places PRICE in play over product! Raises the level of competition! If competitors are thinking about just adding new food products, they have been put on notice. Why just food? Success leaves clues; placing restrictions on your brand’s growth limits the bounds of consumer demand, limits brands’ strength index and stifles the critical thinking of your own staff within your four walls and beyond.

This is the Grocerant niche! It is developing and growing all kinds of other related items that belong in those stores! Watch this sector boom! Grocerants’ food focus and demand lead by the customer.

Selling is merchandising.

Bill Hruby
Guest
Bill Hruby
11 years 11 months ago

Walmart has a tremendous brand equity and obviously missed any halo effect by initially branding the concept Marketside without any reference to WM. However, the equity in the Walmart brand is powerfully associated with value but with a “discount store” connotation. The Marketside concept, with fresh meat, produce, bakery and ready-to-go meal options presents itself as a more upscale retail offer than the neighborhood Walmart store.

The two concepts are at different points on the retail continuum. Walmart should either re-position MS as a neighborhood mini-Walmart or push the concept further upscale in terms of “fresh market” image with no reference to the WM brand. Branding the concept “Marketside by Walmart” seems to say “upscale-value” which are hard to fit in the same space.

Edward Herrera
Guest
Edward Herrera
11 years 11 months ago

I think other retailers have tried this approach? Mervyns by Field’s? Wal-Mart stands for value and price, no matter what it is tied in with it. Good or bad, the Wal-Mart name has the greatest recognition in global history and continues to grow. Wal-Mart will be viewed as a convenience store with some fresh items. I think that may be the secret plan.

Jeff Hall
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

Relating Marketside closer to the Walmart brand makes good sense these days, especially given Walmart’s success in attracting higher-income consumers during this recession.

James Tenser
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

Launching Marketside without an explicit reference to Walmart allowed for a clearer early read on the public response to the format without the confound of pre-conceptions about the parent brand.

It’s also worth noting that the conversion from Wal-Mart to Walmart was taking place more or less simultaneously. This involved a slight repositioning of the parent brand. Maybe it was a good moment to leave Walmart out of the brand equation for the new banner, until the dust settled.

Invoking “by Walmart” now may be a signal that the parent company is satisfied that its national brand is advancing along the desired arc in the mind of American shoppers. It may permit a unified program for store brands that minimizes confusion. It may also mean that Bentonville has big rollout plans for the Marketside banner, and this change is an element of readiness.

Warren Thayer
Guest
11 years 11 months ago

No brainer. No idea why they waited, although Jamie may have had it right with the delay perhaps being caused by confusion over Wal-Mart vs. Walmart. That name change, I still can’t figure out.

Brent Streit Streit
Guest
Brent Streit Streit
11 years 11 months ago

The Wal-Mart name was left out for good reason. It has no association with upscale. The third quarter will speak volumes as to whether many retail concepts will survive 2009. In other words, who has the money to spend on all of these retail concepts that are unnecessary?

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
11 years 10 months ago

This “tweak” just proves once again that the world can sometimes change dramatically in the time between a store’s concept phase, planning stage, and the build-out–and that savvy retailers must notice and react. Walmart developed Marketside in a booming economy and opened the first ones in a rapidly declining economy and into a devastated Arizonan real estate market. I don’t think Walmart’s target customer for Marketside has changed all that much, but the view of Walmart BY that target audience has morphed positively and dramatically during that time. Walmart is wise to take advantage of it!

Mike Daher
Guest
Mike Daher
11 years 10 months ago

I noticed that on the new Neighborhood Market being built in Pinnacle, the store signage reads: “Neighborhood Market” with “by Walmart” in blue below.

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