Unit 2 Assignment 1 Introduction Wal-Mart uses a tremendous amount of information resources to build their marketing decision support systems and customer relationship management environment. Wal-Mar’s main objective is to provide their customers with the best value they can find anywhere while providing friendly and efficient customer service. Its strategies are based on reducing costs to quality products so they are able to achieve “everyday low prices” (Walmart. om, 2013). Wal-Mart has to be able to monitor and analyze all the processes and information possible in order for them to attain a competitive price advantage, lure in new customers, and retain faithful and loyal current customers. Information technology is essential today in helping companies to achieve these goals and Wal-Mart utilizes a great deal of the available information through systems and operations that the retail business encompasses (Walmart. om, 2013). Listed in this paper are the many ways Wal-Mart enlists its information from customers and how it is used by marketing managers to help make marketing decisions and enrich its customer relationship management environment. Information Collected Collected By Wal-Mart Wal-Mart collects information from its customers in a number of ways through the customer’s interaction, whether by in-store activity or website activity.
Wal-Mart discloses that it gathers information on customers whenever they create an account on one of their websites, make an online or in-store purchase, use a gift registry, create a mobile shopping list, or submit personal information to Wal-Mart along with any related content of the communication. In addition, they also collect information whenever the customer conducts a transaction where Wal-Mart collects information as required by law.
This could include hunting and fishing licenses, request customer service, contact Wal-Mart, submit a Wal-Mart related testimonial, review, story, rating, or any other user-generated content that may be generated on the website, or participate in a contest, sweepstake, promotion, or survey (Wal-Mart. com, 2013). Collected By Other Sources Wal-Mart may receive personal information from other entities that can help the correct or supplement their records, improve the quality or personalization of their services, and help prevent or defer fraud.
They may also collect information from consumer reporting agencies or other service providers if you attain certain other financial products (Wal-Mart. com, 2013). Automated Information Collection Wal-Mart also gathers technical information such as the customer’s internet protocol address, device operating system and browser type, the address of a referring website, and the path the customer takes through the Wal-Mart website.
Wal-Mart uses “cookies” to recognize you as you use or return to their website. Wal-Mart also uses web beacons that allows them to know if a certain page was visited, an email was opened, or if ad banners on their website and other websites were effective (Wal-Mart. com, 2013). Marketing Information Used Wal-Mart uses information for different purposes but for this paper we will discuss how they use information for marketing purposes. Fill requests for products and services and communicate with the customer about those requests * Administer surveys, sweepstakes, contests, and promotions * Provide customer service * Help improve and customize their service offerings, websites, and advertising * Send information about products, services, and promotions Information Systems Point of Service/Sale System Wal-Mart uses SUSE @ Linux Enterprise Point of Service/Sale system that is supplied by the Novell group vendor (Information, 2007).
This system is made up of three primary components: Administration Server, Branch Server, and Point of Service Client Images. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service Administration runs Wal-Mart’s main office in Bentonville, Arkansas. It records sales from all the stores but also contains a database of goods sold through other sales outlets such as Wal-Mart online shopping. This data also comprises of information like the number of items bought by a user and similar products purchased along with other online statistics.
The Branch Server boots the Point of Service clients from the local network, registers new client devices at the website, distributes operating system updates to the client devices, and also stores the sales information as a backup in real time simultaneously as the Administration Server. The Point of Service Client is the indirect interaction between customers when they make any purchases at Wal-Mart. These devices process and record purchases and allows real time coverage of sales and inventory information for all sales.
Having this type of information gives marketing managers the tools necessary to make informed decisions about what promotions to run and on what products in real time. Retail Link Retail Link was developed in 1992 by Wal-Mart’s very own Information Technology Department (Hays, 2004). Using this software Wal-Mart can look at the take up rate for sale items, changes in the number of customer purchases, and the amount the average customer spends during a promotion. Marketing managers will know what products were being bought and what items that the customer may have added on during that purchase.
Having that information may give the marketing department the idea to do a promotion with those two items paired up together. Retail Link software can also display to vendors various key information such as the repurchase cycle time of the product, purchase quantity per basket, and provide information such as sales history and sales performance. This allows vendors and Wal-Mart’s marketing managers the ability to simulate what-if situations that can help them make more informed marketing decisions (Hays, 2004).
The information gathered in these systems give marketing managers the intelligence needed to figure out which marketing initiatives have worked in the past, are currently working, or may work in the future in order to prevent wastage of money from ineffective promotions. Wal-Mart uses these systems in order to provide customer satisfaction, everyday low pricing, and to enhance the shopper’s experience (Walmart. com, 2013). Conclusion Wal-Mart collects information on its customers numerous ways. Some sources are transactions, customer service operations, surveys, and website registrations just to name a few.
They could, however, come from other sources such as outside companies that help Wal-Mart update its records. Wal-Mart wants to communicate to its customers for feedback through email newsletters, special offers, and new product announcements. Wal-Mart also participates in interest-based advertising, which means the customer may see advertising on its website tailored to how the customer browses or shops. This type of information is essential today in accomplishing the goals Wal-Mart has of everyday low pricing and its customer first approach. References Hays, C. L. (2004, November 14). What Wal-Mart Knows About Customers’ Habits.