Evaluating the Need for Advertising in the UK Retail Industry: Case Study of Walmart

 Abstract:

The purpose of this study is to analyse the necessity of advertising in UK retail industry. Walmart has been chosen as an example of the present study. Advertising is the major area of attracting and retaining a god consumer base. Advertisement is done by employing various media such as television, radio, internet etc. The major objective of this study is to establish the justification on the necessity of advertising in different organisations. The study includes prior jobs that have been done on the selected topic.

Chapter 1 describes aim, objectives, research rationale and the purpose of the research. The background of the study and the reason of selecting this research study by the author have also been explained. In Chapter 2, concepts of advertising and the factors affecting the advertising campaign has also been described followed by the essential elements of advertising. However, the principles of advertising and the impact of advertising have been described followed by significance of advertising in retail business and the recent trends in advertising in Chapter 2.

The current advertising strategy followed by Walmart has also been described in the same chapter. Research methodology has been described in Chapter 3 which describes the research philosophy and research approach followed by research design and data collection process by indicating the sampling process and the size of the sample. In Chapter 4, quantitative and qualitative analysis is done by implementing survey questionnaire method and taking face-to-face interview. Chapter 5 describes the justification of research objectives related to the present study followed by the conclusion, recommendations and the future scope of the project at Walmart UK, targeting to improve the buying behaviour of consumers in UK retail industry.

 

Acknowledgement:

The current research has helped me in enhancing and nurturing the knowledge regarding the need of advertising in organisations. The study was specially focused on Walmart, UK and the research has created my knowledge about the effectiveness and the need of the same for building increased growth and revenue. However, I would like to thank my superior for helping me a lot in completing the research. My academic guide has also shared valuable knowledge and time to complete the study. I would like to thank the existing customers of Walmart who agreed to become a part of the research and given the valuable response on the subject. Furthermore, I would like to thank the managers of Walmart for giving the valuable opinions. Finally, I would like to offer my gratitude to my friends for giving me support at the time of collecting data from the sources. After getting all these support from all people, I could successfully complete the project.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.0 Introduction:

In present scenario, advertising has become an important factor in creating and maintaining a brand image of the organization. Advertisement helps to bring new customers by drawing the attention about the product or service and these are performed through a number of mediums. Considering the impact of advertising, the researcher has been focused to the present study for identifying the need of advertising in UK retail industry based on the case study of Walmart. Background of the study, research aim and objectives are being followed in this chapter followed by the questions and purpose of the research ending with the rationale and the structure of the research. The researcher has framed the whole study in reference to Walmart which has over 11000 stores across 27 countries under 55 different names having total employee strength of 2.2 million.

1.1 Background of the study:

The UK retail industry has undergone numerous changes in past few years with an increased level of competition among the competitors. Many of the retail business unit in UK are forced to change the business models for bringing modernisation and customer satisfaction within a stiff competitive environment. Presently in UK the retail industry is subject to a number of pressures which includes the changes in shopping habits of the consumer and the economic downturn resulting in lesser consumer spending. Advertising could help the UK retail business unit by developing a target mass and delivering the product or services to the mass.

Previously, various research studies have been conducted for measuring the review of advertising and its impact on increasing sales volume. As opined by Heath and Hyder (2005) advertisement informs about the feature of the product or service and the qualities and the price of goods associated with it to the consumers. Similar studies were carried out to analyse the impact of advertisement as an effective tool to sell the product of a company to the potential consumers. In the contrary, Escalas (2004) opined that advertising could create a new potential market attitude which would not be desired otherwise. However, advertisement is used as a pitch to convince the deal with consumers which takes the advantage of the service and creates a long term relation by building a royal brand identity (Morris et al. 2005).

Mooridan (2008) opined that, a bad advertisement can destroy the whole company whereas a good advertisement can make a product famous within each family of a country by generating awareness about services offered by the company to the consumers. Furthermore, advertising stimulates the desire of public and increases the cost of living by informing about new inventions, new style and improved accommodation Zaltman (2007).

However, it is necessary to consider upon the cost factor associated with the techniques adopted in advertising (Darren et al. 2005). In this context Timothy (2006) argued that different models need to be used as advertisement technique to penetrate the market. Similar fact could be observed Walmart which spends 60% more on radio advertising in the first quarter of the year and spends 40% more in the second quarter. Apart from this Walmart is investing more in digital and social media including the pages of facebook for individual stores.

According to past study, advertising helps to build the brand identity by creating the awareness of the competitive feature of a product or service. Consistent advertising could develop a certain type of trust to the offering of the product of organisation (Whitelock and Chung, 2009). Created trust makes a better organisational image that results in higher sales volume. Similar fact has been stated by Moon and Chan (2005) that proper advertising helps the organisation to introduce new brands and services to the consumer in the market place.

However, Mueller (2002) stated that proper advertisement could create a wide reach within a very short span by penetrating a large audience pool. Considering the case of Walmart it advertises its products through radio or television which reaches a wide range of people since it is the most common medium of entertainment.

Apart from this, some advertisements have been generated in public interest to increase the awareness about the facts and the situations running worldwide (Mueller, 2007). Considering the case of Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer closed down its retail shop in Germany. The failure was due to lagging in cultural habits, economic hubris and other factors. In this scenario a proper advertising could give a positive impact on the business strategy of organisations. Proper advertising and promotional activity makes the organisation understand about the future prospect in international business environment by providing the predictions associated with it (Moon and Franke, 2007). The crucial scenario of Walmart has motivated the author to do further research on the topic aiming on the positive impact of advertising that could further improve the business scenario of Walmart in international business environment.

1.2 Research aim:

The main aim of the research is to analyse the need and positive impact of for advertising in the existing framework in UK Retail industry considering the case of study of Walmart, UK.

1.3 Research Objectives:

The main research objectives under the study are mentioned below:

  • To evaluate the significance of advertising in retail industry.
  • To investigate the current advertising and promotional policies of Walmart.
  • To recommend suitable advertising strategy to gain wider customer base.

1.4 Research Questions:

  • What is the significance of advertising in UK retail industry?
  • How the Walmart is conducting its current advertising and promotional policies?
  • How could advertise strategy help to get a suitable consumer base?
  • What could be the suitable advertising strategy to gain a wide range of customer base?

1.5 Purpose of the research:

The main purpose of the study is to represent the need and impact of advertising in UK retail industry. The study has been undertaken to justify the importance of advertisement to gain a wider customer base in real life scenario. Furthermore, this study also intends to highlight the change in consumer buying behaviour with varied advertising activities. Apart from this, present study is focused on identifying various advertising methods that are being used as advertising model. Finally, the study has been conducted by the researcher in order to develop the knowledge among the readers related to the increasing relevance and the basic need of advertising on the business growth of UK retail industry.

1.6 Research Rationale:

Advertising could be termed as a factor which turns wants into needs. Frequent advertising is required to create established brand awareness to beat the completion in the market place. Both proper and faulty advertisement affects the organisation in terms of brand value and reputation within the business market. Proper analysis of the need of advertising helps in overcoming that challenges by focusing on the operational area that needs to be penetrated. Furthermore, it helps an organisation to forecast the response of the customer in consuming the product or service offered by the organisation. However, justified advertising helps to address the impact of slow moving period and it establishes even sales throughout the whole year by promoting a differentiated brand value and image with respect to the competitors.

1.7 Dissertation Structure:

The researcher has compiled the following structure to complete the study:

 

Figure 1: Structure of the dissertation

(Source: Created by author)

Chapter 1: Introduction:

In introductory chapter, research aim and objectives are being described clearly. Research questions and the purpose of the study is described in this chapter followed by the research rationale and the structure of the dissertation.

Chapter 2: Literature Review:

The theories and models that were used in past research have been present in this chapter. The researches pertaining to the need and impact of advertising was also described in this study.

Chapter 3: Methodology:

Methodology chapter explains the methods and approaches adopted to carry out the total study. This chapter provides the information and representation of research issues by collecting valuable data from variety of resources.

Chapter 4: Findings and Analysis:

The outcomes and the analysis of the study have been presented in this chapter. The findings are depicted in the form of graphs and charts. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are taken to provide the accurate results.

Chapter 5: Conclusion:

In this chapter, an inference is drawn as per the whole study. According to the study, research objectives are linked with conclusion to reach the justification with research objectives. Some suggestions have been made on the functionality of advertising to impact positively on current trends of consumer buying behaviour and the attitude.

 

 

Chapter 2

Literature review

2.0 Introduction:

This chapter would discuss the existing literatures that are relevant to the present research work. Existing principles, theories, and practices would be evaluated in context of the objectives set for the present research work. This chapter would discuss the concept of advertising, impact of advertising on retail business, significance of advertising on retail business, factors affecting advertising campaign, recent trends in advertising, and current advertising strategies of wall-mart. This section would conduct a critical evaluation of the existing literature.

This chapter would enable the researcher in the identification of gaps between the existing theories and the issues identified through this research work. Identification of these gaps would further help the researcher to arrive at better outcomes from this research work. This would also help the researcher in developing more effective recommendations to address the identified problems.

One of the important aspects of literature review is that this chapter prevents duplication of research work. It highlights the areas on which research has already been conducted in the past. Thus, it saves unnecessary cost and time of the researcher.

This chapter provides a theoretical base to the researcher to conduct the research work. This would help the researcher to evaluate the extent to which the concerned company is applying the existing theories, models, and principles in its business operations.

2.1 Concept of advertising:

In the view of Rowley (2001), advertising refers to the set of activities undertaken by an organisation to communicate the features, benefits, and other relevant details of its products or services to the target consumers. It is important for a retail organisation to effectively communicate the benefits of its products or services to its customers. Generally, the major benefits, price, and discount offers, if any, are mentioned in the advertisement. In contrast, Chintagunta et al. (2007) opined that companies often concentrate more on advertising than on the actual products or services being offered to consumers.

As opined by Andreassen and Lindestad (2008), the principle objective of advertising is to attract consumers towards the products or services. Advertising has become almost inevitable for retail companies to compete with corporate rivals (www.mu.ac.in, 2014). Inspite of developing best products or services, an organisation engaged in retail business might find it hard to sell its products without effective advertising. However, Bogart (2006) argued that increasing the effectiveness of the brand is the principle objective of advertising.

Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, handbills are the most common mediums for advertising. Companies operating in retail industry spend huge money towards advertising campaigns. In fact, effective advertising can be considered as one of most vital factors behind the growth of retail industry in UK (www.ddegjust.ac.in, 2014).

2.2 Objectives of advertising:

In the view of Sheehan and Morrison (2009), trial, continuity, brand switch, and switching back are the most essential objectives of advertising that ensures growth, competitive advantage and sustainability to retail companies.

2.2.1 Trial:

This objective is generally pursued by companies during the introduction stage of a product. Here, the objective is to convince consumers to purchase the newly introduced product.

2.2.2 Continuity:

This objective is concerned with retaining the existing customers. Retailing companies keep on making modifications or adding new features to the existing product and advertisements so that consumers continue to buy existing products.

2.2.3 Brand switch:

Here, the objective of the company is to attract the consumers of competitors and induce such customers to buy its own products. The company makes efforts to convince customers that its products are better than the existing brands of competitors, used by consumers.

2.2.4 Switching back:

Here, the company aims at bringing back its previous consumers to buy its products. Various techniques and measures are used by companies to attract its past customers.

2.3 Factors affecting advertising campaign:

Kelley (2005) expressed that competition, advertising objective, nature of product, and product life-cycle are the most vital factors influencing advertising decisions. However, West and Paliwoda (2006) mentioned that target audience, media plan, and availability of funds need due consideration during the planning phase of advertising campaign. Analysis of these factors is vital to develop an effective advertising campaign.

2.3.1 Competition:

The advertising budget of an organisation is determined by the degree of competition in the market. Zou (2005) opined that the presence of large number of competitors in the market calls for higher allocation of funds towards advertising campaigns.

2.3.2 Advertising objective:

The principle objective of advertising campaign needs due consideration while planning for advertisement. An advertisement is of no value if it does not fulfil its pre-determined objectives. In the opinion of Pashupati and Lee (2003), attracting new customers, increasing market share, and enhancing brand effectiveness can be considered as some of the major objectives of advertising.

2.3.3 Nature of product:

Higher advertisement costs are incurred if the product in question is perishable as compared to a non-perishable product. Further, products having seasonal demand require considerable advertising during the peak season. Ueltschy and Ryans (2007) opined that essential products require lower advertising efforts as compared to products that are not so essential to consumers.

2.3.4 Product life-cycle:

A company needs to allocate higher budgets for advertising if the product is at the introduction stage as compared to later stages of the product life-cycle (Van et al. 2003). The cost and frequency of advertisement decreases with time as the product gets older. The advertising is usually higher during the initial phase of the product life-cycle than the later phases (www.iosrjournals.org, 2014).

2.3.5 Target audience:

It is important to identify the target audience before deciding on the advertising media. Taylor (2002) mentioned that proper understanding of the target customers can help an organisation to select appropriate channels for its advertising.

2.3.6 Media plan:

The selected media for advertising has a strong effect on the advertising budgets. The cost associated with advertisement varies with the advertising mediums. Taylor (2005) expressed that proper balancing of the cost and benefits associated with different advertising channels need to considered while selecting advertising channels.

2.3.7 Availability of funds:

The available financial resources are indeed one of the strongest factors affecting an advertisement campaign. Insufficient funds can act as a barrier to effective advertising. Kover (2001) mentioned that availability of sufficient funds are essential to maintain competitive advantage through effective advertising.

2.4 Essential elements of advertising:

In the view of Lerman and Callow (2004), attention, interest, credibility, desire, and action are the five most essential elements of advertising. An effective advertising campaign needs to include these elements to ensure success of the advertising campaign.

2.4.1 Attention:

The headline of the advertising is the first thing that people look at. Hence, the headline needs to be strictly related to the product or the needs of the target consumers (Moon and Chan, 2005).

2.4.2 Interest:

The advertisement needs to be capable to keep people engaged with the advertisement as the information becomes more descriptive. Mueller (2002) opined that advertisements that create interest among people have better chances of attracting consumers.

2.4.3 Credibility:

Credibility implies creating trust among consumers towards the concerned product. Moon and Franke (2007) expressed that an effective advertising need to make claims that are believable to people. This would reduce the gap between the expected benefits and derived benefits of customers from the consumption of the product.

2.4.4 Desire:

In the view of Heath and Hyder (2005), the sole aim of any advertising is to create desire among people to purchase the product by highlighting the benefits of the products effectively. Hence, it is important that the benefits are communicated to the target audience properly. However, Morris et al. (2005) mentioned that communication of benefits from a product need to be able to differentiate the concerned product from the substitutes.

2.4.4 Offers:

In the view of Alvesson (2004), introduction of discount offers, exchange offers, and other relevant offers through advertisement sparks interest among consumers to but the concerned product. This helps in achieving higher sales and also helps in attracting consumers of competitors.

2.4.5 Action:

Zaltman (2007) expressed that a successful advertising needs to drive people to act in a way that are beneficial to the company like visiting company websites, visiting retail stores, or call customer care to know more about the product.

2.5 Principles of effective advertising:

In the view of Robert and William (2003), grabbing attention of people, appropriate medium, understanding customer’s need, correct frequency, and co-ordination are the major principles for effective advertising.

2.5.1 Grabbing attention of people:

An advertisement needs to be capable of catching peoples’ attention. Srinivasan and Helen (2008) mentioned that advertising needs to be interesting and informative. Advertisements needs to capable of keeping people engaged in the advertisement.

2.5.2 Selection of appropriate medium:

Robert (2004) expressed that selecting the right platform for advertising is vital to the success of an advertisement campaign because it affects the communication process between producers and consumers. Advertisement platforms that are most relevant to the target audience need to be selected (Davis, 2009). 

2.5.3 Understanding customer’s need:

In the view of Lester (2004), it is important to understand the logical and emotional reasons of customers that results in purchase decisions. This would help to design the advertisement in a way that would fulfil the rational and emotional requirements of customers.

2.5.4 Focus on correct frequency:

Correct frequency of advertising is vital to make people know, understand, and aware about the product. Marc and Harlan (2009) mentioned that consumers need to be exposed to advertising three times for getting completely aware about the product. In contrast, Fred (2007) argued that at least nine to twelve exposures are required by customers to arrive at a purchase decision.

2.5.5 Co-ordination of advertising efforts:

While advertising through multiple platforms, it is essential to co-ordinate advertising activities so that the company and the brand is reflected properly through each advertisement (Sheehan, 2011). Integrated marketing plans help companies to attract more customers.

2.6 Impact of advertising:

Advertising has emerged as one of the vital aspects of marketing strategy for companies operating in retail industries. It has become almost impossible to survive without proper advertising. In the view of Fred (2007), advertising has a direct impact on sales, revenues, and profits. A good advertising campaign results in increase in sales, revenues, and net profits. However, Marc and Harlan (2009) mentioned that advertising has a significant role in the development and enhancement of brand loyalty. Advertising has significant impact on the customer base, market share, competitive advantage, revenues, and profits (www.ianrpubs.unl.edu, 2014).

Effective advertising increases sales volume by attracting new customers to buy the concerned product. This not only increases sales revenues but the efficiency of the organisation also gets enhanced. In contrast, Fred (2007) argued that often the benefits derived from advertising are nullified by the cost associated with advertising. Hence, it is important to strike a proper balance between the cost and benefits associated with advertising. A successful advertising campaign needs to be cost effective to ensure increase in net profits. Otherwise the net profit might not increase in proportion to the increased sales revenues.

The market-share of a retailing company is highly affected by the advertising campaign of the company. In addition to the sales revenue, increase in existing customer base is also essential to ensure sustainable competitive advantage. Sound advertisement enables a company to increase customer base which further increases the market share of the company.

The cost of advertising and net profits is inversely related. As the advertisement cost reduces with time the net profit of the company increases. Generally, the advertisement expenses are higher during the introduction stage of the product than the maturity or declining phase.

Effective advertising is crucial to the success of new product introduced in the market. The benefits and differentiating features of the new products are conveyed to the consumers through effective advertising program. This helps in selling the new product in the market.

In the view of Fred (2007), brand image and brand loyalty of retailing companies depend heavily on its advertising campaigns. Apart from increasing sales and profits, advertisement creates a positive image about the company in the mind of consumers. Thus, sound adverting strategies helps a company to enhance its brand image and brand loyalty. In contrast, Marc and Harlan (2009) argued that it is the perceived benefit from a product that decides customer satisfaction, brand image and brand loyalty of the company.

Furthermore, as mentioned by Robert (2004), the frequency and effectiveness of advertisement creates a positive impression among shareholders and other relevant stakeholders about the current position of the company. This helps the company in obtaining benefits and co-operation of all relevant stakeholders.

2.7 Significance of advertising in retail business:

As mentioned by Marc and Harlan (2009), it is hard to continue business in retail industry without proper and frequent advertising as it has a direct impact on the growth and long-term sustainability of companies. In a retail industry, advertising is important to companies, customers, and the society.

2.7.1 Vital for the launch of new product:

Advertising is crucial for the introduction of a new product as it creates awareness and interest among consumers to buy the new product. This is important to ensure better sales figure for the new product. As opined by Lester (2004), advertisement can help both customers and retailers only if vital information about the product is communicated to the target audience through appropriate media within a set time frame.

2.7.2 Sales promotion:

Promotion of products is a continuous process throughout the entire life-cycle of the product. Robert (2004) mentioned that attraction and retention of customers are ensured if introduction of discount offers, addition of new features to the existing products, and information about upcoming event are communicated effectively to customers through advertisement.

2.7.3 Increases sales revenues:

In the view of Srinivasan and Helen (2008), proper advertising creates interest in consumers about the advertised product which further creates demand in the retail market. This demand results in increased sales revenues. This enables the company to fulfil the basic objective of advertising. However, Lester (2004) argued that maintaining a good price-quality ratio is crucial to ensure consistent growth in sales.

2.7.4 Maximises profits:

Profit maximisation is the ultimate objective for any company as this maximises shareholder’s wealth. As mentioned by Marc and Harlan (2009), advertisement helps to maximise profits by increasing sales and lowering costs. The gap between sales and associated costs is widened by advertising. However, Lester (2004) argued that excessive expenditure on advertising can have a negative impact on profitability.

2.7.5 Builds brand image:

Advertising helps in building brand image of a company by creating its goodwill in the market. Srinivasan and Helen (2008) expressed that advertisement with higher frequency enhances popularity of the brand. Rising popularity and trust building increases value of the brand which further results in increased sales revenues. Marc and Harlan (2009) opined that consumers keep more faith and trust towards advertised products over non-advertised products as products of advertised brands are considered to be made from quality raw materials.

2.7.6 Consumer awareness:

In the view of Lester (2004), advertising creates awareness about the availability of a product in the market and how that product is different and better than other substitutes. Information on features, use, benefits, and price of products are communicated to customers through advertisement. As mentioned by Robert (2004), advertisement helps consumer to arrive at better purchase decision by comparing the merits and demerits and attributes of various available substitutes.

2.8 Recent trends in advertising:

Today, social media has emerged as one of the powerful channels of advertising. Retailing companies in UK have started recognising the strength and benefits of using social media as an advertising tool. Robert (2004) mentioned that social media enable companies to reach customers at lower cost, time, and effort.

Retailing companies can make use of various social media in its advertising campaigns. Social networking sites are yet another area which can be used by retailing companies to enhance brand loyalty. Companies can encourage customers to provide valuable feedback about its products and services. This would create a sense of belonging among customers. However, Srinivasan and Helen (2008) mentioned that customer complaints if not addressed on time, can lead to loss of customers.

Companies can even provide information about its upcoming products in social media to create awareness among consumers. Information shared in social media and social networking sites can spread to millions in no time. This would create a strong platform for the launch of the new product. In contrast, Lester (2004) mentioned that sharing information in social media can act as valuable inputs to competitors. This can emerge as a probable threat if not managed properly.

Advertising through social media is cost-effective and hence can help companies to optimise cost of advertising. This is also helpful during the introduction stage of the product. Fred (2007) expressed that using social networking sites as an effective advertising tool increases brand visibility.

2.9 Current advertising strategies of Walmart:

The major forms of advertising currently used by Walmart are radio advertising, social media campaigns, and face book pages.

2.9.1 Radio advertising:

A major portion of the advertising budget is allocated to radio advertisement by Walmart. The company relies heavily on radio advertising followed by social media campaign, face book pages and blogs (www.walmart.com, 2014). In this context, Robert (2004) opined that radio advertisement has become an important media for advertisement in UK as it helps companies to reach millions of customers from all segments of the market. Introduction of new products, discount offers, exchange offers, and other relevant information are conveyed to customers by Walmart through its radio partners. This has helped the company in increasing in sales revenue considerably.

2.9.2 Social media campaign:

Walmart has recognised the importance of social media in modern marketing strategies. The Company has devoted lot of resources towards advertising through social media. In the view of Lester (2004), consistent results from social media is the major reason for companies engaging in advertisement through social media campaigns. There are various social media options available in the market. However, blogging and video-sharing are the two major forms of social media campaign used by Walmart (www.walmart.com, 2014).

Generally, videos are shared through popular websites like Youtube and others as video sharing through these sites get million of likes every day. Robert (2004) expressed that high quality video is essential to attract customers through video sharing.

Blogging is yet another successful advertisement tool to attract new customers. A major benefit of this tool is that it can be started easily with least expenditures. However, Lester (2004) mentioned that quality and relevance of the content are essential to make blogs appealing to the target audience.

2.9.3 Facebook pages:

Walmart has recognised the growing popularity of face book and has included it in its advertisement campaigns. The company strives to engage customers through face book. Fred (2007) opined that face book has emerged as an efficient way for companies to reach to millions of people and that using this media is cost-effective. Local stores of Walmart have started opening own face book pages that can be followed by local residents. This in turn increases the popularity of the company. The articles and pictures posted by local stores of Walmart are getting millions of likes every day. This is helping the local stores to engage local people in its activities.

2.10 Recommendation on suitable advertising strategy on gaining wider customer base:

According to the Lester (2004), advertising strategy stands at one of the primary roles of marketing manager as it creates a brand image of the organisations into customers’ mind. A suitable advertising strategy to gain wider customer base is given below:

Segmentation:

Advertising strategy depends on the division of potential customers into random groups which could effectively increase the success rate of communication (www.brandprotect.com. 2014).  If an organisation does not know who are the potential customers and the location where the brand can be established effectively, it could become difficult for the organisation to focus on the target market effectively (Fred, 2007).

Targeting:

Targeting could be termed as the process of communicating with the proper segment which ensures the best possible response rate.  In this context Lester (2004) argued that the advertising strategy needs to be focused on relating its customer base with the advertising plan objectives.

Positioning:

Positioning is defined as the process image development of a company. Basically, positioning considers the opposition party by which an organisation can establish an unique feature of the product in the market place. In this context, Fred (2007) stated that it is important to identify the elements of marketing mix for providing a total picture of the product or services being offered. Positioning evaluates and establishes the corporate branding and identity of organisations in the market place.

Development of the advertising message:

Fred (2007) opined that, the organisations need to inform about the features of the brand or products by establishing a competitive advantage followed by persuading and reminding the consumers to maintain the interest and enthusiasm for the product or service is being offered.

2.11 Summary:

The competition in the retail industry of UK is becoming more intense than ever. This has increased the role and significance of advertising in the marketing activities of companies operating in retail industry. Advertising is the communication of relevant information about a product to consumers. The basic objective of advertising is to increase sales revenues, profits, and customer base. An effective advertising campaign needs to be able to fulfil the pre-determined objectives of advertising. Advertising has a direct effect on the performance of an organisation. Advertisement helps in increasing customer base, market share, sales, revenues, and profits. It also helps in building customer awareness, brand image, and brand loyalty. However, the cost of advertising needs continuous monitoring and checking. The cost of advertisement decreases with the progress of time. Advertisement expenses are comparatively lower in the later phases of product lifecycle than initial phases. Social media has emerged as one of the effective form of advertising in UK. In fact, Walmart has included social media in its advertising campaigns. Radio advertising, social media campaigns, and Face book have been found to be the major advertising tools used by Walmart.

  

Chapter 3

Research Methodology

3.0 Introduction:

The present chapter stresses on the paradigms that would be employed to conduct the present study. The paradigms are chosen to determine the need and use of advertising in UK retail industry. Also a proper justification behind the choice of particular paradigms could increase the scope of understanding how much the same is helping in meeting and fulfilling the research objectives.

3.1 Method Outline:

In order to judge effectively the need of advertising on Walmart UK, the researchers have used positivism philosophy, descriptive design and a deductive research approach. Simple random sampling is a part of probability sampling process and it has been used for acquiring the primary details of the research. Apart from this, secondary data has been gathered from books, journals, publications and websites made by Walmart. Quantitative survey questionnaires have been distributed within 40 existing customers of Walmart UK, while qualitative survey has been conducted by taking face-to-face interview of 4 marketing managers of Walmart within the specified time limit. However, ethical considerations have been maintained in the study in order to become able in conducting the research in a fair manner.

3.2 Research Philosophy: Positivism

As stated by Brannen (2009), research philosophy relates to developing the knowledge and the nature of the enhanced knowledge. Three common forms of research philosophies are positivism, interpretivism and realism, out of which the researcher have opted for positivism philosophy. Positivism philosophy is scientific in nature and considers such factor that could assist in collecting secondary data on the need of advertisement, its impact on forecasting the consumer buying behaviour and the attainment of business goals (Cameron, 2009). Primary data have been gathered from the chosen sample to gather all opinion on the research subject. Positivism philosophy would help in relating both data type for deriving an authentic inference relating the whole study.

3.3 Research Approach: Deductive:

Fundamentally research approach helps the researcher in formulating the desired process for accomplishment of the research (Corner, 2002). Among two types of approaches (inductive and deductive), the researcher has considered deductive approach as suitable for the study. As opined by the Freshwater (2007), deductive approach starts with the theories followed by narrowing down and final testing of the hypothesis. Deductive approach establishes the firmness of using the current theory with respect to trueness. The present advertising level measurement at Walmart has been accumulated by collecting primary data. The application of deductive research approach, the researcher needs to only accumulate all the facts and critically analyse to give inference on the effect and need of advertising in Walmart UK.

3.4 Research Design: Descriptive

The researcher has chosen descriptive research design among various types of research approach to reach the suitability point. Johnson et al. (2007) stated that descriptive research attempts to describe and interpret specific conditions of the present scenario.  Fundamentally descriptive research is concerned with the structure, practices, relationships and the differences among the factors that are going on in reality (Miles and Huberman, 2006).  Without following descriptive research design, getting necessary information related to the research could have become more troublesome. Past researchers have critically evaluated the need and the impact of advertising on organisational development (Hair and Money, 2011). By applying the descriptive research approach, the researcher could accumulate all the facts related to the significance of advertising and the existing approach of Walmart with respect to the feedback gained from customers and the managers.

3.5 Data Type:

 As opined by Morgan (2007), the type of data required for the specific research depends on the nature and the objective of the research to be fulfilled. Data can be divided into two segments primary and secondary. The researcher has chosen primary and secondary both type of data to analyse the current advertising strategy at Walmart UK and its impact on the consumer buying behaviours. Primary data is original in nature and are collected from the responses of the customers to analyse the current response of the consumers, whereas the secondary data has been collected from books, journals, company publications and company reports (Saunders et al. 2009). Several past researches have been studied for evaluating the relationship between the need of advertisement and the corporate objectives along with the consumer perception about the advertising policy followed by the organisations.

3.6 Data Collection Process:

The data collection process is chosen depending on the objectives that need to be achieved through deriving specific outcomes gained from data analysis (Morse, 2007). However, the researcher has undergone quantitative and qualitative data collection for accumulating the primary data. Furthermore, the existing advertising policy and the situation of the company have been accumulated from secondary resources. However, the researcher has assembled primary data by choosing 40 respondents to analyse the customer need and the opinion regarding the advertising policy followed at Walmart UK, whereas the researcher has opted for face-to-face interview session to get the qualitative response from the managers.

Questionnaire Method:

Survey questionnaires have been distributed among the respondents for collecting the opinion on the present topic. According to the opinion of Toloie-Eshlaghy et al. (2011), survey questionnaire is given to the respondents to allow each respondent to read and respond accordingly. The questionnaire method is free from any biasness and it facilitates in wider and faster data collection. Although, a chance of getting some unanswered questions may arise, yet the researcher could gain considerable data with respect to the possible impact and the need of advertising in UK retail industry.

Personal Interview:

Qualitative data is being gathered by conducting both personal interview and telephonic conversation based on the availability of the managers. In this phase middle line managers are considered as the respondents to collect qualitative data.

3.7 Data Analysis Method:

Quantitative data collection can be termed as a structured data collection instrument that depicts diverse experience into predetermined category of responses (VanderStoep and Johnson, 2009). Data analysis is also done within the limited time frame and it allows accumulating substantial details regarding the need of advertising at Walmart UK. The similar sets of questions are distributed among the existing customers of Walmart which has made the researcher to assemble the required data quickly from the respondents.

The quantitative data analyses could be done via MS Excel. The representation of the responses could be made by giving the percentage based on which the graphs and tables are illustrated that could draw a potential conclusion on the subject in an easy manner. However, the secondary data would be gathered in a similar way from several resources without manipulating the original data.

The qualitative data analysis is done by getting the responses of the middle line managers. Each manager requested to responses in interview section. The answers gathered from the managers are normally descriptive in nature. After gathering the descriptive data from middle line managers, the researcher narrates the same in a descriptive way which could give the detailed qualitative analysis about the existing advertising policy of Walmart regarding along with its impact and need meeting the customer demand and organisational growth.

3.8 Sampling Method:

Sampling is a process which chooses homogeneous group from a large population consists of heterogeneous groups (VanderStoep and Johnson, 2009). On the contrary, Toloie-Eshlaghy et al. (2011) argued that a suitable sampling method needs to be implemented in the research in order to dictate the success or failure of the study by influencing the process of data analysis. Contrary to non probability sampling method, in this study researcher has chosen simple random sampling method to get the involvement and response of each and every respondents in equal and distributed manner (Morgan, 2007) Although non probable sampling is used to collect qualitative data from the middle line managers, in this study the researcher has chosen probable sampling in order to give equal chances and opportunities to the managers.

 Sample size:

According to the opinion of Toloie-Eshlaghy et al. (2011), sample size below 35 could raise ethical issues with proper data collection from the respondents. In the same context, Morgan (2007) opined that proper sampling could help an organisation to get the appropriate data for conducting the total research. To avoid the inappropriate data collection, the researcher has attempted to collect the responses from 40 existing customers of Walmart, UK. However, a face-to-face interview has been arranged to 4 middle line managers to get the qualitative response according to the perception of the managers.

3.9 Ethical Consideration:

Ethical considerations are necessary to be focused to ensure that the current research process and the activities are transparent and free (VanderStoep and Johnson, 2009). In this research, honesty, data privacy and integrity have been maintained while conducting the survey. The author has taken care of the validity of the collected data and no alteration has been made with the collected data. None of the primary data has been made public and the secondary data collection has also been done from reliable and realistic source in order to avoid the biasness and duplicity.

3.10 Limitations:

The number of respondents taken for quantitative study was 40. A chosen sample of 50 respondents could have given more accurate result in this research. Another factor is that the time frame was fixed due to which a lesser number of managers was taken to conduct the interview, which might have impacted slightly in the qualitative responses obtained from the managers.

3.11 Time horizon: Gantt chart

Research Activity 1st Week 2nd

Week

3rd Week 4th Week 5th Week 6th Week
Literature review            
Research Method Determination
Designing the survey instruments
Conducting the process of data collection process form the chosen sample  

 

 

Data analysis and   deriving conclusion based on the analysis
Proposition of the recommendations

 

Table: Gantt chart

(Source: created by the author)


 

Chapter 4

Findings and analysis

4.0 Introduction:

The current chapter has described primary data collected from the respondents for giving final conclusion on the present topic. Quantitative responses have been explained in the form of graphs and charts. Qualitative responses have been depicted in descriptive manner. This chapter is focused to finally derive an inference regarding the need of advertisement and its impact on Walmart UK. To justify the authentication, each question is being linked to the theories are analysed in Chapter 2.

Quantitative questions:

Q1 Do you think advertising is important to arrive at better buying decisions?

Table 1: Importance of advertising in arriving better buying decision

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 13 40 32.50%
Agree 21 40 52.50%
Neutral 3 40 7.50%
Disagree 3 40 7.50%
Strongly disagree 0 40 0.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2: Importance of advertising in arriving better buying decision

Findings and Analysis:

From the above graph it is clear that majority of the respondents (85%) are agreeing with the fact that advertising has direct impact in arriving better buying decision of customers. Only a sum of 15% respondent falls under neutral and disagree mode.

The above findings states that majority of the customer base of Walmart thinks that advertising has a bigger impact in arriving better buying decision. As stated by Marc and Harlan (2009) that advertising can derive proper customer satisfaction that could enhance the brand image and brand loyalty of the company (refer to section 2.6, Chapter 2). Furthermore, Lester (2004) stated that advertising consists of vital information can only impact significantly on buying decision (refer to section 2.7.1, Chapter 2) which has been found in Walmart where 7.5% customer is disagreeing with the importance of advertising in buyers’ decision making. However, it can be concluded that customers of Walmart have a strong support in proper advertising that could influence the buying decision.

Q2 Do you think effective advertising makes you remain loyal to a particular brand?

Table 2: Impact of effective advertising in retaining loyal customer base

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 17 40 42.50%
Agree 19 40 47.50%
Neutral 2 40 5.00%
Disagree 1 40 2.50%
Strongly disagree 1 40 2.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3: Impact of effective advertising in retaining loyal customer base

Findings and Analysis:

Above graph describes that 90% of total customers think that proper advertising could help in retaining loyal customer at Walmart. Only 5% customers are neutral and rest 5% customers are disagree with the fact.

From the above findings, it is clear that most of the existing customers are loyal to the brand Walmart due to its effective advertising. Similar proposition has been mentioned by Robert (2004) that attraction and retention of loyal customers depend on the way the organization is communicating with the customers by giving news of upcoming events and information related to the product (refer to section 2.7.2, Chapter 2). Although a small number of customers believe that proper advertising does not impact positively on getting a loyal customer base, it can be inferred that Walmart has build a group of loyal customer base by conducting proper advertising.

Q3 Do you think advertisement creates awareness among customers about new products?

Table 3: Impact of advertisement in creating new product awareness to the customers

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 18 40 45.00%
Agree 20 40 50.00%
Neutral 2 40 5.00%
Disagree 0 40 0.00%
Strongly disagree 0 40 0.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Impact of advertisement in creating new product awareness to the customers

Findings and Analysis:

It is clear from the above graph that 95% of the total respondents are agree with the fact that proper advertising could impact positively on creating product awareness among the customers. Only 5% customer is neutral to this opinion.

Above finding suggests that majority of the customers of Walmart is getting awarded regarding the new product and its features by proper advertising policies employed by Walmart. In this context Lester (2004) opined that advertising creates the awareness about the product availability and the differentiable feature of the product along with its benefits (refer to section 2.7.6, Chapter 2). On contrary, Srinivasan and Helen (2008) argued that customers become furious and could complaint if the information is not given on proper time (refer to section 2.8, Chapter 2) which could be the reason of getting neutral opinion from the existing customer base at Walmart. However, from the above discussion it can be concluded that Walmart’s advertisement has impacted strongly in creating new product awareness to its existing customer base.

Q4 Do you agree with the fact that advertising helps you to evaluate benefits and attributes of various substitute products?

Table 4: Impact of advertising in evaluating the benefits and attributes of products

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 15 40 37.50%
Agree 17 40 42.50%
Neutral 5 40 12.50%
Disagree 2 40 5.00%
Strongly disagree 1 40 2.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5: Impact of advertising in evaluating the benefits and attributes of products

Findings and Analysis:

Above figure describes that almost 80% of the respondents believe that advertising has direct impact on the evaluation of benefits and attributes about a product. 12.5% of the total respondents are neutral with the statement whereas a sum of 7.5% employees fall under disagree mode.

According to the above findings, it is clear that Walmart’s advertising policy could promote the benefits and attributes of the product. Similar opinion has been stated by Robert (2004) that advertisement could make a better purchase decision by comparing the merits and demerits and the attributes of available substitutes (refer to section 2.7.6, Chapter 2). Although, a lesser amount of respondents does not agree with the fact, it can be concluded that the impact of advertising could become broader in evaluating the benefits and attributes of a product.

Q5 Do you think advertising activities through social media is a better way of connecting with people?

Table 5: Impact of advertising through social media

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 12 40 30.00%
Agree 15 40 37.50%
Neutral 5 40 12.50%
Disagree 3 40 7.50%
Strongly disagree 5 40 12.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 6: Impact of advertising through social media

Findings and Analysis:

From the above graph it is found that 67% of the total respondents think that advertising through social media can create a positive impact in connecting people, whereas only 12.50% of the total respondents are neutral and 20% of total respondents are disagree with the fact.

Considering the findings, it is clear that Walmart’s advertising approach through social media has a direct impact in connecting its existing customer base, as stated by Robert (2004) that social media enable companies to reach the consumer at a very lower cost and time (refer to section 2.8, Chapter 2). Contrary to this, Lester (2004) argued that social media could act as valuable inputs to its competitors (refer to section 2.8, Chapter 2). This could be the reason of disagreeability of the customer of Walmart regarding the fact. However, from the above analysis it can be concluded that Walmart’s advertising policy through social media has a greater impact in connecting the customer base.

Q6 Do you agree that advertisements of Walmart are informative?

Table 6: Agreeability of the customer of getting informative advertisement from Walmart

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 13 40 32.50%
Agree 18 40 45.00%
Neutral 6 40 15.00%
Disagree 2 40 5.00%
Strongly disagree 1 40 2.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 7: Agreeability of the customer to view informative advertisement from Walmart

Findings and Analysis:

From the above graphical representation it is clear that 77.50% of the total respondents are getting actual information from the advertisements of Walmart. Only 15% customers are neutral and rest 7.5% of the total respondents disagree with the similar fact.

Above findings states that Walmart is communicating proper information to the existing customer base by means of radio advertising, social media campaign, face book pages etc. Supportive information has been found from www.walmart.com which describes the varied type of advertising adopted by Walmart (refer to section 2.9.1, Chapter 2). Although, some little portion of the customer are disagree with the fact that Walmart is conducting informative advertising in creating awareness to its consumers, form the majority outcomes it can be inferred that Walmart is conducting an informative advertising in order to retain loyal customer base.

Q7 Do you find advertisements of Walmart are effective enough to engage people into word-of-mouth promotion?

Table 7: Effective advertising to engage the customer into word-of-mouth promotion

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 15 40 37.50%
Agree 17 40 42.50%
Neutral 5 40 12.50%
Disagree 2 40 5.00%
Strongly disagree 1 40 2.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 8: Effective advertising to engage the customer into word-of-mouth promotion

Findings and Analysis:

As per the above graph, 80% of the total respondents are agreeing with the fact that Walmart has made the customers engaged in its promotions while conducting an advertisement. On the other hand, 12.50% of the customers are neutral and a sum of 7.5% consumers is totally disagreeing with the same.

It is clear from the findings that most of the customers are satisfied with the advertising mode of Walmart which could have engaged the consumers deeply at the time of continuing the advertisement. Similar fact has been stated by Srinivasan and Helen (2008) that advertisement needs to be interesting and informative since it could keep people engaged in the advertisement (refer to section 2.5.1, Chapter 2). Although, a certain percentage of disagreeability exists, according to the majority responses it could be concluded that Walmart is following an effective advertising to engage the customer base in its promotion.

Q8 Do you think claims made in Walmart’s advertisements are justified?

Table 8: Justified opinion about Walmart’s advertising strategy

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 17 40 42.50%
Agree 19 40 47.50%
Neutral 2 40 5.00%
Disagree 2 40 5.00%
Strongly disagree 0 40 0.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9: Justified opinion about Walmart’s advertising strategy

Findings and Analysis:

From the above graph it is found that 42.50% of the total respondents are strongly agree and 47.50% of the respondents are agree with the statement that Walmart is conducting a justified advertising strategy. On the other hand, 5% of total customers are neutral and rests 5% are disagree with the similar fact.

Above findings state that majority of the respondents are receiving advertising strategy which is justified in the context of building a strong faith and trust among the consumers of the Walmart by engaging the consumers totally at the time of promoting the advertisement. Similar proposition has been stated by Marc and Harlan (2009) that customers keep more faith towards the advertised products than non advertised products (refer to section 2.7.5, Chapter 2). However, it can be concluded that the advertisement strategy followed by Walmart is justified enough in terms of building the trust and faith among the customers and getting an established brand value.

Q9 Which advertising media do you find most appealing?

Table 9: Most Appealing advertising media

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Radio 23 40 57.50%
Blogging 3 40 7.50%
Video sharing 2 40 5.00%
Face book 12 40 30.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 10: Most Appealing advertising media

Findings and Analysis:

Above figure describes that according to 57.50% of the total respondents’, most appealing advertising media is radio considered at Walmart followed by face book (as said by 30% respondents), blogging (as said by 7.50% respondents) and video sharing (as said by 5% respondent).

Above findings analyses that radio advertising is the most reliable advertisement policy followed by Walmart. The same fact has been stated by Robert (2004) that in UK radio advertisement has become an important media for advertisement (refer to section 2.9.1, Chapter 2). Contrary to this, Fred (2007) opined that face book has emerged as an important way for the organizations to reach ample of people in a cost effective manner (refer to section 2.9.3, Chapter 2). Same fact has been observed in the advertisement strategy of Walmart. However, it can be concluded that mostly radio and face book is being used by Walmart as an advertising media followed by a small portion of blogging and video sharing.

Q10 Have you experienced major gaps between expected benefits and perceived benefits from Walmart’s product?

Table 10: Experiencing gap between expected benefits and perceived benefits.

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 5 40 12.50%
Agree 2 40 5.00%
Neutral 3 40 7.50%
Disagree 17 40 42.50%
Strongly disagree 13 40 32.50% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 11: Experiencing gap between expected benefits and perceived benefits.

Findings and Analysis:

Above graph shows that major portion of the existing customer (75%) of Walmart disagree with the statement that perceived benefit and expected benefit has a big gap, whereas as per 17.50% respondents’ opinion, the consumers are facing a remarkable gap between expected and perceived benefits.

It can be analysed from the findings that majority customers are getting the benefit as per the expectation as stated by Moon and Franke (2007) that an effective advertisement could reduce the gap between the perceived benefits and expected benefits from the product consumption (refer to section 2.4.3, Chapter 2). However, it can be inferred that Walmart’s advertising strategy is successful in maintaining a clear relationship with its customer by establishing a very nominal gap or no gap between perceived benefit and expected benefit.

Q11 Are the current frequency of advertisements by Walmart  sufficient to help you take buying decisions?

Table 11: Frequency ratio of the advertisements frequently conducted by Walmart

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 14 40 35.00%
Agree 18 40 45.00%
Neutral 3 40 7.50%
Disagree 4 40 10.00%
Strongly disagree 1 40 2.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 12: Frequency ratio of the advertisements frequently conducted by Walmart

Findings and Analysis:

Above figure depicts that 75% of the total respondents are satisfied enough with the frequency of the advertising strategy of Walmart. Only 7.5% of the customers are neutral and 12.50% are totally disagreeing with the same.

Above findings shows that Walmart is doing a frequent advertising to create awareness among the consumers. In this context Srinivasan and Helen (2008) stated that frequently highlighted advertisements could enhance the popularity of the brand (refer to section 2.7.5, Chapter 2). Contrary to this, Marc and Harlan (2009) stated that without proper and frequent advertising it becomes harder for the company to stay in the market (refer to section 2.7, Chaptyer2). The same could be applicable to Walmart at a very low ratio. However, it can be concluded from the findings that Walmart is conducting a frequent advertising to satisfy the customer base.

Q12 According to you what could be focused more to reach a wider consumer base for Walmart?

Table 12: Areas of improvement to expand customer base

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Focusing on demographic regions 8 40 20.00%
Focusing on the need of the customers 10 40 25.00%
Strong brand development 7 40 17.50%
Informing about the exact feature 15 40 37.50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 13: Areas of improvement to expand customer base

Findings and Analysis:

Above figure states that most of the respondents (37.50%) want the Walmart to be focused on giving right information to the consumers. 25% of the total customers wants need of the customers as a major focusing area. Very lesser percentage of customers opined to focus on the demographic areas and building strong brand.

It is clear that customers need is basically to get the overall information about the product or services offered by Walmart. Similar statement has been opined by Fred (2007) that to maintain the brand image and enthusiasm of consumers for buying the product of the firm the organisations need to give exact information about the product (refer to section 2.10, Chapter 2). Hence, it can be concluded that focusing more on giving right product information could become able to gain a wider customer base at Walmart.

Qualitative questions

Q1 How far do you think advertisement campaigns are significant for Walmart to achieve its organisational goals?

Response:

As per the gathered response it is clear that Walmart is achieving organisational goals significantly by employing advertisement campaigns. Two managers pointed out that the current advertising strategy of Walmart is sound enough to achieve its corporate goals. According to two respondents the most essential elements of advertising could be attention, credibility, interest which could make the path of journey smoother to achieve the desired organisational goals. Similar proposition has been found from the statement of Moon and Chan (2005) that the headline needs to be related to the need of the consumers (refer to section 2.4.1, Chapter 2). Similarly, the advertisements would be focused to create an interest among the consumer (as stated by Mueller, 2002 in section 2.4.2).

The other two managers opined that desire, offers and actions are the basic criteria to attract and retain a strong customer base which is strictly being followed by the management of Walmart. The introduction of discount offers, various exchange offers mentioning in the advertisement could impact positively on the buying behaviour of customer resulting in a significant change in reaching organisational goals (as stated by Alvesson, 2004 in section 2.4.4). Action is also considered as essential element which could drive the consumer to act in such a way that could be beneficial to the company such as visiting the retail stores or call up customer care which is being found in a frequent manner in all the retail stores of Walmart. This finding implies that Walmart has become successful in reaching its organisational goals by adopting a proper advertising strategy.

Q2 Which advertising policy is being followed at your store?

Response:

Almost all the respondents agreed that Walmart is majorly following radio advertising and face book pages as the advertising policy. One manager stated that radio is the main media of advertising its products and services to the customers.  Radio is the media which helps the company to reach millions of customers from all segments in the market (as stated by Robert, 2004 in section 2.9.1). On the other hand, other manager stated that Walmart basically strives to engage customers through social media such as face book. Similar statement has been stated by Fred (2007) that face book is a cost effective media of reaching millions of customers within a shorter span of time (refer to section 2.9.3, Chapter 2).

Other two managers stated that social media campaign also stands as an important strategy to get likes every day. Getting a valuable and consistent result from the social media is an important reason for engaging in advertisement through social media campaign to the companies (as stated by Lester, 2004 in section 2.9.2). Walmart’s two major forms of social media campaign include video sharing and blogging. A high quality video could attract a significant number of customers and it can be shared easily with involving least expenditure which could be observed in Walmart significantly.

 Q3 Is Walmart following a strong strategy to establish a strong brand image and brand loyalty?

Response:

All four managers opined that Walmart is following a strong strategy for establishing a strong brand image and loyalty among the customers. According to the managers, the benefits and the unique features about a new product can be conveyed to the customers by means of an effective advertising program which could help in selling new product in the market place. As per the opinion of managers, brand image and brand loyalty depends on its advertising campaigns significantly. The similar fact has been stated by Fred (2007) that advertisement campaigns could strongly impact on establishing brand image and brand loyalty of the retail industry (refer to section 2.6, Chapter 2).

However, managers at Walmart think that the organisation is following a sound strategy for building strong loyalty among the customers. Furthermore, advertisement creates a positive brand image within the consumer mind that could significantly increase the sales volume and the revenue in the long run of operating its business. Comparing past sales report with the present sales report, it can be derived that the sales volume and its revenue has been increased significantly at Walmart. This implies that the positive brand image has created rising trust and popularity among the customers towards the advertised products of the organisations (as stated by Marc and Harlan, 2009 in section 2.7.5).

Q4 Which strategic area needs to be focused mostly to get a wider customer base?

Response:

Each of the managers responded differently to give the response of the question. One manager stated that finding proper advertising strategy is the primary role of a manager to create a positive brand image of the organisation (as stated by Lester, 2004 in section 2.10). According to the opinion of one manager, advertising strategy mainly needs to be focused on the division of the potential customers into specific groups to increase the success rate of effective communication at Walmart. On the contrary, other manager stated that strategy needs to be focused on communicating with the pointed segment in order to get most successful response rate. Similar fact has been stated by Lester (2004) that advertising policy needs to be aligned with advertising plan objectives relating the customer base in a broader way (refer to section 2.10, Chapter 2). The third manager responded that positioning could be focused majorly to get a wider customer base which could make the image of the Walmart. Positioning identifies the elements of marketing mix to give the total features of the product is being offered in the context of getting a wider customer base (as stated by Fred, 2007 in section 2.10). The last manager opined that Walmart needs to inform the total features and services along with its offerings needs to be informed to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in the market place. The approach would help Walmart in creating and maintaining the interest and enthusiasm within the customer base for the product or services being offered.

 

 

Chapter 5

Conclusion and recommendation

5.0 Introduction:

After analyzing the possible effectiveness and the need of advertising, the conclusion and recommendations has been described in the present chapter. This chapter has drawn inferences by linking the inferences with the objectives of the research.  Three objectives are linked with the responses gained from the quantitative and qualitative responses drawn from the questionnaires and face to face interview. The drawn inference would become helpful in arriving at an inference on the need of the advertising in Walmart UK to enhance the sales volume in a broader way.

5.1 Linking with objectives:

Objective 1: To evaluate the significance of advertising in retail industry

Objective 1 describes the significance of advertising in retail industry. The objective could be addressed by analyzing the inference drawn from question 1, question 2, question 3 and question 4 of quantitative measure and question 1 from the qualitative measure. From question 1, it can be inferred that Walmart’s advertising strategy could arrive a better buying decision. As stated by Lester (2004) that advertisement consisting of important information can only create a significant impact on buying decision of the consumer (refer to section 2.7.1, Chapter 2). Furthermore, responses gained from question 2 describes that the customers of Walmart have become loyal to the brand due to the strong advertisement policy followed by Walmart. Similar statement has been stated by Robert (2004) that attraction and retention of good consumer depends on the giving information to the consumer by proper advertisement (refer to section 2.7.2, Chapter 2). On the other hand, question 3 infers that proper advertisement strategy can create new product awareness among the customers which has been supported by Lester (2004) in section 2.8 that awareness about a new product and its differentiable features with its benefits could be addressed properly to the customer with proper advertisement strategy. From Question 4, it can be inferred that Walmart’s advertising policy has impacted strongly on its existing customer in evaluating the benefits and attributes of the product. However, the responses gained from the managers as per question 1 in qualitative section the advertisement strategy of Walmart is sound enough to attract and retain its existing customer base. According to the managers, advertisement has direct impact on achieving organisational goals by meeting the need of customer base. Similar fact has been opined by Moon and Chan (2005) in section 2.4.1 that the headline in an advertisement needs to be related to the demand and need of the customers.

Objective 2: To investigate the current advertising and promotional policies of Walmart

Analysing the findings of question 7, question 8, question 9 (quantitative section) and question 2 (qualitative section), justification of objective 2 can be inferred. Responses drawn from question 9, it can be inferred that radio and face book is the mostly adopted strategy for advertising followed by blogging and video sharing at Walmart. In this context, Robert (2004) opined that radio advertisement has become an important media of connecting the population in UK (refer to section 2.9.1). Contrary to this, Fred (2007) opined that face book has emerged as very important media for reaching a million of customers within a lesser span of time (refer to section 2.9.3, Chapter 2). Furthermore, analysing question 7 it can be inferred that the present advertising policy of Walmart is so strong that it could engage its customers strongly while the advertisement is taking place. Considering the fact, the advertisement needs to be so interesting and informative so that it could keep people engaged in the advertisement session (as stated by Srinivasan and Helen, 2008 in section 2.5.1, Chapter 2). On the other hand, responses gained from question 8 describes that the customers of Walmart are receiving such advertisement which can build a strong faith and trust among the consumers and it makes the consumer bound to go through the total advertisement thoroughly. However, the responses of the managers gained from question 2 (qualitative section) describes that radio is the main media of advertisement followed at Walmart UK in reaching a wider customer base in meeting its organisational goals by generating improved sales volume.  However, other responses of the manager states that social media is also created a huge response from the customer base in gaining organisational growth. The same fact has been stated by Lester (2004) that social media is an important reason for engaging customer in advertisement thereby creating an interest among the prospective customers (refer to section 2.9.2, Chapter 2).

Objective 3:  To recommend suitable advertising strategy to gain wider customer base.

Objective 3 could be justified by analysing the responses of question 12 (quantitative section) and question 4 (qualitative section). Responses gained from the customers from question 12 describes that Walmart needs to be more focused on informing the exact product feature and benefits to the customers through advertisement. This approach could create an interest among the customers. Similar fact has been supported by the statement that maintaining the brand image and the interest among the customers for buying a specific product depends on the information consumers receiving from the advertisement (as stated by Fred, 2007 in section 2.10, Chapter2). On the contrary, focusing more on demographic regions and its local culture along with the needs could be key strategy to gain a wider customer base. However, focusing on strong brand development could become helpful in gaining a wider customer base in Walmart. As stated by the Srinivasan and Helen (2008) that frequently highlighted advertisements can increase the popularity of the brand (refer to section 2.7.5, Chapter 2).The responses gained from the middle line managers from question 4 (qualitative section), describes that identifying proper advertising strategy is the key factor to gain the wider customer base. As stated by Lester (2004) that identification of exact advertising strategy is the primary role of a manager to reach wider customer base (refer to section 2.10, Chapter 2). On the other hand, one manager stated that Walmart needs to inform the total features and benefits to the customer during the coverage of advertisement. Similar fact has also been state by Fred (2007) that positioning gives the right mix for providing the features of the product to the customer base.

5.2 Recommendations:

Good advertisement could impact on the buying behaviour of the customer and getting a wider customer base in the long run. Some parameters of good advertisement are:

Being creative:

The main idea of advertisement is to build creative ways that connect the potential buyers with the organisation. Advertising is very complex process and it needs to be creative to penetrate the market in the real world. The competition has become very tough now a day and the organisations are incurring a lot of cost associated with advertisement. Creativity could reduce the cost incurring fo r the advertisement and it can provide a unique mean of communicating with the wider range of customers. Focusing mainly on conventional and imaginative parameter, Walmart could reach a wider customer base within a very small span of time which can produce measurable results.

Furthermore, creativity brings new ideas to the customer which could attract and retain the potential candidates for a long run. Companies are facing financial strain due to which the advertising business is standing at a tough and troublesome position. It is seen that the ad agencies are depending mostly on the campaigns which is destroying the creativity resulting the inefficiency in producing the desired result. Implementing new ideas and creativity could reduce the problems associated with the advertisement followed at Walmart that could result in getting and retaining a wider and loyal customer base towards the development of the organisation.

Focusing more on social media:

The dominance of social media has become so important that Walmart can no longer afford to avoid it.  Although, Face book is a market controlling device the importance of Twitter, Stumble Upon, You tube, Digg etc cannot be overlooked. Each and every social media network offers business in varied fields with different advantages. Face book could be termed as an integral part of the online promotional mix of Walmart. Apart from face book the others are more tailored. Twitter allows direct conversation having an infinite number of prospects. Furthermore, Stumble Upon provides the facility of giving chance to make the sites more visible which could enhance the understanding about the product of Walmart.

Social media could directly contribute to the online exposure of the business and it could result in increased revenue for Walmart. It has been observed that social media has improved the online marketing of Walmart and focusing more on social media could improve the online advertising strategy of Walmart. However, the implementation of social media could reduce the overall marketing budget of the organisations. Considering the Fact, Walmart could be benefited through social media by reducing its overall advertising and marketing budget.

In fact, social media has led to the media democratisation followed by paving the way for an upcoming generation of online conversation and relationship. Social media encourages the cross cultural mix and the creativity by fostering the ideas of mixed community and connecting all means of relationships that makes the business more transparent. However, Walmart could be benefited mostly by adopting social media as one of the most important strategy and focusing on it in a greater way.

Bringing the consistency:

Walmart’s advertisement policy could adopt consistency into its advertising culture. Fundamentally, consistency builds the brand loyalty and brand equity among the customer base. This brand equity could lead to get and retain a wider pool of potential customers among a bigger pool of audience. Consistency nurtures the customer by keeping the customers interested in companies brand development. Focusing on consistency parameter in its advertising policy, Walmart could be benefited in achieving a wider and potential customer pool.

Focusing more on relevancy and humorousness:

The advertisement needs to be interesting and relevant to the surroundings. Strong advertisement needs to be relevant and meaningful. A relevant advertisement could focus more on the human truths that is associated with using the product. Considering the fact, Walmart could get wider customer base by implementing relevancy in its advertising portfolio.

On the other hand, humor is a powerful parameter that could make people to like the product actually. Mostly all advertisements are built with logics and rational. On the contrary, it has been observed that laughter is more powerful to attract and retain a good consumer base rather than logical consideration. Considering the fact, Walmart could improve its customer base by focusing more on humorousness.

5.3 Limitations of the research:

In the present study 40 respondents were chosen for the quantitative analysis. To conduct the study properly at least 50 respondents are needed. Furthermore, in qualitative analysis only 4 middle line managers were chosen for the face to face interview session to get the actual picture of advertising policies and strategies followed at Walmart. Employing more number of managers could have impacted more positively on gaining a wider customer base at Walmart. However, the time frame given for the study was so less. The time constrain has forced to complete the study within a short time period resulting in choosing lesser number of respondents for the survey questionnaire analysis that could not be able to produce errorless result.

5.4 Future scope of the research:

The present study was focused on the impact of advertising in UK retail industry and Walmart has been chosen for a particular area. The study could be further conducted in broader area in the context of international business environment. Furthermore, this study could gain a broader aspect if a comparative study would have been conducted with reference to other firm. Similarly, the study can be conducted for the other industry also. It could create a broader aspect in the context of overall business strategy in any industry.

 

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Appendix:

Quantitative questionnaire for customers:

Q1 Do you think advertising is important for you to arrive at better buying decisions?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q2 Do you agree that effective advertising makes you being loyal to a particular brand?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

Q3 Do you think advertisement create awareness among customers about new products?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q4 Do you agree with the fact that advertising help you to evaluate benefits and attributes of various substitute products?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q5 Do you think advertising activities through social media is a better way of connecting to people?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q6 Do you agree advertisements of Walmart are informative? 

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q7 Do you find advertisements of Walmart are effective enough to engage people into promotion? 

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q8 Do you think claims made in Walmart’s advertisements are justified?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q9 Which advertising media do you find as most appealing?

  • Radio
  • Blogging
  • Video sharing
  • Facebook

 

Q10 Have you experienced major gaps between expected benefits and perceived benefits from Walmart’s product?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

 

Q11 Is the current frequency of advertisements by Walmart are sufficient to help you in taking buying decisions?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly agree

Q12 According to you what are could be focused mostly to reach a wider consumer base for Walmart?

  • Focusing on demographic regions
  • Focusing on the need of the customers
  • Developing a strong brand of the firm
  • Informing the exact features

Qualitative questions for managers:

Q1. How far do you think advertisement campaigns are significant for Walmart to achieve its organisational goals?

Q2. Which advertising policy is being followed at your store?

Q3. Is Walmart following a strong strategy to establish a strong brand image and brand loyalty?

Q4. Which strategic area needs to be focused mostly to get a wider customer base?

 

 

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