Walmarting is a neologism referring to U.S. discount department store Walmart with three meanings. The first use is similar to the concept of globalization and is used pejoratively by critics and neutrally by businesses seeking to emulate Wal-Mart's success. The second, pejorative, use refers to the homogenization of the retail sector because of those practices. The third, neutral use refers to the act of actually shopping at Wal-Mart.
The term "Walmarting" derives from debate over Walmart's business practices, which effectively apply optimization concepts from logistics, purchasing and finance to achieve and maintain low prices.. More generally, "Walmarting" refers to the spread of Wal-Mart's business model to other big-box retailers throughout the American economy, and the national or global implications of that proliferation.
The Wal-Mart business model includes: marketing to a broad "family" demographic that includes rural as well as urban, ethnic minorities as well as mainstream, people without a higher-level education, lower- or working-class consumers, as well as the middle-class; one-stop shopping based on a very large selection of goods and services; the use of intense price-competition and high-technology inventory management to stimulate and satisfy end-user demand; extreme economies of scale based on big-box delivery of consumables; aggressive supply-chain management that requires producers to reduce their costs significantly to find an outlet for their goods; employment of store workers for low wages, few benefits, and little job security to reduce overhead.
Critics[who?] have claimed that the domestic impact of Walmarting is to force local businesses into bankruptcy because they are unable to compete with Wal-Mart's "low, low prices", and to reduce the standard of living for local workers who lose their jobs, then must accept work at Wal-Mart levels of compensation. Similarly, some critics argue that the international impact of Walmarting is to force American suppliers to rely on low-wage foreign producers for goods, leading in turn to an unfavorable national balance of trade and contributing to the growth of the American temporary and low-wage employment sector.
In response, Wal-Mart proponents[who?] point out consumer monies saved by purchasing lower-cost goods can then be diverted elsewhere in the economy to create jobs. Supporters of Wal-Mart have also noted that retail-driven price competition rationalizes the economy and eliminates wasteful deployment of capital and labor. Wal-Mart advocates[who?] particularly emphasize the democratic values inherent in providing a store where all Americans can afford to shop.
Walmarting differs both from "Disneyfication" and "McDonaldization," though there is a significant resemblance. "Disneyfication" and "McDonaldization" emphasize the "fun" of theme park attractions and fast food dining, while Walmarting markets itself mainly upon shopping for savings. "Disneyfied" businesses embellish a particular theme as imagined history, while "McDonaldized" businesses rationalize a specific good or service. By contrast, "Walmarting" plays upon a single aspect of shopping – getting a bargain – and applies it across the board to a broad range of goods and services available in its "super-stores."
The "Walmarting" concept has been applied in various industries. The external links below cite examples of its usage for the first two definitions.
Outside the U.S.
India has experienced a similar phenomenon of Wal-Martization to the United States, with significant negative ramifications for its economy.
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- Bergdahl, Michael (2004). What I Learned from Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World. ISBN 0-471-67998-4.
- Bianco, Anthony (2006). The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Wal-Mart's Everyday Low Prices Is Hurting America. ISBN 0-385-51356-9.
- Dicker, John (2005). The United States of Wal-Mart. Jeremy P. Tarcher. ISBN 1-58542-422-6.
- Ehrenreich, Barbara (2002). Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Owl Books. ISBN 0-7453-1846-0.
- Featherstone, Liza (2004). Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02316-9.
- Fishman, Charles (2005). The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy. Penguin Press. ISBN 1-59420-076-9.
- Joseph, Marc & Fischer, Rusty (2005). The Secrets of Retailing, or: How to Beat Wal-Mart!. Silverback Books. ISBN 1-59637-037-8.
- Lichtenstein, Nelson (2006). Wal-Mart: A Field Guide to America's Largest Company and the World's Largest Employer. New Press. ISBN 1-59558-035-2.
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