Tag Archives: Wal-Mart

Going Mobile with Virtual Toy Stores


In the busy holiday shopping season, consumers do not always have enough free time to go to stores and shop. How can companies help these harried shoppers? Instead of bringing consumers to the store, how can marketers bring the stores to the consumers? Easy – by using new technologies and mobile commerce.

Similar to the Tesco virtual store that was in a Seoul subway station last year, Canadian firm Wells.ca tested a similar QR-enabled store in a Toronto rail station earlier this year. By placing life-sized posters of products, along with prices and QR codes, consumers could easily shop as part of their daily work commute.

Wal-Mart is also testing a similar idea in Toronto as part of its partnership with Mattel toys. The two companies will have a pop-up virtual toy store for shoppers to buy Mattel brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-price, and more. Shoppers can scan a QR code by using their smart phones to purchase the toys.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Divide students into groups. Have each group outline some of the issues that shoppers face in the holiday season. How can companies address these issues?
2. Show the video of virtual shopping in a Toronto subway station:
3. View the Wal-Mart 2012 toy selection video:
4. In groups, have students list some of the concerns and issues that need to be addressed for the virtual stores (ex: supply chain, stock, shipping, etc.)
5. Have students list other applications of the virtual stores.
6. Where could they be placed? What products or services could utilize the format?
7. How can use of this technology be integrated into marketing campaigns?

Source:  Brandchannel.com., 11/6/12, other news outlets

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Social Media Helps Market Researchers


Marketers have traditionally used research methods such as focus groups, observation, trend analysis, and competitive research to help develop and gauge customer response to new products. But that was before social media. Today, a new research methodology using social media is helping companies understand consumer preferences and develop new products. Case in point: Frito-Lay is using Facebook to interact with its customers to suggest new flavors. The company’s “Do us a flavor” app on Facebook encourages customers to suggest and vote on new flavor combinations.

Frito-Lay isn’t the only company using this method. Other companies, such as Wal-Mart, have also been using social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare as an marketing research forum. Wal-Mart used social media networks to determine whether to stock lollipop-shaped cake makers, Estee Lauder asked its social media users to vote on lipstick shades to bring back to market, and Samuel Adams got its fans involved to create a crowd-sourced beer.

Marketers benefit from the direct interaction with customers. Customers get a voice, a vote, and show their preferences directly and immediately with companies.

Another benefit for companies is that social media users trend to younger ages; these are people who might not previously have been vocal in their likes and dislikes. Companies might not have even realized they had disenfranchised consumers until sagging sales made it too late for action. Now, by involving customers early, companies get the benefit of the crowds viewpoints early, long before potentially losing market share.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group search social media sites to uncover companies using sites for market research.
  2. Companies to examine on Facebook and Twitter: Wal-Mart, Frito-Lay, Samuel Adams, and Kohls.
  3. How are these companies using social media such as Facebook and Twitter for research?
  4. What other companies and products might benefit from this approach? Why?
  5. What are the pros of using social media for market research?
  6. What are the negative aspects?
  7. In groups, have students design a market research project that could be conducted using a company’s Facebook app.

Source:  New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, other news sources, 7/31/12

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