Walmart Asserts Devotion To Customers At Annual Meeting

In a presentation at the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. president and CEO Doug McMillon outlined how the company would serve customers and fulfill its mission through three core principles. The company will redouble its efforts in customer service, employee investment and technology, he declared.

“First, we will be a customer-driven company,” McMillon remarked. “ We’ve always said the customer is our boss, and we’ll make decisions based on how we can serve them better. Second, we will invest in our people. As we change and grow, it will be our associates who will make the difference. Finally, we need to be at the forefront of innovation and technology. We will lead with urgency to get ahead of change.”

McMillon stated that Walmart is increasing the pace of change to serve its customers better in store and online.

“Customers will increasingly expect and require the best of both worlds,” he pointed out. “They want the excitement and the immediacy of shopping in a physical store, and the freedom to shop whenever, however and wherever they want. They want an experience that seamlessly adapts to their life. Walmart can bring together our stores with new digital commerce capabilities to help customers save money, save time, and have access to what they want and need. Walmart will exceed their expectations.”

He continued, “Our stores, 11,000 and growing, will provide access and convenience. If you need it right here, right now, we’ve got it. We will run great stores and clubs with great associates. We’ll keep adding services and pick-up points to our stores to become even more convenient. We’ll also strive to have collection points wherever our customers want us to be, and we’ve seen the demand for food delivery in places like the U.K., Mexico and China. And of course, we’ll keep improving our traditional E-commerce offering of ordering online and shipping to customers’ homes.”

McMillon maintained that Walmart would run its retail locations better to drive comparable store sales, adding that the elements in the improvement included: “Price leadership. Strong in stock. Friendly customer service and compelling merchandise. Items that surprise and delight. Merchandise that is presented aggressively. When we’re at our best, the features in our stores anticipate what our customers want and need.”

On the divisional level, Sam’s Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer characterized the operations she oversees as based increasingly on the organization and analysis of data that provides better and faster decision making.

Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., related that the company is investing in new programs that will give associates more opportunity as well as developing “new capabilities to serve customers in new ways. It is important that we all understand the shift that has happened in technology and retail, what it means for us and what we’re doing to win. There’s a lot of innovation and opportunity available to us.”

President and CEO of Walmart International David Cheesewright focused on how customers are changing in his presentation at the annual meeting, noting that the company is adapting to the evolution in factors such as mobile device purchasing while Walmart Global eCommerce president and CEO Neil Ashe highlighted the strong growth of e-commerce sales and how Walmart is aligning digital and physical retail to serve customers better.