Wal-Mart Stores Inc. seems to have a well-thought-out business strategy, involving both social programs and innovative market strategies. After announcing plans to offer more job opportunities to US veterans, the retail giant seems ready to Amazon.com’s supremacy when it comes to online distribution.
First off all, Wal-Mart wants to capitalize on the success of its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment program. First launched in 2013, the program seeks to guarantee a job for all US veterans who were honorably discharged from duty. The company claims things are going better than expected, and hiring is well ahead of schedule.
“We’ve experienced a tremendous response to the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in our first two years, and as more service members transition out of active duty, we know we can do more,” explained Gary Profit, a retired Brigadier General who now serves as director of military programs for Wal-Mart.
The initial goal of the program was to secure jobs for 100,000 veterans by 2018, but the company claims to have already hired around 92,000 over the past two years, and the number is quickly rising. The new goal set by the retail giant is to hire 250,000 discharged veterans by 2020.
The number is relatively impressive, given that it is almost the same as the amount of servicemen that get discharged each year. If things follow the same pattern, Wal-Mart will become the new workplace for about a quarter of the military veterans that will get discharged until 2020.
Wal-Mart is joined in this initiative by other important companies operating in the US. JP Morgan, for instance, claims that it was able to hire about 241,833 U.S. veterans since the beginning of 2015, either directly or through subsidiaries. General Electric offers another 10,000 jobs.
But besides getting involved in social programs, Wal-Mart also has designs to expand its business. The company’s next goal is to get involved in the online market, where it plans to gain the edge over its competitors by using its giant network of stores as distribution points.
The company recorded rather unimpressive results in its first quarter, and is convinced that improving its online presence is the solution. As the earnings report released on Tuesday shows, online sales recorded a 17 percent increase. Albeit unimpressive, the growth shows that the online market is the future, since Wal-Mart’s overall sales dropped.
Wal-Mart opted for an aggressive strategy to challenge the likes of Amazon, and thinks it can challenge their well-established position in the sector by offering a free shipping system. However, the program is only an experiment for now, and the company will reevaluate its benefits at the end of this quarter.
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