Who to follow in 2010? - Amazon, WalMart
Happy New Year!
As we start 2010 the plan, according to The Financial Times, "WalMart aims to cut supply chain costs." Imagine that. Cost cutting has been the biggest Success Formula component for WalMart for its entire career. And now, the company that is already the low cost retailer - and famous for beating its suppliers down on price to almost no profitability - is planning to focus on purchasing for the next 5 years in order to hopefully take another 5% out of purchased product cost. How'd you like to hear that if Wal-Mart is one of your big customers? What do you suppose the discussion will be like when you go to Target or KMart (match WalMart pricing?)
Will this make WalMart more admired, or more successful? This is the epitome of "more of the same." Even though WalMart is huge, it has done nothing for shareholders for years. And employees have been filing lawsuits due to unpaid overtime. And some markets have no WalMart stores because the company refuses to allow any employees to be unionized. This announcement will not make WalMart a more valuable company, because it simply is an attempt to Defend the Success Formula.
On the other hand according to Newsweek, in "The Customer is Always Right," Amazon intends to keep moving harder into new products and markets in 2010. Amazon has added enormous value to its shareholders, including gains in 2009, as it has moved from bookselling to general merchandise retailing to link retailing to consumer electronics with the Kindle and revolutionizing publishing with the Kindle store. Amazon isn't trying to do more of the same, it's using innovation to drive growth.
And the CEO, Jeff Bezos freely admits that his success today is due to scenario development and plans laid 4 years ago - as Amazon keeps its planning focused on the future. With the advent of many new products coming out in 2010 - including the Apple Tablet - Amazon will have to keep up its focus on new products and markets to maintain growth. Good thing the company is headed that direction.
So which company would you rather work for? Invest in? Supply?
Which will you emulate?
PS - "Create Marketplace Disruption: How To Stay Ahead of the Competition" was selected last week to be on the list of "Top 25 Books to read in 2010" by PCWorld and InfoWorld. Don't miss getting your copy soon if you haven't yet read the book.