What I Learned From Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World

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John Wiley & Sons, Aug 20, 2004 - Business & Economics - 237 pages

"Michael Bergdahl’s book presents unique insights into the staggering international success of Wal-Mart. Throughout the pages of this book, you can almost hear Sam Walton himself coaching and inspiring his legion of employees to greatness."
–Tracy Mullin, President and CEO, National Retail Federation

"Retailers, non-retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers will enjoy Bergdahl’s insights into Wal-Mart’s service culture and its leadership icon, Sam Walton."
–Roger J. Dow, SVP Global and Field Sales, Marriott International, Inc.

"Mike Bergdahl, in his book, What I Learned from Sam Walton: How to Compete and Thrive in a Wal-Mart World, has provided a complete digest and compilation of the various objectives, tactics, policies, procedures, mindsets, and culture used by the world’s largest retailer. This book offers any business person the opportunity to assess and evaluate the effort, drive, and commitment, one must have to effectively and profitably compete at retail today against a formidable and predatory competitor. The insights, strategies, and steps presented are a career of observations in successful marketing, business efficiency, human resource management, and customer focus. All retailers today, face the challege of becoming and maintaining relevant to the consumer today. This book offers clear and concise suggestions on what has been done by Wal-Mart and what could, and may be done by all other retailers seeking to become alternative shopping experiences for the consumer."
–J.H. Campbell Jr., President/CEO, Associated Grocers, Inc., Baton Rouge, Louisiana
past chairman of the Board of Directors, National Grocers Association

Bergdahl outlines his competitive strategy with the acronym P.O.C.K.E.T.S.

P – Price: Don’t try to compete on price; differentiate your product selection.

O – Operations: Break the retail "ready, shoot, aim" tactical orientation by developing an actual strategy to compete.

C – Culture: Build a can-do culture with a strong sense of urgency. Communicate your values and beliefs over and over again to your employees.

K – Key Item Promotion/Product: Determine who you are and uniformly communicate your brand message to your entire team.

E – Expenses: Become obsessed about controlling costs.

T – Talent: Recruit constantly and hire people who have both experience and high potential.

S – Service: Never take your customer for granted. Empower your employees to make decisions involving customer concerns.


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Pricing Strategies and Tactics
Operational Strategies and Tactics
Cultural Strategies and Tactics
Key ItemProduct Strategies and Tactics
Expense Control Strategies and Tactics
Talent Strategies and Tactics
Service Strategies and Tactics
Competitive Business Strategies and Tactics SelfAssessment to Help You Evaluate Your Ability to Compete and Survive Against WalMart
About the Author

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About the author (2004)

MICHAEL BERGDAHL has over twenty-five years of business experience working in a variety of business environments with outstanding business leaders. He has worked for three Fortune 500 companies and has been involved in two successful business turnarounds. His experiences in the restaurant, publishing, petrochemical, consumer packaged goods, discount retailing, specialty retailing, and waste industries provide the foundation for his interest in and knowledge of this topic. His years of retailing experience with companies like Frito-Lay, Wal-Mart, and American Eagle Outfitters provided the "business laboratory" for him to fine tune his understanding of business competition. His knowledge of Wal-Mart comes from firsthand experiences working at their home office–with Mr. Sam himself.

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