What Walmart Can Teach Online Booksellers

Jun 01, 15 What Walmart Can Teach Online Booksellers

“Picasso had a saying—’good artists copy; great artists steal’—and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

– Steve Jobs, 1996
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Mass retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon.com and Kroger have some very important lessons to teach all online retailers.

Now available at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store

Now available at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store

You should pay attention to these companies because they make vast amounts of money selling a wide variety of products. Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported revenues of $485.52 billion on April 30, 2015, Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST) reported sales of $115.64 billion on February 28, 2015, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) reported a revenue figure of $91.97 billion on March 31, 2015, and Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), America’s largest grocer, reported a revenue figure of $108.47 billion.

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These numbers are no mistake. They come very deliberate strategies, some of which anybody can take advantage of. Some of the most important lessons that big retail can teach online retailers include:

  • Selling a lot of small items at a low price can be more profitable than selling a few high-value items. Unfortunately, many online retailers do the opposite; they devote all their time and energy to seeking out and selling a few expensive items and have very low levels of sales to show for their troubles. Posting a large volume of items is more effective than posting just a few.
Look for it at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store

Look for it at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store

  • Selling items at a variety of prices will drive more sales than just low-cost or expensive merchandise. Next time you go to Walmart, Costco, a Kroger grocery store like Ralph’s or Fred Meyer or any other large store, take a look around. You’ll see items selling at a wide variety of prices; at a Kroger Marketplace store you might see 50¢ cans of tomatoes and $10,000 diamond rings for sale in the jewelry store. (Yes, Kroger is one of the nation’s largest jewelers). At Walmart, you might see $4,000 TV sets and $5 calculators selling in the same electronics section.

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  • Retailers do this because they know that having a wide variety of prices attracts a wide variety of customers. If you’re willing to list a lot of cheaper items, you will increase your customer volume, which can lead to more sales.


  • Diversification pays. Big retailers understand the importance of diversification or having multiple streams of income. That way they are not dependent on just one source of income. Amazon sells both streaming video and socks in order to increase its income and reduce its exposure to changes in the market. Walmart operates auto repair centers and sells auto insurance in its stores for the same reason. Kroger even sells jewelry and furniture in some of its grocery stores. You should consider doing the same; selling both expensive collectors’ books and textbooks can give you two streams of income to rely on.
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Want to buy it? It’s available at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store!!

  • Such a strategy is called diversification. It is one of the methods that made Warren Buffett one of the world’s richest men. His Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B) manufactures everything from ketchup to diamonds to bricks and sells insurance to boot.

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  • Consistency and customer service are everything. One reason why big retailers like Amazon.com and Kroger succeed is that they offer a consistently good customer service experience. Costco has become an international phenomenon because of its reputation for great customer service and friendly employees.
Like What you See? It is for sale right now at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store!!

Like What you See? It is for sale right now at the Book and Comic Picker eBay Store!!

Think about your own retail experiences. You are more likely to go back to the store where you were treated well and stay out of the one where you had a negative experience. One reason why Walmart has struggled with declining sales in recent years is its reputation for poor customer service.

Learning from the biggest names in retail is one of the best ways for an average person to master the art of online retail. So pay close attention on your next shopping trip. You might learn something.

Disclosure your blogger owns shares of Kroger!!



1 Comment

  1. Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover someone who actually understands what they’re discussing over the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular given that you surely have the gift.|

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