>WMT outsources its product demonstrations

January 27, 2010

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Recently Wal-Mart announced it will eliminate 10,000 jobs as part of a plan to turn over its product-demonstration program to Shopper Events, an independent marketing firm. A few weeks ago the company closed 10 stores nationwide and eliminated 1,500 jobs.

Taken together, the job cuts are the largest in Wal-Mart’s history, according to retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. “Based on our records, it’s the biggest ever,” said CGP president and Roulston Research’s Consumer Chair, Craig Johnson. But the moves could help Sam’s Club recover from a years-long slump, Johnson said.

“We think this is a cost savings move, as well as something that could improve customer service,” he said.

Johnson said that product sampling, typically involving free food, has become an important marketing tool for retailers like Sam’s Club, where food and consumables can account for half of overall sales.

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