March 3, 2008

The Softer Side of Wal-Mart?

Filed under: Technology — Emily Reeves @ 9:59 am

Over the holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart launched a new blog, CheckOutBlog.com.  This blog is a new and interesting approach for Wal-Mart.  The NY Times reported on this new blog over the weekend:

“Known for its strict, by-the-books culture — accepting a cup of coffee from a supplier can be a firing offense — Wal-Mart is now encouraging its merchants to speak frankly, even critically, about the products the chain carries.

“This unusual new Web site, which was quietly created during the holiday shopping season, has become a forum for unvarnished rants about gadgets, raves about new video games and advice on selecting environmentally sustainable food.

“…Wal-Mart’s site…turns the traditional model on its head. Instead of relying on polished high-level executives, it is written by little-known buyers, largely without editing.

“The result is an intensely personal window into the lives, preferences and quirks of the powerful tastemakers at Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, who have spent years shielded from public view.”

I wonder if won’t still be met with some skepticism just because it is hosted by “Wal-Mart.”  It is a very interesting approach, and if nothing else, shows some progressiveness for the brand that is right in line with positioning it has taken on sustainability. If they keep this up, they just might gradually change perceptions of Wal-Mart — a task that at once seemed impossible, but could now be a plausible outcome.

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