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Sample Business Case Study Examples

Compelling case studies can help you convince potential customers to start to use your product.

This is especially true if your case study subject is in the same industry or is the same size as your potential customer.

There’s just one problem.

Writing an excellent case study is hard.

So we thought we would help lighten the load for you.

This post contains 35 case study examples across a variety of industries to help inspire your content writers.

Plus, we’ll walk through a step-by-step process on how to write a case study of your own (using one of two different template styles can grab for free).

Create Great Marketing Case Studies With Four Free Templates

Before we get into the post, let’s not waste time giving you what you came here for.

That’s our marketing case study templates, right?

In this, bundle, you’ll get:

  • Three Case Study Templates (Print or PDF): Use this Word template to create a case study you’ll either print or make available via PDF. We’ve included three copies in green, red, and blue header colors.
  • Case Study Template (Web): Use this template to write your case study content as a web page.

Grab them both and following on with the rest of this post.

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What Is A Case Study?

According to Top Rank Blog, a case study is:

“An analysis of a project, campaign or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.”

Here’s a case study video example from a brand you might even be drinking right now (if we had to guess, we’d say marketers love their Starbucks):

TL;DR? Check out this Slideshare if you want a quick overview on developing case studies:

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7 Steps To Writing a Strong Case Study

Writing a case study involves gathering all the information you need from your organization, your client or a customer, and then formating into an easy to read document.

Here are the seven steps you need to follow to write a full study.

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Step One: Finding the Subject of Your Case Study

The first step in any case study writing process is deciding who you want to write about. It could be your organization, a client or a customer.

Some criteria to keep in mind when you’re selecting your case study subject is:

  • If you’re working with a customer or client, how much do they use your product or service?
  • Has there been a dramatic result since they started working with your organization?
  • Have they used a competitor before?

To find this information, consider:

  • Talking to your sales team to see if there are any prospects who may be willing to participate.
  • Asking your customer support department if they have any exceptional customers.
  • Review recent new customers to see if any prospective candidates have bought from you.

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Step Two: Ask For Permission to Use Their Story in Your Case Study

It’s one thing if you’re writing about your organization, it’s another if you’re writing about customers or clients. Don’t just pull information about them and throw it into a case study.

Ask them before you start.

Create a Permission Letter

If you are creating multiple case studies, design a pre-written permission letter. It will help move your writing process along.

Your letter should include:

  • What the case study undertaking is going to look like.
  • What they get out of the case study.

Here’s a copy-and-paste template you can tailor to your needs:

Hi [Name of person],

Our team is conducting a case study, and we would love to tell the story of [company]. Would you be interested in working with us to create a case study around the use of our product?

Here’s a description of our process and what we would need from you:

What we’d like from you:

  • High-resolution company logo (basically as big as possible)
  • High-resolution images of your team, company office, etc – stories with photos of your team will drive more traffic (people like seeing that there are humans behind a story)
  • Stats: before [Company] / after [Company]

What does the process look like?

  • 1 [phone/video call/coffee] interview with [person].
  • Our team will then take your interview and build a story out of it.
  • 2-3 email conversations may be necessary to gather extra information.
  • Once final draft is complete – we’ll send it over to your team for review.
  • We’ll then finalize the story, create a landing page, and build a campaign around it.
  • Once live we’ll share final story with you (for your marketing efforts)

Average Turnaround Time: 1 month (subject to change based on response times and edits).

What’s in it for you?

  • Perk One
  • Perk Two
  • Perk Three
  • Perk Four
  • Perk Five

Best regards,

[SIGNATURE]

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Consider Using a Legal Release Form

Another potential step in the process is asking your case study subjects to sign a legal release form so you can use their information.

You do not have to take this step in your case study creation process. If you do decide to have your subjects sign a form, consult with your legal team first.

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Step Three: Send Them An Introductory Questionnaire

Once your client or customer has agreed to participate, you should begin to format your introductory questionnaire.

This questionnaire will help you get the information you need to shape the story of your case study.

Some potential questions to include could be:

  • What problem did you experience before using our product/service?
  • Why did you select our product/service instead of a competitor?
  • How did our product/service solve a problem you were experiencing?
  • What are your goals as a business or organization?
  • Are you comfortable sharing data and metrics demonstrating your success?

You can adjust your questions based on how your customer uses your product to get specific answers or quotes that can be highlighted in your study.

Recommended Reading:40 Content Writing Tips to Make You a Better Marketer Now

Step Four: Format Your Case Study Interview Questions

Once your client or customer has completed your initial questionnaire, it’s time to draft your interview questions.

Asking quality interview questions is critical to ensure that you get the information you need to write a full case study. Remember your clients or customers are busy, so you don’t want to have to ask for more details multiple times.

Based on the responses that you received from your initial questionnaire, you can adjust questions to get any additional information you need.

Here are 25 case study questions to add to your interview.

Getting To Know Your Subject

These questions should be similar to the ones you sent in your questionnaire. These should help you gather any information you may have missed.
Potential examples are:

  • What industry is your company in?
  • How long have you been using our product or service?
  • What is your work process like?
  • How many members are on your team?
  • What goals do you set for your team?

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What Problems Were They Experiencing?

Your case study participants were obviously experiencing some problem before they turned to your organization for a solution. Give the readers of your case study, even more, context by getting as much information about their problem as possible.

Some possible questions to include in your interview are:

  • When did your team first realize there was a problem?
  • What solutions did you try before you came to us?
  • Did your problem happen suddenly or did it occur over time?
  • How did the team come to the decision that outside assistance was required?
  • What factors led to the problem developing?

[Tweet “Writing a case study? Here are five questions to ask when identifying your subject’s core problems.”

What Helped Them Make Their Decision?

Finding out what helped your client or customer decide to work with your company is not only informative for potential new business, but it can help your organization determine what materials to publish.

Try these questions out during your interview:

  • What materials did you read or watch that influenced your decision?
  • What criteria did you have when you were looking for a solution?
  • What competitors did you look at (if any)?
  • How did you convince your team to make a change?
  • What sealed the deal for you when you choose to work with our organization?

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How Does Your Solution Help?

Talk to your customer or client and find out how your solution is helped them fix the problem that they were previously experiencing.

Add these questions to your interview list:

  • What [product/service] helped solve your problem?
  • What did our product or service replace in your current work process?
  • What tasks did our [product/service] simplify for you?
  • How much time do you save?
  • What tasks did our [product/service] eliminate?

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How Did They Implement Your Product?

Another relevant question to ask during your interview process is how your subject implemented your solution into their work process. This could help eliminate nerves from other potential new customers.

Here are some questions to ask during your interview:

  • How easily did your team adapt our product into their routine?
  • How was your onboarding process?
  • What process did you use to switch over to using our product?
  • What difficulties did you face in the transition process?
  • What advice do you have for anyone implementing our product into their work process?

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What Results Did They See?

Results speak volumes so why not let your customer or client data do the talking for you? Remember that you may not be able to gather or showcase all the data you ask for.

Try adding a few of these questions to your list of questions:

  • How much faster are you at completing [task] now that you use our product?
  • How did we help you reach your goals?
  • Did you see any significant jumps in the data that your team collects?
  • How has your productivity changed since implementing our [product/service]?
  • What positive results have you seen?

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Want to keep these questions somewhere handy for reference? Save this cheat sheet:

Step Five: Schedule the Interview

You’ve found your subject, and your interview questions are at the ready. The next part of your process is going to involve setting up your interview.

First, you need to set up a time for your interview on a synced calendar.

Do This With CoSchedule: Did you know you can sync your Google Calendar with your CoSchedule calendar? Learn how.

Then you need to decide how you’re going to conduct your interview. Here are some options:

  • Phone interview. Use a phone call recording app like [Include some options here]. Make sure you have permission to record your call.
  • Video call. If you’re using a Mac, Quicktime makes it easy to record video calls on your desktop for free. Windows users can use Skype.
  • Face to face meeting. If your client is local, this may be the easiest and most personable option.

Once you and your client/customer have decided on an interview time and place, make sure that you have a way to document your interview, either through a recording device or note taking (we highly recommend recording your conversation for accuracy and peace of mind).

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Step Six: Write Your Case Study

Finally, you have all of your information collected in one place. Now comes the fun part; putting it all together into the case study template you downloaded earlier.

Writing Your Title

The first part of any good case study is a catchy title. Your title should include the name of your client or customer as well as their logo. Your subhead should also be short and included information on what product or service they used that helped them solve their problem.

In your template, add your title (and your subject’s logo):


What does a quality title look like? Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated. It should:

  • State who it’s about.
  • Explain what was done.
  • Communicate a clear result.

Take a look at this example from bit.ly:

This title works because of it explains:

  • The problem the company faced.
  • What type of company is involved in the case study.
  • How bit.ly helped them tackle the challenge.

Do This With CoSchedule: Did you know that CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you write better headlines? Try it now.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary should be a two to three sentence paragraph that describes the story of your client/customer. You can also include a statistic or two to help illustrate the success of your case study subject.

Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

Check out this executive summary example about Patagonia:

 

This executive summary works because:

  • It explains what Patagonia is about.
  • It highlights the problem the company was experiencing.
  • It’s short and concise.

Who is The Case Study About?

The next part of your case study should explain who your case study is about. This is where the information that you gathered from your initial questionnaire would go.

Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

This one, from a case study about Adobe, is tied in with its executive summary:

Why this works:

  • It explains who Adobe is.
  • It highlights what the Adobe team is already doing.
  • It ties together the problem Adobe experienced with the reason it turned to LinkedIn for a solution.

Problems They’ve Faced

In this part of the study, write about the top two to three issues that your case study participant was experiencing. You should summarize what challenges they faced as well as their previous goals.

Cirque de Soleil’s case study is a great example of address problems a company faces in a case study:

 

Why it works:

  1. The study cuts right to the heart of the problem.
  2. It mentions the specific part of the company that helped Cirque.
  3. It breaks through the fluff and gets the point across right away.

How Did You Help?

 

This section of your case study is going to show off the solutions that your customers and clients use. It should highlight the changes that you’ve brought to their team.

Callaway Golf is another great example of a case study that explains how it’s researcher helped solve their problem.

Why this works:

  • It shows people how LinkedIn has access to Callaway’s target demographic.
  • It explains how they created an app to help solve Callaway’s problem.
  • It explains parts of the data they used to target Callaway’s target audience.

Progress and Results

The final section of your case study should feature the progress that has been made since your customer or client began to use your services. This could be shown through progress towards their goals, changes in metrics they track, and more.

Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

Take a look at the results section in a case study on Weebly.

 

Why this works:

  • The results are one of the most visuals aspects of the case study.
  • They are easy to skim.
  • You can easily tell what type of growth or improvement they experienced.

Using Visuals In Your Case Study

Visuals can help add the extra oomph you need to make a great case study. It can also help make the document easier to skim.

Whether that means graphs, logos, or photos, visuals can make a huge difference.

 

Here are a few extra resources to help you create solid visuals for your case study.

Do This In CoSchedule: You can manage projects and hold your team accountable to meeting deadlines with CoSchedule?Learn how.

Step Seven: Promoting Your Case Study

Your case study is finally complete. You sent it off to your client/customer, and they approved your work.

Now what?

You did all that work, don’t forget to get it out there for the world to see.

Promote your case study by:

The great thing about case studies is that they are an easy piece of marketing material to tack on to any additional campaign.

Do This In CoSchedule: You can plan and promote all your content in one place with CoSchedule? Learn how to create and schedule automated social media promo campaigns in CoSchedule.

What Does A Case Study Look Like? Let’s Look at 5 Examples.

Now that you know how to create a great case study let’s look at some well-executed examples.

Vega Case Study Example

Here’s an example of a case study our team at CoSchedule created for Vega, a customer specializing in premium plant-based lifestyle products. It makes it clear who they are and exactly how CoSchedule has improved their business.

 

Red Bull Marketing Case Study Example

Red Bull is known for its amazing content marketing. This case study from Link Humans turns a typical blog post into a full-blown case study examining how the brand executes its wildly innovative strategy:

 

Automotive Case Study Example

Why does this case study work? It’s about an automotive company, and it’s coming from one of the biggest family brands ever: Disney.

It’s also:

  1. Concise and to the point. There is no fluff that would distract the reader from the information they need to find.
  2. Outside of Disney’s wheelhouse and therefore reaches a different but desired target market. Who would think of Disney as a resource to help craft a new company culture? This case study shows that they can.

Big-Box Store Case Study Example

Target is a big brand box store that is branching out and trying new things to interact with its customers. This case study from TED landed on our highlight list for two reasons.

  1. One is its visually appealing images …
  2. … and the other is the way the TED team formatted the study for the web. It’s short, sweet and broken into easy to skim paragraphs.

Hotel Case Study Example

This case study from Hilton is a great example of how a company can conduct a study on itself. This brief document is a perfect example of how to format a case study for easy printing.

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Now Go Write An Awesome Case Study

The fear of creating a compelling case study is gone. You have great examples to follow and two different templates to help you format the information you gather.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Do you have a question or two about formatting case studies? Let us know in the comments below.

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Let’s say you just moved into your dorm room, and you’re moving in with a heavy, awkward, flat box that’s soon to become your TV stand.

When you open the box, the directions are text only. There are no images to show what screw A or fastener B actually look like and no diagrams to show how to connect shelf 1 to bottom panel B.

In this case, a diagram or example would do wonders.

The same is true for writing a new type of paper. If you’ve never written a business case study before, reading an example can certainly help you see what a finished product might look like.

So if you’re writing a business case study and need an example, you’re in luck. I’ve got two business case study examples (with annotations) just for you!

2 Business Case Study Examples That Perform Like a Boss

Most case studies follow a specific format and include an overview of the business, a discussion of the problem, proposed solutions, and recommendations.

(If you want a refresher about the specifics, read How to Write a Case Study That Means Business.)

In the examples below, I’ve included annotations to help you see what these writers do well. I have also provided suggestions to highlight areas where these case studies might be improved.

For both business case study examples, my commentary is below each paragraph. The specific text I’m discussing is notated with a bracket and a corresponding number [#]. When you see an asterisk in front of that at the end of a paragraph *[#], my comments apply to the preceding paragraph as a whole.

Now let’s get to those business case study examples!

Business case study example #1: A Training Needs Assessment of the McDonald’s Corporate Restaurants and the Possible Outcomes of Modifying Their Training Program

Though this case study requires some revision, I’ve included it here as an example of a solid basic structure. It includes all of the basic components of an effective case study:

  • An introduction to the problem
  • An overview of the company and the problem
  • Proposed solutions
  • Conclusion section
  • Evidence to support information

This case study, however, would be more effective if it expanded ideas through further discussion, examples, and evidence from sources.

A Training Needs Assessment of the McDonald’s Corporate Restaurants and the Possible Outcomes of Modifying Their Training Program

[1]Summary

[2]In the fast food industry, it is not uncommon for customers to expect unsatisfactory service. Quality is becoming one of the widely addressed concerns among these types of restaurant chains. Since it has become a common standard for chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s to underperform in terms of service and quality. The only “justifiable ” reasons for this are the low costs of food and the quick service, hence being deemed a “fast food” restaurant. Other widely known facts regarding these establishments are the minimal level of qualifications required for holding a job, and the level of pay that reflects it. Many of the employees that work in this type of industry know that this is not an ideal career. [3] Many workers have minimal education and/ or work experience, and are often younger. The quality of food and the competence of the employees is also evident of  this. [4] For this training needs assessment, I will be discussing possible outcomes in modifying the training program of McDonald’s corporate restaurants.

Susan says:

[1]Like most case studies, this example uses headings to distinguish the various sections of the paper.

Check with your professor to see which headings should be used in your assignment.

Susan says:

[2] The opening line of the introduction establishes the broad focus of this case study: service at fast food restaurants.

This is a good start because it sets the stage for the paper, but starting with a good hook sentence would make this even stronger.

(Read: How to Write Good Hook Sentences.)

Susan says:

[3] These two sentences begin to narrow the focus of the paper: working qualifications and training.

(Read: How to Narrow a Topic and Write a Focused Paper.)

Susan says:

[4] Though this writer chooses to write in first person (“I”), most academic writing is written in third person.

(Read: Why Third-Person Writing Is Critical to a Great Essay.)

The final line of the introduction is the thesis statement and establishes the problem to be analyzed: modification of the training program at McDonald’s.

(Read: How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Simple Steps.)

Training Needs Assessment

[5] Many of the employees who work for McDonald’s are high school students without a formal education. This is why it is justifiable for this fast food chain to pay their workers such low wages. It is a common industry practice to start common crew members off at minimum wage. [6] Even the supervisors who oversee the operation of these establishments make an average of $18,230 annually (Bradford, 2013). The hard work and stress that is required to function at one of these places can make employees feel like they want to give up. A negative mindset can have detrimental effects on an employee’s work performance. [7] Still, the low pay and high turnover rates make many employees indispensable. This allows them to get away with poor work ethics and less-than-adequate training. [8] By providing a more higher hygienic standards, reasonable pay and a training program which is more enforced, McDonald’s has the potential to reclaim its positive status in the fast food market.

Susan says:

[5] In the opening sentences, the writer provides background information and an overview of McDonald’s workforce: teens with little education or experience who are paid minimum wage.

Establishing the type of workforce at McDonald’s enables the reader to understand where problems in training might exist and how to improve training.

Susan says:

[6] Background information and a discussion of the problem should be supported with evidence.

Here, the writer cites one source, but it is the only citation in this section. Incorporating additional research would help strengthen the overview and analysis.

(Read: 3 Types of Essay Support That Prove You Know Your Stuff.)

Susan says:

[7] These two sentences do a great job of clearly illustrating the key problem in training: workers are paid little for their stressful work. This leads to high turnover rates.

Susan says:

[8] The last sentence of this paragraph establishes the writer’s solution.

While increasing pay and improving training make sense, in the context of the current case study, the idea of improving hygiene is out of place here. It hasn’t been discussed as part of the problem.

If the writer would like to include a discussion of hygiene concerns, the information should be included earlier in the paper.

Doing a reverse outline to identify any areas that stray off course would help the writer identify issues like this.

(Read: What Is a Reverse Outline and Why Should You Use One?)

Outcome 1

As minimum wage gradually increases, the difference in pay between common crew members and their floor supervisors will also decrease. Many fast food chains, including McDonald’s, start their crew members close to minimum wage, which does not significantly affect their prices (Katz & Krueger, 1992). This lack of price change is mainly reflected in the salary cuts of higher-ups within the company. When employees are not making enough money for the stress and fast-paced labor that they are required to endure, they will naturally feel less inclined to do a good job. This also applies to trainers and employees in positions of authority. If workers are paid appropriate wages, they will likely be motivated to work harder. *[9]

Susan says:

*[9] In Outcome 1, the writer argues that pay among hourly employees and floor supervisors is too low, thus causing poor work ethic.

This is an important consideration, yet this argument could be strengthened by adding additional examples and evidence from sources to support this information.

Outcome 2

Training programs of many fast food chains are very simplistic and not taken seriously very often. At McDonald’s new crew members are required to watch videos before watching other people do their job. In many instances, job training is not enforced thoroughly. If a program in which verifiable progress is being made, new employees will likely face less confusion in their position. *[10]

Susan says:

*[10]In Outcome 2, the writer emphasizes the need for managers to enforce training practices. Yet like previous sections, the details here are a little vague.

Adding specifics would create a more effective discussion.

Outcome 3

The quality of fast food is one of the most notable consequences of consuming it. It is common for unmotivated employees to not take their personal hygiene seriously. In turn, this negatively affects the sanitation and quality of the food (Egan, 2007). When food service establishments take the time to enforce thorough and basic sanitation procedures, the quality and safety of their products is ensured. *[11]

Susan says:

*[11]Though this point about personal hygiene is discussed in the solution, it is not fully addressed in the background information.

Remember to stay consistent. If hygiene is a concern in fast food industries, the writer needs to provide an overview of the problem in the background section.

Expected Performance

When employees are appropriately compensated and standards are strictly enforced, the quality of service will likely improve. Fast food establishments are no exception. In order for customers to receive satisfactory service and products, employees must be properly trained, properly motivated, and all products should be cooked and distributed safely. *[12]

Susan says:

*[12]A discussion of how to implement solutions is key to a successful case study.

While the case study does include a conclusion, it does not provide a specific discussion of how to implement the recommended solutions.

References[13]

Bradford, H. (2013, February 1). Chipotle Salary Can Top $95,000 Annually. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/01/chipotle-salary_n_2601611.html

Egan, M. B. (2007). A review of food safety and food hygiene training studies in the commercial sector. Food Control, 18(10), 1180-1190.

Katz, L., & Krueger, A. (1992). The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry. doi:10.3386/w3997

Susan says:

[13]The writer uses APA format to cite sources, but the capitalization on some of the titles is incorrect.

APA is usually the preferred citation style in business courses.

(Read: The Stress-Free Guide to APA Essay Format.)

Business case study example #2: Walmart Marketing History and Marketing Case Study

This case study analyzes Walmart’s business strategies, possible problems with the current strategies, and recommendations. This paper, however, is missing a conclusion.

Walmart Marketing History and Marketing Case Study

[1] Question # 1

[2] In Customer Intimacy and Other Value Disciplines, Treacy and Wiersema highlight three distinct “paths” or strategies to market leadership. They include operational excellence, customer intimacy, and product leadership. [3] This paper will highlight how Wal-Mart has successfully implemented the operational excellence strategy, as well as consider future initiatives within this strategy that Wal-Mart can still incorporate. The discussion will then focus on the customer intimacy strategy and explain how Wal-mart has also incorporated this strategy in a variety of its operations. The product leadership strategy will also be briefly discussed, however, due to its limited scope in this particular environment, it will not be emphasized.

Susan says:

[1]Though headings are generally used in case studies, this essay uses questions to help identify key parts of the paper.

Check with your professor on the expected format for your paper.

(Read: Essay Formatting Survival Guide (Infographic).)

Susan says:

[2] This case study successfully provides a definition of business strategies to give readers background information, a key component of a good introduction.

(Read: How to Write an Essay Introduction in 3 Easy Steps.)

Susan says:

[3] Though a thesis statement is generally a one-sentence overview, this paper includes several sentences to identify the topic and focus of the paper. In doing so, the writer provides an effective roadmap of the essay.

(Read: How to Make a Thesis Statement the Easy Way (Infographic).)

Wal-Mart has effectively implemented an operational excellence strategy in its quest to continually lower costs and deliver products and services with minimal difficulty or inconvenience. Whether it be through reducing costs, through its various relationships and practices with suppliers or controlling energy consumption by monitoring and controlling lights, heat, A/C, etc from their head office or even managing inventory efficiently, Wal-Mart has effectively minimized both variable and fixed costs while also ensuring stock outs are minimized. Wal-Mart has also effectively eliminated (non-value) added production steps as it successfully re-defined the integrated retailers relationships with its manufacturers. Wal-Mart has also been successful in implementing a variety of IT systems that have also facilitated this strategy. Whether it’s through their own private satellite networks, or their EDI systems with suppliers or even the implementation of UPC scanners at the registers, Wal-Mart has been an industry leader in using technology to facilitate this strategy. Wal-Mart has also successfully incorporated convenience in their strategy, as some stores are open 24-7, and if one was to look at the multiple services offered, whether it be the automotive garage, pharmacy, restaurant, photo lab, they are effectively becoming a one stop shop. (A friend has even joked, that in the future, they will have a day surgery department.) *[4]

Susan says:

*[4]In this paragraph, the writer provides background information and discusses the strategies Walmart has implemented in order to lower costs.

[5] Has Wal-Mart reached the limits of lowering costs? Absolutely not. As indicated, they have a variety of initiatives that are being examined. The first initiative involves using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) with their top 100 suppliers. This will further improve their distribution efficiency, as it will reduce the need for unloading to check products, as well as, serve as an internal control function in dealing with shrinkage. It’s been estimated that such technology could unlock supply chain cost savings of 6%. The second initiative, involves improving its efficiency with customers. By using RFID tags in stores to further reduce check out labor requirements, as well as shrinkage, Wal-Mart would again be lowering operational costs due to improved efficiencies. It’s important to note, that with technology, it’s inevitable that new products and procedures will always be emerging that will continue to enhance and facilitate this strategy. Wal-Mart’s current practices are also undoubtedly not 100% effective and efficient, thus, it is reasonable to expect Wal-Mart to continue to make advances in the practices currently in place and become even more cost efficient and profitable within an operational excellence strategy. *[6]

Susan says:

[5] Here, the writer successfully transitions from an overview of current Walmart practices to a discussion of how to improve Walmart’s current cost-lowering practices.

(Read: How Good Transition Words Can Improve Your Writing.)

Susan says:

*[6]The above paragraph discusses recommendations to improve Walmart’s cost-lowering strategies.

While the information is effective, it could be strengthened through use of evidence that would further support these strategies.

Although on examining Wal-Mart’s practices, the focus is on operational excellence, if one was to look at a variety of the practices currently being used by Wal-Mart in its ability to market its merchandise in unique targeted ways, it becomes clear that Wal-Mart is also following a customer intimacy strategy. Customer Intimacy, as defined by Treacy and Wiersema means segmenting and targeting the markets precisely and then tailoring offerings to match exactly the demands of those niches. One would only have to look at Wal-Mart’s Modular Category Assortment Planning System (MCAPS) to see this strategy in use. The MCAPS system examines store traits and historical selling data to establish store specific modulars, which essentially plan the layout of products to best, suit a particular market. There are literally thousands of specific layouts, all of which can alter the size and merchandise mix for the target market. This data is collected, integrated and analyzed in the various information systems, which serve both as great supply chain management tool and a way to establish purchasing patterns of target customers. Another example of this segmentation is evident in Wal-Mart having 3 distinct store formats, which are also segmented to particular target markets. Wal-Mart is also using this strategy in its practices of empowering store managers with the autonomy of sourcing locally and running particular promotions in which they feel target their specific market. By continuing to train and even cross train employees it will also facilitate this strategy, as associates will be more knowledgeable and helpful to customers. *[7]

Susan says:

*[7]The writer uses this paragraph to provide readers with more background information about Walmart’s marketing strategies.

The product leadership strategy of offering customers leading edge products and services that consistently enhance customer’s use or application of the product has not been a strategy that Wal-Mart has actively employed. You could certainly present Wal-Mart as the industry leader in driving a variety of the innovations that have been implemented in this industry, however, as far as offering customer’s leading edge products and services has not been its strategy.

[8] Question # 2

In analyzing the various store formats and target markets within each format, it is first important to highlight why Wal-Mart expanded its operations then examine each expansion in some detail to highlight how Wal-Mart targets distinct markets. Further growth opportunities will then be evaluated, as well as the potential for the cannibalization of sales within Wal-Mart’s expansion objectives. *[9]

Susan says:

[8]Once again, the writer uses a question format to address the expansion strategy of Walmart.

Susan says:

*[9]In the above paragraph, the writer addresses the recommendation of additional expansion strategies.

The driving force behind every Wal-Mart initiative was and is the continued growth and profitability of its operations. Quite simply as Wal-Mart developed over the decades, it continually sought ways to become more efficient and for new avenues in which to pursue profitable growth. Although Wal-Mart started off with the regular Discount Stores, in 1988, “it intended to drive increased traffic to the general merchandise departments through the food offering.” However, what Wal-Mart’s discovered is that with its operating efficiencies the food business was deemed profitable in and of itself. [10] As such Wal-Mart focused on this expansion and the following four retail formats were developed to target specific markets: Discount Stores – 1568 Stores (40 departments & limited grocery) -company’s leading retail format by number of stores (trend of converting to Supercenters) -potential customer base of at least 150,000 people -remained concentrated in small towns and rural areas – less competition -consumer target by income ($60,000 to less than $25,000) Supercenters – 1258 Stores (40 departments & full line grocery) -larger format that added a full-line grocery store to a Discount Store with ancillary or specialty departments -larger more focused on food (45% sales) -more ancillary businesses and services than direct competitors -potential customer base of 76,000 people were needed to generate the volume to break even -operating margins were smaller due to narrow margins on food in general -remained concentrated in small towns and rural areas – less competition -consumer target by income ($75,000 to greater than $25,000) Neighborhood Markets – smallMarts – 49 Stores (limited drug and grocery) -stores focused on groceries but also offered limited lines of general merchandise and photo processing -enter space constrained suburban areas -consumer target by income (greater than $75,000 to $25,000) SAM’s Clubs – 525 Stores (large format) -warehouse clubs – bulk buying and rapidly changing assortments of relatively few SKUs in warehouses -not industry leader – COSTCO -addresses a more affluent market segment than either Supercenters or Neighborhood Markets -consumer target by income (greater than $75,000 to $40,000) Walmart.com -access to higher income consumers (earning $75,000 and above) It is important to note that Wal-Mart not only targeted specific customers based on income, but targeted specific markets based on population, as this would be the key factor in deciding what store format could be developed. *[11]

Susan says:

[10] While these statistics offer great evidence, awkward formatting and the overly long sentence make the readability quite poor.

If this information were broken up into several sentences or presented as a bullet list of facts, it would make the content more reader-friendly and clearer.

Susan says:

*[11]The above paragraph provides a clear overview of Walmart’s strategy and uses good evidence from sources to provide statistics regarding Walmart’s expansion.

In the future, Wal-Mart should focus its efforts on expanding the Supercenter store format because of the following reasons: -Long run sales are expected to be higher for the Supercenter store than the Discount store and even when you incorporate initial investments, the Supercenter is substantially more profitable (Sales $75 million / year compared to $39 million / year) -Even if operating margins are slightly lower (2%) in the Supercenter, the additional volume will increase NPV per store – Exhibit 7 -Has substantial room for upgrading or expanding its current 1,568 Discount stores -There is substantial room for expansion of new Supercenters: “Wal-Mart planned to open 1,000 more in the US along in the next five years.” (Pg. 20) -Estimates show you only need 76,000 people to generate break-even volume, which facilitates expansion in both small communities and elsewhere This particular expansion does have drawbacks as the overall growth of the core business and food in the U.S. is expected to taper off from 15% to 10% over the next decade. As well, the Supercenters’ operating margins are also currently at 6.6%, and although they do expect to get better as the operations mature and improve, efficiencies would have to drive this margin to at least 7.5 – 8 % to see significant increases in NPV per store, which is feasible. *[12]

Susan says:

*[12]Following the pattern of the previous paragraphs, this paragraph transitions to recommendations on how Walmart can further successfully expand.

Having evaluated the various alternatives, it is felt that Wal-Mart should continue to seek ways to improve its operations to be as efficient and effective as possible, while focusing on the expansion of its Supercenters both through new site developments, as well as, upgrading and expanding its current Discount sites.

Cannibalization can occur with the expansion and upgrading of this strategy, however, by the examination of the Neilson Panel Data, it clearly demonstrated that sales growth in the Supercenter’s were mainly derived from new shoppers, increased purchases from existing shoppers, competing shoppers and less than a quarter were actually from other Wal-Mart division stores. Thus, it can be concluded that new sites, which would be established in various new locations (not near other stores), would not significantly cannibalize other stores’ sales. As well, by expanding Discount stores, cannibalization would also be reduced, as they would not be building new competing sites, but merely expanding product and service offerings.

Question # 3

On examining the proposed financial services opportunity Wal-Mart is considering, one would suspect that this strategy would not only be a great complement to the various other services Wal-Mart currently provides, it could easily be facilitated very effectively and efficiently. On discussing this opportunity, this paper will highlight various factors in why Wal-Mart should pursue this growth option. *[13]

Susan says:

*[13]Again, the writer begins a new section with a question. This time, the writer examines financial services within Walmart.

The first factor of why Wal-Mart should pursue this strategy is that it can be easily facilitated in its current operations. Wal-Mart has thousands of stores, to facilitate this new in-store service; stores would only have to be slightly modified. Which again, could be even easier facilitated if they choose to have this service in a kiosk, or in the middle of their store, like the photo labs. Such expansion would not be costly, and any mistakes made early on in the roll out of such services, could easily be fixed for subsequent roll outs.

The second factor is that Wal-Mart has absolutely transformed and redefined the operational excellence strategy, as well as the customer intimacy strategy. It has very effectively implemented cost savings both from the supplier and customer side and has initiated a variety of information technology systems that have driven these strategies. The financial services could easily be added incorporating this strategy, whether it be through modifying their current IT systems or tailoring specific sites to offer specific products, depending on the target markets, Wal-Mart’s core strengths would make this service effective.

The third factor is that by implementing yet another service, such as financial services, it will not only give customers more convenience; this service will truly be a complementary service. For example, if a customer has to go to the bank and do groceries, they would be very inclined to do it all under one roof, again adding to the operational excellence strategy of providing customers convenience. *[14]

Susan says:

*[14]The above three paragraphs provide a detailed overview of why Walmart’s current strategy is effective.

In examining the difficulties or threats with providing such services, three immediate concerns must be addressed. Currently, references have been made to various regulatory problems that Wal-Mart has encountered. These must be evaluated because if regulatory problems are going to be a battle in every state, it would make the roll out of such services very costly, especially if Wal-Mart had to continually lobby state and federal governments or hire lawyers for litigation proceedings. The second issue involves IT security issues. Although, they currently have industry leading IT systems in place, the nature of the financial services sector, would undoubtedly require a variety of additional security measures, which would also have to be addressed. The third issue involves the human resource function in the employment of financial service representatives. Would their required skill levels be higher than other employees? The skill level of employees would also dictate, what services could be offered at the various branches, which leads into what financial services entails. *[15]

Susan says:

*[15] In the above paragraph, the writer explains recommendations for possible improvements.

Does financial services simply mean a financial institution where you can have a savings, chequing or credit card accounts and have other services such as payroll cheque cashing, money orders, etc. or would this encompass investment accounts, etc. in which employees would have to be very thoroughly trained and certified. Due to the limitations of the later, financial services would be deemed as the first description. Although, on examining the Wal-Mart website’s financial services page, it only offered credit cards, which is interesting. Was this the intended expansion strategy, or did other factors impede further product or service expansion? *[16]

Susan says:

*[16]This case study provides a detailed overview of Walmart’s business strategies and offers succinct recommendations.

However, the paper is missing an effective conclusion.

(Read: How to Write a Killer Essay Conclusion.)

It’s also missing in-text citations within the case study and a list of references at the end. Most business writing requires APA referencing.

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