Wal-Mart Abroad (Part 2)
Where is Chile?
To give just one example, Wal-Mart’s executives seemed to be unaware that Chile happens to be in the Southern Hemisphere. Wal-Mart sent spring clothing to its Chilean stores at the same time as it sent the same spring clothing to its US stores. Wal-Mart managers made exactly the same decisions when it came to summer, autumn and winter clothing. And then the US based managers wondered why the clothing didn’t sell.
As a result of a series of these kinds of errors, Wal-Mart was chased out of Germany and South Korea, and had to learn some valuable, but highly expensive, lessons in countries such as China, Chile, and the UK.
Not just a Wal-Mart problem
This is not just a Wal-Mart problem. As I discuss in New Market Entry - The Five Steps To Success In Entering New Markets, many companies, including Starbucks, Tesco, and Toyota, have made similar very basic mistakes when they have left the comfort and security of their historical markets and decided to enter new markets.