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Wal-Mart Research Proposal and Price Perception

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Can you help me find literature and prepare a research proposal on Wal-Mart's price perception marketing strategy and consumer behavior?

(1) Review of the Relevant Literature, Related Research and Literature Reviews. Provide a minimum of ten research studies that address the same topic chosen for the proposal:
a) What are the similar areas of study or studies that lead up to the current research? Identify the importance of the questions being asked.
b) Report on the current status of the topic.
c) Analyze the relationship between the literature reviewed and the problem statement.
d) Include a summary, along with a restatement of the relationships between the variables under consideration and how these relationships are important to the proposed hypothesis.

(2) Identify and label a minimum of two implications and a minimum of two limitations for Wal-Mart's study. At a minimum, answer the following questions:
a) What implications and assumptions are being made regarding the proposed sample and how it represents the proposed population?
b) What assumptions are you making regarding the instrument's validity and its ability to measure the desired variables?
c) What assumptions are being made in having respondents truthfully answer a survey, questionnaire, or interview questions?
d) Identify the limitations of Wal-Mart's proposal, such as the limited population for the study.

(3) Method/Research Procedure/Methodology: (Note:Determine the method of research for the proposal. Examples could be: qualitative, quantitative, and case study).

(4). Participants: (Note: Provide specific identification for the proposed participants for the study. Include a description, the possible number within the population, the proposed location, and the selection procedure. Be specific when identifying the selection process. Then identify how a representative sample will be drawn from the population).

(5). Instrumentation and Data Collection Plans:(Note: State the sources and/or instrument(s) proposed to be used to record the data (surveys, interview protocols). Identify the procedure. For a mailed survey, identify steps to be taken in administering and following up the survey to obtain a high response rate. Determine how to specifically conduct the research based on the proposed topic.

(6). Surveys/Questionnaires/Interviews: (Note:Create and include the list of questions proposed to be asked for the research. Make sure the questions pertain to and support the problem statement, the objectives of the study, and the hypothesis. Include the possible answers when using a multiple-choice or Likert format. (Estimated length - one to two pages).

(7). Appendices and References:
a) Time Schedule/Time Line: (Note: Propose how long the research process could take (hypothetically). Remember that a proposal stops at the proposal stage and that there is no actual research conducted by you. You are to propose what you will do and when to carry out the study).
b) Resources Needed:(Note: List and explain all proposed resources (e.g., computers, programs, surveys, etc.).
c) Personnel: (Note: List the categories or types of assistance needed from others (not the participants) to conduct the proposed research).
d) Budget: (Note: List all expenses proposed to incur during the research. Include all details for the proposed budget, and then add them up for a total proposed budget)..

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PART I

You can go through the research studies mentioned herein. The following research studies were considered for the selection of the topic:
Research Study 1
According to Click IQ research, 80% of the consumers are aware of the Walmart's Every Day Low Prices strategy and for 90% of the shoppers low prices are important (PR Web, 2012: Sept. 14). Relating this with an earlier research study undertaken by Click IQ, most of the shoppers browse through the physical retail stores but actually purchase the products online as it costs them less (PR Web, 2012: Feb. 15). The research question raised by the study is that whether Walmart is considered to be a lowest priced retailer or this perception has shifted towards online retailers such as Amazon. This question is important for the study because there is a need to identify that whether there is an actual shift in perceptions of the consumers from Walmart being perceived as a low priced retailer to online retailers or a particular retailing site such as Amazon being perceived as a low priced retailer.

Research Study 2
A study on price promotion on brand loyalty for the German Ready to Eat cereal market by Empen, Loy and Weiss (2011) reveals that the stronger brands tend to be promoted less frequently at discount as compared to weaker brands. The study also concludes that the stronger brands have smaller price promotions. Although the study reveals a negative relationship between brand loyalty and price promotion wherein brand loyalty is influenced negatively by price promotions to a greater degree but is relevant because this could be an area of exploration that whether the brand image of a retailer like Walmart who has positioning itself on the basis of Every Day Low Prices can be influenced by this pricing proposition. The question is important to the study because it will help in identifying the strength of price value proposition of the brand "Walmart".

Research Study 3
A study by Villarejo-Ramos and Sanchez Franco (2005) titled "The impact of marketing communication and price promotion on brand equity" reveals that there is a negative impact of price deals offered on the brand equity of a company. Here, the brand equity was represented by the four components - perceived quality, brand loyalty, brand awareness and brand image and all of these components were negatively influenced by the price deals. Therefore, this study poses question if a brand like Walmart itself is built on the price proposition, will this price proposition impact negatively or positively the perceived quality, brand loyalty, brand awareness and brand image. This question is important to know how all these factors have led to strengthening of the brand Walmart that it is influenced or not influenced by the bribery scandal.

Research Study 4
Hanzaee and Farsani (2011) have studied the relationship of Brand Image and Perceived Public Relations on Corporate Loyalty and concluded that when the brand image of a company is favorable, the company's messages have a higher congruence with the consumer perception whereas if the brand image is unfavorable then the company's messages are differing greatly from the consumer perceptions. This is being contradicted with the results of Walmart wherein since the bribery scandal at Mexico has become public the revenues of the company has increased (Clifford, 2012: May 17). This fact contradicts the study by Hanzaee and Farsani (2011) that unfavorable brand image leads to difference in consumer's perception and company's message and raises a question that whether actually Walmart's negative image arising out of bribery scandal has any impact on Walmart's low price message of saving people's money so that they can live better. This question will help in understanding the severity of bribery scandal and its impact on the company's overall perception and the impact of strength of message of low prices.

Research Study 5
A study by Gommans, Krishnan & Sheffold (2001) titled "From Brand Loyalty to E-loyalty: A conceptual framework" identifies the 5 drivers of e-loyalty as Website and Technology, Trust and Security, Value Proposition, Brand Building and Customer Service. The present research draws from this research because another latest research by Click IQ has revealed that the consumers are shopping online although they are browsing through physical retail stores (PR Web, 2012: Feb. 15). This shift to online retailers is due to the availability of products at lower prices on the websites such as Amazon. Since Walmart has positioned itself so strongly with low prices, the shift to online retailers could also indicate the dilution of its image as low priced retailer and if this shift exists, it may be possible that the retailer may be negatively influenced by the bribery scandal and therefore it raises an important question that whether a shift to online retailing is reducing the brand loyalty or affinity towards Walmart.

Research Study 6
A study by Freeman, Nakamura, Prud'homme & Pyman (2011) titled "Walmart Innovation and Productivity: A viewpoint" identifies the Walmart's contribution to the growth of economies worldwide with a specific reference to contribution of retailer to Canadian economy. The study reveals how costs of living is being influenced by Walmart and could be charged for its anti-competitive pricing. This gives rise to a question that how strong an association is between Walmart and low prices as compared to the major competitors. This question is important because the prices have to be analyzed in relation to the competitors and the degree to which Walmart is considered to be synonymous with low prices. This will help in understanding

Research Study 7
As per a research study by Parago, a consumer engagement and incentives company, shoppers have become more price sensitive as 83% of shoppers believe that their purchasing power has decreased and 70% shoppers have become more price sensitive in the last 12 months (Wabler, 2012: n.d). This has raised a question that is the shift to online retailers is due to the reason that consumers have become more price sensitivity although the consumers are still have strong ...

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The expert examines Wal-Marts research proposal and price perception.

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You are the new Vice President of Marketing for Graves Enterprises, makers of consumer and commercial grade floor care products. You have two marketing directors that report to you, each of who is in charge of either the consumer market or the commercial market. Graves Floor Care Products are currently priced comparable to their direct competitors in both markets. They are also distributed through the same distribution channels, although there is no real incentive for the distributors or retailers to carry Graves Floor Care's products over those offered by the competition. The sizes and packaging of Graves products and those of the competition are similar, yet there are distinct competitive differences that are not effectively promoted. Some differences include a unique, proprietary chemical cleaner that cleans "dry" (and does not clean "wet"), which helps to reduce mold. In addition, the Graves products reduce mold. Graves products utilize environmentally friendly chemistry, contain â??Scotchgardâ? for continued stain protection. In addition, they are hypoallergenic, and offer a pleasant citrus aroma for up to three months after used.
As the new Vice President of Marketing, YOU are tasked with doubling sales in both the consumer and commercial markets within the next year.
You have requested your marketing directors to review the various primary and secondary market research available for their respective markets. They are to summarize their findings by creating a written report.
They are also to provide the initial aspects of a new marketing plan, which is to include a definition of their target markets, an analysis of their primary competitors, a pricing position, and a distribution strategy. They are encouraged to think creatively, using their innovation to open new markets for their products.

A week later you hold a meeting with your Marketing Directors, and this is what they offered:
From Joshua Edwards, Marketing Director, Consumer Products:
From the research, we are learning that our target market is as follows: homeowners, females 29-59, with a household income of $75 - $150K. Our primary competitors are rented carpet steam cleaners, Kleen Floor Spray 'n Vac and Kleen Floor Spot Cleaner, and folks who do nothing to clean carpets. Most steam cleaning machines are rented through grocery stores. Kleen Floor products are sold in grocery and mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart. The research suggests that we are just cannibalizing Kleen Floor products and not growing the market. To grow the market, the Graves Consumer Products Group proposes the following:
1. We suggest the development of a new product line that is promoted as "safe, effective, and eco-friendly." We will price it at 1.5X the price for the eco-friendly aspect. We will also manufacture our container packaging from recycled plastics, which costs less and complements the overall eco-friendly unique selling proposition. This should net a 2X profit increase.
2. We also suggest developing a private label of this new line that will be offered for sale by Walmart and K-Mart, selling more proprietary chemistry and leveraging this offering for premium shelf position of the branded product. We will limit them to 25% of the core chemistry so we can claim more powerful action cleaners in the brand by formulating at 50% core chemistry. This private label endeavor will also create another competitor for the market to share advertising costs to broaden the category of consumer carpet cleaning products.
3. We suggest expanding into other retail outlets with the entire product line. New retailers could include Advance Auto Parts (car carpet cleaner) and a website for online sales.

From Rena Morales, Marketing Director: Commercial Products:
â??After extensive research, we realize that our current market leadership positions in schools, retail, and office buildings is secure and we suggest that we continue with our original plan. We see the growth of our brand in developing a full antibacterial product line that is specific for hospitals and nursing homes. We will price it at twice the cost of our current line, given this added feature. Since the antibacterial additive has a citrus aroma, we will use this as part of the unique selling proposition. We also suggest repackaging our Skid-No-More floor wax that is currently sold in our retail markets, and selling it into hospitals and nursing homes as a fall prevention floor wax. By repackaging into our Specially formulated for Healthcare product line, once again we can charge twice the price of our current product line. 
From Edward Matthews, ES Associates: Marketing Research Consultant:
After conducting five focus group sessions and conducting/ analyzing a mail survey, we found that consumers were happy with their current floor cleaning products. They ranked eco-friendly attributes as the least influential to their purchase decision. Price was ranked number one, followed by cleaning efficacy of the product.
After conducting a trade and competitive analysis, retailers were very interested in having a private label floor cleaner. However, they wanted price parity and cleaning efficacy for side by side consumer comparisons. Yet, when consumers were offered the choice of a formulation driven by price or efficacy, they choose a price position.
The research conducted for the commercial sector supported healthcare as an untapped opportunity. However, when hospitals and nursing homes were surveyed, price position was noted as the key purchasing decision.
The paper has to use the information above in a two to three page report with at leat 300 words per page in APA format. You are analyzing the consumer and business buying behavior.

1. Knowing NOW what you do about consumer behavior and purchase patterns, as shared by Kotler, what are the Consumer Products Proposal? Will it work? Why or why not?

2. Knowing NOW what you do about business purchasing and decision making processes within a business organization, as shared by Kotler, the Commercial Products Proposal? Will it work? Why or why not?

337 words

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