Lamenting Poor Unloved Walmart
A recent survey done by Amplicate showed that Walmart ranked poorly in public opinion. Synthesizing data that represents 80 million public opinions of social media users, the ubiquitous discount superstore landed at the bottom of the heap earning the title of "Least Loved Department Store."
At least as far as users of social media are concerned.
The dubious designation is a result of 9,985 negative comments about Walmart via Twitter, Facebook and Amplicate over the last three months. Given its prominence in the news lately with an employment discrimination case being heard by the US Supreme Court, competitor Target beating Walmart on prices and the ongoing opposition to their expansion which has been blamed driving smaller merchants out of business, it's little wonder that the retailer is perceived negatively.
Despite the news headline controversies, Walmart remains an extremely profitable retailer with $422 billion in revenue generated in 2010. Obviously Walmart deals are popular even if the retailer itself isn't. After all, it's human nature to register a complaint more often than offering praise. And one has to wonder whether "power tweeters" are actually Walmart's target demographic.
The retailer is known for doing extensive data mining on the buying habits of Walmart customers and has stepped up its marketing and branding efforts over the last couple of years. These efforts, combined with their green initiatives, may appeal to the sensibilities of your average social networker--but most likely they will have little effect. The monolithic department store has become a popular punchline--whether it be via the blog People of Walmart or their recent inclusion in Consumerist's Elite 8 in a poll to decide the worst company in America.
Let's face it: Shopping at Walmart isn't "cool" but poking fun at it or slamming it on social media is. I don't think Walmart has too much to worry about being at the bottom of the list of public opinion on Twitter and Facebook. Its customer base is more concerned with wanting to save money than with being cool.