The retail game can be a fickle mistress, especially when it comes to consumer loyalty. But Walmart seems to be doing a good job of maintaining its base despite some recent changes that have garnered mixed results.
A January 2018 survey of US internet users by CivicScience found that 87% of respondents reported hearing Walmart-related news in the week prior to polling. More people recalled hearing about the closing of Walmart-owned Sam’s Club locations (75%) than Walmart employees getting better benefits (58%). However, CivicScience also found that it takes more than bad news to change consumers’ loyalties.
“Over the past year, Walmart has worked hard on improving worker benefits, largely to reduce the churn of workers but also to improve its image. But the news about store closures and layoffs shows just how hard it is to change a brand's reputation,” said eMarketer principal analyst Yory Wurmser.
But whether respondents loved (15%), liked (32%) or disliked (30%) shopping at the big-box retailer, many tended to value a company’s “social consciousness and overall kindness.” Roughly one-third of those who were in both the love and dislike camps thought a company's social consciousness was very important when choosing where to shop and what to buy.
And a large share of respondents—roughly two-thirds—who are favorable to the Walmart brand believe that a company's social consciousness is key when choosing where to shop.