One might think Walmart’s prices can’t be beat. One might think that their business model, impossible for a small business to replicate, makes them capable of stomping out any competition. One might think that giving employees extensive benefits with decent pay would cripple any business that tries to compete. One would be wrong. Meet WinCo, a small company with only around one hundred stores that’s managed to compete with Walmart, and steal away customers without much hustle and bustle. How have they done it?
Well, they’ve cut corners and redundancies that save them a lot of money, at the expense of a slight inconvenience to the customer. For instance, they don’t accept credit cards, they have customers bag their own groceries, and most importantly buy their products from local farms/factories, cutting out third party distributors that charge an arm and a leg. They also keep the same variety of products, but don’t bother giving the shoppers the illusion of choice with competing brands. While this causes mild inconvenience with shoppers, they keep coming back for the better deals that they get on groceries.
Not only have they managed to undercut Walmart’s prices, but they’ve managed to beat them out with how they treat their employees. While Walmart is the go-to corporation when it comes to poor treatment of workers, WinCo manages to provide pensions that match 20% of their paycheck, but they also give great health benefits to workers that are scheduled more than 24 hours a week, covering many part-time workers. This divide is caused largely by WinCo being privately-owned, giving employees a fair shake when it comes to benefits.
Walmart is often perceived as being an impermeable entity topping the super-market oligopoly, but WinCo has proven that small companies can chip at their profits, and stand on their own two feet through simple cut-backs and fair treatment.