Wal-Mart and the Internet

I was meaning to write today about how Wal-Mart has changed the lives of people in Norwalk Connecticut. They came to our town with a few stores around five years ago and the by product has been the eventual killing off of other companies. For example the local hardware store closed down this past year (perhaps we can blame Home Depot here — open for about five years) and also the local nursery which was unfortunately enough across the street from one of the Wal-Mart stores and Home Depot.

Today, I noticed the local photography shop was also on the way out and the owner told me the $4,700/month rent coupled with the trend towards e-mailing photos and Wal-Mart’s inexpensive photo processing made it impossible to compete.

This is not an opinion piece as I can’t say anything bad about Wal-Mart or online photo companies like ofoto (yes Kodak renamed it but I like this name better). I just think it is worth reiterating that you need to keep an eye on your business as models change.

As I got back to the office I went to the room where SBC is installing our T3 fiber connection and marveled at how we are keeping up with the technology as the world goes online. You really need to stay one to two steps ahead of tech if you want to survive in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment.

Update: Here is an article fromt he USA Today about a new book on Wal-Mart that unlike me does have a strong negative opinion on the company.

  • Paul
    August 16, 2005 at 8:52 pm

    With all due respect to the local camera shop, Walmart didn’t kill them, CCD’s did.
    (for example) I had a CONSISTANT $100 a week addiction to the local lab. I would never bring my stuff to Walmart as the quality just was not there.
    The day I saw the first print from my digital camera I never shot another piece of film. I had <$8000 in camera equipment and it is either collecting dust or I’ve given it away.
    Just yesterday I went looking for the film camera that I carried by my side 24/7 for a half a decade and I can’t even find it… I think I lent it to someone.
    Digital COMPLETLY changed everything I shoot. I now have a $50 a month bill vs a $400 -$500 a month bill. There are thousands of “mes” in the world.
    The local lab was getting probably 300 a month profit on me. I probably singlehandedly covered his first weeks rent every month. Take away a dozen of me and suddenly he has a problem. Take away 30 of me and the game is over.

  • Rich Tehrani
    August 17, 2005 at 9:13 am

    Great points and Ouch! Interestingly I never shot photos prior to digital and now use ofoto exclusively. Probably $30/month.

  • Liley
    September 6, 2005 at 12:13 pm

    It is my hope that an executive or someone who is in the decision making process sees this note. I commend Walmart for being one of the first to offer aide in the millions of dollars to help those affected by hurricane Katrina. I can only hope the many other companies follow suite. May God bless you for your efforts.
    It is also my desire that you help some of the students that were attending the colleges in New Orleans from other states. While purchasing items from your store in New Orleans, we encountered many, many parents and students purchasing televisions, computers, stereos,etc.. every and anything that they’re kids may have needed to get them started with their college experiences. I know we spent a huge amount of money at your store to get our daughter started, and unfortunately, we left receipts with her in the event she needed to return or replace anything. After paying for tuition having to replace everything that was lost proves to be a hardship. No we have not lost near as much as the residents of New Orleans, and yes we are safe and sound… thank God… but our kids, too, have lost all of their clothes and other items that have to be replaced.
    Please think about these kids, too.
    A concerned parent whose kid lost everything.

  • Liley
    September 6, 2005 at 12:17 pm

    It is my hope that an executive or someone who is in the decision making process sees this note. I commend Walmart for being one of the first to offer aide in the millions of dollars to help those affected by hurricane Katrina. I can only hope the many other companies follow suite. May God bless you for your efforts.
    It is also my desire that you help some of the students that were attending the colleges in New Orleans from other states. While purchasing items from your store in New Orleans, we encountered many, many parents and students purchasing televisions, computers, stereos,etc.. every and anything that they’re kids may have needed to get them started with their college experiences. I know we spent a huge amount of money at your store to get our daughter started, and unfortunately, we left receipts with her in the event she needed to return or replace anything. After paying for tuition having to replace everything that was lost proves to be a hardship. No we have not lost near as much as the residents of New Orleans, and yes we are safe and sound… thank God… but our kids, too, have lost all of their clothes and other items that have to be replaced.
    Please think about these kids, too.
    A concerned parent whose kid lost everything.
    Posted by: Liley at September 6, 2005 12:13 PM

Leave Your Comment