Made in the USA

Blog post by: Steve Vanevenhoven, Baer Performance Marketing Intern
When faced with a lengthy shopping list, many American consumers make the decision to make a Wal-Mart run.  The clear reason why Wal-Mart is the store of choice for many individuals is simply because of its less expensive prices.  In fact, Wal-Mart has been touting “everyday low prices” ever since the origin of the company.
In 1962, Sam Walton launched his first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas.  When Sam received a special deal from his suppliers, he decided to pass the savings on to his customers, unlike many other merchants.  He realized that he could make more profit by selling a larger amount of goods at lower prices.  However, this was not Wal-Mart’s main objective.  In fact, in 1985, there was a global trade deficit – so Walton agreed to buy American goods if they came within five percent of foreign competitor’s prices.  This led to the start of Wal-Mart’s “Made in the USA” campaign.  And while this new way of thinking lowered the profits for the company, it significantly increased its reputation among consumers.
In 1992, Sam Walton died, along with his “Made in the USA” campaign.  The new executives thought it would be in the best interest of the company to put a stronger emphasis on the store’s low prices.  However, in recent years, Wal-Mart  has received a significant amount of negative feedback from not only the public but also the government on its business practices.
Recently Wal-Mart has considered reinstating the “Made in the USA” campaign.  They now claim that 54% of their goods are produced in the United States.  However, this change was not an act of corporate responsibility but rather coincidental.  More consumers are buying groceries from Wal-Mart, which are more cost effective to make in America.
At this point, do you think  it’s possible for Wal-Mart  to return to its “Made in the USA” roots and branding?