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Tony Rogers

Tony Rogers

Purposeful Marketing


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Trendsetters: Walmart CMO Tony Rogers Says that Time is as Important as Money to Today's Shoppers

According to Tony Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer at Walmart US, the future of retail will not be won by a "pure player," but those companies that bring together online and off line.  

Speaking at the ANA's Masters of Marketing in early October, he suggested that all marketers should "evolve or perish" in an environment where one is either the disruptor or is disrupted.

In an effort to transform to meet the needs of today's shoppers, the retailer listened to their own customers, and were surprised by a significant shift: time mattered more than money. Walmart customers no longer ranked saving money as their top priority; saving time was more important.  (Saving money took second place.)

According to Rogers, "This is a big broad transformational change in consumer behavior.  Simply stated, technology has quickly and radically changed the importance customers placed on time. We have to stay true to our purpose to help customers save money and we have to evolve to make shopping quicker and easier."

There's no question that Tony Rogers is committed to ensuring that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, embraces innovation while the brand continues to stay true to its DNA of helping people save money and live better.  

To focus on convenience and time-saving, Walmart has introduced a new partnership with Google that allows customers to shop with their voice.  They're implementing online grocery ordering in 1,000 stores with expansion planned in time for the holidays, and testing new means of delivery through Uber drivers and associates.   They're also planning for automated pick-up kiosks that provide orders-- literally at the touch of a button.

He added, "It's not so much about chasing one competitor or mimicking what our competitors are doing, it's about putting the customer at the center and innovating to improve their lives."

Another major discovery for Walmart was the benefit that came from using their brand platform as a source for good.

Tony Rogers related the story of how a legion of Walmart trucks traveled to New Orleans to deliver relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The trucks arrived before FEMA supplies, resources and personnel.  This was a turning point for the brand in terms of an important consumer insight: people want and expect brands to be socially responsible.

"In the days and weeks that followed Katrina, we were able to see first-hand the incredible power of our business, the social impact that we were able to have," he said. "I think it was a wakeup call for our company. We realized that we had to become more than a store; we had to be a force to help people live better."

Today, Walmart embraces numerous social initiatives from working with suppliers to reduce emissions in its supply chain by a gigaton by 2030 to creating jobs in America with onshore manufacturing and hiring more than 100,000 veterans. "There's a huge opportunity for our brands to play a part in setting a positive example for society to create a more positive discourse," says Rogers.

Interestingly, Walmart actions are resonating with customers. Tony Rogers cited that the retailer experienced 11 straight quarters of positive traffic and has seen 60% growth in e-commerce in the last two quarters. 


According to Tony Rogers, "This is a time of transformation.  If you're not learning, you're a dinosaur."

He says, "We have to continue to evolve. We know technology is changing the world around us. Technology is changing the way we shop. Retail history tells us most retailers do not survive this kind of transformational change. They either evolve, or they perish, and most don't evolve. If [Walmart founder] Sam Walton were here today he'd be telling us to ‘get on with it.' And that's exactly what we're doing as a company.

What's clear to us is that the future of retail is going to be won by somebody that brings online and offline together to make life easier for its customers. It will be won by the retailer that evolves."