Evolution of dynamic demands of customers’ forces every organisation to bring modern methods aside from traditional formulas, i.e. tried and true in order to advertise and sell their products or services over the marketplace. Online exchange and information sharing have become standard and created a paradigm shift in such a way by which companies can interact with target audiences. In this digital era, engaging and attracting consumers has become vital; most of the companies nowadays are tend to understand buyers' needs or demands; they are focusing on how to fulfil them online (Kim, and et. al., 2015).
In this relation, social media channels are providing several new opportunities to organisations as they enter in new emerging markets and gain a high competitive edge. Nowadays, business organisations are using social media network to generate content about their services thus customers can know about their brand. It helps them in obtaining current market trends and preferences of the specific geographical region; this contributes to raising customers' satisfaction level as well as raise the brand value of the firm. Day by day multinational organisations set a variety of offers in order to retain customers through advertising or posting on social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc.
For completion of this research project, WALMART is the chosen organisation; it’s a retail corporation which is operating as a chain of supermarkets and grocery stores. The organisation was founded in 1962 and at present it is having 12000+ stores across the world. The vision statement of WALMART is to offer good quality products and services to customers by remaining leading position and striving daily to be the most admired brand.
Furthermore, the annual revenue of the company is US$ 500.34 billion and total numbers of employees are 2.3 million worldwide. The main products of WALMART are electronics, home, furniture, footwear, jewellery, sporting and fitness goods etc.
Along with this, the research paper is an emphasis on gaining insight in order to improve customers’ satisfaction level by adopting various social media channels. Its aim is to find ways to satisfy buyers' needs or demands on Social Media, with the overall objective of increasing user engagement. It will explore the role of Social Media on obtaining organisational goals and objectives both from a theoretical perspective, taking into account theories that encompass services and Social Media, and from a practical perspective, observing how exactly satisfying customers’ preferences or requirements. Moreover, a methodology will acquire for data collection relies upon deductive reasoning as well as data is of qualitative and quantitative nature. Additionally, a questionnaire will formulateon the ground of social media and customers’ satisfaction level. The desire of gathering these data sources and analysing the current practices is to understand what the state of the phenomena is and what can be done to add value to the case company’s activities.
In this present scenario, social media has built an interactive platform for marketers by improving relations with target audiences. It involves several forms, i.e. Weblogs, Microblogging, images, videos, Wikis etc. This marketing process really affects the buying process of a specific brand and its services. The study’s purpose is to investigate the impact of social media marketing on customers’ satisfaction level. Social media channels play a vital role in giving consideration to attaining large group of people; it frequently leads to recognising clients' demands or expectations. Along with this, the intent behind this research is to finding ways of satisfying needs and demands of customers in a best possible manner so that WALMART can gain a high competitive edge (He, et. al., 2013). Multinational corporations’ utilize several ways to improve their social media presence; it is overviewed that Facebook as an integral factor in the online marketing strategy of the chosen organisation.
Aim - To determine the impact of social media channels on increasing customers’ satisfaction level. A case study on WALMART.
Following are the main research questions, such as –
In every research project, a literature review is a theoretical framework which provides views or opinions of different authors' on a specific area of concern. It involves positive and negative aspects of the topic so that a better conclusion can be drawn in an effective manner.
According to Agnihotri, et. al., (2012) these days the web plays a critical job in individuals' life. It has made a lot of developments in all of the life perspectives through Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, Web 4.0. Web advancements enabled clients to share sites and data, and in addition, their suppositions and 18 emotions, notwithstanding exchanging, trades which called electronic business. Concurring an examination social media is increasing imperative job in business parts; the exploration uncovers that 51% of individuals are permitted to utilize Web 2.0 for business purposes at their working spots. The marvel of Web 2.0 comprises an assortment of stages that permit clients trade data. This encourages intelligent connections among organizations and purchasers. the devices and procedures of speaking with clients have changed since the web and internet based life infiltrate our reality. As another online data source, web-based life is acknowledged by purchasers for the reasons for perceiving about brands and administrations, items.
Social media marketing is a valuable device to oversee existing client connections while making new ones, by encouraging on the web trade and correspondence. This backing the presumption of online networking direct to be utilized in expanding consumer loyalty and client maintenance. Web-based life may reinforce mark picture, with the end goal to get profits by internet-based life brands should be overseen. And in addition, online networking is extremely helpful for making brand steadfastness by dealing with the associations with clients.
In this modern era, satisfying customers' preferences or demands have become a major area of concern for corporate associations as it helps them in gaining a high competitive edge across the market. WALMART is a retailing giant of grocery products or services, its' customers are spread across the world. In order to manage customers in a systematic manner, the firm uses several tactics or strategies. It turnouts attaining and retaining target audiences for a long-term period. Therefore, having a level of customer satisfaction reduces the risk of buyers' defecting to rivals; in return, it prompts to generate loyal customers towards firm who contributes to increasing sales and profitability. According to Gummerus, et. al., (2012) highcustomers’ satisfaction level is also assistive in improving organisational performance and raising its market presence across the world; thus the firm will be able to achieve its goals and objectives in a certain time period. It will also build healthy and positive relationships with target audiences; in return, it assists to achieve a high competitive edge.
In the opinions of Ashley and Tuten (2015), there is positive as well as negative impact of the social media channels on raising satisfaction level of buyers in Walmart. Social media channels increase the awareness among the customers as it provides proper details of the products and services. The impact of social media channels helps in increasing the satisfaction among the customers and patrons as they are able to review the product and services and also compare with a different product. There is a very positive influence of the social media channels on the buying in Walmart as it helps in increasing the sales of the company. This results in increasing the profitability and productivity of the company. Another positive impact of social media on Walmart is that it increases the goodwill of the company and also maximizes the brand image of the firm. Social media channels provide proper details of the product and services and customers of Walmart are also gives suggestions to the company so that firm develops the products and services according to their demands and wants. It directly increases the satisfaction level of customers (Rodriguez, et. al., 2015). Social media channels help the company in stimulating the customers for purchasing the products and services of Walmart and another impact of social media channels is that they aware the customers and patrons related to the new launch of products and services.
According to the Halpern and Gibbs (2013), the major positive impact of social media on raising satisfaction level of consumers in Walmart is that it helps in increasing the sales of the company as social media induces the customers to purchase the products and services of Walmart and it helps in increasing the sales of the company. It directly impacts the company in a positive way as with the increase in the sales of the organisation. It increases the profitability and productivity of the company.
As asserted byUrbancova (2013), the company has to formulate different strategies for achieving a competitive advantage over the rivals. The way which is used by Walmart for cutting the edge is that the analyse and evaluate the strategy of competitors and then develop and formulate their strategy. Another way which is utilized by the Walmart is that they decrease the prices of their products and services so that it is affordable by everyone and it increases the sales of the company and it also helps in attaining the competitive advantage over the competitors. For meeting the needs of the customers then it is very necessary for Walmart to develop the products and services after analysing the needs and demands of the company. When products are developed according to the needs and want of the customers then the sales of the company increases and also it helps in cutting the edge of competitors.
In the views of Ashley and Tuten (2015), it is very necessary for the Walmart to use different strategies such as reduces the prices of products as compared to competitors and develops the products and services after analysing the needs and wants of the customers.
For completion of this present assignment, there has been acquired several research approaches and methodologies that aids researcher to arrive at better outcomes. There are two types of research methodologies, such as – qualitative and quantitative; in the present study we have used qualitative research methods, i.e. focus groups, observations and questionnaire that aids investigator to get relevant or effective information as per given area of study.
Research design also have two types, i.e. inductive or deductive. In line to reach desired outcomes, deductive research approach has implemented. It is linked with formulating a hypothesis on the ground of existing research aim and prepares a research strategy accordingly.
Researchers should consider a wide range of methods in order to carry out a sound research that can answer the questions they want to answer. The choice of research method depends on a number of factors, such as research scope, research questions, availability of data and resources(Mertens, 2014). The research study may involve empirical data analysis or conceptual data analysis. The selection of the research method is dependent on accuracy of the result. The information obtained after the research is completed should be accurate and true. Not every time the researcher can be able to measure the accuracy of the final result. There are different research methods to carry out a research. These are discussed below:-
For this research, the most appropriate methods that will be used are quantitative and qualitative. The reason being their ease of application and data collection. In addition to this, qualitative and quantitative methods provide real-time data that provide better insight of the problem.
Since this is a part of the market research where the Walmart is looking for understanding the impact of social media on customer satisfaction, primary and secondary research can be carried out. The former research method is characterised by collection of fresh data which is being collected for the first time. The primary method makes use of questionnaire, surveys, or interviews, and focus groups (Berman, 2012). On the other hand, the secondary data is associated with research that had been carried out in the past. These can be collected from the reports, government website or portals, books, or other relevant source. In this research work, major focus should be on collecting the primary data collection through surveys. However, secondary data will also be collected and discussed in the literature review part.
Q1. Have you ever used any social media networking site?
Q2. Which social media channel is mostly used by WALMART to reach its target audiences?
Q3. What are the main benefits will get by WALMART from social media marketing?
A. Increase sales and revenues
B. Reach a large group of target audiences
C. Improve market presence
Q4. Do you think that social media channels aid organisation to increase customers’ satisfaction level?
Q5. What are the ways by which WALMART can improvise customers’ satisfaction level?
A. Improve the quality of products
B. Reducing price
C. Assessing market trends
Q6. Are employees of WALMART, always active on its social media page and give proper respond to customers’ queries?
Q7. Give recommendations, If any.
Theme 1: Customers' awareness of social media sites.
Interpretation – According to this graphical presentation, 45 respondents are using social media sites, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. They say that these sites help them to know about upcoming offerings of the company.
Theme 2: Facebook is mostly used by WALMART for social media marketing
Interpretation –With the viewpoint of 20 respondents, Facebook is an effective social media site which aids WALMART to reach the large group of customers. Besides this, 15 are in favour of Instagram and 10 are recommending YouTube. And remaining 5 thinks that Firm should twitter for this context.
Theme 3: Benefits of social media marketing
Interpretation – As per this pie chart, Social media marketing strategy enables to increase sales and profitability of the company; with the viewpoint of 20 participants. Besides this, 18 says that it aids the company to reach a large group of customers and remaining 12 states that social media marketing improvises market presence of WALMART.
Theme 4: Social media channels improve the degree of buyers’ satisfaction.
Q4. Do you think that social media channels aid organisation to increase customers' satisfaction level?
Interpretation – The above diagram represents that social media channels play a key role in increasing customer’s satisfaction level as it enables management to recognise needs and demands of target audiences; as per the statement of 40 respondents.
Theme 5: Ways to improve customers’ satisfaction level.
Interpretation – As per this graphical presentation, maximum customers’ satisfaction level can be obtained through boost up the quality of services; with the opinion of 15 participants. 30 says that firm should emphasis on accessing market trends and remaining 5 supports that reducing prices is the best way to increase buyers’ satisfaction level.
Theme 6: Staff members’ gives proper respond to clients' queries.
Q7. Are employees of WALMART, always active on its social media page and give proper respond to customers’ queries?
Interpretation –As per this above diagram it is analysed that employees of WALMART are always active on social media sites; they provide instant solutions to customers’ problems; with the viewpoint of 35 audiences. On the other hand, 15 people are not in favour of this statement.
In the presents study, the researcher has acquired primary and secondary data sources to achieve results and draw a better conclusion. Although, both methods have their own benefits and pitfalls. In the context of primary research, it provides a high degree of accuracy as well as does not need extra caution; besides this the method takes huge time in data collection process and involves inquiries that cannot be possible to collect in real. Apart from this,secondary data collection sources provide the feasibility of both longitudinal and international comparative studies and generate new insight from previous researchers. But there is a risk of the inappropriateness of data or information and lack of control over data quality.
Adequacy of methodologies are acquired in present research are high and all these methods are quite supportive and beneficial for the researcher to arrive at better outcomes. The results that with its assistance has attained are very authentic and reliable. It supports readers to know about strategies thus with this-this the process of information gathering makes very easier.
It is essential for the researcher to maintain ethicality of research thus to arrive at better outcomes. It ensures safety or confidentiality of information; in this manner, the researcher should not share personal information of participants to others without their permission. The process of data collection can be done through primary and secondary sources of data collection; both of these methods of their have their own importance to meet the end results of the study. In which primary research is a kind of information which is taken into account first hand by the investigator who gathers information without referring any secondary sources. Beside this, secondary sources provide information which someone already researcher and assessed; it end results are available to utilise. In order to investigate the research problem in the best possible manner, certain factors must be considered by the researcher, such as –
Cost – It's an essential aspect in research projects because having enough financial sources enable the researcher to get relevant or effective information as per the requirements. This study becomes more attractive and adequate by assessing the entire cost (Rishika, et. al., 2013).
Accessibility – It is an element which relates to provides accessibility in getting necessary data or information. Accessibility plays a vital role in the data collection process because it makes easier for the researcher to collect information in easiest way
After the data collection and analysis, it is important for the researcher to bring out the inferences out of the analysis and communicate effectively. If the findings of the research work is not carried out effectively, then the whole purpose of carrying out research will be useless. There are many ways to communicate the research findings, such as word of mouth, presentation, written report or summary, dissertations, poster, and many more. One thing that every researcher should concentrate is that they should not overload the summary too much with statistical data. Instead, they should make use of apt language for the audience.
The first theme of the data collection try to figure out number of customers of Walmart who make use of any social media platform, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This was asked directly to the people and out of 50 respondent, only 5 deny any kind of linkage with social media. The rest 45 of them agree on it. This shows that majority of customers will probably respond to any thing that Walmart post on its social media pages. This can be a cost-effective way of reaching them in a very less amount of time and efforts. These sites help the customer to know about upcoming offerings of the company. Talking about the second theme that emphasises on which platform is widely used by the customer. The outcomes were not very inclined towards a particular social media platform. 20 out of 50 make use of Facebook while the 15 other use Instagram. These social media use of effective social media site which aids WALMART to reach the large group of customers. The third theme emphasises on benefits of social media marketing. 20 respondent believe that social media helps in increasing sales and revenue while 18 say that it helps in reaching larger target audience.
The remaining 12 states that social media marketing improvises market presence of WALMART. The forth theme emphasises on figuring out how social media can help in achieving and increasing customer satisfaction. Respondents were asked whether social media channels aid organisation to increase customers' satisfaction level or not. 40 respondent agree on this fact and the remaining 10 deny this fact. Social media channels play a key role in increasing customer’s satisfaction level as it enables management to recognise needs and demands of target audiences(Bärenfänger and Otto, 2015). The fifth theme is about way to improve customer satisfaction level. Maximum customers’ satisfaction level can be obtained through boost up the quality of services as per 15 respondent, whereas 30 of them believed that organisation should assess the market trend.
The following research began with the primary objective of studying the importance of a social media network for business organisations. To develop an understanding on this topic, researcher make use of surveys. The result of the survey reflects that social media help the Walmart in reaching the large community of the customers that makes use of the platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However, some people deny this fact. Another objective of the research was to identify benefits gain by Walmart after satisfying needs of its target audiences (Davies & Hughes, 2014). The outcomes of the research work highlighted that 20 respondent believe that social media helps in increasing sales and revenue while 18 say that it helps in reaching larger target audience. The primary research question was the significance of social media networks for corporate associations. The outcomes suggested that social media is a cost-effective way of reaching them in a very less amount of time and efforts. These sites help the customer to know about upcoming offerings of the company.
The following research survey gave certain outcomes and most important of them was regarding the benefits of making use of social media in achieving customer satisfaction. The report highlighted that 45 respondents out of 50 use social media. The survey suggested that social media can help Walmart in reaching the large community of the customers that makes use of the platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (McIlrath, et.al, 2014). However, some people deny this fact. The research did not address those people who do not use social media. For this purpose, it is recommended that Walmart should not fully rely on its social media strategy alone. Some customers seek discounts and rebated, whereas a few look for quality of material. Therefore, Walmart should prepare an integrated strategy that addresses all these factors simultaneously. This way it can be able to beat its competition and achieve a strategic position in the market.
The research method used in the following research method was quantitative analysis that make use of the survey questionnaire in order to collect the primary data. As it was told that the sample size selected consist of 50 randomly selected respondent. This was chosen in order to avoid any kind of biasedness. The reason for selecting quantitative and qualitative analysis method is their effectiveness and widely acceptance. Both method helped me in understanding the research and its different aspect in a better way.
Qualitative method provide valuable input for the research that helped me in understanding the behaviour, needs, patterns, and cases. Qualitative method can help me in understanding the behaviour of respondent and the factors that affect the customer behaviour and satisfaction. I can also understand their needs, pattern, and desires and factors that can affect them. Such methods require flexibility that allow the researchers to respond well. Using this method helped me in observing and reviewing document. Earlier, I was not sure which document should be relevant and what information should be taken out. The benefits of using the qualitative methods are many. These methods facilitate the researchers with vital tools for evaluating the research proposal. It is suggested to every researcher that complete reliance on the quantitative method does not produce reliable inputs in the decision-making process. For evaluation of the research, quantitative method are often referred as broad scanning, multifunctional decisions, and intuitive processes (Bärenfänger and Otto, 2015).
Talking about the quantitative method, one can make use of the statistical tests. The widely used descriptive statistics are median, mean, and standard deviation. Quantitative approaches are often used where the numerical justification is needed. This is the most structured way of carrying out a research by collecting data and analysing it to give a relevant inference. It makes use of certain computational and statistical methods for analysis purpose. The sample size in this method can be very large as the large sample size brings more accuracy in this (Baden-Fuller and Mangematin, 2013). One of the major characteristics of the quantitative approaches is that it provides numeric measures for effective and simple comparison and ranking. The following method helps me in establishing quantifiable norms and standards. The usefulness of this method is that the data can easily be quantified and estimated. Hence, the quantitative method also serves as a reliable method in decision making.
During the course of the research project, I came to learn many advantages of using the quantitative method. The first and foremost is that the outcomes are easy to measure and understand. In addition, the same can be represented pictorially or graphically which further adds in to its advantages. Once the results are shown, a healthy discussion can be done as other people can understand what the result is all about. People can easily make predictions as the quantitative methods are numerical in nature. Another advantage of this method is that expanding the quantitative data into assumptions is quite easier (Babin and Zikmund, 2015). However, there are many downsides of the quantitative methods also. The first is that it cannot be used in research methods that are focusing on social phenomenon. Hence, the method cannot be used in the field of sociology. Quantitative method does not give the reason why things are happening and it cannot be used for non-numerical researches.
Choosing the alternative appropriate methods is a very difficult task and also rigorous. The methodology selected affect the data collected, research scope, and outcomes of the research. In addition to this, the accuracy is also an important factor. This research make use of both quantitative and qualitative research, wherein the former method makes use of the survey method in order to collect information about the factors that affect the customer satisfaction and to record people’s opinion on using the social media in increasing the customer satisfaction. The most appropriate methods that will be used are quantitative and qualitative (Berman, 2012). The reason being their ease of application and data collection. In addition to this, qualitative and quantitative methods provide real-time data that provide better insight of the problem.
Many a times it happens that sensitivity of information results in certain limitations for the investigator’s ability to collect the data and carry out its analysis. In such cases, the alternative methods of research studies are considered that makes use of the expert opinion. There are several methods that are used as the alternative research methods, such as Delphi method, group-brainstorming, and Nominal group technique. Their selection depends on the nature, limitation, and resources available for the study. For this research, the alternative method chosen is the Delphi technique (Turber, et.al, 2014). This is one of the most systematic research techniques which is used to record the judgement of independent experts on a particular topic. Individuals are chosen based on some predefined guidelines and are requested to take part in a few rounds of well-structured surveys.
In the following research, the experts can be surveyed regarding their viewpoint on impact of social media on customer satisfaction. The facilitator will summarise the input of each expert from the earlier survey. In each round, the participant will independently review the opinion of other respondent and revise their previous response. This is done to reduce the variability of the responses and achieve a common understanding among them. The process will be concluded after a pre-defined gets met. The final result is determined after the statistical aggregation of the opinions. This method can be used in place of quantitative method, wherein 50 respondents are surveyed in order to know their understanding of using social media in order to achieve the customer satisfaction (Zikmund, et.al, 2013).
There are many benefits of using social media in business operation. An organisation can use it for marketing purpose, another may use it for just seasonal promotion. It is just a way of reaching to the target audience. The following research method focuses on relating the social media for customer satisfaction. However, the study did not talk about other ways of attaining the customer satisfaction and how they can be linked to the social media. The report did not alk about the downside of using social media in achieving customer satisfaction (Weill and Woerner, 2015). Moreover, the report did not talk about the unsatisfied customer and how organisation will manage them by making use of other tools and techniques. It was highlighted that some of the customers do not use social media. The research did not talk about how Walmart makes effort to satisfy their needs without making them use social media. The research has certain limitation and the major one was the data validation technique. Due to less expertise and shortage of time, the validation and reliability test has not been done properly.
Overall my experience from this research was quite a learning one. In order to apply the most apt methodology required an understanding from a number of resources. I learned that in this era, engaging and attracting consumers has become vital; most of the companies nowadays are tend to understand buyers' needs or demands; they are focusing on how to fulfil them online. The research process was deductive in nature. In the very beginning of the research, the relationship between social media and customer satisfaction was tried to be developed in the course of this research (Mertens, 2014). However, after the survey analysis was done, it was clear that there is a direct relationship between the two. One thing that I noticed here is that the no literature talked about the unsatisfied customer and how organisation will manage them by making use of other tools and techniques. It was highlighted that some of the customers do not use social media. The research did not talk about how Walmart makes effort to satisfy their needs without making them use social media.
In this research paper, an emphasis on gaining insight in order to improve customers’ satisfaction level by adopting various social media channels was given. It aimed at finding ways to satisfy buyers' needs or demands on Social Media, with the overall objective of increasing user engagement. It explored the role of Social Media on obtaining organisational goals and objectives both from a theoretical perspective, taking into account theories that encompass services and Social Media, and from a practical perspective, observing how exactly satisfying customers’ preferences or requirements. Moreover, a methodology was acquired for data collection relies upon deductive reasoning as well as data is of qualitative and quantitative nature. Additionally, a questionnaire was formulated on the ground of social media and customers’ satisfaction level. The report ended with the reflection of researcher from overall application of the research methodology.
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