How Are Walmart And Target Different – Here’s Our Comparison

Both Walmart and Target are household brands with massive global recognition, and it’s likely that you will have access to both stores within a ten-mile radius of your home if you live in the United States. These two retailers are beloved by consumers and often overlap with the product categories they sell. They both offer an option to shop in-person or order online, both offer curbside pick-up service, and may sell many of the same household products.

However, some key differences in the in-store experiences, brand positioning, and product variety set these two superstore consumer retailers apart and make them very distinct brands. 

Branding Differences between Walmart and Target 

One of the most distinct ways these superstore retailers distinguish themselves is through their brand positioning within the crowded industry. Walmart is the largest company in the world, so they will beat out Target every time for brand recognition and the physical number of store locations worldwide.

Walmart prides itself on its value positioning and always strives to be the cheapest option for purchasing household necessities. 

While Target sells many of the same household necessities, it is not known for being the cheapest retailer out there. Target is often known more for its non-essential product categories like its beauty section, home decor, and clothes.

Differences in How People Shop At Each Store

Most shoppers would visit a Walmart store for home essentials such as groceries, household cleaning products, and toiletries. On average, shoppers at Walmart are more likely to purchase more items per order. They see it as a one-stop shopping experience to get all their household products at the most affordable rate possible. 

A Target shopper is more likely to go into the store looking for a couple of specialty items and may add a few groceries or extra nonessentials to their cart while shopping, but likely do not view Target as a store where they can buy all their groceries for the week. Target shoppers are also more likely to have a specific brand affinity for products only sold at Target, which is not typically the same at Walmart. 

Differences in the In-Store Shopping Experience

One of the most glaring differences between these two super retailers is the in-store experience you can expect as a consumer. Strolling the aisles of Target is typically a more enjoyable experience than visiting a Walmart store.

As a generalization of the two brands, Target stores tend to be smaller stores with fewer products on the shelves, wider aisles, and a more curated feel. Many Targets now have a Starbucks and Ulta inside the store as well. 

Walmart stores are massive and often feel more like warehouses with narrow aisles and tall shelves with tons of products. Some Walmart locations might also have a fast-food store, such as a McDonald’s, located at the front. Walmart sells a wider breadth of products in-store than Target and offers a more robust grocery store section. 

Price Differences Between Walmart and Target 

Walmart wins when you compare the pricing of these two brands. Walmart prides itself on being between 5%-10% cheaper on average than its competitors, which gives them a significant advantage for the price-conscious shopper. Their most cost-efficient offering is their Great Value private label brand. Target does have several private label brands of their own, but the pricing at Walmart tends to still be cheaper. 

Walmart and Target also use different marketing campaign strategies to engage with their audiences. Walmart does not run as many promo offers or percentages of sales because its motto is “Every Day Low Prices.” 

To stay on brand, they advertise that their stores always offer the best prices you’ll find at any value store without needing to run special promo sales. Walmart does mark products down and runs sales, specifically around holiday weekends, with Black Friday being one of their biggest promotional seasons of the year. 

Target takes a very different approach to its advertising strategy, as they advertise as being a low-cost store but are positioned as a pricier, more high-end alternative than Walmart. 

Target does run many promotional campaigns where they will mark specific categories on sale or run a special on a specific product. Target also has the Cartwheel app, which allows shoppers to sign up and be a member to receive additional coupons and discounts for their brand loyalty. 

Customer Service Differences Between Walmart and Target

The customer service at both brands is one way they are pretty similar. Both brands offer customer service options such as in-store workers who are available to answer questions, a virtual helpline, a store app, and full customer support teams. 

Target offers a better customer service experience while shopping in-store, as they are more likely to have workers available to assist you with your questions. Walmart struggles in this area due to the sheer size of its stores and the volume of products they sell. 

Employee Satisfaction Differences

If you are interested in working at one of these stores, you might be curious to learn more about the job satisfaction of employees working at Walmart versus Target. Data collected from store employees suggests that, on average, nationally, Target pays a few dollars more an hour than Walmart. Both stores offer great benefits to part-time employees. 

Glassdoor research would indicate that Target employees overall have a higher level of job satisfaction, and 65% of national employees would recommend the company to a friend. Walmart has a slightly lower job satisfaction score, and only 56% of employees recommend the company to a friend (Glassdoor). 

Target beats out Walmart for every job satisfaction category listed by Glassdoor, but overall, both have fairly positive reviews. Walmart specifically does a great job of hiring people of diverse backgrounds. 

Final Thoughts

Each retailer has its own individual set of pros and cons. Walmart wins regarding pricing, the diversity of products, and convenience for one-stop shopping. There are also so many more Walmart stores nationally that you are more likely to have one nearby, no matter where you live. 

Target offers a nicer experience for in-store shopping, customer satisfaction, and overall product quality. Many people love both retailers and have specific products they prefer at each store. 

One way in which Walmart and Target are similar is that they both face fierce competition in the online shopping space from Amazon, which has a large amount of product overlap and is an online behemoth, especially with their member offering of Amazon Prime, which allows customers to get free two-day shipping on all orders. Overall, these two retailers may sell similar products but have unique niches in the market. 

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