Blog

What are examples of applying purposology to retail?

Written by Haley Rushing | Aug 4, 2016 4:22:11 PM

When we did the purpose for Wal-Mart, for example, and when Sam Walton was asked about the leagacy he hoped to leave with Wal-Mart, he said, "well, at the end of the day, I hope I could save people a little money so they could live a little better."  We said, that's a pretty good purpose!  To save people money so they can live better.

That became the purpose that has been driven under Lee Scott's leadership at the time we did the purpose project for the organization.  

Walgreens is another great retailer where their purpose which we helped them launch and enculturate in their organization, was to help people get and stay and live well.  It really harkened back to the original Walgreen's mission to having a store environment where you pick up your prescriptions and you get well.  But you also pick up a chocolate malt shake and whatever the latest kitchen ware is so you can have a little "happy" in your life too.  We talked about that as being at the corner of "happy and healthy"...but the ultimate purpose Walgreens is trying to help people get well, live well and stay well.

So we think what is the deeper purpose of a retailer?  Why do you exist in the world?  What are you here to do? What difference do you hope to make in the lives of your customers? Again I think there are companies who are trying to make a difference and have created businesses better and are doing really good things in the world.  You don't want something like price, which isn't always going to be an important driver in how people make decisions, to trump your higher purpose. So, I think something like Shelfbucks actually gives the ability to stay true to what you deeply are passionate about, what you are there to do and mitigated the competitive pricing pressure that are on you from other retailers through Shelfbucks. OK, we'll take care you!  You want to low prices we got it!  We can get a low price on your phone you got it!  Now let's get back to the business of why we're in business.  Now lets help you, if you're Walgreens, to think about how you can get well and stay well and live a better life.

Watch "Applying purposology to retail", 

Haley Rushing,  

Chief Purposologist, The Purpose Institute, GSD&M