The origins of Every Day Low Prices.
You’ve got to remove yourself from the addiction to short-term solutions to sales and build long-term momentum.
The Story of EDLP
In 1974, Walmart’s first VP of security, Jack Shewmaker, was promoted to vice president of operations. In an effort to “level out sales curves and spread out increased efficiency,” Jack officially adopted Every Day Low Prices, the pricing strategy that would carry Walmart to greater success. Initially, the strategy didn’t work out. But after about six months, sales started steadily climbing. Purchases of spray paint cans, one of the test items, increased 127%.
Originally stated as “Low Prices Every Day,” the term is simply flipped to emphasize that on every day, on every product, Walmart offers low prices. Why not Everyday Low Prices? “Everyday” implies ordinary, common. “Every Day” reinforces the consistency of the pricing strategy.
It’s a strategy that isn’t focused on short-term success, but long-term benefit to the customer. It’s about momentum. That was what motivated Shewmaker’s decision to implement the strategy.
“This kind of a decision and Every Day Low Prices is a long-term decision. And for those of us that have been or still are addicted to pulling the cord on a short-term decision of running at a hot price on Coca-Cola next week that brings us a lot of business and we say how great we are, you’re going to have trouble with this philosophy. You’ve got to remove yourself from the addiction to short-term solutions to sales and build long-term momentum, and that is the definition of Every Day Low Prices, I’m just sure.”