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Walmart vs. Target: Which one is the Better Choice?

By Ferdi Vol
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Walmart and Target are perhaps the most popular retail stores in the U.S. From grocery shopping to beauty and even furnishings and housewares, you can get pretty much anything from these stores. But if you are thinking about brand loyalty, you must be wondering which is the better choice between Walmart and Target?

Target is the more popular choice among shoppers when it comes down to Walmart Vs. Target. It provides an amazing variety of consumer items at low prices with great customer service.

However, the choice is a little more subjective, according to what you need. Depending on your location, requirements, budget, and even taste the choice may differ. To make your life easier, I have listed below several different factors that might help you decide which to choose.

Walmart vs Target - A Detailed Comparison

Walmart and Target both have something to offer that make them appealing to their regular customer. Here, I’m going to compare them based on various aspects so that you can finally decide which one fits your needs the best.

Service

The popular opinion is that customer service at Target is way better than that at Walmart. Walmart is usually under-staffed with over-crowded cashiers. They have about 50 registers but only 2 cashiers working.  You might have to wait in line.

The employees are under-paid and hence that is reflected in their service as well. They do not always treat the customers nicely. And might come off as rude or have an attitude.

There have also been reported cases of fights and arguments breaking out over small issues. People already in a rush, tend to be angry when standing in a line. You might experience pushing or shoving or even get into a fight with someone.

The employees at Target, however, are known to be very nice and kind to their customers. They usually have a lower number of registers, but at least half the number of cashiers available. And with a better cashier to register ratio, there’s a lower chance that you will have to wait and can easily get your things and go when you are in a rush. 

Quality

When it comes to things like clothes or home decor items, Target offers much more “fashionable” items at moderate prices. They are also known to collaborate with big designer brands to make their items more accessible to the general public.

Even when it comes to other merchandise like games or electronic parts and machines, Target usually offers better quality for slightly higher prices. In cases of electronics, for example, it is usually smarter to invest in quality rather than save some bucks, as they will last you longer and provide better service.

But keep in mind, taste in consumer goods is a very personal and subjective matter. So, you might end up liking the products at Walmart more. In this case, it is better to try them out at least once before you decide to stick to one store.

Costs

It can be a little hard to compare prices objectively, as both these stores sell a large variety of items and prices tend to differ depending on what kind of consumer goods you are buying. When it comes to groceries, for example, Walmart offers way cheaper prices for far healthier choices.

Even with clothes, and home décor, the options are cheaper at Walmart, although, as stated before, the quality is better at Target. Target, however, offers a lot of deals and customer membership offers, so you can reduce your bills in other ways as well.

But Walmart’s whole business model is geared towards giving you the cheapest prices. A lot of people are willing to sacrifice good service or even mediocre quality for a low price. So overall, if you want the least impact on your wallet, Walmart is the go-to choice!

Variety

Groceries are a crucial shopping item and a necessity in any household. For groceries, Walmart provides a larger variety of choices and fresh produce for you to choose from at very low prices. Target also has similar prices, but less variety. Walmart wins when it comes to groceries.

But with items such as clothing décor, Target has more variety and better options. Starting from affordable, cheap clothes to designer items as well (which are still very affordable). Target offers it all and gives you a wide range of options to choose from.

So, it depends on what you want to buy. Overall, though, Walmart usually has more options at better prices.

Ease of Access

Walmart has about 11,500 stores all over the world, whereas Target has about 1868 stores. That is 6 times more than that of Target. So, chances are you are more likely to run into a Walmart near wherever you live than a Target. You are also less likely to have a Target near you if you live outside of the city.

Furthermore, some Walmart stores also stay open 24/7, and so you can get in and shop whenever you need. If you have a job that requires you to work through the nights, and you spend all day sleeping, you could easily go out at night to pick up your groceries. For a midnight craving, or even to avoid crowded rush hours, Walmart is easier to go to.

Experience

Walmart is notorious for its weird shoppers for some reason. Most customers who stay away from Walmart, usually have had a negative experience regarding other customers and how they behave. There have been multiple cases of fights breaking out, or rude behavior, and overall a more hostile environment than there is at Target.

The products are sometimes displayed randomly, and clothes can often be seen thrown together in piles; not properly organized. It can be very hard to look for something. As items are also often mislabeled and misplaced.

The aisles at Target are usually wider, and things are also labeled better and it is easier to stroll through and find what you are looking for. They have better descriptions of each item and options to help you decide. Plus, there are always employees present if you need help. So, Target is a clear winner when it comes to the shopping experience.

Treatment of Employee

What is important about any large, chain retail store is not only how they treat their customers but also their employees. As employees are the ones directly involved in the customer service part of the stores, how they treat others is also strongly correlated to how they are treated themselves.

A lot of people also work at Walmart or Target, so employee wages and rights are an important factor. Target wins here, as it has a reputation of 100 % rating on corporate equality and provides better wages to its employees.

Walmart however is known to pay its employees way less of a wage per hour and it also has had cases of human rights violations and employees protesting for better treatment, especially in the case of transgender employees. So, while both places pay similar wages, you are more likely to have a better experience working at Target.

E-commerce

With the advent of the digital age, more and more people are now choosing to shop online, instead of going physically to the stores to get anything they want. Target and Walmart are both very serious about making their mark on the online selling platforms to compete with giants like Amazon.

So far, however, Target is doing way better than Walmart according to sales numbers. Even though they are the smaller business of the two, they are still making better sales when it comes to E-commerce. People are more likely to shop online for apparel and décor than groceries, and so this is where Target is getting a lot of its online sales from.

Stock Market Value

With e-commerce becoming more and more widespread, websites like Amazon have started taking over the entire market as people prefer to shop online. They want to avoid the whole commute of going to the store, and sometimes having to wait in line or even if traffic. Online shopping is way more convenient.

A lot of physical markets are losing their retail space over the online takeover. Walmart and Target, however, are finding newer, innovative ways and have successfully made an online presence as well. Their sales in certain categories have gone up, with both the online and offline sales combined.

Walmart has always had a strong, sustainable position in the retail landscape. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, its sales have gone up even higher, as more people are stuck at home. This investment in expanding on the online scale is expected to give them lasting profits in the long term.

Target has also similarly improved its online presence and has experienced a massive 141% rise in digital sales. It is to be noted that they are lagging a little in groceries, however. But they make up for it in home decor, food, and essentials sales. They are working to improve it further, and hence making more sales.

Overall, though, even if both of them are doing well, the better choice is currently Walmart if you want to invest in the retail scene. Target may have had higher returns, Walmart has more potential based on Wall Street consensus.

Should You Shop at Walmart or Target?

There are no objective answers when it comes to such large retail store competitors. While Walmart does dominate the entire market, due to its huge size alone, Target is not lagging. It is hard to compare the two because they even have different business models when it comes to profits.

Walmart is more focused on providing the cheapest options for you, whereas Target is geared more towards people who are willing to spend a few extra bucks for better quality and experience. And, so far it seems to be working for them. People who shop at Target, are usually more likely to be brand loyal and would go out of their way to avoid shopping at Walmart.

Also, now with Target’s sales booming on their e-commerce platforms, along with their loyal customers, they are making more profit than Walmart. They are working more efficiently and proving to be tough competitors for Walmart.

Even though it seems like Target is beating Walmart in most aspects, a lot of people would still prefer Walmart simply because it is close to where they live and easy to get to, and going to Target might not even be an option for them.

And of course, Walmart’s main selling point is that they provide the lowest prices. A huge fraction of people will consider money over anything else. So, Walmart is the best choice for your wallet.

Therefore, it all just depends on what it is you are looking for from a trip to the supermarket. If you want the cheapest option, and want to get the most out of a shopping trip, buying everything you need in one place, Walmart is the way to go.

However, if you want a better shopping experience, and may even have fun slowly looking through the aisles and checking things out, and you do not mind paying a little extra for the quality, then Target is your buddy!

You can even try testing both out yourself, before making a decision though. And you can always choose to shop in both places, for different things. With both companies providing online services, you can browse through all options, without having to choose one or the other from the comfort of your own home.

Both Walmart and Target are huge stores, which are massively successful. So, they both do have something to offer. There is no right or wrong answer to this question and is just a matter of your priorities and taste. Even if the popular choice is one thing, you are still very much entitled to your own opinions and likes and dislikes.

In the battle against Walmart vs Target, therefore, there is no real winner, at the end of the day. They are both excellent stores, with well-lit, clean, wide aisles with a whole range of amazing options for you to buy. It all depends on preference and individual customer choice.

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About the Grocery Store Academy
The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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