With the immense amount of success that Walmart has experienced throughout the past fifty years, there is no reason to hinder growth and development. The next product line that Walmart can be successful in is a line of Walmart wedding dresses. Walmart already offers various wedding supplies from flower girl baskets to engagement and wedding rings. This market has not yet been approached and attracted to the Walmart brand. According to a Huffington Post article, the average cost of a wedding dress in 2014 was anywhere between $800 and $2,160 (Thomas, 2014). This market is far too profitable to stay out of. The entire ideology behind Walmart is to “sell more for less” (corporate website, 2016).
New Product Line
The proposed new product line is Walmart Wedding Dresses. It is often more difficult to think of what Walmart does not offer rather than what the company does offer. When planning a wedding, Walmart has decorations, shoes, flowers, wedding rings, cute dresses, and formal clothes for children, men, and women. It does not, however, offer wedding dresses. Many small towns throughout the United States do not have department stores, or bridal shops nearby. They do, however have a local Walmart. The new line of wedding dresses would be available in generic dress sizes, and not completely fitted to the brides, but this would not be a problem. Many people already buy their clothing at Walmart, and the generic dress and clothing sizes offered has worked thus far.

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The wedding dresses would be sized extra small to triple extra-large. The materials could resemble silk and lace, but be inexpensive enough to enable Walmart a decent profit, and the shoppers, a sizeable discount. Walmart has prided itself in offering the best prices in all other product lines, and wedding dresses would be no different. The dresses would also come in various lengths, ranging from short to long with a tail. They would also range from puffy princess style, to mermaid style, and every style in between. The dresses can be offered in a range of colors, as more brides are opting for the less than traditional weddings.

Target Market
Walmart Wedding Dresses will be targeting soon to be brides that fall between low to middle income, as well as their parents, specifically mothers of the bride. Historically, fathers have been the financial providers for the to be brides, but as stated in Southern Bride and Groom Magazine, wedding etiquettes are changing rapidly, and women are getting married later in life, thus making new trends in the wedding planning arena. Women have a tendency to listen to their mothers, or at least seek advice from their mothers. This is the primary reason we will be targeting the brides and their mothers.

The lower and middle income brackets are more likely to be willing to buy a wedding dress from Walmart than they are to spend much more money at another Bridal store, where the dresses are often more expensive than they can comfortably afford. If the parents are going to pay for the bride’s entire wedding, they will likely appreciate the convenience, choice, and price of Walmart over the much more expensive bridal stores as well. The target market will appreciate the opportunity to save money on a Walmart quality dress as well.

Questions for each characteristic of the target market
Are they male or female? Should we take transgender brides into account?
Are they more conservative or liberal in their wedding dress needs?
How much money are they willing to pay for a wedding dress?
What types of jobs do they typically hold?
Where do their weddings typically take place?

Conducting Market Research
The most effective means of obtaining the information necessary for the Walmart Wedding Dresses to be a successful product line will be through primary market research. The utilization on both qualitative and quantitative studies will better enable the company to learn more about the target group and potentially beneficial marketing techniques. The primary means of gathering the information will be to ask customers in the stores to fill out surveys. A particular group of individuals will be asked if they would be willing to fill out a survey with the incentive of receiving a coupon. The specifics of the coupon or incentive are not readily transparent. Surveys are highly effective ways of attracting and sorting out the preferred target group, and easily analyzed.

The secondary means of gathering the necessary data to further analyze the best methods of marketing the new product line will be to research the data of our competitors, and see how their marketing practices have or have not worked in the past. Entering the bridal dress market will be new for Walmart, and thus the company will need to compile as much data available on the market of brides and bridal dresses. Interviews could also potentially be conducted at bridal conferences or trade shows. By visiting the wedding or bridal shows, we could also potentially find out if the said show would be an ideal place to unveil the release of the new product line.

Development Process
The development to launch time line will be broken down into three phases. Phase I consists of creating a product line team, hiring dress designers, or finding an outside contractor, information gathering, assessing the market, development of the designs, assessing the competition, determination of the target pricing methods, and determining all the costs associated. Phase II consists of developing the mock designs, interviewing customer interest in the said designs, re-determining pricing structures, obtaining all authorizations to proceed, and writing up a full marketing plan. Phase III consists of determining the demand and output schedule, determining a launch event and date, determining future plans, ensuring production will go as planned, determining which stores will sell the dresses, and any other issues that come up. Each phase should take six months to complete. Walmart Wedding Dresses will be a success.

    References
  • Thomas, E. 2014. The Average Cost of a Wedding Rises To $30,000, Survey Says. Huffington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2016 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/30/average-wedding-cost-2013-the-knot_n_5059683.html
  • Walmart Corporate Website Retrieved May 6, 2016 from http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story
  • Peterson, H. 2014. Meet the Average Wal-Mart Shopper. Business Insider. Retrieved May 6, 2016 from http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-average-wal-mart-shopper-2014-9