Wal-Mart has gone nuts

Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 23:21 | Posted in internet, Web tools | 5 Comments

The conventional wisdom says that if you want to sell something to a lot of people it is in the best interest of your business to make sure that all potential customers have access to your store. You are not turning down customers who have a brown hair or blue eyes or choose to wear straight pants rather than blue jeans. A brown haired blue eyed person in straight pants would be offended if you refused to serve them on those grounds and rightly so. They would be less than likely to return later even if you decided to change your mind about how you want your customers to look.

Wal-Mart would not even dream of turning down blue eyed customers from their physical stores. That would be fatal for their business and they know it. Wal-Mart would never have become the successful business they are with that kind of customer selection.

It is that much more astonishing to detect that Wal-Mart Video Downloads refuses to do business with customers who choose to access their store using any browser other than Internet Explorer:

Unsupported Browser

We’re sorry …
Our website requires the browser Internet Explorer version 6 or higher. It appears that you are using Firefox, Safari, or another browser that Wal-Mart Video Downloads doesn’t currently support. Click here to get Internet Explorer for free from Microsoft.

Thank You

That is the message you get if you try to approach Wal-Mart’s video download store using a web browser like Firefox, Opera, Safari or Konqueror. Just as smart as welcoming customers in blue jeans and telling everybody else to go and get themselves a pair before entering their store.

It is obvious that Wal-Mart Video Downloads do not want my money and the money of hundreds of millions of other people. I can live with that, no big deal for me. I can get my movies elsewhere. I do not need Wal-Mart and if they think they can afford to insult me then so be it.

I am just being a bit curious. I would like to know what they were thinking when they did it. Or were they thinking at all, as I suspect? Looks to me that Wal-Mart has gone nuts.

Edit: If you read Estonian, Kristjan has a good article about this topic.

Edit: The site seems to work with Firefox now (26th February 2007). I am still not going to do business with them. The damage was already done.



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  1. Walmart is out of Germany, it could not able to compete German super-markets as well as German customers’ choice and habbit of buying goods. Now they are in China, and successful but its not they who made them successful, its actually Chinese who are curious and impress of Western world. They see walmart as something special from West so they do go and buy there but how long, the day when they see it as normal super market…walmart will badly fail in Asia as well.

    About Unspported Browser, I believe they must have a deal with the Micro-Soft thats all. Its all about business to get cheaper deals which probably had made Walmart to act like this.

  2. Well, it’s the same with banking. To use online banks you had the impression you had to invest in a PC with IE of some obscure version. I imagine the programmers got their education in the middle seventies, and had to concentrate on one programming environment just to stay on top. But who cares, Skandiabanken are the winners in this nutty situation.

  3. The deal with Microsoft is possible, on the other hand they may have a great IT team which just did not come to think that they need to create multi platform solutions. IE is still very dominant in America but in some European countries Firefox is almost as popular.

    I had no idea that Norwegian banks did the same. I have used on line banking services in Finland and Estonia for years with different platforms with no problem whatsoever.

  4. In Estonia we got about 35% firefox and maybe about 10% some other browser users beside IE and most of good programmers use FF or Opera because lets say it’s cool. All the big solutions are programmed for IE but been tested in FF and Opera because people wanna use them.
    I could’nt imagine to open IE only for going SEB Eesti Ühispank or Hansapank.

    But here I can say that my own website works better in Firefox and Opera then IE because over 50% visitors use these browsers.

  5. Hmmm, I have no problem doing my banking in Hansapank using Firefox under Linux Ubuntu. Works also fine with Nordea and Sampo in Finland.

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