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Expanding internationally is no small feat for any business, even for a large retailer like Walmart. Maggie Sans, former senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for Walmart in China, joins Retail Gets Real to share lessons she learned from working outside the United States.
“When you’re over there, you realize how quickly consumers are leapfrogging from informal markets to sophisticated online channels,” she says. Urban consumers have very sophisticated shopping habits; even in very rural areas, “you’re still able to order online, and in some ways that’s your only way to modern products.”
Sans found the most surprising lesson to be personal, learning how to be an effective leader over time with the help of her Chinese colleagues.
“How to be effective in China is very different from how to be effective here,” she says, speaking about leadership styles and cultural differences between China and the United States.
Listen to this episode to learn how Walmart adapted to Chinese consumer behavior and translated Sam Walton’s original company culture into the Chinese workplace.
Sarah Rand is one of NRF’s co-hosts on Retail Gets Real. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.