Still staring at your 2010 receipts and nowhere near filing your tax return, even though US Tax Day was extended to April 18th this year?
Worry not: Just head to your local Walmart, where a co-branding arrangement brings Jackson Hewitt tax prep pros to the good people of Walmart.
Makes sense — after all, Walmart's overwhelming brand value is "discount." This has worked well for the retailer over the years, positioning it to offer the lowest possible prices for products and services people need.
But as consumers often associate greater expense with greater quality, will the discount retailer's image hurt the perception of its tax services? And is Walmart's offer about more than a service to customers?
Its tax prep partner, meanwhile, turns out to be in need of some financial help itself.
Ads touting taxes done for just $38 have picked up in anticipation of the last few days before Monday's filing deadline. Yet, even though Walmart approaches the service with its typical bargain positioning, it has partnered with established accounting brand Jackson Hewitt for the expertise, mitigating concerns about the quality of the service.
For its part, Walmart supplies foot traffic and exposure for Jackson Hewitt, the kind of niche branded business (tax preparation) that struggles for exposure the other 11 months of the year. From Jackson Hewitt's own "Franchise Sales" sales pitch:
"Opening a kiosk in the Walmart location is a unique investment opportunity. A kiosk within your territory would drive more traffic to your storefront location and improve the market presence in your area. Since most Walmart stores are located in key trading areas, you can draw more customers and expand your late season footprint… Walmart Superstores perform on average, 40,000 sales transactions weekly. Those 40,000 sales translate into thousands of potential tax customers."
It's the kind of brand partnership that is not all that obvious but ultimately, a perfect match.
But, for Jackson Hewitt it's not just all about the prime exposure to potential customers. The brand's franchise pitch hints at a different lucrative angle of the partnership:
"Walmart Superstores perform on average, 40,000 sales transactions weekly. Those 40,000 sales translate into thousands of potential tax customers. Add to that the substantial number of Walmart associates, approximately 600 per location."
That's right, in the giant circle-of-IRS-life, Walmart's tax preparation partnership is as much about offering a new service to customers as leveraging its own employees to better its bottom line.
As for Jackson Hewitt, it desperately needs the boost of Walmart-generated business — this week it was named one of the "worst performing" penny stocks, and received a warning that it could lose its New York Stock Exchange listing unless it gets its own financial affairs in order.