On a recent day, the Arkansas headquarters of Walmart were filled with hope, in the form of hundreds of prospective suppliers, hoping to get a shot at putting their products on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer. The one-day “On Call” event allowed innovators and entrepreneurs to pitch dozens of Walmart buyers, as well as receive feedback on what worked or didn’t work when it came to their ideas. When potential suppliers lacked the market research to back up their claims, buyers were quick to challenge them. When suppliers suggested unrealistic price points, Walmart representatives readily reminded them that the first thing Walmart customers look for is a low price. Yet along with these cautions, Walmart also offered some encouragement. Working to stay relevant and appealing, Walmart is seeking new, innovative product ideas to put on its shelves. In addition, because the prospective suppliers were all U.S.-based companies, the event gave the retailer additional options to address criticisms that its product line is overly filled with cheap, imported goods. This drive also coincides with Walmart’s push to improve in-store experiences overall, such as by stocking more fresh and unique items.
Source: Sarah Nassauer, The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2015