Markendising Today: Demystifying Content Suppliers

Walmart has several content suppliers they use, including WhyteSpyder. These technology providers house content, such as pictures and logo’s, that is used for SKUs. Content suppliers act as a user-friendly database for product assets that can be easily distributed to multiple retailers

Technology providers should be rich in data and allow constant monitoring of your product’s SKU page. They keep track of which key words are used to find your product, how many views your product’s SKU has, and how many views were from search engines. Additionally, they can monitor stock and inventory. This allows them to address stock issues quickly so the product doesn’t go down in SEO ranking.

Without a content supplier, manufacturers can’t get the data and content that Walmart is requesting. It’s a lot of work to go through every single line of a spread sheet and see what is required.

Content suppliers, such as WhyteSpyder, know what is required. They know what Walmart shoppers are looking for and can add those attributes.

In today’s fast-paced market, speed and efficiency are vital to the omnichannel race. Technology providers and content suppliers allow you to get in compliance with Walmart’s guidelines quickly. These companies have a relationship with Walmart and are able to directly load to the product page so if an edit needs to be made it can quickly be addressed.

Overall, these companies provide quick service and specialized management of your product’s SKU page. They are extremely beneficial for manufactures and suppliers that work with Walmart.

Markendising Today: Why Video Matters

WhyteSpyder Director of Content Brooke McNeely

Eric Howerton, author of Markendising and CEO of WhyteSpyder, recently teamed up with Brooke McNeely, photojournalist and WhyteSpyder Content Director, to discuss the importance of video on a stock keeping unit (SKU) page.

With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, no one has time to read through a product’s entire detailed description. This is why video is so important when creating a product page. A well-made video will grab the customer’s attention and literally show and tell them what your product can do.

A good product video provides a realistic representation of the product in a hands-on, interactive way by sticking to three main guidelines:

  1. Put the bulk of your information in the first 30 to 90 seconds. Studies show that about 60 percent of viewers stop watching a video after 30 seconds. If the majority of your relevant information is spread throughout the video, chances are your customer will get bored and stop watching.
  2. Show a product in a realistic, interactive way. The viewer wants to see how that product works before they purchase it. They want to see the way a dress fits when walking, or the way a coffee cup looks and feels in their hands. They want to vicariously interact with the product through your video.
  3. Get to the point. You don’t want to spend those valuable first 30 seconds blabbering about every aspect your product. Use the written description for that. You want to use your video to grab and retain your audience’s attention quickly and efficiently.


A good video has the ability to create an effort-free, interactive shopping experience for the everyday omnichannel shopper.

Walmart Suppliers and Marketplace Retailers

Channel Advisor recently announced its integration with Walmart’s Global Marketplace, an expansion of This could be a significant sales threat to Walmart direct suppliers.

Marketplace retailers aggregate products, many of which could include items within your catalog that you do or do not sell to Walmart. Walmart uses marketplace retailers to have increased assortment online. The process of getting more items from a single location is faster and usually doesn’t require Walmart to inventory those products. Basically, this is the same process that Amazon has been using, which allows them to have around 100 million SKUs. Walmart has had roughly 9 million SKUs, most of which are in inventory with Walmart.

Most, if not all, direct Walmart suppliers will be upset with this scenario, and rightfully so. Now brands that have been working with Walmart for decades are now competing with their own products on and not receiving credit of the sales.

Before we dive too far into how suppliers can react positively to marketplace retailers, let’s take a deeper look into “why” Walmart is pushing marketplace retailers.

  • Walmart is 100% focused on increasing its assortment online. Marketplace retailers offer a fast way to increase assortment, versus working directly with suppliers. From one perspective, it’s all about killing more birds with one stone, as Walmart can go to one provider and have access to many more items from many brands. However, speaking from my experience with Walmart suppliers, they are very slow and hesitant to open their entire catalog to Walmart. We understand the supplier’s reasoning. It is mostly due to thinking that certain products are not designed for the Walmart shopper. This resistance requires Walmart to seek other methods of accomplishing its goal of increased assortment, thus the marketplace.
  • Most marketplace retailers do not require Walmart to inventory items and usually offer drop shipping programs. This allows Walmart to carry more items faster for zero-to-little inventory investment and shipping logistics. This is very favorable for Walmart. However, most suppliers are not open to non-inventory items or drop ship programs. This forces Walmart to use marketplace retailers.
  • Walmart is engaging with marketplace retailers because they have no other choice. Suppliers are not reacting quickly enough to Walmart’s call for increased assortment online. Direct suppliers are not opening their entire catalogs or participating with non-inventory items and drop ship programs. If Walmart could work with direct suppliers and have full cooperation and speed to market, they and suppliers would greatly benefit.
  • Walmart must engage with marketplace retailers because of the omni-shopper. The omni-shopper wants convenience. That means they are simplifying their retailer choices by expecting retailers to carry more items they want. It makes it easier for shoppers when they can have one account with one retailer, go to physical store, use e-commerce, order online/pickup in store, or even have drones deliver products. They want the “everything store.” Walmart is not policing suppliers; they are simply reacting to their shoppers. Shoppers have demanded this for quite some time. Walmart must react quickly, as its omnichannel competitors are doing the same. This is NOT about e-commerce. This is about omnichannel retail.

Assortment growth is not going away. It’s going to become even more intense. Marketplace retailers will not go away. They will grow. The race has started and it is a full sprint to the finish.

So, what can direct suppliers do to grow their business at Walmart in the face of competing against marketplace retailers?

  1. Direct suppliers have a major advantage. They represent their brand to Walmart directly to the bulk of the business: brick-and-mortar. From a sales perspective, this offers them some favor to participate with Walmart’s omnichannel strategy.
  1. Suppliers must open their entire catalog to Walmart. Walmart will get their entire catalog eventually, one way or another. It may as well be directly from the supplier.
  1. Suppliers should implement processes to participate in drop shipping programs. This is not e-commerce strategy; think bigger, think omnichannel. Thinking in this way will allow suppliers to open appropriate budgets for this, versus looking only at sales for ROI. The reality is drop shipping will intensify in the next years for all retailers. It is better to be a leader than a follower competing with marketplace retailers.
  1. In our opinion, it all comes down to data and content. Here’s the deal – Walmart, all other retailers, shoppers, marketplace retailers, and even Google do not know a supplier’s products as well as the supplier. Everyone, but most importantly the shopper, is wanting to have more data and content for each SKU. The majority of all SKUs do not have adequate data and content. Even more lack optimized/searchable data and content. The manufacturers provide the best data and content for products. That’s the most critical advantage that they have over marketplace retailers. Marketplace retailers are not going to heavily invest data and content for suppliers’ products. As optimized and enhanced data and content become more prevalent in the market, marketplace retailers and other competitors may beat suppliers and manufactures to the punch. Google, who in our opinion is the greatest threat to Walmart businesses, may beat them to the punch. That’s a story for another day.

In summary, direct manufacturers have a problem, but with this comes opportunity. Manufacturers who are serious about optimized, enhanced and expanded data and content will win with omni-shoppers and Walmart, especially those that are the first to deploy.