Demystifying Walmart’s Omnichannel Vision

Last week Walmart hosted a Supplier Growth Forum in Rogers, which promoted the new technological developments for online shopping.

Suppliers with any questions were able to join Whytespyder’s CEO, Eric Howerton, and Senior Account Services Director, Joyce Grippi, who hosted a Live Stream Event on February 17.

The Live Stream consisted of Eric and Joyce answering supplier questions regarding how Walmart is requesting its suppliers to improve its ecommerce. Eric states Wal-Mart is asking for, “best in class data and content.”

Eric explains how the manufacturer has an opportunity to give item-level stories and keywords that are relative to what the shopper is searching for. This moves manufacturers products up organically in search results on Google and

A manufacturer needs to recognize the importance of what Eric calls an 80/20 balance. In other words, having 80% item-level content on a product page and 20% brand messaging.

Eric explains that in today’s society, suppliers are faced with a shopper who is connected 24/7, who is empowered, and who is actively searching for product information. He provides further commentary that shoppers are not looking for a product; they are looking for information that provides “a solution for their problem.”

What Wal-Mart and each manufacturer must do is follow the customer. Shoppers are online, and in order to compete, the manufacturer must provide the onmichannel experience. Eric describes this as a “content race,” and the ones who are already running it are the ones who are winning.

The Significance of Doug McMillon’s Letter Regarding Omnichannel

Doug McMillon has always been consistent with his messaging regarding the experience of the shopper and how that overall shopping experience needs to be one of convenience. Convenience is the end goal that all retail action should move towards, beyond making a sale. Retailers should always be asking, “How easy can we make it for the shopper to purchase a product?”

After all, the shopper, within the retail experience, cares only for themselves and what they want. To them it doesn’t matter how they look at a product, what they know about it, or how they get it. All they know is that they want it.

What Doug McMillon is saying is obvious. People want continuous access to information, and this desire has created a paradigm shift in the way everyone shops. Social status has become irrelevant in the shopping experience because people across all segments of the market want this ease of access to information. As technology continues to accelerate, the quality of the information needs to keep up.

It is difficult to see these changes coming to fruition, but if we look back to when the iPhone first entered the market, we realize that even though we cannot see the change, we know how great of an impact these changes can have. As such, people cannot clearly see the outlines of the omnichannel experience and everyone is asking how Walmart is going to meet the omnichannel challenge.

Again, it all comes down to how easy we can make it for the shopper to make a purchase. This is why data and content is so important. Today we have a shopper that is empowered by technology to find the information they want, anytime, anywhere, via a plethora of devices and channels. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers to provide the shopper with the information they desire. We know that the shopper will make choices based on the information provided to them, so providing them with that rich content and data is essential.

Walmart is the greatest supply chain and logistical company in the world, they already have the infrastructure in place to facilitate an omnichannel future, giving them a huge advantage over their competition. In my opinion, they will most likely win the omnichannel race.

Once manufacturers provide that rich content and data, they can fully utilize Walmart’s supply chain and technological infrastructure. When manufacturers provide premium information, everyone will prosper. Everyone from Walmart to the shopper will benefit from an enhanced omnichannel shopping experience.