Walmart has requested that all their suppliers provide online data and content for their complete inventory to Walmart.com. This big change to move all products from in-store to online may be disruptive and hard to understand, but it is also essential to court modern omnichannel shoppers and filled with opportunity.
Recently, WhyteSpyder CEO Eric Howerton sat down with Cameron Smith of Cameron Smith & Associates to discuss this major change and what it means to Walmart’s suppliers. Cameron Smith & Associates are a team of executive search professionals that have specialized in staffing and placing Walmart supplier teams for more than two decades.
“In all my 21 years this might be one of the most disruptive changes I have ever seen,” Smith said. “I had a supplier come to me last week asking me about this. He said because online sales only represent five percent of total sales, they felt they only needed to give five percent of their time to this. I think they are missing the boat.”
Online content and data is a major influencer in shoppers, Smith explained. People shop today like it is a sport; a fun competition to find the best price and most convenience. Having easily-found, accurate content and data online is a great way to get a competitive edge in this game.
“I believe the need for suppliers to have strategic focus on today’s omnichannel shopper is important,” Smith said. “Walmart is clearly giving direction about their omnichannel strategy and their needs for data and content for each SKU (stock keeping unit) page.”
Smith went on to say that this new requirement is just the beginning and more like it are soon to follow. He added that this omnichannel marketing strategy is here to stay, so suppliers need to get familiar with the concept. He also said that the suppliers who comply with the new requirements quickly stand to reap the most benefits.
“The sooner that Walmart reacts to the demands of the shopper and the sooner the suppliers react to the demands of Walmart the more rewards the supplier will see.” Smith said, “From years of experience, we know the first supplier out of the gate will most likely stay ahead of the pack.”