How To Sell My Product to Walmart
I've been teaching people how to sell their products to major retailers for several years now and the one question I get asked at every event is how to sell my product to Wal-Mart.
And it makes sense! One Wal-Mart order can mean millions of dollars to your business so of course you want to know how to sell to them.
To help you get started with selling products to Wal-Mart, I've written the following article that includes some specific tips, tricks and strategies to help you win.
Now before you read this article, please be sure to read the article I wrote about retailers. This will help you understand how the buying process works at Wal-Mart!
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world. This means that they get inundated with companies interested in selling to them all day, every day. So if you want to know how to sell your products to Wal-Mart than you have to talk their language.
This typically means that you have to prove that your product has been selling in other big box retailers AND that your product is priced right ie cheap. There are obviously other considerations when selling to Wal-Mart, but from a sales perspective, these two things will help get you in the door significantly more than anything else.
1) Your Product Sold at Other Retailers First
Wal-Mart knows that they are the biggest player in the retail space so they can pick and choose whatever products they want. So why would they want to pick a product that hasn't been sold anywhere else? That's risky! They want proven products that are going to make them money and so they tend to pick companies who have been selling to other big box retailers first before they consider working with you.
So my suggestion to you is to get your products on the shelves of other big box retailers first prior to approaching Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart buyers will be more interested in your product if you have proven sales elsewhere.
Plus, Wal-Mart can't afford the bad press if your company shuts down after a Wal-Mart order because you couldn't sustain their order requirements. They can buy millions of units at a time and if you can't handle those quantities, Wal-Mart ends up looking bad. They don't want that and neither do you! So having proven sales is a huge deal for Wal-Mart, more so than most of the other big box retailers.
Now, there is one major exception to the rule...Wal-mart's Get On The Shelf Program. Wal-Mart has recently developed a contest for new product companies who do not have proven sales. You can enter this contest with Wal-Mart where the audience determines who has the next best product. It's actually a brilliant strategy.
If you don't have proven sales, but 100,000 people on the web love your product then Wal-Mart takes less of a risk. Love it! A student of mine was a finalist in this program and ultimately got a meeting with a Wal-Mart buyer and I think they are testing in stores now. Yay! So definitely check out their Get On the Shelf program and explore that option. Otherwise, my advice to the rest of you is to get some proven sales under your belt prior to approaching Wal-Mart.
2) Your Price is Right ie Cheap
Wal-Mart is successful because they are able to keep prices low for their customer base. This means that Wal-Mart needs to hammer their suppliers on price. You may not make as much money per unit on your product, but you will make it back on the sheer volume that Wal-Mart will buy. The problem most companies face is that their business model doesn't always fit the cheap model that Wal-Mart provides their customer base. So you have to determine what makes sense for you and your business.
Will it kill your business if you sell your product 20-30% (or whatever it is) lower then where you sell it everywhere else? You have to really think about that. You have to look at the big picture here - you can't just look at selling to Wal-Mart because of the money, you have to also look at it from a strategy perspective. Can you sustain your business while still selling to Wal-Mart? Food for thought...
Now here is how some product companies handle the price differences related to selling to Wal-Mart vs. everywhere else. They create a slightly modified (cheaper version) of their product that they can sell to Wal-Mart. Maybe this version has a few less bells and whistles or maybe they have different packaging to clarify that it's Wal-Mart centric. This combats some of the issues related to selling to Wal-Mart vs. selling at other big box retailers.
There are other ways to handle this issue, but I'm hoping you get the point that Wal-Mart cares about having the cheapest prices in their stores and you need to accomodate those needs in order to work with them.
Wal-Mart is unique in relation to other big box retailers because they are focused mainly on purchasing products that have proven sales AND products that are affordably priced.
So you have to think about these two things prior to approaching them. Come up with an awesome story as to why Wal-Mart should buy your product and include the information mentioned above. You will be one step ahead of your competition.
There are obviously other things involved with how to sell my product to Wal-Mart. I know this because my Retail MBA Training Program is over 15 hours long explaining the process of selling to retailers such as Wal-Mart, but you can absolutely start approaching them with the knowledge I just provided you.
Here's another tip - Check out the Wal-Mart Supplier website. Wal-Mart actually lists all of their requirements for new potential suppliers on this site! Spend some time on this site because Wal-Mart tells you what they are looking for in regards to new suppliers.
And here's a hint...if you are a woman or minority-owned product company, then I highly recommend submitting your information to Wal-Mart as soon as possible! Wal-Mart is focused on increasing their diverse supplier base significantly which basically means they are looking for you!!
Here's the link again for the Wal-Mart Supplier website. Also, check out the diversity supplier tab if this is relavent to your business. I hope it helps!!
To Your Success,