Minimum Viable Product · Retail

Thoughts on Upcoming Walmart/Sam's Meetings?

Mazy Holiday President of WhatBox, Inc.

June 22nd, 2016

Upcoming meeting with Walmart and Sam's to pick up our new product. I think I have covered every possible topic they could want to know, but if anyone has experience pitching to them I would love to hear some input. Was there a question you did not expect, or an unforeseen problem you encountered? Did you walk away with an answer?

Barbara Clarke-Ruiz CEO / BCSWIRL, Inc. Expert Athleisure / Activewear Design

June 22nd, 2016

I consulted with Walmart for two years as their activewear Design Director. I was responsible for six activewear divisions. Once I left, I worked with another client and sold in a product with sales at around $40M in the first year.

A few things. . .
1. If they were not interested, you would not get the meeting. One of my clients tried for three years to get a meeting.
2. Go the the store and shop your competitors. Gather as much information around their products and use it to make yours better in quality and price. Think Added Value!
3. Walmart is VERY price driven. Find good suppliers and beat them down for savings as Walmart will review your cost sheet and scrutinize it to the penny. Make sure its tight and you can justify every dime.
4. Make sure your supplier is reputable and Walmart compliant. If they have done work with Walmart in the past, that's a HUGE plus otherwise, it could present a challenge. You have one time to deliver product late and you're out. Everything on their floor is systematically timed so buyers can meet their numbers on time.
5. New vendors typically start with a test. If your sell through for the test is exceptional, you'll get an order. If not, they may still take a chance but keep you in stores where they know you have the best chance of sell through.
6. DO NOT take any gifts what-so-ever to your meeting. Do even offer a bottle of water. They cannot accept it.
7. Be prepared to leave samples if they ask so, bring extras.
8. You have 20-30 minutes to sweep them off their feet. Bring in any product support you can to help the buyer visualize your product on their floor.
9. If they love your product, they will work with you to figure out how to get it on their floor.

Good Luck!

Colin Peacock Education

June 22nd, 2016

Think about your new product through the eyes of stakeholders beyond just the buyer....obviously the shopper who shops at Wal-Mart/Sam's, what else are they buying / will buy, then the store manager, how will it help the product and the way you have packaged the product reduce their labour costs, shrink, waste, etc. How will returns be managed? Then supply chain, how does your product impact their measures, what will be the minimum ship quantity to the stores? What effort will the store need to undertake to make it ready for sale? What about the e-commerce business's of these retailers, is it the same buyer? Do you have all the right collateral to help it sell online? etc...

Brent Walker EVP & Chief Marketing Officer at c2b solutions

June 22nd, 2016

Depends on what level of WM you're pitching... if it's at the Purchaser level, be sure you keep your pitch buttoned up and within the time limit they give you (20 minutes?) or they'll cut you off before you're finished. It's been a few years since I've been there while I was at P&G (so this feedback may be a little dated), and we were meeting at a higher level in their organization, but I witnessed Purchasing's very disciplined approach.  Be ready to have them aggressively negotiate margin out of your asking price, though this may happen at later stages in the process, not the initial pitch.  WM are masters at this.  A few years ago they'd usher you from the lobby to a "bullpen" to do the pitch -- don't know if they've changed since then.  Long story short - be succinct, discuss how it will save WM shoppers money, and prepare for the meeting to end on time.

Connie Bensen Community, Social Media and Marketing Leader

June 22nd, 2016

Have you looked at the conversations about this on Quora? Here's the search I used that provides many results

Dominick Pagnozzi Senior Sales, Market Development and General Management executive, experienced e-commerce and retail channel development

June 22nd, 2016

Mazy, what type of product is this? Are you distributed anywhere else in the mass channel? Why does this make sense for Walmart and is a natural gravitation for a Walmart consumer. There are many points you will need to hit on effectively to assure confidence. Additionally, as Colin points out, there are many logistic and support issues that are critical to understand and address once the product is embraced.​ Dominick Pagnozzi Pagnozzi Ventures, LLC 914-391-6398 skype:Dpagnozzi www.PagnozziVentures.Com

Neil HereWeAre Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567

June 22nd, 2016

In trying to get Walmarts to carry and sell your new product, Maybe you don't "pitch" on the product itself. Remember, "people do things for their reasons, not yours"(c, ndlicht) so instead first carefully understand what each listener cares about in their role. Having done so, start off relating right up front get them involved, seeing how what you propose can help them or fit in with what they do.

Start off with stating some of these issues and how what you are offering makes those issues go away or become non-issues. They then are ready to hear you out based on knowing that what you will say directly relates to them, won't make life more difficult, can help them in their jobs and easily fit into their way of doing things if your proposal is adopted. 

Not so obvious example: Distribution director is worrying about how to get and then easily distribute your product withing the Walmart system- address that as part of your "pitch". See what I mean. Folks on the listening side who are not directly involved in retailing to the end user but do have a say now or later can then say OK to your pitch and help you get accepted. 

Try it out - do that homework, learn who will be on the listening side of the pitch, and who along with them is also involved in giving you to OK.  Then, knowing that ant the motivations od the listeners,  retool your opening to involve each, pitch and close accordingly so everyone can and will say YES