Over 450 small businesses met buyers head on at Walmart’s fifth annual Open Call event recently. More than 100 entrepreneurs pitching their American-made products for sale with the retail giant were rewarded by getting to move onto the next step in the process. A few exceptional pitches landed businesses a deal on the spot.
Small Business Trends spoke with Tiffany Wilson Director of Communications at Walmart about who some of them were and what they did to be successful.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity for American entrepreneurs to come to Walmart’s home office and potentially get their products into the hands of millions of customers,” she said. This is the fifth year of the event that lasts one day.
Tips on How to Become a Walmart Vendor
Have A Tight Pitch
Getting a deal is the Holy Grail for these small businesses and that’s just what Cotton Babies from Fenton, MO did. The company will be selling their cloth diaper buckets in 100 stores in the spring.
Wilson says they got a deal on the spot partially because they had taken the time to prepare a good tight pitch.
“These are only about 30 minutes,” she said. “Each company had to talk about their product and why it’s special and why it works well for Walmart customers to get the buyer’s attention.”
An elevator pitch works in these tight quarters. These stress the key points and list value and product benefits without the fluff.
Have a Passionate and Engaging Approach
The Honey Pot Company LLC, from Atlanta, GA also got a deal on the spot. These makers of a feminine hygiene product that’s toxin and chemical free landed themselves in 1000 Walmart stores.
Wilson says one of the big draws for these big winners was their enthusiasm.
“What they all had in common was we saw brands, products and people that we thought potential customers want to engage with.”
Developing a narrative that tells the story of your brand helps. Remember here that speaking too fast can stifle your points. This kind of personable approach works best with a conversational clear tone.
Follow the Trends
Giving the people what they want isn’t new in the business world. Small businesses can either tweak an existing product or develop a new one with the latest consumer trends in mind.
It’s no surprise Walmart uses it as one of the big criteria to gauge who sells in their stores. Wilson explains.
“There was a big push this year for new and natural products,” Wilson said. “We saw quite a few products like the ones mentioned where we thought, ‘People would feel good about purchasing this brand.’”
Finally, not everybody will be able to get their goods and services into the local Walmart store. However, taking a little advice from someone who knows what works might be the next best thing.
“Walmart stores carry a lot of products,” Wilson says. “They need to be special, they need to be different and people need to feel good about them. That’s what separates the better brand and products from the rest.”
Photo via Shutterstock
You’d better have your crap together and really believe in your product if you’re going to put it in front of Walmart. You’ll also need to have a very thorough understanding of your costs & margin because Walmart does a lot of volume and you’ll be responsible to deliver.
Interesting. This means that there are more opportunities to get your product out there with this event.
Retailers should really take advantage of this. This is a rare opportunity.
Wow. It is great that they are finally doing this.