Could your product or products be sold from store shelves in Walmart? You’ll never know until you try.
Submissions to Walmart’s Open Call are due by August 10. The company annually hosts Open Call, a search for new and innovative products to sell in its stores.
Hundreds apply and hundreds benefit. Here’s a tale of a company which really “got a handle” on how to grow a small business.
In 2014 Mighty Good Solutions responded to a Walmart Open Call for products with the Mighty Handle.
A simple concept, the Mighty Handle is a molded plastic product which allows a person to carry six plastic shopping bags on its frame. Mighty Good Solutions made a deal with Walmart, which still carries the product.
Mighty Good Solutions has responded to the Open Call annually since. Its most recent success came last year with the acceptance of the Pizza Saver. That’s another simple plastic design that can hold, and reheat, three pizza slices.
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Walmart Open Call 2020
Open Call is part of Walmart’s initiative to purchase an additional $250 billion by 2023 in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. For example, Mighty Good’s inventions, manufactured in Tennessee, are now sold nationwide in Walmart.
According to Walmart the Open Call initiative is expected to create an estimated 1 million new U.S. jobs. The deadline to apply is August 10, and your product or products must be U.S. made.
If selected to advance, you’ll pitch to Walmart buyers October 1 via a virtual meeting. In addition to the one-on-one pitch with a buyer, you’ll have the opportunity to network with Walmart execs and leaders during break-out sessions, also virtual.
Some deals secure a manufacturer’s product in a group of stores. Some deals get a product in hundreds, even thousands, of stores including Sam’s Clubs.
“Walmart remains committee to sourcing products made, grown or assembled in the U.S.,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for Global Sourcing & U.S. Manufacturing. “By investing in products that support American jobs, we are able to bring new products to our customers, support new jobs in our local communities and invest in small business across the country.”
For an application and additional information about the event, go to www.Walmart-jump.com. You can join the conversation now at #WalmartOpenCall.
Is You Product a Good Fit?
U.S. sourced manufacturing is one of many factors that customers considering when making a purchase. U.S. sourced manufacturing is a requirement for applicants to Open Call.
Also, your pitch should highlight the details that are unique to your product or company. You should be ready to make a compelling pitch to the buyers. The buyers will want facts and data that enable them to make an informed decision.
This is the seventh year for Open Call. Although this year’s event will be virtual for the first time, Walmart sees that as a huge advantage.
“This year’s Open Call will be virtual, enabling even broader participation from potential new suppliers,” Phillips said. “We know how important this opportunity is for many small businesses, especially this year.”
The virtual Open Call gives a small business owner the ability to pitch a product without leaving home. It is also an opportunity to get feedback and encouragement from Walmart leaders.
Could this be your big break? Think of these statistics (pre-pandemic): Each week, millions of customer visit Walmart stores. That’s not counting the millions that shop Walmart on-line.
At the Open Call in 2018, a Walmart buyer decided to test Gwen Hurt’s product, Shoe Crazy Wine, in 66 stores. Through Open Call, Walmart may make a deal in selected stores, starting locally and regionally.
After landing that deal, Hurt purchased an empty warehouse and hired about a dozen employees. Now, Walmart has sweetened the deal and Hurt may need more room, and more employees.
This summer Shoe Crazy Wine will be carried in an additional 118 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.
Requirements for Potential Suppliers
Here are some requirements for your Open Call application. You’ll have to meet some standards to be considered as a Walmart supplier:
- Competitive pricing
- Federal Tax ID number
- Minimum of $2 million in liability insurance
- Dun & Bradstreet number
- Ability to submit products for third-party testing
- Electronic data exchange (EDI)
- GS1 membership number
- Existing shelf-ready product must meet www.FTC.gov criteria for U.S. country of origin
- Confirm ability to meet supplier requirements
Print books, eBooks, audiobooks, music and magazines will not be considered during Open Call.
“Walmart’s annual Open Call event gives us a unique occasion to identify new suppliers with unique and innovative products,” Phillips said. “We are looking forward to seeing the new product submissions and meeting potential new suppliers.”