Walmart is the top retailer in the USA. That is why many manufacturers and distributors look forward to selling their products through Walmart. To get approved to become a Walmart vendor is not complicated if you know how the system works. In a previous article, “What is the best way to get your product in stores?”, I generalized the process to get registered in a supermarket. In this post, I will address specifically how to get registered as a supplier in Walmart. I will tell you what documents are required, what you should take into account and the process to get authorized.

Requirements to apply as a Walmart vendor

Before starting the process to become a Walmart vendor make sure you have at hand following documents.

  • Tax ID
  • Company information and contact persons
  • Banking information
  • Duns number. A data universal numbering system or DUNS number is a unique, nine-digit series of numerals that identifies a business. You can request it online at https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/get-a-duns.html
  • A product liability insurance: Product liability insurance helps protect your business from claims that a product you made or sold caused bodily injury or property damage to someone else.
  • The UPC’s for all of the products you intend to sell. The Universal Product Code (UPC; redundantly: UPC code) is a barcode symbol that is widely used worldwide for tracking trade items in stores.

Issues to consider befor applying to be a Walmart vendor

Everyday there are many vendors trying to get their products registered in Walmart. In order to better the chances of having products approved there are a few factors you should consider.

Differentiation factors:

You must start formulating, in your mind, what the differentiating factors of your product are, versus those of the products that are already in Walmart. Your product must be different enough for the category manager to approve it.

Product line:

Most Walmart buyers prefer that you have a product line.  Since it takes so much time and effort to approve you as a vendor, they want you to have a line of products.  In case one product doesn’t work you would have other products to choose from. That is going to increase significantly your probability of getting approved.

Product sales history:

It is unlikely that products new to the market get approval, unless they are a best seller somewhere else. Be prepared with the sales facts.

Product restrictions:

Your products cannot be restricted; i.e. adult products, violence products, and products that promote aggression.

Approval process to be a Walmart vendor

Let’s go quickly on the steps associated to be registered in Walmart.

  • Go to corporate https://retaillink.login.wal-mart.com/ to create your retail linked account. Fill in the information required and, in the end, click on “Submit”.
  • Once you are granted access to the retail link, you need to set up your supplier profile.  This profile is critical to get approved because this is where all of the buyers are going to check before approving or declining you.
  • Setup the products. Make sure to take nice pictures of your products and give clear and understandable descriptions.
  • At this point, you must wait to receive an invitation from Walmart. Once you receive it, there are two options to get your products approved.
    • If you are going to serve local stores, the best approach is to go to a local store and pitch your product to a store manager. The manager will move it up the chain and get it approved to be in the store. From that point on you can start developing sales history that will eventually help to get approved in more stores and even through a Distribution Center.
    • If you are going nationally and the buyers like your product, you will be invited out to Bentonville, Arkansas, to get approval to supply your products. For this visit you will have limited allotted time. You will need to take samples, sales facts and have prepared an elevator sales pitch.
  • Once you pitch your product either to the category manager or to the store manager at a local Walmart, you are going to get a supplier agreement from Walmart and access to their global supplier management application at retail link. When you get this, it means that you are a certified supplier for Walmart and you should start receiving purchase orders for your product or start selling it at the store level.

Electronic connections

Once approved as a Walmart vendor you will start receiving purchase orders via EDI. Every time they send an order you will receive a notifying email. You can process these orders in two ways:

  • Manual downloading the order through your retail link’s EDI application, generate the invoice and manually loading in retail link. This method works if the orders volume you have with Walmart is low.
  • But if the order volume is high the best way is to find an EDI service provider that does EDI with Walmart, like Di Central, Datatrans, or SPS commerce.
EDI for Walmart vendor

How EDI works with an approved Walmart vendor

If you are a DSD distributor other connection you might need if your trade with Walmart is high, is to implement a DEX connector. With DEX your delivery driver can electronically transfer invoice data to the store’s computer. This is done using an Android device with a DEX cable. The delivery driver takes the DEX cable, plugs one end into the retailer’s DEX port and the other into the Android. With two taps, all invoice data is electronically interchanged with the retailer. This makes it so the receiver no longer has to key in time consuming and error prone UPC codes and quantities into the retailer’s computer.

I hope this article has been helpful. I will continue to publish information related to Warehouse Management, distribution practices and trends, and the general economy. If you are interested in this article or want to learn more about Laceup Solutions, register to keep you updated on future articles.

You can also watch this video on the subject.

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