Ram Rampalli, Chief Catalog Evangelist and Senior Director Product Management at Walmart Labs, provided insights on the retail giant’s priorities, product content processes and gave advice to brands on how to be successful during a recent webinar. Listen to the full recording or read our highlights below.1. Walmart wants suppliers to provide high-quality content across their whole product catalog. “We need to make sure that our customer is satisfied,” says Rampalli. “One of the key foundational aspects of this is high-quality product content, and that is what we are basically requesting from you. You are the owners of the products, and you are the best source of information.” Walmart is actively collecting product content for all Wal-Mart Eligible SKUs, whether a product is sold in-store, online as a 1P, through the drop ship program (DSV), or it's a marketplace product.
2. Content impacts the entire product lifecycle at Walmart. Before content hits the shelves, Walmart uses product content to determine assortment in-store and online. During the item set-up process, the content details dictate where on the shelf your product is placed. In addition, Walmart uses algorithms to vet pricing and free-shipping qualifications. Once the product is on sale, product content forms the building blocks of the digital shopping experience, and is displayed on in-store kiosks, used in Walmart Pay receipts. The bottom line? “Content plays a very important role across the board,” Rampalli says. It’s best to send the most complete and accurate product content you can.
3. Brands are not Walmart’s only source of product content. In addition to using the product content provided by brands directly, Walmart uses third-party sources such as GDSN, applies artificial intelligence and other content scraping tools, and has an internal team creating fresh content. “If you can give us your best content, then we don’t have to go and search for this content from other sources,” Rampalli explained. “As soon as you know that Wal-Mart is interested in the SKUs, it's important that you publish the SKUs. For all the SKUs that are currently published and transacted, please make sure that you keep the content fresh by updating the content.”
Brands have the option of provide product content directly through Walmart Supplier Center or working with a content service provider (CSP). Salsify is one of Walmart’s approved content service providers. Rampalli shared an important distinction for brands to consider when choosing how to send content to Walmart:
"The key difference between using Supplier Center and a CSP, in my opinion, is this: If you use Supplier Center, you could spend all your time just typing all the information and updating all the information, then sending it to Walmart. But if you use a CSP, then what happens is that they can syndicate to your other retail partners. Now, you don't need to retype and redo all the work. If you have content that you’ve already send to other retailers, you can use that as well. You can just open up the Wal-Mart channel with Salsify, and basically tell them, ‘Yeah, I've been syndicating to other retailers. Now, I need I syndicate this content to Walmart.’ Then, Salsify can quickly tell you, ‘Yes, these are the attributes that you need to add or subtract, or change, or modify, in order to be Walmart compliant’, or they can say that you're already Walmart compliant, and immediately push the content."
Walmart is continuing to invest in product content and innovate on ways to improve the customer shopping experience in store and online. Salsify has worked closely with Walmart to test and implement their new API within our product experience management platform.