Harvest Group recently hosted a webinar to address trending topics all suppliers should be informed of when doing omnichannel business at Walmart. Mark Stamps, VP of Digital at Harvest Group, and Mike Harvey, VP of Growth & Development, paired up to help companies be informed on the following topics. Join us for our next webinar, “Managing Your Omnichannel Product Availability Amid COVID-19″ on Thursday, March 26 at 10am CST.
- The importance and competitive advantage of Online Grocery data.
- The announcement of integrating digital and physical merchants at Walmart, how the new structure changes the conversation.
- The announcement of bid-based digital advertising platforms for sponsored products at Walmart.
Walmart Online Grocery – Understanding How to Gain a Competitive Advantage
Walmart has seen a majority of new business growth from Online Grocery pickup (often referred to as OGP) in recent years with over 3,100 stores activated nationwide. What does this mean for brands selling products at the retailer? Short and simple, you need to invest in digital capabilities with Walmart and activate on Online Grocery. Walmart will continue to put more emphasis on omnichannel efforts. If you’re not well-positioned on the digital platforms, you’ll fall behind and lose out to competitors.
We often call this “The Chase for the Red Hearts.” When a customer purchases an item on OGP, the platform will flag it with a red heart or favorite in their account. Then, the app will remind them of those products next time. It’s much easier to add an item you’ve purchased before to your cart than to seek a new product out. Shoppers are eager to save time and ease the experience. The customer lifetime value associated with that red heart is so powerful. This is a huge opportunity to drive point of sale and double down on digital content that will help you improve your product rank. Do everything you can to capture those red hearts, if the shopper buys your competition it will be hard to knock that red heart off the list later.
Why is Online Grocery Data Important?
Walmart Online Grocery data is important to inform brands of how much of their business is transacted through the digital platform. Now, OGP sales are impacting brick and mortar sales. If you know how much you’re selling through OGP, you can make an informed decision for how much holding capacity, shelf space, and inventory you’ll need. OGP pulls from the store shelves. If in-stocks are low and your product is not available, it’s likely that your competitor’s product will be the substitute and you lose that red heart you’ve been working to capture. Start thinking about stores as fulfillment centers to understand the amount of inventory needed to keep stores in-stock.
Accessing OGP data is different as it is not an output from Retail Link. Harvest Group has developed a method to calculate OGP sales and can inform you of how much of your business is being transacted digitally on the OGP app. This capability is opening a lot of omnichannel conversations with brands. Some clients are finding that 20-25% of their business with Walmart is done digitally.
Omnichannel – The Merge of Physical and Digital Merchandising
Historically Walmart brick and mortar business and Walmart.com have been two separate entities. This is changing after the latest Walmart omnichannel merchandising announcement. The retailer’s biggest push will be accelerating omnichannel business and creating an omni customer experience to offer a better mix of products. If your brand is in-store, it should also be listed on Walmart.com and Online Grocery. As a result, suppliers are feeling the urgency to develop their brands digitally. Listing products on Walmart.com allows brands to attract a new type of customer and expand reach beyond store shelves.
Once products are in-store, online, and on OGP it’s imperative to optimize content for every listing to make sure your item is being found by shoppers. List specific attributes to your items and code them correctly. Think codes such as “Gluten Free”, “Suitable for children under five years old”, “Organic”, etc. depending on your product. You’ll lose sales if you’re not optimizing search terms.
Brands also need e-commerce friendly bundles. Investing in great content and experiences for the shopper is key for digital success. Shoppers are always on their phones. Often shopping in-store while looking at products online. Ask yourself, “What does my content and product look like online?” There’s a good chance it probably needs to be adjusted.
Advertising – Walmart’s New Sponsored Ads Platform
Walmart recently rolled out the Sponsored Ad platform as well. See our blog post “Digital Marketing With Walmart Self-Serve Ad Platform Vs. Innovative Strategic Brand Partnerships” for more information about the specifics of the platform. Harvest Group has partnered with Kenshoo to merge Walmart expertise with advanced technology to help brands optimize spend within seconds. This service allows brands to see ROI for online sales or how online ads are impacting in-store purchases.
We’ve seen ROAS of 5x and higher for clients on the Kenshoo platform so far as a result of increased optimization and limited competition. The “always-on” approach takes the guesswork out of buying sponsored ads with Kenshoo’s automation. You can always be sure that you’re getting the best value at the lowest bid. Right now, we’re seeing only around 30% of keywords with sponsored ads. That leaves almost 70% of top keywords as still available. It’s important to be first to the game to really win.
The Difference Between Walmart and Amazon. Can I Copy my Amazon Listing Over?
Amazon has a much larger number of third-party sellers and a desire to automate as much of the vendor-buyer relationship as possible. Walmart is still very relationship-based with regular communication with buyers. They recognize that buyers are still making decisions. Amazon is a more open ecosystem as well. You have the option of either organic or paid listings. Where Walmart is less open. You can pay for a couple of spaces however the buyers still have the disposition to place the items on their virtual shelves as they see fit. All of that is up for negotiation as well.
Amazon content is specific on what you can publish – 5 bullet points and that’s it. Walmart has 8,000 characters and more space to customize. Just copying and pasting from Amazon isn’t going to help you. We must go back to that earlier concept of personalizing and investing in great digital content.
What This Means for Brands and Shoppers
Overall, the new changes announced by Walmart are positive to increase the shopper’s experience from digital to physical in-store product discovery and purchase. Brands who respond accordingly and quickly can expect to see increased success. Harvest Group can assist brands of all sizes to expand access to their omnichannel sales data and strategy, increase Return On Ad Spend from sponsored ads, optimize content/rich media, and more to respond to Walmart’s new announcements.
If you have any questions about how Harvest Group can help you expand your omnichannel business at Walmart or to request the full webinar recording, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org