What is an Open Call?
Getting your foot in the door of a big box store like Walmart is very challenging. In part, this is because they have a sophisticated procurement team that seeks out successful retailers, and invites them to sell their products at Walmart. As a small, independent vendor, it can be impossible to even get noticed. Walmart’s open call flips the process, allowing retailers of any size to get their products in front of Walmart’s procurement team.
Can Anyone Submit to Walmart’s Open Call?
As long as you have shelf-ready products manufactured in the US, you’re eligible for the open call! However, you’re encouraged to select product categories that you haven’t pitched to in the past year. In order to successfully make it through the pitch process, you’ll need:
- A RangeMe Account (more on this below)
- Zoom or Microsoft Teams
- Shelf-Ready Products Manufactured in the US
- Samples Available to Send to Walmart
How Do I Apply for the 2020 Walmart Open Call?
In order to maintain social distancing measures, the 2020 open call application and pitch process are entirely virtual. Here’s the process you’ll go through from start to finish:
1 | Submitting your application
First, you’ll create a RangeMe profile, and submit your products there. You have until August 10, 2020 to get your submissions in.
2 | Preparing to Pitch
After the application process is closed, you’ll receive an email letting you know whether or not you’ve been offered an individual meeting, and outlining which of your products or product categories have been selected. Your pitch should focus only on the items or categories listed in the email.
In order to RSVP for your pitch meeting, you’ll need to be able to verify that you meet Walmart’s business requirements, including the liability insurance requirements for your product category. You can find your liability insurance requirements, and learn how to quickly get a COI that meets your requirements, by reading Walmart Supplier Insurance 101.
You’ll receive instructions for sending a sample of your product. You’ll need to take care of this at your own expense.
3 | The Pitch Meeting
You can bring three people to your individual pitch meeting. You’ll need to have access to a device capable of live-streaming video (two-way) using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other similar services. Mobile apps like Skype and FaceTime will not be acceptable. You’ll receive more specific instructions in your meeting information once your products have been accepted!
You can view updated information at Walmart-JUMP.com.
What is RangeMe?
RangeMe is an online service that connects retailers with big box stores like Walmart, Target, and more. Procurement teams browse through RangeMe to find pre-vetted vendors when they’re looking for new products. You will need a RangeMe profile in order to submit to Walmart’s Open Call. You can create a free profile, or upgrade to a RangeMe Verified Supplier account for priority placements.
To become a RangeMe Verified Supplier, you’ll need liability insurance. However, their requirements are lower than Walmart’s, so you’re better off making sure your certificate of insurance meets Walmart’s requirements, and then you can use the same certificate for RangeMe!
How do I Improve My Chances of Getting Accepted by Walmart?
1 | Create a RangeMe Account Now.
You’ll need to have your profile approved and ready to go by the time you submit your application, so it’s best to get started right away.
2 | Purchase Insurance Early.
It can take weeks to get a Certificate of Insurance that meets Walmart’s insurance requirements from traditional brokers. If you get a meeting, and can’t provide insurance verification quickly, they may pass up your business. The best way to quickly get a Certificate of Insurance that exactly meets Walmart’s requirements is to select your retail category, and purchase a pre-made Walmart Supplier Policy with all of the coverages, limits and language built in.
3 | Only Pitch to New Categories.
If you’ve attended an open call in the past, you’re welcome to apply again. However, you’re encouraged not to pitch to a category or a buyer you’ve pitched to in the last year.
4 | Test Your Streaming Service.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams are reliable options, but any new software or service takes some getting used to. Do a few practice pitches to make sure that you have all your settings where you need them for the big day. Additionally, if you’re using Zoom, you’ll need to upgrade your account if your meeting lasts longer than 45 minutes.
5 | Conserve Your Wifi.
Streaming smoothly takes a lot of bandwidth. If you have kids at home, or others using your Wifi during the day, make sure they’re unplugged during your pitch to avoid freezing.
6 | Only Pitch the Products Listed in Your Acceptance Email.
You should showcase color, size and style variants of the items listed in your meeting information, but avoid showcasing other products.
7 | Prepare Samples.
You’ll be expected to send samples of your product on your own dime. As you’re well aware, shipping may still be slower than usual in October. So, make sure you have everything you need ready to send in early.
Important Dates & Deadlines
JULY 2, 2020 | Application Process Opens
AUGUST 10, 2020 | Application Process Closes**
AUGUST 28, 2020 | Suppliers are notified of decision
OCTOBER 1, 2020 | Virtual Meeting Date
Subject to Change**