Walmart last week announced the launch of "Walmart Business as an eCommerce site and customer experience" designed to serve small and medium businesses (SMBs) and nonprofits.
Bloomberg suggests that "Walmart is betting that the venture will help it encroach on rivals such as Staples Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., which stepped up efforts to woo smaller companies during the coronavirus pandemic. Wall Street analysts predict Walmart will be a slow-growing behemoth over the long term, and finding new sources of demand is a key challenge."
Here's how Walmart describes the new offering:
"Our focus is to remove complexity in purchasing, lower costs and give our customers more opportunities to serve their customers and communities. Walmart Business is built to leverage the very best of Walmart — our unmatched operating scale, our proximity within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population and the very best of our eCommerce, fulfillment and delivery technologies.
"Walmart Business offers a curated assortment of more than 100,000 items, with categorization and navigation tailored to busy organizational shoppers. As we’ve spoken with customers, they have identified key product for their operations. These areas include office supplies and furniture, food and beverage, restroom, electronics, classroom and facility needs. Walmart Business simplifies restocking by grouping various items together in a way that makes sense to organizations.
"In addition, Walmart Business offers multi-user accounts, giving organizations the ability to add up to five users to a single account. Customers can also share payment information, order history and purchasing power across teams. Qualified organizations can enroll in the Walmart Tax-Exemption Program (WTEP), allowing automatic removal of eligible taxes during checkout."
- KC's View:
We've written a lot here in recent months about how every retailer seems to be seeking alternative revenue streams as a way of supporting their traditional business models, but there's another approach - which is to reposition existing assets in a way that serves specific, targeted buying groups.
That's what Walmart is doing. Much of what it likely will sell via this new service is going to be product it carried anyway, but it is creating this new entity to serve a new constituency. Smart.
Many retailers can do the same thing. Think about the items you carry, and how they might be curated in online shops for specific demographics, and then do the coding and content creation necessary to make a new offering more accessible. There is a possibility that new sales and relationships can be unlocked through such an effort.