By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Only five companies can manage supplier displays and other services in Walmart stores.
Walmart has actively been adjusting its strategies to make its company leaner, more efficient, and more omnichannel friendly. As part of this move, the chain has announced a new merchandising services program that reduces to five the number of companies that can manage supplier displays and other services across its 4,600 store fleet.
In a July 18 memo, Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer for Walmart US, noted new guidelines for its Merchandising Services Program. According to Talk Business, Bratspies explained that Walmart is centralizing the merchandising activity planning process and creating standard operating procedures that align with the retailer’s “one best way” agenda. This effort, he explained, will allow stores to be better prepared to drive sales, leverage costs and increase efficiencies to improve shopper experiences.
Wal-Mart has selected five Preferred Services Providers (PSPs) as part of the new program. The companies winning approval to continue working in Wal-Mart stores are: Anderson Merchandisers, Crossmark, Acosta, Premium and SAS Retail Services. The new service model will help deliver greater consistency and create a better in-store experience for customers. Though Sam’s Club is not included in the scope of the new program guidelines, individual clubs may use one of the five approved in-store merchandise providers at their own discretion.
“The Program will benefit Walmart and our Suppliers by enabling better coordination with stores, improving the quality and consistency of the work being performed by representatives and enabling our store associates to more effectively complete activities and better serve the needs of our customers,” Bratspies noted in the memo.
“Premium’s desire to innovate and tailor a unique approach for each client continues to set us apart,” explained Brian Travers, Premium’s Owner and CEO. “We are challenging traditional models every day, and our clients are finding success in moving away from ‘hand-me-downs.’ We are so humbled that Walmart has selected us as part of this elite group and we are excited to continue to invest in our clients and their success at Walmart through hard work and thought leadership.”
The new protocol went into effect September 1, and other third-party merchandisers have until January 1, 2018 to fully transition out of the business. As of February 1, only the preferred service providers will be authorized to perform merchandising services in Walmart stores.