Walmart & Amazon’s Relationship – the symbiotic odd couple

By Larry Robertson, CEO | Competitive Issues

Oct 24
symbiotic relationship of Walmart & Amazon

A while back, I attended a CPG supplier conference where an exuberant presenter shared the secret to selling products to Walmart. Their strategy is based on their observation that Walmart buyers are much more hesitant to try “new” products than smaller chains due to the dollars involved. As a result, they are much more likely to buy merchandise that has performed well in ecommerce.

Ironically, this dynamic has created a symbiotic relationship between Walmart & Amazon… Amazon benefits by being first-to-market with new items and Walmart benefits by minimizing its buy-in risk that may otherwise lead to excessive markdowns.

The presenter said,  “Going into a Walmart buyer-meeting, armed with Amazon sales data, greatly improves the odds of making a sale.”

During Q&A session, the presenter was asked if they also tested new products on Walmart.com. Their immediate response was, “No, setting up new items at Amazon is so easy that there’s really no need to take them anywhere else. It’s the “kiss rule” for suppliers and the key to selling to Walmart

That response may not have been nearly as surprising, had the event been held anywhere other than Bentonville Arkansas.

About the Author

Larry is the CEO and co-founder of AON Invent. He has enjoyed a career that has spanned sales, marketing, and product innovation for companies that include subsidiaries of AMR/American Airlines, Learjet and Sam's Club. In 1995 he teamed up with Ron Loveless, the founding CEO of Sam's Club, to launch a marketing and product development firm that grossed $500 million in its first 3 years. Over the past 20+ years, Larry has personally vetted over 1,000 product concepts and marketing strategies.