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D&B Credibility on Instagram

dandb-instagramD& B Credibility Corp has shared a lot of fun things on Instagram. There’s also some interesting information, like this intriguing data point. Plus good advice, like “Work hard. Stay humble.”

It’s clear that these are people who know how to work and hard and play hard.

You may usually use Instagram to plan your wardrobe or to show off your customized vehicle. But Instagram can also be used to share interesting information, as D& B Credibility Corp has shown.

That’s not the only way D&B Credibility Corp provides valuable information. Check out these business resources from D&B Credibility Corp:

  • Videos range from heartwarming personal stories to financial advice to tips on social media for business.
  • Articles go into detail in three categories: starting a business, growing a business, and protecting a business.
  • White papers give the scoop on what D&B Credibility Corp knows best: business credibility.

Explore these valuable resources… and don’t miss D&B Credibility Corp on Instagram. They’ll keep you entertained and informed next time you’re waiting in line.

 

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8th & Walton Media

8thandwaltonmediaAs we continue to polish our new website, we’ve added a tab listing our media offerings.

From left to right, there’s a great collection of resources for Walmart suppliers.

Walmart News Now, the top source for news about Walmart and the Supplier community, lets you visit one site and find all the news — plus supplier jobs and more. This is where you should head on your coffee break.

WMNN

Top Ten Headlines is a weekly newsletter highlighting the key stories that comes straight to your in-box — when you don’t have time for a coffee break.

Saturday Morning Meeting is 8th & Walton’s TV show by and for suppliers. Each week, we bring you in-depth interviews with thought leaders within the retail community, Walmart suppliers sharing their experiences, and companies bringing new services and technologies to the community.

The 8th & Walton Blog offers in-depth stories on Walmart news, 8th & Walton course offerings, tips for suppliers, and everything else that can affect your life as a supplier. Meet us here every weekday morning for information and education designed to make you a smarter supplier.

8th & Walton media also offers white papers, ebooks, and other special publications on a regular basis. Here are a few to get you started:

It’s our goal to provide a one-stop shop for supplier development. Visit often to stay informed.

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Final Reflections on NRF’s Big Show

Glamour portrait in blue sunglassesJordan K. Speer of Apparel came up with an interesting final reflection on the National Retail Federation’s Big Show. “This is a really exciting time to be alive,” he decided, “Because… science.”

Certainly, the Big Show included plenty of science and technology. From a nearly limitless range of POS and display options to wearables and game-changing sustainable technologies, the Big Show was a feast for the eyes of early adopters and tech-savvy suppliers.

This is the year that the Internet of Things really penetrated. The “always on” or “omnichannel” shopper is becoming the norm. If you’re targeting “shoppers with digital devices,” you’re not too far from targeting “shoppers who wear clothes” — and who does that?

At the same time, the preferred shopping experience brought up something that seems to be a paradox. People want great customer service. At the same time, they would rather check info on their phones or at a kiosk than talk to a sales associate.

That’s not really a paradox. That’s frustration at the fact that sales associates so often have less information for shoppers than a phone or a kiosk. Devices that empower associates to be helpful as well as friendly will put human sales associates back on the list of reasons to shop in a store. Fortunately, the Big Show included a number of devices designed to help associates get needed information, including the location of products, and even to connect with brand ambassadors for deeper information about specific products.bigshow-ebook

In short, it’s all about the people and it’s all about the technology. It’s not either-or.

Download the ebook.

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Planning a Campaign for Hispanic Shoppers

In the most recent episode of 8th & Walton’s Saturday Morning Meeting, Ken Simpson of Clorox shared the experience of planning and executing a campaign designed to appeal to Hispanic buyers.

Simpson listed eight primary steps:

  • Do research about your potential Hispanic market. In the case of this initiative, Clorox relied on a shopper insights manager, who developed the information and went to the Walmart buyer with the data and a proposed plan.

“Where is the opportunity?” Simpson tells suppliers to ask,  “What’s different about the laundry Hispanic shopper than the average shopper that we deal with?”

Identifying the differences is the essential first step that leads to a plan that takes those differences into account.

  • Start with a test. For Clorox, that meant 300 stores, about half the stores in the U.S. that are identified as having a high proportion of Hispanic shoppers. For a smaller supplier, a smaller test might make sense. The idea is to do a test and then to build on what was learned in the test.

With this initiative, one of the new ideas was featuring a community celebrity. It turned out that this was an effective way to connect with this audience.

  • Team with Walmart and your buyer to determine objectives. Clorox used Walmart’s insights to develop the plan, and to set criteria for determining whether the initiative had been successful or not.

“We established goals, both internal goals and also goals with Walmart,” said Simpson. “If you haven’t established the criteria ahead of time, then you have this debate about what you were really trying to accomplish.”

Establishing criteria for success up front and involving Walmart in that decision gives you a stronger argument for pushing the initiative out to more stores or expanding the campaign the next time around.

  • Skip the customized display pallet. The customized display pallet is often a key feature of special promotional campaigns for suppliers, but Clorox found that stores often ignored the special palette and the special literature. Often, the boxes were just unpacked and put onto shelves in the usual way.

As is so often the case, there was a disconnect between supplier intention and store execution. For Clorox, the takeaway was not to invest in campaign elements that they couldn’t control. Since Hispanic shopper campaigns often involve bilingual display materials, this might be a tough one for some suppliers to accept, but decisions have to be made on the basis of return on investment. “It’s not gonna be a perfect world,” Simpson remarked.

  • Hispanic shoppers responded positively to involving a Hispanic personality. For any demographic, identifying the spokesperson who will really resonate with the audience is worth the effort.
  • The eighth suggestion was, “Give Hispanic events a try!” Simpson reported that Clorox had found their foray into events specifically directed toward Hispanic shoppers beneficial. A 40% lift in sales compared with the control group could be traced to the parking lot events they put on. They also found that the efforts with Walmart paid off in positive business relationships.

“If we as suppliers can help them to be more successful with those Hispanic shoppers,” Simpson pointed out, “it’s good for Walmart and it’s good for our brands, too.”

Watch the whole episode above and don’t miss Saturday Morning Meeting at 6:30 every Saturday on KNWA in Northwest Arkansas. Join the conversation with #SaturdayMorningMeeting and let us know what’s on your mind!

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Tax Refunds in Cash at Walmart

Tax calculator and penIn the past, consumers could find tax preparation services at Walmart stores and they also could cash their refund checks. Now, taxpayers can arrange to pick up their cash at Walmart stores nationwide.

It’s part of Walmart’s increasing offerings of financial services to customers. Many Americans have no bank account, and banking alternatives have in the past been pricey. Walmart allows tax preparers to charge up to $7.00 for this service, but there are no additional fees for shoppers. People who do their own taxes electronically aren’t eligible for the service.

For those who have their taxes done for them, Walmart pickup is quicker than waiting for a check from the IRS and bringing it in to be cashed.

Tax refunds for many Americans include funds from credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can make the tax return larger than the amount the taxpayer paid during the year. For many households, those funds allow families to pay for college tuition, car repairs, and other major expenses that can be hard to fit into the weekly budget.

For others, a tax refund is a pleasant windfall, providing a chance to treat themselves to luxuries they wouldn’t usually buy.

For Walmart suppliers, this could be a chance to reach consumers who feel more prosperous and more willing to try out a new product.

At the very least, it’s time to watch Retail Link reports like a hawk in order to have actionable data to plan for tax refund time next year.

 

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Orchestro’s State of Inventory Management Report

Orchestro-logo1OSA continues to be a challenge for Walmart and for Walmart suppliers. Observers say that the solution lies in new technology increased backroom staff, and perhaps a change of viewpoint.

But we know that OSA isn’t just between the retailer and the consumer. Suppliers are also key.

Orchestro‘s State of Inventory Management survey, conducted in partnership with 8th & Walton, looked into the question from the point of view of the supplier, collecting data from small, midsized, and large suppliers. Sales, category management, and supply chain professionals were among the respondents.

This diverse group showed strong agreement on the most important issue for inventory management: increasing on-shelf availability. Suppliers need to see their products on the shelf so that shoppers can buy them, even more than they need to focus on cutting costs or managing their own warehouse inventory. 75% of all respondents cited availability as the top priority.

Retailers aren’t opposed to this, though a recent article in Forbes pointed out that Walmart buyers have to think in terms of a whole category, not in terms of OSA for each product.

So, if everyone agrees that OSA is top priority, why is it so hard to accomplish?

“CPG companies face a variety of challenges in dealing with On-Shelf Availability (OSA),” Orchestro concluded, “but the core problem boils down to one problem: a lack of accessible, meaningful and actionable data.”

54% of respondents to the survey had trouble figuring out whether products were out of stock, and if so whether it was a problem at the store level or in the distribution centers. They also couldn’t tell whether there were single, unrelated problems or ongoing issues.

Not knowing the nature of a problem is a major obstacle to solving that problem. Without an understanding of the root cause of OSA issues, suppliers are stuck putting out fires with rush orders and looking again and again at their processes in hopes of improving the situation, rather than actually developing solutions.

Some suppliers also felt unsure that they had any control over the situation. They are thus in the position of not being sure what caused the problem, not knowing what might solve the problem, and not being confident that the solutions they try actually have any effect.

The most common means of gaining information about OSA issues was physical audits, followed by POS-based methods. 40% of respondents use third-party systems to help identify issues.

Once the issues are identified, managing these issues is the next step. Respondents to the survey talked about issues like these:

  • out of stock products
  • having the right amount of stock for promotions and keeping displays in sync with promotions
  • a desire for more accurate forecasting
  • a desire to be able to handle issues by priority and profitability rather than just by fixing what was easiest to fix

“Those in supply chain roles are more focused on better data,” Orchestro concluded from these discussion, “while those in sales roles are more concerned about the actionability of information.”

All in all, suppliers express dissatisfaction with the way they’re receiving and using the data they need to make decisions.

Orchestro is in the business of providing cleaner, more actionable data for retailers and CPG companies. Harmonizing information from multiple data sources and using mobile alerts can transform inventory management.

Orchestro is offering a free webinar on February 3, 2015, from 11:00 to noon Eastern, or noon to one here in Bentonville. They’re also offering a complete report on the survey in the form of a whitepaper.

 

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Houston Retail Link Training

houstonIf Houston’s home, you should plan to take advantage of 8th & Walton’s supplier development training in Houston coming up in February.

Remember, if you book your class by January 30, you can take advantage of 8th & Walton’s BOGO — sign up for one class and take another of equal or lesser value for free, or sign up for a class and bring your colleague for free.

Bring your whole team to all three Houston courses, and half of them will attend for free!

RNLK212 Accounting, Invoicing & Deductions, 2/9/2015

  • Basic Retail Link overview
  • Supplier Invoice Inquiry screen
  • Utilization of the Accounting Scorecard
  • How the Walmart Payables system works
  • Purchase order best practices
  • Invoicing best practices
  • How to avoid deductions
  • Deduction reduction: research and resolution
  • Deduction pay back
  • Invoice inquiry and Retail Link®
  • Dispute portal
  • WalmartSKIP
  • Post Audit – How it works and how to avoid it

RNLK101 Beginning Retail Link , 2/10/2015

  • Basic Navigation
  • Building Business at a Glance
  • Decision Support
  • Company Summary Report
  • Store Detail Report
  • Understanding the importance of SWAS/CWAC
  • Scorecard Overview
  • Market Basket Overview
  • Report Scheduling & Sharing
  • Query Building 101
  • Build Walmart Vocabulary

RNLK201 Intermediate Retail Link 2/11/2015

  • Review Decision Support
  • Custom Groups
  • Historical Performance
  • Advanced Report Building
  • POS Forecast
  • SWAS/CWAC
  • Retail Link® PO Visibility and Tracking
  • Store Specific Orders
  • Intro to Store of the Community
  • Business Review Planning

Register today!

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Walmart Supplier Glossary: IoT

iot

IoT- Internet of Things

Unlike many of the acronyms you’ll find in the Walmart Supplier Glossary, IoT is not a special Walmart term.

But Walmart has been a pioneer in IoT, and now that more people are using the term, you don’t want to be lost when it comes up.

The Internet lets people send messages to one another. IoT lets inanimate objects send messages to one another. Smart shelves, for example, can alert the inventory system that a product is out of stock. Special packaging can alert smart shelves that a product has been recalled or has passed its sell-by date — and the shelf can pass on the news to an associate.

Walmart was set to test smart shelves in 2003, but the test was cancelled — the technology wasn’t up to the Walmart vision. Now, the technology is ready.

It’s not just shelves that can chat with other devices. Beacons can talk to consumer’s smartphones as they get in range. Packaging can talk with consumers. There are wonderful possibilities for suppliers as well as retailers. Read more about IoT.

Some people are a little bit creeped out by this. It’s the responsibility of retailers and suppliers to keep initiatives from crossing that line… from convenient to creepy. Fortunately, consumers are getting used to IoT quickly as it moves into more and more areas of our lives. If they’re okay with a smartphone, a smart house, and a smart classroom, they won’t balk at a smart shelf.

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Saturday Morning Meeting at the Big Show

Samantha White of Saturday Morning Meeting attended this year’s National Retail Federation convention and expo, The Big Show in the The Big Apple.

In this episode of Saturday Morning Meeting, you’ll see some fascinating interviews spotlighting new technology and smart strategies.

The big trends at the Big Show:

Don’t miss our Big Show ebook!

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Walmart Implements New Food Safety Requirements

chicken-300x300Walmart’s poultry suppliers have until June of 2016 to meet new poultry safety standards. Walmart is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce contamination of chicken sold in Walmart stores.

Walmart poultry suppliers, and all other Walmart food suppliers, already must meet stringent food safety requirements. Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards are currently in place. However, as technology improves, higher levels of safety are possible.

Raw chicken is one of the more dangerous items in the grocery aisles, from the point of view of potential food poisoning. Salmonella is one of the main pathogens in the equation. According to the CDC, salmonella is the source of 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Consumers are told to store and cook raw poultry carefully, and to avoid cross contamination in preparation. You probably cut the vegetables on a separate cutting board from the chicken and use separate knives, and you make sure your turkey is fully cooked before you serve it. These cautious moves are a normal part of cooking and eating poultry for millions of Americans, and they are enough to keep most people safe.

But the responsibility lies on the consumer. Recent surveys of grocery store chicken has found high levels of contamination in the food, and Walmart doesn’t want to have to rely on consumers to follow best practices if it’s possible to reduce the chance of contamination at the store level.

This new “farm to fork” initiative is intended to reduce the risk of food-borne illness across the board.

Walmart is asking suppliers to do four things, according to Food Production Daily:

  • Source chickens from farms that participate in the USDA’s National Poultry Improvement Plan.
  • Vaccinate poultry in flocks where Salmonella is found, and follow best practices for disease control and prevention.
  • Use Salmonella control measures during initial processing of the chickens.
  • Continue using appropriate control measures when processing and packaging chicken parts.

While these are common sense measures, they may require investments and changes from poultry suppliers, so Walmart is giving suppliers 18 months to meet the requirements.

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