I had a memorable conversation with a supplier earlier this year. We were meeting about his business, and he was explaining where his company shipped internationally. “The growth has been amazing,” he said. “Our products do really well in China, England…oh, and Canada. I keep forgetting Canada is international because they’re right there.” This conversation popped back into my head as Walmart began focusing on retail-ready packaging in more departments.
As retailers and suppliers expand beyond the states, Canada seems like the easiest place to venture internationally. However, as with markets overseas, laws and requirements in Canada are quite different in some areas. Walmart’s retail-ready packaging guidelines have begun to expand to various departments in its US stores; if successful, the initiative would logically progress to Walmart stores internationally. This is where smart suppliers can benefit from an international partner to save money.
Planning Packaging for Canadian Expansion
On a recent 8th & Walton Conference Call podcast, I got to catch up with Kerry Bailey from Menasha. Menasha has been working diligently with suppliers to transition their products to retail-ready (or shelf-ready) packaging. Lessons learned have been invaluable to the future rollout.
“What’s been most interesting is helping the shopper with navigation,” Bailey explains. “The lip-height on the front of the package is critical. You need enough space to communicate to the shopper, yet you don’t want to cloud or blur in the aisle with everything else going on. The visibility of the product is key.”
Assisting suppliers through Walmart’s rollout allows Menasha to give its clients an advantage when thinking of expanding north. Since Menasha is already set up in Canada, suppliers who partner with them win on two fronts: Canadian business regulation experience and Walmart experience.
Always Think Two Steps Ahead
No matter what service your company needs, experienced partnership can save dollars on the bottom line. Researching potential partners is key, but considering your company’s future is a huge factor. Partners like Menasha will be ready to assist your company and make an international transition smoother.
Going back to my original conversation from earlier this year, Canada is close but still international. When making that jump north, it helps to have a friend who already knows the ropes. Even when looking for a local partners, consider the strength of their international reach for the long term.