Bentonville’s SphereAccess is a matchmaking service for product makers to connect with large retailers.
SphereAccess filters and vets products from vendors and tries to pair them with the specific demands of retailers like Walmart throughout 18 countries. The online service launched in June with a monthly $149 fee.
Connecting a producer with a retailer can take as long as 18-month in an analog world, said Cameron Clement of C3Brandworks in Fort Smith, which is promoting the new company. This digital matchmaking service can lower that time to as little as six to eight weeks to launch a new product on store shelves.
The standard process of bringing a product to market when working with a large retail company such as Walmart and Target is a slow courtship, involving an initial proposal, multiple in-person meetings and a lengthy vetting process to make sure the company can produce products as needed.
“We haven’t reinvented the process of getting retail products to market, but we have found a much more efficient way to greatly increase the speed to market while increasing the size and scope of the sales opportunities, which allows for more companies to grow their enterprises. The equation is immensely improved with this system,” said University of Arkansas alum Joe Lee, director of marketing for SphereAccess.
SphereAccess touts as a success the inclusion of Westrock Coffee entering 800 Walmart stores within six months. Other examples of success the company points to include De Cecco’s of Italy moving into the Japanese and U.S. markets and the KGS Corporation growing from Canada to China.
Sphere Access does not participate in the relationship between companies and retail buyers. It provides the means to make those relationships possible through its software. This network is available to all companies offering retail products for store sales.
A unique feature of SphereAccess is the language translator, offering instant translations in several languages to international sellers and buyers, eliminating a significant barrier to market.