Bentonville-based Walmart said Monday (March 14) that vendor applications for the ninth annual Open Call will be accepted through April 8. This year’s hybrid event is slated for June 28-29 and suppliers hoping to get their products on Walmart shelves can apply online.
Walmart also has given exclusive early access for suppliers hoping to sell on the retailer’s growing online marketplace with more than 2,000 companies already registering more than 6,000 products they hope to present to merchants in late June, according to the release.
“With all the new tools and resources available this year, we’re hoping we can foster growth for many more businesses and Walmart Marketplace sellers that already work with us, along with those that are just getting started,” said Laura Phillips, senior vice president of global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing at Walmart.
Open Call remains Walmart’s largest sourcing event designed to bring products made, grown or assembled in the U.S. to the retailer’s stores, Phillips said. She said Open Call helps to support Walmart’s 10-year commitment to American jobs through its $350 billion investment in items made, grown or assembled in the U.S.
“We know how much supporting American products and American jobs really does matter to our suppliers, entrepreneurs, sellers and local communities,” Phillips said.
Applicants who receive a one-on-one product pitch meeting invitation will be given 30 minutes to showcase to Walmart and/or Sam’s Club merchants why their product and business should be in the Walmart inventory. Entrepreneurs can secure deals ranging from products placed in a few local stores to supplying hundreds of Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs, and Walmart.com.
In addition to the product pitch meetings, Open Call includes breakout sessions featuring Walmart and Sam’s Club leaders and special guests to provide suppliers and sellers with insights and to offer additional resources available.
The retailer is expecting to offer suppliers the option to attend in person this year, providing COVID-19 cases remain low and certain protocols are met. The hybrid options come after Walmart conducted the event virtually in 2021 in 2020 because of the pandemic.
In its ninth year, Walmart said its annual Open Call event continues to grow in popularity. Last year’s virtual event saw more than 900 small and medium-sized businesses from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico pitch their products to Walmart and Sam’s Club merchants.
Walmart said it also leaned on suppliers during the pandemic to support more U.S. manufacturing jobs. Walmart highlighted Sheboygan, Wisc.-based supplier Rockline Industries with manufacturing plants in Booneville and Springdale, who stepped up operations to turn out more hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes during early days of the pandemic.
Rockline worked with Walmart to increase the disinfectant wipes as fast as factories could muster, the company also looked at more sustainable packaging moving away from plastic canisters into film wrapper packaging and flushable wipes to create a more sustainable footprint.