Registration for the 10th annual Open Call by Walmart is open for the virtual and in-person event slated for Oct. 24-25 in coordination with U.S. manufacturing month.
Walmart took Open Call on the road on July 10 with stops in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago to draw support for the event registration through RangeMe, a product discovery and sourcing platform where retailers and 200,000 suppliers discover, connect and grow their businesses.
It’s the third year Walmart has partnered with RangeMe for the event to try and deliver a more streamlined Open Call experience.
Potential suppliers must sign up for a free RangeMe account and build a product portfolio and supplier profile. Walmart said companies who use the RangeMe program are better prepared for Open Call. Registration through RangeMe will close on Aug. 18. Participants who get an invitation to Open Call will be notified on Sept. 21 by Walmart.
Open Call has grown from 500 businesses pitching to buyers in 2014 to more than 1,100 last year. While Walmart buyer teams source products in multiple ways, the retail giant said that Open Call is the largest sourcing event for Walmart and Sam’s Club.
Last year, Walmart and Sam’s buyer teams selected 330 potential suppliers to sell their products in stores or online through Walmart.com, SamsClub.com or Walmart’s growing marketplace. Another 280 business owners at Open Call were selected to continue working with Walmart on future deals. Since 2014, Open Call has provided over 9,000 opportunities for small and medium businesses to grow with Walmart.
“Investing in U.S. manufacturing is not only the right thing to do for the country’s long-term economic health, and it’s the right thing to do for customers today who are dealing with historic inflation,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said. “We’re excited that more and more great products at strong price points are being produced in the U.S. Our $350 billion investment in items made, grown or assembled in the U.S. helps deliver our customers the goods they need, when they need them, at affordable prices, while supporting the creation of more than 750,000 jobs.”
Walmart said the entrepreneurs who walk away with a golden ticket at Open Call aren’t the only ones who enjoy opportunities. All Open Call finalists will have access to mentoring sessions with Walmart leaders and special guests, where they can gain business insights and resources. Each finalist will have a one-on-one pitch meeting with Walmart or Sam’s Club merchants.
“Open Call is the heart of Walmart’s 10-year commitment to strengthening U.S. manufacturing,” said Jason Fremstad, senior vice president of supplier development, sourcing. “More than 85% of Walmart shoppers have said it is important for retailers to carry goods made in the U.S. Already, more than two-thirds of Walmart’s annual product spend is on goods made, grown or assembled in the U.S. Thanks in part to Open Call, Walmart is taking this investment even further.”