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Walmart aims to collect all supplier content

2015.08.18


Walmart is appealing to suppliers – even those who don’t sell it merchandise – to share their complete product catalog with the company in the name of providing shoppers accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information.

The goal of a new pilot program according to a blog post on Walmartlabs.com written by global head of content acquisition, Ram Rampalli, is to solve a universal problem by delivering exceptional product content.

“Traditional media, social media and the Internet are the new knowledge gatekeepers and increasingly influence consumer-purchasing behaviors,” according to Rampalli. “However influential they may be, social product ratings are clearly subjective, and online product information is not always accurate and lacks consistency from site to site.”

Given highly connected consumers tendency to comparison shop, Rampalli contends a lack of consistent and credible information often leads to a frustrating and perhaps more lengthy shopping experience than desired.

“This is why Walmart has implemented a pilot program called the Product Content Collection System (PCCS) that will facilitate the supplier sending their catalog directly to us,” according to Rampalli. “The crux of the PCCS program is a specification (a set of instructions including the list of attributes, requirement level, data transfer protocol) that will be provided to the supplier to use as a framework for sharing this data with Walmart. We are encouraging suppliers to provide us with product content for their entire catalog, whether or not it is currently carried within the Walmart retail eco-system.”

And in a twist, the company also said it welcomes content from suppliers who currently don’t sell on Walmart. It is unclear what benefits a supplier would derive from sharing such data aside from helping Walmart satisfy its goal of providing the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive product information to our customers.

“We are not reinventing the wheel here. Many of our large suppliers are already part of the B2B centric Global Data Sync Network (GDSN) spearheaded by GS1 and a number of retailers and suppliers. At the same time, the explosive growth of our Marketplace program has introduced smaller and mid-sized suppliers, sellers and DSVs to the Walmart ecosystem that are not part of the GDSN program,” according to Rampalli. “We want to make it as easy as possible for suppliers to upload their catalog to us — either through the GDSN, the PCCS or both. If the supplier already works with third-party content service providers like Salsify, Shotfarm, ARS and Kwikee, we are agnostic to the approach. As long as the data comes to us through the right channel, and is approved by the supplier, we can import it, and customers can use it and will benefit from it.”

The PCCS program is currently in a pilot stage but it is expected to be launched later this year.

 

Source: RETAILING TODAY

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