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Selling your products at a national, well-known chain, such as Wal-Mart, could propel your small business into a well-recognized national product. You’ll need to meet Wal-Mart’s criteria, namely by providing high-quality products and meeting strict deadlines. In addition, you'll need to follow Wal-Mart's relatively easy process for businesses interested in becoming distributors.
Thoroughly review Wal-Mart’s distributor requirements. Before submitting your product, visit a Wal-Mart store to familiarize yourself with the types of goods it sells.
Apply for a Uniform Code Council (UCC) membership (see Resources). Distributors must have a UPC bar code prefix to create bar codes. You cannot become a Wal-Mart supplier without a UCC membership number. You will need to include a copy of your UCC GS1 letter with your sample.
Register your business with Dun & Bradstreet (D & B). Then obtain a Supplier Evaluation Report by calling (866) 815-2749.
Submit your products via the Online Product Submission form found on Wal-Mart’s website (see Resources).
Become certified through the National Minority Supplier Development Council if you are a minority- or woman-owned company. Wal-Mart will request a copy of your certificate upon acceptance. Also, prepare a copy of your product liability insurance certificate. You will need to present this upon acceptance.
Submit a product sample and a copy of your UCC membership upon request by a Wal-Mart buyer. The buyer will provide you with an address. If your product has a variety of styles or colors, detail that information upon submission. Samples should not exceed 25 pounds or three square feet. If your product exceeds Wal-Mart’s shipping specifications, submit paperwork that includes product details and illustrations or photographs. Do not send perishable or live goods unless requested to do so.
If you are a local distributor who will supply five or fewer Wal-Mart stores, visit the store manager to present your product and obtain an application.