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Walmart is known for its marketplace of consumer goods. Now, it is setting up shop on a B2B software marketplace as it seeks to work with other retailers.
The news: Walmart will make services for pickup and local delivery through Salesforce’s app store. The release from Walmart Commerce Technologies is a move to expand use of the capabilities that Walmart developed in-house to power omnichannel operations, and grow a business line as a vendor to other companies in the process.
What will be available? Walmart is making the following apps available in the Salesforce AppExchange:
- Walmart GoLocal: Walmart’s local, white-label delivery service allows retailers to offer delivery under their own brand, and tap Walmart’s drivers and network.
- StoreAssist helps retailers with in-store fulfillment. The app is designed to increase packing and efficiency, while also creating a handoff experience between store employees and customers, or third-party delivery drivers. This can also enable BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In Store).
Key quotefrom Anshu Bhardwaj, senior vice president for technology strategy and commercialization at Walmart Global Technology: “Through this partnership, retailers can leverage the same innovative and scalable technologies that power Walmart’s pickup and delivery experiences. The same technology that powers Store Assist has enabled Walmart to fulfill over 830 million orders across over 4,700 Walmart stores. Together with Salesforce, retailers can scale their business and deliver the personalized, convenient experiences shoppers expect.”
Let’s break down the key parts of this partnership:
Omnichannel imperative: We’ll keep repeating it this year: The return to in-person shopping in 2022 didn’t cancel out ecommerce. Rather, it underscored how physical and digital have to operate together going forward. In-store fulfillment, BOPIS and local delivery from stores are just a few of the operations through which this blend will play out. The partnership underscored how Walmart has been expanding aggressively in omnichannel. The GoLocal service launched in 2021. By 2022, it had topped 1 million delivered and was on track to reach 5,000 pickup locations.
Walmart as tech company: Building enterprise tech and launching it on an app store. These are typically the tasks of software companies, and Walmart is now among them. Working at massive scale, Walmart is an operations juggernaut. As it sought to leverage its stores while building out ecommerce, it built the technology that connected those operations, and solved problems that were unique to an organization of its size at a time of massive change in consumer behavior during the pandemic. Having pushed out ahead, Walmart now sees opportunity to offer its capabilities to other retailers. It stood up the Walmart Commerce Technologies division last year to bring these capabilities to market.
As Bhardwaj told us in April, “We have a world class organization including technology, product and operations teams that we believe, combined with our retail strength and scale, will allow us to build a mutually beneficial flywheel that unlocks new revenue for Walmart while improving the customer experience for everyone.”
Salesforce ecosystem: There is always lots of discussion about consumer app stores from Apple and Android, as well as Shopify’s app store for commerce technology. Less is written about Salesforce’s AppExchange, but there probably should be more. It provides complementary apps to Salesforce’s cloud-based and CRM technology, creating a B2B software ecosystem. Like the other app stores, it opens up access to technology that can make Salesforce more valuable, and provides entrepreneurial opportunities for developers. Launched in 2017, the AppExchange crossed 10 million downloads in early 2022. It also includes consultants that can provide services around the apps offered. While app stores often bring to mind small startups launched by a single developer, Walmart’s entrance shows there is room even for the largest companies to offer their technology there, as well.
Commerce complement: The partnership between Walmart and Salesforce leaves room for the two companies to expand their commerce capabilities by working together. Salesforce provides tools to help retailers operate their stores across channels, and now Walmart is bringing its own technology into that mix. An announcement notes that the fulfillment and delivery services from Walmart can be used alongside Salesforce’s store management solution, called CommerceCloud, and order management. This means Walmart will also work with more brands and retailers, potentially helping to gather data that will fuel its own retail media. In turn, this can help the brands that already sell and advertise at Walmart. Further demand for its delivery network can also help to grow that business further.
“With the combined power of Walmart and Salesforce, retailers can drive success with best-in-class technology to advance their omnichannel capabilities, drive efficiency and ensure that every purchase quickly gets into the hands of the shopper – no matter where they are," Garf said.
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Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.