Selling products to Wal-Mart

Whether you love it or hate it, as the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The company has more than 4,000 stores in the United States alone and thousands more spread out in more than a dozen countries around the globe (source:Wal-Mart).

Wal-Mart deals with approximately 60,000 different vendors from all across the globe. Each year, approximately 10,000 companies try to sell their products to Wal-Mart, but only about 200 make the cut. Those aren’t very encouraging odds. That means for every 100 new vendors that walk through the doors at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, 98 of them are going to walk out the door disappointed.

Lots of folks might think that getting a Wal-Mart vendor number is the key to success but believe me that is not necessarily the case. In fact, if the relationship isn’t managed properly it can actually be nothing more than the kiss of death. I’ve seen it happen to a number of small firms–particularly those where Wal-Mart sales accounted for the majority of their business. Disaster struck when they got so wrapped up in focusing on Wal-Mart that they neglected everyone else. When the relationship with Wal-Mart when south and they realized that only a small percentage of their sales come from other customers, the companies went belly up.

If you are fortunate enough to get a Wal-Mart vendor number, the key to success is two-fold: First, the relationship with Wal-Mart must be properly managed; and Second, don’t ignore developing relationships with other customers.