With Amazon now in the grocery business, many brick-and-mortar grocery stores are in the hot-seat when it comes to product sales. Retail giant Walmart has invested in expanding their product roster in order to stay on top of the superstore game. New product offerings and online ordering options allow Walmart to have a hand in both the online and retail space.
The international superstore is known for its variety of products in almost every retail category, but after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the company saw a need to differentiate their products from Amazon’s. Though Walmart offers a variety of private label products, the company has decided to introduce exclusive items in order to encourage shoppers to buy groceries at their store.
In June, Walmart introduced “Sweet Spark,” a cantaloupe developed by German seed company Bayer, that is said to be 40 percent sweeter than their original counterpart. Finding this unique fruit proved to be a difficult task for the company. Walmart spent over two years testing 20 different seeds and 150 different names for the product. Although it was an unnerving task to distribute this new fruit to retailers nationwide, it gave Walmart an upper hand in the produce category with their signature fruit.
The company’s goal to become more of a premium store inspired more unique creations under their private label brand, Great Value. Walmart’s Culinary Innovation Center in Bentonville recently invented fruit-punch flavored pickles. Though the new product may not appeal to everyone, this unique invention ads more exclusivity to the retail franchise.
Last month, Walmart came out with “Sam’s Choice Italia,” a line of pastas, sauces and other Italian ingredients. The company’s e-commerce site Jet.com also introduced its first grocery brand, Uniquely J.
“Instead of focusing in on any one aspect of product development, we’ve created a uniquely valuable brand experience that will speak to the metro millennial lifestyle,” said Meredith Klein, Director of PR at Jet.com, in a statement.
Expanding on its e-commerce offerings, Walmart has also acquired digital retail brands like Bonbos, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy and ModCloth.
The company has also invested in aesthetically improving its grocery footprint. They have already started placing fresh vegetables at the front of the entrance and grouping like-colored produce together to add a visual pop. Walmart has also invested in replacing their black plastic crates with ones that look as if they were made with wood for a more authentic feel for their produce.
Building on their strength with national brands, the retailer is also negotiating exclusive deals with major suppliers. Recently, they had debuted Hostess’ Deep Fried Twinkies, a frozen innovation that resulted from over a year of collaboration with the dessert manufacturer.
“Having a private brand from a margin mix point of view has always been important, but it is even more important now,” Walmart’s chief executive, Doug McMillian told investors at a conference earlier this year.
This could mean more product innovations and exclusive deals from the superstore.