Walmart discovers a unique craft beer on Instagram. Will this become a thing?
Retailers like to tell their customers the lengths they go to to find unique products to sell.
Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer publication, for example, frequently offers backstories on trips abroad its buyers take to find new products to introduce at the chain.
In Walmart’s case, the chain’s merchants rely on a variety of resources when they go looking for new products, such as market visits, line reviews and trade shows, according to a company blog post. The company has also run Shark Tank-like events to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch new products directly to the chain.
Walmart has made use of social media to find new items, as well. The company’s blog tells the story of how Adrienne Freeman, who purchases craft beers sold by stores in Walmart’s central U.S. region, discovered the Weathered Souls Brewing Co.
Ms. Freeman found San Antonio-based Weathered Souls on an Instagram post that listed Black-owned companies.
“My main role is to be an advocate for the customer,” said Ms. Freeman. “Every day, I am trying to discover new beers the customers want and what innovations are happening in the industry, all while trying to get customers the best price.”
Ms. Freeman saw items from Weathered Souls’ line as a good fit for Walmart based on taste and price, but she also saw more.
The craft brewer developed an initiative last May called Black is Beautiful, which aims to end racial injustice in local communities by donating a portion of the sales from its Black is Beautiful stout to organizations engaged in that work.
Weathered Souls also got others to participate. It published a recipe for brewing and packaging its Black is Beautiful stout so that other breweries could follow its lead. To date, nearly 1,200 breweries across the U.S. and around the planet are participating.
“Weathered Souls not only was able to do something to drive the conversation but also backed it up with a commitment to their community,” said Ms. Freeman.
The Black is Beautiful stout is sold seasonally in 300 Walmarts across the U.S. and in 55 Texas stores year-round.
- How One Merchant Tapped into Small Breweries Making a Big Difference – Walmart
- Auction winner will get to pitch products to Walmart’s CEO – RetailWire
- Are Shark Tank-like competitions a path to retail innovation? – RetailWire
- Did Walmart’s ‘Open Call’ discover a hit made in America? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has the pandemic changed how retailers source new products? Do you see Instagram and other social media sites becoming more important in retailer searches for new products?