Tariffs are shaking up the supplier picture today for mass-market retailers while changing consumer preferences for trendier products is continuing to transform the market. Walmart’s two-day open call event, ending today, June 19, comes at an appropriate moment in a shifting retail landscape.
In a recent study by market research firm Thomas, 61% of consumers said they were more likely to purchase Made in the U.S.A. products.
Walmart invited more than 500 entrepreneurs to its Bentonville, AR, headquarters hoping to meet face-to-face with the company’s buyers, who are seeking new U.S.-manufactured products for store shelves and Walmart.com.
Companies registered to attend the sixth annual Open Call represent 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as Canada, Mexico and Australia. Those companies are manufacturing products in 44 states. The companies are pitching a wide range of products from sweet snacks to a biodegradable foam cooler, from Plastilite of Omaha, NE, in more than 600 meetings with Walmart buyers.
“There’s nothing quite like Open Call and the buzz in the building when our halls are filled with entrepreneurs aspiring to take their business to the next level,” said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart vp/merchandising services and U.S. manufacturing. “In 2013, Walmart made a commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023. Our annual Open Call is one way we continue to invest in this commitment while discovering new items that fulfill the needs of our customers. We have a very strong pool of supplier-hopefuls this year and our buyers can’t wait to hear their pitches.”
The upcoming HomeWorld Business July 8 Made in the U.S.A. report covers domestic manufacturing, marketing and merchandising issues.