So this is interesting. WalMart, the world’s largest, scariest retail operation, announced this week that it would start selling clothes, accessories and other goods made by women in developing countries on its website. It’s a great move for the struggling women who will have WalMart to thank for a steady stream of international income, and it makes WalMart look like saints for providing these women with such a great business opportunity. But WalMart is a business, and we have to wonder what else, other than a little money and some good press, the retail chain is getting out of this partnership.
And that’s because WalMart is no longer dealing with large scale multinational manufacturing operations, like SC Johnson or Kraft Foods. These women are by and large individuals and families, so they won’t be able to supply the store with huge orders. Will WalMart be OK with that? Will their famously impressive supply chain management overlords know how to deal with the inevitable inconsistencies of selling goods like these? To hear the store tell it, it’s mostly just concerned with the well being of its new partners. Per Internet Retailer.
“The challenge for small women-owned businesses, and particularly women artisans, is that they have a fantastic product, but they may not have the size or scale to sell in our bricks-and-mortar stores,” says Leslie Dach, the retailer’s executive vice president of corporate affairs. “This commitment today gives these women access to an established set of customers on Walmart.com as well as the benefit of the company’s knowledge about customers, packaging and promotions.”
From the ability to sell, sell, sell, it’s a perfect partnership. We’re just concerned about what’s going to happen if the new suppliers can’t match the rate at which WalMart wants to put their products into the hands of people all across the globe.