Walmart and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group helped each other solve an interesting conundrum recently: In an increasingly digital- and mobile-focused retail age, the two partnered together to help bridge the gap between brands and retailers to benefit consumers.
Through a collaborative process, the Texas-based soft drink brand and America’s largest retailer devised a way to get Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s products on Walmart’s website, while both meeting brand consistency standards and Walmart’s “stringent requirements” for products that appear on Walmart.com.
The collaboration was able to increase the quality of Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s product content on Walmart’s website, while, at the same time, providing customers quality digital product content that increased online sales of Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s products on the website, according to a case study of the collaboration by Salsify, a product content management firm.
“More and more retailers and brands are understanding that taking control of their product data is a way to move forward and drive better results,” said Salsify Cofounder and CEO Jason Purcell.
The collaboration began when execs at Dr Pepper Snapple Group began to realize the transformative role that mobile and eCommerce was playing in the retail sector.
Today’s shoppers, according to Jordan Ste. Marie, a senior manager of eCommerce marketing for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, want consistent product descriptions and images everywhere they shop, be it on a search of the web, a mobile browser, a brand or retailer’s own website or even as they browse through their social media feeds.
“We’ve seen a wave of technology starting to influence buyers in new ways. We set out to tackle that,” said Ste. Marie. “Grocery is about to change as we know it, and it’s going to become this omnichannel experience where your brands can’t afford not to participate.”
Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s interest aligned with Walmart’s, who was seeking to expand its product content on its various omnichannel platforms to build an “endless aisle” that would “seamlessly” allow consumers to shop for the products they wanted, when they wanted and how they wanted.
“The retail industry as a whole is trending towards a new customer expectation — the seamlessness of shopping, whether you are in-store or offline or online,” according to Ram Rampalli, Walmart’s global head of content acquisition. “In this new world, consumers expect to be able to search and choose whatever thing they’d like from an endless aisle.”
Rampalli said that Walmart realized it could no longer rely on its customers choosing what to buy solely on what was in the store’s aisles on that particular day because the modern consumer has an entire internet of product offerings at the tip of their fingers thanks to their smartphones.
“We all shop anywhere and everywhere,” Rampalli said. “Customers want to get the right product at the right price and through the right experience. Our goal is to build a good digital product catalog so customers can discover the real range of products we sell.”
Since Walmart and Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s interest of putting quality information about their products in the hands of consumers to influence buying decisions aligned, the retailer and brand decided to work together on the effort.
Which turned out to lead to the best possible digital content for both Walmart and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
For Walmart, it reduced the costly and time-consuming process of scrounging for this type of product content wherever it could — i.e., from third-party catalog venders, content service providers, the brands themselves or wherever else Walmart could find it.
“The best source of that content is the brands we work with. They know the product better than anyone else,” according to Steve Breen, Walmart’s chief merchandising officer. “With this initiative, we’re not only meeting the demands of today’s shopper, we’re empowering our suppliers to have a more direct role in merchandising their products to the end consumer. The results we’ve seen to date are exactly what we had hoped.”
By using Salsify’s product content management platform, Dr Pepper Snapple Group realized it could get its product content live on Walmart’s website exactly the way it wanted in a manner of seconds, compared to months.
The collaboration worked out to be a win-win for both brand and retailer, as Walmart wound up with better quality digital content to sell to consumers, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group was able to get its product offerings on the website of the nation’s largest retailer on its own terms.
“When shoppers walk into the store and see our brand, it’s exactly how our brand team, our packing team, our marketing organization and our sales organization has worked to present it,” said Ste. Marie. “That same experience is going to happen online, and if we didn’t control it with the same level of attention to detail, it was going to lead to a poor shopper experience.”