In the big picture, WalMart wants sales. They want you on the shelf, consistently, and they want the lowest price possible aka EDLC and EDLP.
It is a consignment store, and you are responsible for taking care of your product on the shelf and ensuring sell-through.
WalMart historically frowned upon "brokers" as it was perceived as a potential extra layer. However, recently the understanding is that everybody here knows that doing business with WalMart is unique, and if you play the game the WalMart way, you win. You can absolutely leverage the opportunities to be in 3500 stores, rather than just 360. But it takes experienced management to thrive. Brokers here now are saying they are brokers.
Retail Link is the portal to success, both in maintenance, and growth. A PROACTIVE Retail Link analyst / salesperson can mine the opportunities, educate the buyer, and grow very nicely with WalMart. Buyers WANT you to tell them what to do, your plan, and why it makes sense ... based on RL. Some brokers just run some reports, and feed them to you. Some are more focused and incented to develop your business, and they are driving the business forward while deepening the relationship with the retailer. I would suggest the latter :)
Many suppliers are HERE. Meaning, they have an office here in Bentonville. It means a LOT to be able to respond with speed to your largest customer. The ones who don't have an office here will definitely benefit from having a broker here...
The best brokers are former buyers. They understand WalmMart internally, have relationships that can be leveraged, and they know how to coach you or even attend meetings.
I refer business to multiple brokers on a daily basis. They are by far the best resource for a supplier and offer true expertise. BUT, "brokers" are also a dime a dozen. You want to get to know this person as a true partner and friend. Typically they are on their own... independent consultants. Some are actually given titles as the NAM for the supplier (s) they represent.
Many are in fact the "Chief Revenue Officer" for the WalMart portion of the Clients they serve.
Agreements are often percentages of sales growth, so they these folks are in fact part of your company, and are tremendously motivated to grow the WM business.
Rob cell 479-633-5008