- Wal-Mart and nine other companies will be tracking and sourcing from certified women-owned businesses over the next five years, Supermarket News reported last week.
- Currently, Wal-Mart sources from roughly 1,500 suppliers who identify as women-owned businesses. The other companies involved are Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelēz, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
- The initiative was announced at the Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE) Summit in Washington, D.C. As part of its previous WEE Initiative, Walmart invested $20 billion sourcing from women-owned businesses in the U.S. and also increased its supplies from international women-owned businesses.
The net effect of sourcing from diverse suppliers is positive, but not for the most obvious reasons. Certainly many shoppers want to see a wealth of variety on store shelves, but they also want to see that benefits accrue to suppliers that exist below the radar, such as indigenous populations or minority owned businesses.
In fact, demonstrating an eagerness to do business with sources with which your customers are familiar is highly advisable from a public relations perspective, and displaying the diversity of suppliers from which you purchase can help build a closer relationship with your customers. The experience of discovering a new product produced by a maker of which a shopper approves builds loyalty and admiration, and repeat business.
Creativity also tends to come from smaller suppliers. Having a diversity of suppliers can also help spot unaddressed needs given new perspectives. As a result, products can carry further appeal downstream through novelty, as well — this product does something different: therefore I will buy it.