The Importance of Modulars for Walmart Suppliers

At Walmart and Sam’s Club, everything begins with the customer. As customers shop – even at competing retailers – they reveal clues about their preferences. Clues that the Walmart team uses to create detailed category strategies.

This analysis of customer preference and behavior doesn’t have a beginning or end. It is an ongoing cycle of data gathering, collaboration, planning, execution, and continuous improvement. And the vehicle where this process shows up in the store is the modular, which is the physical manifestation of the extensive research, analysis, and planning conducted by the Walmart team.

What is a Modular?

Physically, a modular is a set of shelves – typically broken down into 4-foot sections – with a specific place on the shelves for each product Walmart sells. Modulars give products a dedicated home in Walmart stores and provide customers with a consistent shopping experience. They also make it easier for store staff to stock and maintain merchandise, track inventory, and smoothly replenish products.

How Modulars Work

Walmart’s buyers use their category strategy to select products that fill identified customer needs and address other considerations ranging from price and features to quality, brand preference, and innovation. 

The buyer and modular development teams then work together to determine the ideal position of each product based on their overall category strategy. Once the team finalizes the modular layout, it is documented in multiple versions to accommodate different store formats, traits, and sizes. The approved modular plan is then sent to stores so the store team can accurately and completely execute the buyer’s vision.

Making the Most of the Modular System

Modulars play a critical role in the efforts of Walmart and Sam’s Club to meet consumer demand and drive sales. As a result, the most successful Walmart and Sam’s Club suppliers are the ones that tailor their own operations to addressing the unique needs of this system.

The ability to meet Walmart’s On Time In Full (OTIF) standards is essential to being a valued part of how a buyer uses modulars in their category strategy. That’s because the inventory that makes up a modular needs to arrive at stores in time for store associates to set the new modular according to the buyer’s plan. Walmart expects that the modular will be 100% in stock the week that it sets in stores.

The payoff, however, can be significant. Throughout the life of a modular, suppliers may have opportunities to work with the buyer on various promotions and features as they make tweaks to the modular assortment and distribution. As customers respond and new data pours in – and the buyer plans next year’s strategy – this active involvement in the modular’s success gives suppliers the opportunity to position themselves for futures sales growth.

How Brangea Can Help

Brangea’s established relationships with Walmart buyers can help you understand and capitalize on their use of modulars in executing their category strategies.

We can also help you put systems in place to address the demanding OTIF requirements associated with the launch and ongoing maintenance of modulars. This includes the challenging task of monitoring your supply chain as you prepare for the modular drop for your category.

Contact us today to talk about how we can help you find success in Walmart and Sam’s Club by better understanding the world of modulars and category strategies.