One of our new games this year was supposed to be on the Wal-mart shelves in May – on end-caps, yet – but come mid-June it was still hard to find in-store. Wal-mart ordered the goods, took receipt of the goods, warehoused the goods, and then didn’t put them on-shelf, it seems. We checked over 80 stores and couldn't find a single one.
It turns out, that while merchandising decisions in the fall are company wide, during the summer each individual store manager has a great deal of leeway as to what products they buy and put on the shelf. I had heard this years ago, and it appears to still be true.
Now, here’s the thing: the opportunity this presents, perhaps little known, is that a small vendor might go door to door, store to store, and sell in to individual Wal-mart store managers, rather than through the Bentonville buyers' structure. By doing this, vendors can demonstrate a sales record that might make it easier to get their products listed chainwide in the fall.
There are many ways to skin a cat. This might be your entree to Wal-mart. Good Luck.