APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
This effort builds upon Walmart's successful Brazilian pilot with the NGO, Solidarium.
Walmart.com.br, with the support, guidance and management of the Institute Walmart, partnered with e-commerce business Solidarium in June 2010 to create a socially focused enterprise. Its objective was to develop and expand a nationwide network for production and distribution of goods, aligned and produced under the principles of Fair Trade. Solidarium supports a wide variety of women-only groups that produce handmade clothes, purses, crafts, etc.
A total of 14 cooperatives, all with women as the principal beneficiary group, are now selling their products directly to Walmart.com.br, which in turn makes them available to our customers all across Brazil.
To build upon this model, Walmart.com has developed an initial line (apparel, accessories, jewelry, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.) and created an exclusive assortment of items that will have mass appeal and help tell the story of women's empowerment. Walmart.com is partnering with women-owned businesses and women artisan groups in product development to co-create the line. Walmart's partners for the initial line include Ethical Fashion Africa, International Trade Centre, Full Circle Exchange, and Choose Haiti.
The program will leverage Walmart's knowledge of trends, fashion, and mass appeal to ensure these specialty crafts will be saleable and have a sustainable business model. This model will empower girls and women in developing countries through reinvestment in their individual businesses and community development.
Walmart.com has also lined up potential aggregators to help small women-owned businesses manage inventory and shipment and has developed links with existing market-based women's development initiatives (Ethical Fashion) to offer new outlets for existing product lines. Audit and compliance teams have developed a process to ensure that participating businesses meet Walmart's ethical sourcing and supply chain security standards. As the initial line is finalized, Walmart will create a site that will showcase and sell the products, while telling the story behind this initiative one woman and one product at a time.
Walmart.com will also partner with vendors and invest in owned inventory to offer unique products to the masses and drive the public's awareness of them. Volumes will be substantial, but small enough that vendors can accommodate the orders.
Walmart will leverage its scale and resources to drive awareness and create a pipeline of opportunity for women. Rather than creating dependency on aid, Walmart is taking a market-based approach that represents a more comprehensive development strategy than traditional philanthropy and grants alone, and allows entrepreneurs to focus on poverty reduction through job creation, improved incomes, and access to global markets. Walmart will help unleash potential while enhancing ability to work one's way out of poverty in ways that are both sustainable and dignified.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
This initiative builds on a successful pilot program in Brazil that began in June 2010 and now offers products produced by women-owned businesses across Brazil. This e-commerce model breaks down barriers for small women-owned businesses, using technology to connect them to customers and to the tools essential to serving them.
Walmart will identify the key skills and crafts of each partner, as well as the communities and villages they represent, to develop products for the mass market. Walmart will provide trend insights and direction for product design to create exclusive seasonal collections with true market demand.
This initiative will be launched and marketed as part of the Mother's Day seasonal campaign. This landing page will also be featured on Walmart.com, leveraging the site's 10.5 billion visits annually to drive traffic and interest. The approach will be modeled after Walmart's successful marketing of sustainable products which includes a mixture of education about suppliers as well as opportunities to shop.
Walmart anticipates launching in Spring 2012 with an initial assortment of 100 products from women-owned businesses across five categories in merchandising; apparel, jewelry and accessories, electronic accessories, stationery, and consumables. Walmart will continue to seek and expand partnerships and will launch a second assortment in Fall/Winter 2012 with approximately 150 products.
By 2013, Walmart.com will offer 500 products, expanding opportunity for 20,000 women around the world. Walmart will work with key NGOs and the CGI community to help build capacity relevant to the needs of these businesses and their communities.