Walmart is testing a new program designed to help suppliers send their catalogs directly to the retailer, according to a WalmartLabs blog post.
For the pilot program, called the Product Content Collect System (PCCS), Walmart will provide a framework for sharing catalog data based on a specification, including a list of attributes, requirement levels and data transfer protocols. By collecting this catalog data, Walmart aims to share accurate, comprehensive product information with customers to further improve the shopping experience. Additionally, having the full product catalog allows Walmart to build and launch products if and when the retailer decides to sell them, according to the post.
“Our inspiration came from the fact that we need accurate product data for a great shopping experience for our customers,” said Ram Rampalli, Global Head of Content Acquisition at Walmart Global eCommerce. “High-quality product data plays a key role in this omnichannel world. It helps us identify the right selection to offer, set the best price and improve the overall customer experience.”
Walmart’s larger suppliers are part of the B2B-centric Global Data Sync Network (GDSN). Smaller and mid-sized suppliers and sellers introduced through the Marketplace program are not part of GDSN. The PCCS program is designed to make it easier for suppliers of all sizes to upload their catalogs.
“We now have sample data from about 30 vendors directly or through our content service providers,” Rampalli said in an interview with RetailTouchPoints. “We do not really have a restriction on the number of pilot customers we can take in; the program is open for all. We also wish to convey that this program is open for both suppliers who sell on Walmart and future suppliers who wish to sell on Walmart.”
The program is expected to fully launch later in 2015. However, the project is currently “launching in phases,” according to Rampalli, with further developments expected before deployment.