Many years ago Walmart branched out into the financial services sector. This effort has been expanded with their recent addition of the American Express Bluebird Card. The retail giant is not content just selling in their stores, however, and is always on the lookout of ways they can expand their market share. Within the last few months, they have started a food subscription service through their startup Goodies.co.
The service, which only costs $7 per month, is designed to let people taste test artisan style snacks. The subscriber will receive a box each month with a variety of different trial size snacks and goodies. They can sample items that they would never have thought to pick up in the store, and the idea is that they will go back to Walmart to purchase full size items. But just sampling and potentially buying an item is not all the boxes are doing.
The subscribers are asked to give feedback on every item that they sample in the box. By going onto the site they can log in, post a picture of their box and goodies, rate and review the products. The site will have a social aspect to it, where users can read the reviews and ratings that other members feel about their boxes. This is not just an online community for Walmart shoppers, however. These ratings, reviews, and pictures will earn the members points. When they have accumulated enough points, they will be able to redeem them for a free box.
Walmart is not just handing out free boxes. While the subscription price of $7 per month is less than half of what competitors like Pop Up Pantry charge, and just 2/3 of services such as Love With Food charge, Walmart is using Goodies as a marketing tool. Food manufacturers know that getting on the Walmart shelves will boost their business exponentially. So when Goodies started, hundreds of producers flocked to Walmart offering trial size options of their product for free.
Walmart Labs is a subsidiary of Walmart. It is here that they test all their startup companies. So when an idea like Goodies.co comes along, Walmart Labs puts it into production. Using resources provided by the parent company, the labs portion can quickly launch these ideas, shooting past the competition simply due to an overabundance of funding.
Whether you like Walmart as a company or not, the fact is they are huge. They have the financial resources to start a company quickly, and the advertising and brand recognition to propel it to the top of the market. Combine that with manufacturers eagerly anticipating a huge increase in sales if they can be a top rated product, and the startup appears as though it will be a huge success. Goodies.co is still in the beta form, and if you want to join you can head to the site and get an invite. However, the waiting list is growing all the time. Currently the subscription offers smaller, trial size goods. But this is just the first step. It is expected that soon the company will be offering full meals delivered right to your door.