Walmart Mobile App Gives Suppliers Real-Time Inventory Data in Stores

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Walmart Mobile App Gives Suppliers Real-Time Inventory Data in Stores

By Adam Blair - 04/23/2013
Walmart will roll out a mobile app this summer that provides suppliers walking the aisles of its stores with real-time access to inventory data, along with the ability to handle basic practices such as printing missing shelf labels, stocking products and ensuring displays are correct.

The Supplier Portal Allowing Retail Coverage (SPARC) app, developed by Walmart digital partner Rockfish, was piloted in 28 stores in four markets over the last several months with major suppliers including L'Oreal, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg's, Unilever and ConAgra, according to published reports. It was introduced at a Walmart supplier conference last month.

Vendors and third-party merchandisers who receive appropriate training on the app will no longer need to get assistance from Walmart store associates armed with Telxon tracking devices to perform basic in-store functions.

"Suppliers often visit our stores to check on their products," Walmart spokesperson Ashley Hardie told Arkansas' The City Wire. "Allowing them access to on-the-spot information through the app on their smartphone increases efficiency and allows for real-time decisions – and in retail, speed is important."

The SPARC app could serve as a labor-saving device for Walmart. Recent consumer media coverage about challenges Walmart has faced in keeping its shelves stocked with fresh food products focused on store staffing levels that have remained low even after the economic recovery began. The retailer has disputed these reports.

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