8th & Walton Retail Supplier Podcast
What Is Item 360? A Guide for Walmart Suppliers
Walmart provides its suppliers with a variety of tools and resources to be successful. After getting the agreement to work with Walmart, suppliers get access to their first tool to launch their items at Walmart: Item 360.
On this week’s podcast (click the “play button” above to listen), we talk with Joel Graham, 8th & Walton’s Director of Retail Link® and Sam’s Club Insights. Joel teaches the Walmart Item 360 class suite and advises suppliers on item setup issues each week.
We spoke with him about how Item 360 works, who it’s designed for, and what tips he recommends for success in item setup and maintenance.
What Is Item 360?
Item 360 is the tool Walmart suppliers use to create, set up, and maintain their items for sale in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
Joel has been setting up items for Walmart suppliers for years. His expertise comes not just from Item 360, but from its earlier iterations as well.
“Item 360 really is an evolution from the online item file that’s been out there for decades,” he explains. “It’s also an evolution from the Supplier Center that’s been out for a few years. Item 360 is a fantastic tool that allows a supplier to create and manage items within the item file at Walmart.”
Who Is Item 360 For?
Item 360 is used by all suppliers selling in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com. As Item 360 evolved, the setup process for in-store and online merged into one as Walmart became more of an omnichannel retailer. According to Joel, some suppliers believe they should only have to set items up for in-store customers, but the omnichannel experience means more than purchasing.
“I was working with a supplier recently that sells frozen meat,” Joel illustrates. “They don’t sell their product online so they didn’t think they needed to set up their item for Walmart.com. However, even if the item can’t be directly purchased and shipped from Walmat.com, it still needs to be listed on Walmart.com.”
“If your item is available in Walmart stores, I’m finding you on my smartphone and I’m putting your item in my online pickup and delivery order. Therefore, you are now an omnichannel item. It doesn’t matter if the item is picked up from store inventory. It was found and purchased online. Even if the supplier doesn’t sell their items online, Item 360 ensures they are discoverable online for store pickup or delivery.”
What Can Be Done in Item 360?
Once a Walmart supplier has access to Item 360, the work begins! In his Walmart Item 360 classes, Joel teaches the three basic functions of the tool:
1. Walmart Item Setup
Creating items for Walmart stores and Walmart.com takes place first in Item 360. The tool features a setup hub where suppliers create new items and shippers.
2. Activity Manager and Tracker
After items have been set up in Item 360, suppliers can go back to track their review and approval process.
3. Item Maintenance
The maintenance section of Item 360 allows suppliers to correct or improve details about their items.
“If there’s an item description that isn’t quite right or an image that needs to be edited, this is where to take action,” Joel says. “Some of the attributes can be changed and some are read-only, but we do have the ability to go in to Item 360 and maintain many things about the items.”
Suppliers can go into the Item 360 Maintenance section to update:
- Basic item information (description, specifications, compliance guidelines, and category-specific info)
- Item cost (most suppliers use Item 360 for ALL cost updates)
- Images (upload and manage images for existing items)
- Rich Media (manage videos and 360 spin images)
- Item configuration and supply chain (general, pricing and cost, trade item, logistics and transportation, source and destination, store handling, and replenishment)
Once a Walmart supplier gains access, the basics of Item 360 are pretty explanatory. Joel works with Walmart suppliers each week to set up and maintain items, so he shared a few tips on more advanced ways to use the data in Item 360.
“There are a lot of little tricks that aren’t readily known,” he begins. “For example, you can download an item maintenance form and download all the attributes out of the maintenance form. But, rather than use it for maintenance, you now have a record (an Excel spreadsheet) of an item and all the attributes about that item in that download form. If you’re maintaining several hundred items, this would allow you to see them and their attributes all at once in a spreadsheet form before making individual changes.”
“Item 360 has more uses than just building and maintaining items,” Joel continues. “You can use it to download your content. You can download your content scorecard. Suppliers can export reporting for Walmart.com features and then use that to improve your omnichannel offer.”
What Is iSAM at Walmart?
Walmart suppliers may have heard their Walmart buyers reference a tool called iSAM. New Walmart buyers may even ask their suppliers to add or change things in iSAM. However, as Joel points out, this is impossible. iSAM and Item 360 may be portals to the same tool, but buyers and suppliers have different capabilities.
“iSAM and Item 360 are essentially the same thing,” Joel explains. “It’s the same tool just named differently for internal (Walmart) versus external (Walmart supplier) use. For Walmart buyers, iSAM has more functionality than Item 360.”
Joel goes on to explain that this is where disconnects arise. Some Walmart buyers do not realize their suppliers do not have the same functionality in Item 360 as they do in iSAM. “A Walmart buyer may ask their supplier to go into iSAM and change an item to a shared item. First, the supplier has no idea what iSAM is, and second, suppliers don’t have access to that attribute in Item 360. It’s so important that the Walmart buyers understand their suppliers can’t see the same things they see in iSAM versus Item 360.”
Once a supplier begins working with Walmart, item setup and item maintenance become priorities. Item 360 is the tool to get items loaded correctly for sale in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
If you have questions about item setup, maintenance, and improving performance online, take a look at our Item 360 suite of classes. For individual questions about your Walmart business, request a free 15-minute consultation.
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