A few weeks back, Walmart launched a new online “Premium Outdoor Store” curated by the outdoor retailer Moosejaw (which was acquired by the mega-chain for $51m last February).
Turns out there was a little issue with that: According to the WSJ, a hefty chunk of the brands featured in Walmart’s new store want nothing to do with the mega-retailer.
The Great $100 Hiking Pole Rebellion of ’18
Shortly after Walmart debuted its new high-end outdoor gear store, a number of the featured brands — including the likes of Deuter (maker of $250 backpacks) and Leki ($100 hiking poles) — requested removal.
Reportedly, about one-third of the outdoor retailers wrote to Walmart to be taken off the site, and nearly all demands were accepted.
Most brands expressed concern that Walmart.com would eventually “push product prices lower…”
Which is a common occurrence in online retail
Brands sell their wares for what’s called a minimum advertised price (MAP), or simply the lowest price at which they’re willing to sell an item.
On huge e-commerce sites like Amazon, a lot of third-party sellers usually pop up, sparking fierce competition and driving prices far below the MAP.
Amazon has been terrible at policing these violations; Walmart has promised they will. They apparently still haven’t earned the trust of premium outdoor brands.
What we’re seeing here is a parable of the battle between high-end brands and online retailers. Brands want to sell through big platforms while maintaining high prices — but retailers like Walmart are forced to keep prices low while also fiercely competing with Amazon.