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Gourmet Food by Mail

 Retail giant Walmart has launched a monthly food subscription service called Goodies Co. that will deliver gourmet sample snacks right to customer’ homes.

The retail giant Walmart has launched a new monthly food subscription service from @WalmartLabs, the firm’s Silicon Valley-based headquarters, that will give its customers the option of shopping from home to get samples of the chain’s food products delivered to right to their doorsteps without leaving home. According to Walmart, the monthly subscription service is called Goodies Co, and for a monthly fee of just $7, including taxes and shipping, customers will receive a sampler gift box filled with five to eight hand-picked taster samples ranging from healthy and organic to artisan and ethnic foods.

Each monthly box of sample-sized home-delivered treats will be based on a different a theme as exemplified by November's theme of "Easy Entertaining” that contains five to eight carefully chosen gourmet snacks like wine biscuits and dark chocolate-infused quinoa bars that are unique to the Goodies Co. program and are not necessarily the foods you will find at every local Walmart.

WalmartLabs' VP of products Ravi Raj said that the concept of choosing different sample picks of unique gourmet items was definitely intentional and he explained "We don’t want to carry run of the mill products, we want them to evoke a sense of passion and excitement in our customers. The key thing is having that 'wow' factor." Aside from the convenience, the price of each monthly offering is pretty attractive too as it is almost half of the total value of the items if they were purchased at Walmart separately. VP Raj added that "The total price for all of the items in the November box would be approximately $15 compared to the Goodies Co. $7 price. And when subscribers discover a product they love, they can purchase full-size versions from the Goodies Co. website."

Walmart is using the program to get a handle on which new products resonate the most with its customers, and helps the retailer offer a better variety in its brick and mortar stores at the same time. Walmart also hopes to gain more insights into customer preferences through a product rating system on the Goodies Co. site that will encourage customers to review the items they have sampled. Customers will be rewarded for their contributions with a system of loyalty points that they can earn through writing food ratings, writing food reviews, or uploading their own photos of the different selections, and any points the subscribers earn through the rating and review system can be traded in to reduce the cost of their next monthly box of sample treats.

So far, the system seems to work well and although the products that end up in the monthly samples are initially chosen by the firm’s in-house Tasting Lab, customer feedback can sway the selections too because Walmart believes the consumer ratings provide a more accurate reflection of what most actual customers think. The new Goodies Co. program shows that Walmart knows how to use both social media and e-commerce to address consumer preferences and VP Raj summed it up when he said "The whole social aspect of this is critical, this is a two-way dialogue. It isn’t about us sending products and you just getting and eating them."

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