Walmart Launches Goodies Co., A Food Subscription Service That Delivers Artisanal Eats To Your Door

The big-box retailer's newest e-commerce venture is a monthly subscription service that delivers small batches of gourmet treats for a flat monthly fee.

Walmart, the world's biggest big-box retailer, is now giving customers the option of getting small boxes of treats delivered to their doorsteps, through its new monthly food subscription business.

The subscription service, Goodies Co., launches today from @WalmartLabs, the giant's Silicon Valley-based innovation brain trust.

For a flat fee of $7 a month, Goodies will deliver a box of sample-sized treats to your doorstep. Each box is loosely designed around a theme--November's is "Easy Entertaining"--and contains five to eight gourmet sample snacks. This month, for example, subscribers will find items such as wine biscuits and dark chocolate-infused quinoa bars, which are foods you won't necessarily find at your local Walmart.

That's intentional, says WalmartLabs' VP of products Ravi Raj.

"We don’t want to carry run of the mill products," he tells Fast Company. "We want them to evoke a sense of passion and excitement in our customers. The key thing is having that 'wow' factor."

The hope is that "wow" factor, combined with the novelty of discovering new products each month, will be compelling enough for subscribers to go buy full-sized versions of snacks at the Goodies Co. Shop. This helps Walmart learn which products resonate with its customers, which helps it serve them better in its retail stores, where the real money is for the company. (Fast Company explores this and other cornerstones of WalmartLabs' vision in an upcoming magazine feature.)

Walmart is also looking to glean insight from subscribers through a product rating system on the Goodies site that lets eaters review the items they've sampled. Goodies rewards reviewers for their contributions with loyalty points they earn through rating, writing a review, or uploading a photo. If subscribers earn enough points, they can trade them in to get their next month's box free.

Each Goodies product is initially rated by members of what Walmart calls the Tasting Lab, its internal feedback group that determines which products end up in taster boxes. But in true e-commerce fashion, customer feedback on Goodies can sway that initial rating, which helps provides a more accurate reflection of what customers think. Raj says almost half of Goodies' 3,000 private beta testers write reviews, while more than a third of them end up reviewing every product in the box.

"The whole social aspect of this is critical," Raj says. "This is a two-way dialogue. It isn’t about us sending products and you just getting and eating them."

Goodies is the latest in a slew of products that have come out of the WalmartLabs pipeline since its inception last year following Walmart's acquisition of Kosmix, a social media technology company. WalmartLabs has previously launched e-commerce- and social media-driven products including Shopycat, a social-driven gift discovery engine, and Social Media Analytics, a tool that analyzes social chatter to select which items Walmart should carry. Goodies is further evidence of how Walmart is using its digital platform to surprise its customers with novel ventures so it can start to solidify its reputation as a company that gets both social media and e-commerce.

[Image: Goodies Co.]

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6 Comments

  • Jan

    I have tried to stop receiving this for 3 month to no avail. I have sent 2 boxes back with cancel on them. I have yet to see a penny of my money returned and now have been charged another month for September. Can anyone help I am reporting this to our local tv station and the BBB 

  • Mindy McWhorter Brennan

    The kids and I love Goodies Box and we look forward to trying new things every month , we loved thi months box and im online rght now looking t see where we can buy 3 of the probuts right now ;)

  • vizsla01

    My local Walmart has yet to wrap their head around keeping the shelves stocked with the "regular" products until they have run TOTALLY out!!!

    So what if I like it or not? I'll never see it in my store. The product is either "on the truck", "out of stock at the warehouse", or "discontinued". The odd part is that if I drive 15 miles to the next town; MOST of my missing products are there. They show up again at my local store just as soon as someone gets around to hauling them out of the back storage area. I just love being lied to because people don't want to do their jobs !!!

  • Blade Branding

    Is Walmart really who you think of when you think Artisanal? I'm not sure this aligns with their brand. 

  • Hykata1

    Wal-mart is petrified of Amazon.com. They are beind the times on e-commerce, not to mention how the rising labor rebellion is coming. There are walk-outs scheduled across the city.

    Wal-mart is an evil company, and needs to be taken down. This sounds like a "too good to be true" marketing ploy. With Wal-mart, they don't care about you the consumer. You are the product, and you are selling your demographics to them. Worth your soul and personal information to help out the world's evilest corporation? It isn't.

    So, boycott them, stay out of the stores on Black Friday. Support locally owned artisans and/or use Etsy.