Every now and then, I check Walmart’s PRO TOOLS section, to see what they’ve been doing with the program. Imagine my surprise to see Bosch tools listed as being sold and shipped by Walmart – is BOSCH now a WALMART retail partner?
Update: Despite product listings stating that Bosch tools are being sold and shipped by Walmart, Bosch USA says that they are not selling Bosch-branded tools direct to Walmart.
Back when the Walmart Pro Tools program first launched, I was told that Bosch would be included as one of their select tool brands, sold via just two third party retailers that partnered with Walmart for this program.
I reported about this, and it did not turn out well, as it seemed that Walmart – and their hand-picked Pro Tools third party sellers – and Bosch USA were on different pages.
Bosch tools were promptly removed from Walmart’s Pro Tools section, I was asked to update my posts, and Walmart modified their landing page image, stripping away the Bosch branding and blue color from the jig saw to render it unrecognizable.
The message was clear – Bosch Tools were NOT to be a part of Walmart’s Pro Tools program.
However, it seems that Bosch Tools USA has changed their minds and are now a part of Walmart’s Pro Tools section, and not only that, Bosch tools are listed as being sold and shipped directly from Walmart.
These are not simply listings by third party sellers on Walmart’s marketplace. “Sold and Shipped by” usually indicates a direct relationship between brand and seller.
Walmart’s direct listings include a wide range of Bosch products – sanders, cordless power tools, laser layout tools, power tool accessories, and more.
Looking deeper, there are a lot of Bosch tools currently sold directly by Walmart – dozens as of the time of this posting.
These are not tools listed by third party vendors, or even by the third party sellers Walmart hand-picked to be included in their Pro Tools section. These are Bosch Tools sold and shipped by Walmart.
Why? Is Bosch simply looking to increase their visibility in light of recent home center reductions?
Diablo Tools, also owned by the Robert Bosch Corporation, is replacing Bosch in most if not all of Home Depot’s power tool accessories sections. We have not yet received any information or insights as to why this is being done, but it appears that Bosch screwdriver bits, jig saw blades, spade drill bits, and other accessories are no longer being sold at Home Depot stores.
Bosch’s tool and accessories presence seems to be diminishing at Lowe’s stores as well, at least from what I have seen recently. There was a noticeable absence of Bosch tool deals at my local Lowe’s stores this holiday shopping season, and a scarcity of Bosch cordless promos on their website as well.
Bosch USA has been… different in recent years.
For example, Bosch rebranded their 2-in-1 impact tool as “The FREAK,” a name that some believe to be unbecoming of a professional tool brand.
Bosch USA’s marketing practices have changed direction and surprised us in other ways, but that is beyond the scope of this story.
Could all these marketing changes be tied together? What does Bosch Tools hope to gain by partnering with Walmart? Great visibility? Exposure to new users? Are they making up for lost exposure elsewhere?
There is another important question. Does this mean Bosch tools will also be available at Walmart stores? Walmart has launched a new line of DIY-focused Hart tools and accessories, and the Hart brand has taken over their tool sections. Is this move a stepping stone towards Walmart making room for select Bosch tools and offerings?
This is a significant development, and one that I did not anticipate.
I never would have predicted that Bosch Tools would have reversed their stance towards Walmart’s Pro Tools section. Not only that, they seem to have partnered with Walmart directly, seeing as how the tools are sold and shipped by Walmart and not third party sellers.
We reached out to Bosch USA, asking for insights about their new partnership with Walmart, but have not yet heard back.
12/7/2020 4:00pm ET
We heard back from Bosch USA:
Regarding your article addressing Bosch and Walmart, to be clear, Bosch does not sell Bosch branded power tools direct to Walmart.
This suggests that there is no direct relationship implied by Walmart’s direct product listings.
We asked for further clarity; Walmart is selling Bosch Tools directly, but Bosch’s response explicitly says the tools are not coming from Bosch USA.