Selling on Walmart Marketplace: the guide for beginners
- 07 January 2022
The story is simple: You run an online store, and you understand what omnichannel means. So you try to be where your customers might look for the products you offer. You already have an online store, an Amazon account, and recently, you’ve started a Facebook Shop. Where to next? Walmart, one of the biggest retail companies of all time (over 220 million customers per week speak for themselves), has a proposal for you. Let’s see what they have in store.
Marketplaces are more and more common and for a reason. The benefits of selling on a marketplace are apparent for both parties. You, as a seller, get access to a new vast target group. Therefore, you can easily scale your business without significant investments. The marketplace, on the other hand, easily broadens its offer. Therefore, it’s no surprise that back in 2009, Walmart launched the Marketplace – an online space for third-party sellers to offer and sell their products. Let’s take a closer look at their offer.
The first thing you need to know is that Walmart has all the potential you need to boost sales. It’s one of the largest retail companies worldwide. They can be proud about:
- 220 million customers visiting 10,500 stores per week
- 100 million visitors on Walmart.com per month
- 80 million products in their online offer
- 48 brands in 24 countries.
- 2021 revenue of 559 billion USD
- 2.2 million associates employed
Selling on Walmart Marketplace
In general, Walmart Marketplace works exactly like all other marketplaces. Everything happens within the Walmart.com website. If you are an ordinary buyer looking for a specific product, you can browse both Walmart and third-party offers at the same time and in the same place. In fact, third-party offers are not distinguished in any particular way. There are just two short notifications in the product tab. Here’s how it looks:
And that’s it. This solution has both pros and cons. The main advantage is that you can capitalize on Walmart’s image – the average Joe looking for, in this instance, an electric bike, most likely won’t be aware that he is purchasing a third-party product. On the downside, you have very limited options to build your own brand and trust.
Suppose you decided to start selling products on Walmart.com. What do you need to do?
How to sell on Walmart Marketplace
Everything you need to know is on their website for sellers. Generally speaking, the process consists of five steps:
It all starts with an application that you can file here. Walmart will ask you about company registration, products that you offer, and shipping. Mind you, to even start the process, you need to be a US-based retailer. In order to become eligible to work with Walmart, you have to provide the following documents and information:
- US Business Tax ID
- W9 or W8 and EIN Verification Letter from the Department of Treasury
- Address of physical operations
- US Business address
You will also need an integration method for your product catalog (you can choose bulk upload, API, or an external solution provider), primary product categories, and a catalog size (total SKUs). Once your application is approved, and the agreement is signed, you will have to register on Seller Center and integrate your items and fulfillment system with Walmart’s platform.
Seller Center, provided by Walmart, is an all-in-one platform where you can manage your inventory and orders. Here, you also set carriers, shipping prices, and shipping methods. You can also opt for Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). WFS is a program that allows third-party sellers to store and ship products from Walmart fulfillment centers. In this scenario, it’s Walmart that’s responsible for storing, packing, and shipping items to customers. They also handle returns and customer support. As a result, because everything is under Walmart’s control, they guarantee two-day delivery and free and easy returns (products purchased online can be returned at Walmart brick-and-mortar stores).
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR SELLERS?
Getting access to a 100-million target audience is just one of many perks that Walmart prepared for their partners. As a Marketplace seller, if you want, you can maintain control over your business, including inventory, retail pricing, fulfillment, and customer care.
There are no setup, subscription, or monthly fees. All you have to pay is a referral fee (calculated per sale). These referral fees are between 6 (only for personal computers) and 15%. Here, you will find a whole list of referral fees along with additional information. Payments from your customers are automatically deposited biweekly to your US bank account.
LIMITATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Of course, Walmart has their own list of rules and principles that you have to follow if you want to work with them. For example, your parcels cannot contain any seller or third-party promotional or marketing materials (including but not limited to customer surveys, requests for product reviews, promotional offers, coupons, or similar marketing items). Secondly, sellers have to respond to all customer and Walmart Customer Care inquiries within 48 hours, with high-quality responses (this means no auto-reply). If you want to know more, see Walmart Seller Help.
How to succeed on Walmart
If you want to turn Walmart Marketplace into a money-spinner, you have to stick to several rules that actually apply to other marketplaces as well:
- Take care of accurate product names, descriptions, and high-quality photos. Make your listings exhaustive and compelling. Highlight all the important information and benefits. Include all the technical data and complement each listing with high-quality pictures showing your products from different angles. Walmart provides additional information on how to present and describe your products. Read more here.
- Make sure every item in your offer is available and properly uploaded. This way, you will avoid cancellations and dissatisfied customers. Verify your offer regularly.
Use marketing tools provided by Walmart. They call it Walmart’s Sponsored Products Advertising. However, to become a part of this program, you have to apply for it. Once you’re approved, you can promote your listings with native ad units settled in the cost-per-click model. There are two major forms of Walmart ads: Display and sponsored products. To find out more, see Walmart Ad Center and Walmart Connect.
- Optimize your prices. The last element is extremely important. Every marketplace offers an easy way to compare prices or sort products from the cheapest to the most expensive. Attractive prices mean that you will easily get better visibility. And that’s where our role begins. At Dealavo, we offer a price monitoring tool that will help you to discover your competitor’s prices. And if you want to be more visible for people looking for the best deals, opt for our Dynamic Pricing platform. All you have to do is set some pre-defined rules (e.g., TOP3 in the specific product category on Walmart.com). Our intelligent algorithms will take care of the rest. They will maintain optimal prices according to your rules and minimum margin profit, allowing you to maintain high visibility 24/7.
If you want to know more about our tools for online retailers, request a free trial!