How To Sell on Walmart in 2021: A Beginner's Guide
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Considering selling on Walmart? Now is your chance to act.
As an eCommerce business, you inherently know the value of online marketplaces as a crucial tool for expanding your global reach. While retailer websites often lack the credibility needed to attract a high volume of quality traffic, a well-known marketplace never runs out of shoppers.
In fact, according to a UPS and comScore study, a whopping 97% of online shoppers purchase their products via marketplaces. For eCommerce businesses who sell their products on marketplaces, they reap the benefits of both consistent traffic and consumer trust.
But while most eCommerce businesses automatically think of major marketplaces like Amazon and Shopify, Walmart is making a big splash in the world of online shopping.
In the first quarter of 2020 alone, the retail giant experienced a 74% surge in eCommerce sales.
Not only that, Walmart Marketplace’s recent partnership with Shopify and new fulfillment options are two major steps toward competing toe-to-toe with Amazon for third-party sellers. For any eCommerce business considering selling on Walmart, the time to act is now.
In this guide, we’ll answer the most common questions about selling on Walmart Marketplace and share strategies to help you get the most out of the platform. Let’s dive in!
Walmart Marketplace at a Glance
Walmart is now the second top eCommerce retailer in the US after Amazon (with eBay coming in third place). With nearly 52 million products sold on the marketplace, over 92% of them are from third-party sellers. And as of 2020, the Walmart and Shopify partnership now enables Shopify sellers to sell on Walmart Marketplace from directly within their store.
A recent Marketplace Pulse report reveals that the number of Walmart Marketplace sellers surpasses 55,000, doubling its size within a single fiscal year. If you overlooked selling on Walmart prior to 2020, there are certainly some new reasons to give it a second thought.
To recap, here are the hard-and-fast numbers on Walmart Marketplace’s massive eCommerce impact:
- Walmart is the second largest eCommerce retailer in the US
There are nearly 52 million products sold on Walmart Marketplace
- Over 92% of those products are from third-party sellers
- There are now 55,000 sellers on Walmart Marketplace (a 2X increase from 2019 to 2020)
How Much Does It Cost to Sell on Walmart?
Unlike Amazon and other top marketplaces, Walmart does not charge monthly fees, closing fees, or subscriptions to use its platform.
It only charges you a referral (a.k.a. commission) fee which is deducted once a sale occurs. Referral fees range from 6% to 20% of the selling price, depending on the product category. Most products tend to fall in the range of 15%.
Walmart Sellers Criteria
Unlike most marketplaces, Walmart Marketplace sets the bar high.
Before you can even be considered, sellers must already have a registered business. And as an invitation-only marketplace, business owners are required to apply first, then wait for approval.
Walmart Marketplace looks for reputable brands and retailers, such as those with a history of solid customer service and reliable fulfillment.
Customer Support for Sellers
Walmart Marketplace has a user-friendly Seller Help page which lists out the most common questions and issues, such as technical troubleshooting and help with processing orders.
Additionally, sellers can take advantage of comprehensive ‘quickstart guides’ for extra growth tips and optimization strategies to help them stay profitable on the platform. The guides are fairly thorough, including YouTube video tutorials and in-depth FAQs.
But all online marketplaces have their strengths and weaknesses — the selling practices you use on one marketplace may or may not be the best strategy for another.
Let’s take a closer look at Walmart Marketplace’s unique advantages and differentiators to help you get a feel for how this fast-growing channel can amplify your current growth strategy.
Benefits of Selling on Walmart Marketplace
#1. Less Competition
The Walmart Marketplace application may be straightforward and simple to complete, but not all sellers will make it past this stage. Walmart makes it clear that it looks for premium brands — it wants the best sellers of items not currently on the marketplace.
This ‘weeding out’ process not only protects the integrity of Walmart’s own eCommerce offering, it also speaks volumes about your business and product quality.
For established eCommerce brands looking for a leg up in an increasingly competitive market, this heightened level of exclusivity makes Walmart Marketplace an even more attractive choice.
#2. Flexible Fulfillment Options
For eCommerce businesses, the pressure to master your eCommerce inventory management has never been greater. The good news is, once you become an approved Walmart Marketplace seller, you can start accelerating your sales without skipping a beat.
Through Walmart’s partnership with Deliverr, third-party sellers now have the option to outsource fulfillment and keep sales moving.
The Walmart/Deliverr fulfillment service gives you access to Walmart’s ‘TwoDay Delivery’ shipping program, which guarantees nationwide delivery within two business days. The program is completely free for shoppers and as a seller, it also helps boost your visibility by enabling customers to find your products using the ‘2-day delivery’ filter.
Sellers can also take advantage of Walmart Fulfilment Services (WFS), which allows you to store inventory at Walmart fulfillment centers, use Walmart to pack and ship your items, and even hand over the handling of customer support and returns. As you might expect, WFS also includes the ‘TwoDay’ shipping program.
And as an answer to a call for more fulfillment centers, Walmart Marketplace now allows in-store pickups to assist with eCommerce orders. Since 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart brick-and-mortar store, offering in-store pickups also contributes to a better customer experience with your brand.
#3. Walmart Sponsored Products
Using Walmart’s cost-per-click ad program, you can increase the visibility of your products and brand across search results, category pages, and item pages.
Through the program, sellers can bid for ad placements and you only pay once the shopper clicks on the ad. It’s a great add-on that can help increase brand awareness, without having to break your marketing budget on low impact impressions.
#4. Instant Credibility
While browsing the platform, you may notice that all products listed on Walmart Marketplace (even those listed by third-party sellers) look similar to those owned by Walmart.
This is no accident.
Walmart Marketplace’s consistent product page structure helps reinforce consumer trust, as shoppers may associate third-party seller items as a trusted Walmart product.
#5. Business Optimization Tools
Walmart Marketplace provides several administrative tools sellers can use to optimize their listings and increase sales.
One of its premier features is the Listing Quality Dashboard, which measures product quality scores and serves up customized suggestions for marketing campaigns to improve your conversions.
Sellers using Walmart Marketplace also have access to a business line of credit through Marcus by Goldman Sachs. The line of credit has a fixed interest rate of 6.99-9.99% over a 12-month draw period. The drawback is that you can only apply if you receive an invitation in your seller dashboard.
Fortunately, Walmart Marketplace sellers can still use external funding solutions to help secure the working capital they need in order to scale their business.
Is It Easy to Sell on Walmart?
The answer to that depends on who’s asking.
Regarding approval, Walmart’s strict vetting process is essentially a good thing for established eCommerce businesses. And while getting approved on Walmart Marketplace can be an uphill battle for the average joe seller, the reduced competition on Walmart enables you to secure sales that you would likely have to fight much harder for on long standing marketplaces like Amazon or Ebay.
Once you’re approved to use the platform, selling on Walmart is just as straightforward as listing your products on any other marketplace.
Is Selling on Walmart Marketplace Worth It?
Look at it this way. Amazon represents about 50% of all eCommerce sales in the US, but that percentage hasn’t grown much over the past couple of years.
Walmart sales, on the other hand, have skyrocketed by 40% over the last two years, including a massive spike in eCommerce. When 2.5 million Amazon sellers are expected to generate $416 billion in eCommerce revenue, compared to the 55,000 Walmart Marketplace sellers generating $134 billion in the same period of time, you can be fairly certain that the latter group is earning more money.
But outside of comparing the competition, here is a quick snapshot of the other factors to consider when weighing whether or not to list your products on Walmart Marketplace:
- No setup or monthly fees
- Less competition
- In-store returns
- Flexible delivery and fulfillment services
- Brand recognition and credibility
- Strict eligibility criteria
- Pricing rules
Depending on your pricing model, that last con can be a doozy.
With the philosophy of saving more, Walmart shoppers expect the lowest price. For this reason, Walmart Marketplace will remove your product if the same product is listed at a lower price on another website.
Ultimately, the question of whether or not to open shop on Walmart Marketplace doesn’t have a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Amazon sellers trying to expand their audience reach will almost certainly benefit from adding Walmart Marketplace to their eCommerce mix.
But you need to be aware that, as with Walmart’s brick-and-mortar business, bargain shopping plays a big role. Take the time to review the platform from the shoes of a shopper to make sure it makes sense for your business.
How to Use Walmart Marketplace to Grow Your Business
Assuming you’ve got a business model that fits, leveraging Walmart’s platform — which has over 100 million unique visitors per month — can absolutely grow and expand your eCommerce business.
However, there are some best practices you’ll want to get acquainted with first. The following three techniques have a strong influence on customer experience and, inevitably, sales:
1. Optimize Your Product Listings
As a seller, it’s your job to make sure your products stand out. Walmart Marketplace caters to multiple buyer personas, and you’ll need to take demographics and lifestyle factors into account. Make your content as specific as possible to attract your target shopper.
First, write unique yet concise titles using relevant keywords. Next, the product descriptions should be detailed, also using keywords, but not too lengthy. Always include images, and videos if applicable, to demonstrate how the product looks while in use. Lastly, make sure to add tags and product attributes — things like color, shape, and quantity — to your listings and be sure to update them periodically.
Utilize cost-per-click ads for products that are more difficult to sell, such as those with lower product quality scores.
2. Take Advantage of Walmart’s Fulfillment Services
WFS and ‘TwoDay’ shipping are Walmart’s answer to faster delivery and customer satisfaction, at no cost to the shopper.
These benefits not only boost product visibility in shopper searches but also help to increase customer loyalty and conversion.
3. Encourage ratings and reviews
In a 2020 customer review survey, 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know.
Simply put, consumers want to know what other people think before they purchase a product.
Fortunately, Walmart Marketplace helps sellers obtain more reviews by sending automatic ‘rate and review’ emails to customers after their purchase. Research shows that products with five reviews have a 270% greater chance of selling than those without, making this Walmart Marketplace feature one you’ll definitely want to take advantage of.
The Bottom Line
Amazon may still be the king of eCommerce, but Walmart is progressing much faster than other marketplaces in this area. ECommerce sellers using a multi-channel strategy to reach new customers can benefit greatly from Walmart’s fast-growing and authoritative platform.
As for the business line of credit through Walmart Marketplace, which is either a hit or miss regarding eligibility, it still may not be the best choice of working capital for some businesses. If you’re like the many eCommerce businesses using working capital to increase sales and profits, SellersFunding can help.
We offer flexible funding options to help eCommerce businesses reach their biggest targets. As one of the only funding providers that is not affiliated with a traditional bank or online marketplace, SellersFunding supports sellers who use Walmart Marketplace and other top eCommerce platforms based on your unique business needs.
Want to find out how you can get up to $1,000,000 working capital in as little as 48 hrs? Learn more about how our funding options can help you hit the next level!