While Amazon is still the king of ecommerce, many brands are seeking even greater visibility, and sales volume, by also selling on Walmart’s rapidly expanding marketplace.
Walmart’s online marketplace now includes more than 100,000 sellers and growing, with greater than 31,000 of those sellers (so far) having joined the marketplace in 2021 alone. We anticipate the rate of growth will continue to accelerate, with Walmart recently opening up their marketplace to international sellers.
Ready to explore your options, but aren’t sure where to begin? We’ve created a helpful guide that delves into how to sell on Walmart.com, using Walmart Seller Center, catalog enhancements, and how brands are using Walmart advertising to drive sales.
“Walmart.com has come a long way in a short time in terms of marketplace capabilities; in the types of targeting, ad types, reporting, and the sophistication of the platform overall. Brands looking for ecommerce growth beyond Amazon should consider the opportunity of selling on Walmart’s online marketplace.”
– Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director of Strategic Marketplace Services at Tinuiti
Table of Contents
Walmart is one of the fastest-growing marketplaces and continues to roll out features that make it easier for sellers and brands to reach Walmart’s enormous customer base. 2020 was an incredible year for the retail giant, and 2021 is shaping up to be impressive as well…
- For Walmart’s fiscal year 2021, which ended January 29, the company reported a 79% increase in online sales
- Pickup and delivery sales saw “triple-digit” percentage improvements YoY
- Walmart’s Q1 FY22 earnings showed a 37% increase in US ecommerce sales
- Walmart’s first-quarter 2021 earnings “handily beat Wall Street’s revenue and earnings per share (EPS) consensus estimates,” with Walmart earning $138.3 billion—$6.34 billion above analysts anticipated $131.97 billion
- Walmart was the second most downloaded shopping app in the US in 2020, with 34 million downloads. Amazon came in first place with 41 million downloads, and Wish rounded out the top 3 with 30 million downloads
- Walmart recently announced plans to dedicate $14 billion in fiscal year 2022 toward “capital investments, including enhancements to the supply chain, increased automation and other areas of the business that executives say will drive long-term sales growth”
- Walmart.com receives hundreds of millions of visits every month, including up to 100 million unique visitors each month
“Given that Walmart now holds the #2 spot in both US Ecommerce Sales and US Ecommerce Sales Growth, there is no denying the opportunity that this channel holds. Additionally, unlike the mature state of Amazon’s ad solutions, Walmart has just scraped the surface of ad features and acceleration programs, which presents a unique opportunity for sellers to get in at the ground floor of a budding eCommerce powerhouse.”
– Stuart Clay, Associate Director of Strategic Marketplace Services at Tinuiti
The Walmart Marketplace is Rapidly Growing
We’ve seen Walmart scale product selection and gain access to Millennials and Gen Z-ers with a string of strategic acquisitions of digitally-native brands.
There are also some unique benefits to selling using Walmart’s ecommerce platform, Walmart Seller Center. The clean design and user-friendly features of Seller Center make optimizing and managing your listings and sales straightforward, with easily digestible —and actionable— insights available throughout the platform.
To start selling on Walmart.com as an approved third-party (3P) seller, you will need to complete a five-step application process. Next steps include:
- Request Launch
Qualifications for Selling On the Walmart Marketplace
There are several minimum requirements for being a 3P seller on the Walmart Marketplace, designed to ensure sellers meet Walmart’s high standards in 3 key areas:
- Ecommerce experience
- A compelling catalog of products that enhances Walmart’s overall offerings
- History that speaks to an ongoing focus on providing a positive customer experience
Before you sit down to complete your Walmart Marketplace application, be prepared to provide the below:
- US Business Tax ID (SSNs are not accepted)
- Form W9 or W8 and EIN Verification Letter from the Department of Treasury (verification of your US-based business address or physical operational location)
- Demonstrated history of successfully selling through a marketplace or other ecommerce avenue
- Competitively priced product catalog that builds on the existing assortment of inventory on Walmart.com, with GTIN/UPC GS1 Company Prefix Numbers
- Your integration plan-of-action (how you’ll upload your product catalog)
- “Primary product categories, catalog size and related information (e.g. total SKUs you will be selling on Walmart.com initially with verified UPC information, and used vs. refurbished etc.)”
- Solid track record of fulfilling orders quickly and accurately, and providing first-rate customer service
- B2C US-based warehouse capable of handling outgoing shipments and returns, or a Walmart-approved 3PL fulfillment provider
Walmart has recently expanded the marketplace to include international sellers, however this guide is focused on requirements and recommendations for US sellers. Early announcements regarding the expansion note that some rules for Chinese sellers include:
- Valid Chinese business license
- Greater than a year of operating experience selling on North American marketplaces
- Solid store ratings
The above referenced article also notes that Walmart will be solving for the weeks-long delivery time currently offered by some of these sellers by onboarding them to Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), covered in greater detail below.
The Walmart Seller Approval Process
The time it takes to get your store approved to sell on Walmart varies, and depends on seller capabilities, size, and qualifications.
It can take several months to get approved, and the Walmart team may not be quite as communicative as you’d expect during this process. If you aren’t approved, it’s likely you won’t hear conclusively for several months, so you’ll need to be patient.
Once you’re approved to sell on Walmart Marketplace, you’ll sign the Retailer Agreement and start onboarding, which typically takes up to four weeks. Tinuiti’s Walmart Marketplace Operations team is equipped to offer support at all stages of your seller journey, including platform launch.
“The four weeks mentioned in onboarding is really dependent on how fast the seller can complete the order testing scenarios without errors or setbacks. In some cases, you can expedite the process by working with a Walmart Solution Provider, such as Tinuiti.”
— Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director of Strategic Marketplace Services at Tinuiti
Walmart provides sellers with a launch checklist to get started that includes information about verifying a deposit, completing your seller profile, and filling out product details.
The last one is arguably the most critical, as the product details you fill in can impact how people find your products.
Walmart’s Seller Center is its self-service platform used for uploading and managing your product listings and fulfilling orders. Below we highlight some of the most important features of the platform, and encourage you to check out our comprehensive Walmart Seller Center Guide for a full walkthrough.
Here’s how you can get started:
1. Log Into Walmart Seller Center
2. Select Products You Want to Sell on Walmart.com
We recommend starting with some of your top-selling products, while keeping in mind you’re dealing with customers who will value low prices most.
- Used products
- Digital goods
- Drugs and medical devices
- Certain electronics, including jailbroken cell phones and jammers
- Certain jewelry items, including loose gemstones
- Counterfeit items
- Offensive products
- Recalled items
- …and more
You can view the full list of prohibited items on the Walmart site.
3. Build Your Product Content Feed on Walmart.com
Items can be uploaded in four different ways:
- Via the Walmart API
- As a single item directly from your dashboard (ideal for sellers adding just one, or a few SKUs)
- As a bulk upload using an Excel template (category-specific templates can be downloaded from Seller Center)
- By collaborating with a Walmart solution provider, like Tinuiti
If you’d like to go with the fourth option, Tinuiti’s Walmart Marketplace Operation’s team will work to ensure your listings are accurate, and all required information has been input.
Additional functional and/or consulting-based Walmart Support Services we offer include:
- Platform launch
- Promotion implementation and tracking
- Weekly reporting to uncover areas of opportunity
- Case management
- Content upload / recommendations
- WFS onboarding
- …and more!
Next, you’ll need to ensure you’re in line with Walmart.com’s content and imagery guidelines.
4. Upload the Correct Product Content on Walmart.com
Because multiple users may be adding content for the same product, Walmart uses algorithms to determine which provided content will display on a given item page. Each item attribute is considered separately to aid in crafting the most helpful, informative descriptions for shoppers. Rules governing these decisions include:
- In instances where you are the only user that has provided content for an item in your catalog, your content will be used for all product attributes
- When you have provided content for a specific product attribute that no other user has provided, your content will be used for that specific attribute
- When multiple users have provided content for the same attributes, the content that will display is determined by the user’s ranking, in the following hierarchical order:
- Authorized Walmart Users
- Brand Owners
- Suppliers & DSVs
- Content Service Providers
- Sellers with a demonstrated history of providing quality content
- Marketplace Sellers
When two users that fall within the same hierarchical level make a content update, preference is given to the first update provided. Walmart.com will use the PCP’s content and imagery for the product listing, even if your product wins the buy box.
The same content rules apply to variant groups. These are collections of items that are fundamentally the same item, but are available for purchase in different variations. Some common item variations include color, flavor, size, count, and shape. If two sellers (one of which can be Walmart) are each selling variants of a product—such as a sheet set available in different colors and bedding sizes, as shown above—overlapping variants will be grouped together as one listing.
Variant group attribute options are set at the category-level, and include the fields that make most sense for a given product. In example, if you are uploading a pet shampoo to your catalog, some variant attribute names will include scent and size. If you are adding an arts and crafts item, some variant options will include diameter, shape, material, and finish.
The spec sheet you will use when creating variant groups will depend on whether your item will be an entirely new product in Walmart.com’s catalog, or a variant of an existing item for sale on Walmart.com. The Full Item Spec sheet is used for new items, while the Item Maintenance Spec sheet is used for existing items.
While listing all variants of a given item within one listing results in a more streamlined user experience, there is a potential downside to consider when adding existing listings to variant groups: potential lost reviews. Walmart notes that they “may remove existing reviews when a variant group is created because our systems may recognize the SKU as a “new” item.”
Walmart Product Listing Content Details
Walmart has created separate Excel templates for every category on Walmart.com. These templates provide sellers with the opportunity to add item attributes that are uniquely tailored to the category the item they’re selling is part of. For example, you would find a “finish” field in the Excel template for furniture items as many shoppers will be searching using related keywords, however that field wouldn’t apply to most other item types.
Each attribute will fall within one of four categories:
- Required: Attributes that must be provided for successful item set-up. These might include SKU, Product Name, and Brand, among others
- Recommended: Attributes that are likely to enhance discoverability and user experience
- Conditionally Required: Attributes dependent on another attribute
- Optional: Attributes that provide additional, valuable product information, but are not essential for a successful item set-up
You can manage content in bulk using Walmart’s Category Templates. Note that Walmart may send written requests for more information about your products, and you must comply. Additionally, there is the caveat that they may change these requirements at will, so be sure to stay on top of your messages from Walmart.com.
How Product Listings Appear on the Walmart Marketplace
You’ve done the hard work of uploading your product data. Now, let’s examine how Walmart’s products show up on the search results page.
After a query is entered, the search results page will display the marketplace’s listings for products displayed on the standard result page.
Shoppers can then refine their results by selecting the desired fields in the left navigation. These fields will vary depending on the item you searched, and how specific you were in your initial search (ie. whether you simply searched “swimsuits for women,” or followed the suggested prompt and searched “swimsuits for women in Clothing,” which would serve more refined results within that department.)
When searching for “soft dog toys”—as shown in the image above—we are given the option to further narrow down our options by:
- Whether the item is Gift eligible
- Delivery and pickup options
- Customer Rating
- Special Offers
- Animal Type
When a user clicks on a product’s page, they will sometimes see not only product information, but also a product information section that resembles Amazon’s EBC premium content sections:
If you want to create stylized content similar to the example above, but don’t have either the resources or time, you can partner with one of Walmart’s full-service Content Studio Service Providers (CSSPs) to create rich media item pages. This is a separate program handled by third-party companies that connect via API. Sellers can engage with one of Walmart’s partners who supports enhanced content, and that partner will facilitate the delivery on their behalf. This is not an organic offering, and does require additional support.
Walmart has stated in their FAQs that investing in sponsored products can increase organic ranking.
Products with a view and purchase history increase relevancy for those terms in particular that the user searched or clicked on. Struggling or new SKUs can use advertising to give their organic listings a jump start in gathering historical data and increase visibility in the Walmart search engine results pages.
How to Make Your Walmart Listing Stand Out
Walmart creates a basic framework for listing your products, but if you want to generate more sales, it’s best to go above and beyond the basics.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing your listings and climbing your way to the top of the Walmart search results.
- Go beyond the minimal requirements and shape up your listings with a variety of highly relevant keywords and other helpful specs (while avoiding fluff at all costs). Your listing should first help people find your product, then sell them on buying that product
- Walmart uses the Walmart Optimization Triangle to determine your listing quality score, which judges three factors of your listing: the quality of your content description, your offer, and the customer experience
- Visit your Listing Quality Dashboard regularly to stay on top of any and all issues, and opportunities for further improving your listings
Sellers pay Walmart a referral fee for every product sold on Walmart Marketplace. “The Referral Fee is calculated as a percentage of the gross sales proceeds from the sale of each product.” Outside of referral fees, there are no additional charges; Walmart does not charge sellers any account setup fees, or recurring monthly fees to participate.
Product categories have differing referral fees, so it’s important to choose the correct category when setting up your items. Check out this helpful video for tips and insights on why proper categorization is so important for visibility on Walmart Marketplace.
Here’s a full list of Walmart’s referral fee percentages by category:
- Apparel & Accessories – 15%
- Automotive & Powersports – 12%
- Baby – 8% for items $10 or less; 15% for items above $10
- Beauty – 8% for items $10 or less; 15% for items above $10
- Books – 15%
- Camera & Photo – 8%
- Cell Phones – 8%
- Consumer Electronics – 8%
- Electronics Accessories – 15% for the portion of the sales price up to $100; 8% for the portion above $100
- Furniture & Decor – 15%
- Gourmet Food – 15%
- Grocery – 8% for items $10 or less; 15% for items above $10
- Health & Personal Care – 8% for items $10 or less; 15% for items above $10
- Home & Garden – 15%
- Industrial & Scientific – 12%
- Jewelry – 20% for the portion of the sales price up to $250; 5% for the portion above $250
- Kitchen – 15%
- Luggage & Travel Accessories – 15%
- Major Appliances – 8%
- Music – 15%
- Musical Instruments – 12%
- Office Products – 15%
- Outdoors – 15%
- Personal Computers – 6%
- Pet Supplies – 15%
- Plumbing Heating Cooling & Ventilation – 10%
- Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses – 15%
- Software & Computer Video Games – 15%
- Sporting Goods – 15%
- Tires & Wheels – 10%
- Tools & Home Improvement – 15%
- Toys & Games – 15%
- Video & DVD – 15%
- Video Game Consoles – 8%
- Video Games – 15%
- Watches – 15% for the portion of the sales price up to $1,500; 3% for the portion above $1,500
- Everything else – 15%
How Sellers Get Paid on Walmart.com
Seller payment frequencies are determined once your account is approved, and are typically set for bi-weekly payment. There is a temporary payment hold period for new partners; while sellers are still within this time frame, “orders will be eligible for payments 14 days after orders are shipped.” This payment hold period expires once both of the following conditions have been met:
- It has been 70 days since you shipped your first order
- You have sold $2,500 (GMV) worth of merchandise
Walmart notes that there may be other factors that can affect your payment schedule, including “high return or chargeback rates and selling counterfeit or illegal items.”
“Walmart bears all settlement costs for USD to US bank ACH payments made through payment processors and sellers will receive 100% of the funds they are owed.”
Sellers are paid the total amount from sale of products (retail price + shipping costs) minus Walmart’s referral fees. After a customer places an order, Walmart enacts an authorization hold on the order until the seller confirms the product has been shipped. Once this is completed, Walmart.com will debit the customer account. This means sales are reported on the shipping date, not on the order creation date.
Pricing Products on Walmart.com
We all know how important it is to offer competitive pricing that draws shoppers’ attention and results in closing the sale, but on Walmart Marketplace, that good business practice is a rule.
Walmart’s goal is to provide shoppers with the best price possible on the items they’re most interested in. One way this is achieved is through automated rules that will remove items that aren’t competitively priced from the Walmart Marketplace. These rules include the Price Parity rule, and the Reasonable Price Not Satisfied rule, both of which compare the same items across multiple websites, including their shipping charges (item cost + shipping):
- Walmart Price Parity: This rule automatically unpublishes items from Walmart.com when it has been determined that the same seller is offering the same item for a lower price on another website
- Walmart Reasonable Price Not Satisfied: This rule automatically unpublishes items from Walmart.com when it has been found that the seller is charging a “drastically higher” price than a seller or sellers on competing websites
It is crucially important to keep tabs on your product prices across all platforms you’re selling on. In short – if you’re offering the same item you’re selling on Walmart for a lower price on Amazon, they will notice.
While items will be automatically unpublished if they have violated the above rules, you will be made aware of their removal through a notification in your Manage Items Report in Seller Center.
Paying Taxes for Products Sold on Walmart.com
While remitting taxation was previously the seller’s responsibility—unless they had set up their account for this to be handled by Walmart—Marketplace now collects sales tax on your behalf, by default, for the majority of items sold. This is due to state changes (in certain states) that “require all marketplace facilitators, including Walmart Marketplace, to collect and remit sales tax directly to the tax authorities.”
If you would prefer to have Walmart Marketplace handle sales tax collection for all items sold regardless of which state the buyer lives in, you can configure your tax settings in Seller Center during your initial integration. Future adjustments can be made if your catalog itself, or other conditions change, after the integration stage.
If you have not configured your tax settings to enable Walmart to collect and remit sales tax for all states, you will continue to receive taxes collected on orders from states that aren’t part of those that Walmart automatically handles (per state laws). In these instances, it would remain the seller’s responsibility to remit taxes in those states.
First-party sellers have always had the option to ship directly to a Walmart fulfillment center and let them take care of the rest, while third-party sellers were responsible for handling shipping, exchanges, returns, and customer service without exception. 3P sellers were given another option in February 2020, when Walmart Fulfillment Services launched.
There are currently six shipping methods available to sellers on Walmart Marketplace. It is required that sellers support at least one of these methods:
- Free Value Shipping: This option is available for all sellers in Seller Center, and is an ideal choice for buyers who don’t need their items in a hurry, and are willing to wait longer for their purchase to reach them, in exchange for free shipping. While this option can’t be disabled in Seller Center, sellers are given the option to create Shipping Overrides that exclude specific items
- Standard Shipping: Optional; can be enabled or disabled for any region. Shipping time of 2-5 business days to 48 states
- ThreeDay Shipping: Optional; can be enabled or disabled for any region. Shipping time of 2-3 business days to 48 states
- TwoDay Shipping: This shipping option is available to all Marketplace sellers. Like other shipping methods, it can also be managed through Seller Center, but requires that sellers first apply for Walmart’s free TwoDay Delivery program. Walmart offers sellers two opt-in methods for the program—Seller-Managed or Third-Party-Managed—which are largely based on how they’re handling fulfillment
- Next Day Shipping: Optional; can be enabled or disabled for any region. Shipping time of 0-1 business days to 48 states
- Freight Shipping: This option only applies to sellers offering oversized items that aren’t available for basic ground or air carrier shipment, and isn’t set as an available option in Seller Center. If an item you are selling requires freight shipment, you can configure a Shipping Override for that item. When enabled, this replaces all other shipping methods for the particular item. This can be enabled or disabled for any region, with a preconfigured transit time of 5-10 business days
Fast shipping is key. Not only do sellers not get paid until the item is shipped, but it’s important to ship quickly to keep your metrics up.
Walmart Fulfillment Services
Walmart Fulfillment Services, or WFS, was launched in response to seller demand, as noted by Walmart in their announcement of the new solution in February 2020…
“As we’ve been building our marketplace service and relationship with sellers, many have asked if they can leverage our eCommerce fulfillment network to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently for their items. We’re excited to introduce Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), a service where select sellers can leverage our world-class supply chain capabilities – from storing, picking, packing and shipping items to handling of returns and customer service.”
— Jaré Buckley-Cox, Vice President, Walmart Fulfillment Services, Walmart eCommerce
Similar to Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), WFS takes much of the legwork out of selling on Walmart Marketplace, allowing sellers to focus more time and energy on improving their offerings and listings, and growing their business.
Some of the key advantages Walmart Fulfillment Services offers include:
- The ability to offer 2-day shipping nationwide (regardless of where your personally operated warehouses are located). Sellers send their inventory to Walmart fulfillment centers, and Walmart stores and prepares your items for shipment when an order comes through
- In addition to handling shipping, WFS also manages returns and customer service
- With Walmart TwoDay tags on your listings, you’ll gain increased visibility in the search rankings
- Increased control over item page content
- Enhanced seller support from a dedicated WFS call center team
Learn more here about how to apply to WFS, and the requirements for participation.
Just like Walmart has price parity rules in place for Marketplace sellers to ensure shoppers consistently receive the low prices they have come to expect from the retailer, they also have customer service guidelines in place to ensure shoppers receive the same high level of service Walmart has built their reputation on.
Unless sellers are handling order fulfillment through Walmart Fulfillment Services, they are required to handle all customer service needs. In the event Walmart’s Customer Care team is contacted by one of your customers regarding an item purchased from your catalog, they will be provided with your company’s customer service contact information.
If a customer contacts you directly from the Seller Page, or their personal account section on Walmart.com, it is required that you use the Message Center to reply.
- Maintaining a current, and accurate, customer service and customer service escalation email address in Seller Center
- Maintaining a current, and accurate, customer service phone number in Seller Center. If a live agent is not available to handle incoming calls, voicemail must be available
- Customers must receive a greeting upon calling before they are placed in queue to speak with a representative. This greeting, and the aforementioned voicemail message, cannot include advertisements
- Responding to all customer, and Walmart Customer Care, inquiries with a high-quality response (not automated), within 48 hours
- Sellers are not to initiate correspondence with a customer regarding the status of their order, or additional information about the product(s) they have purchased. Automatic emails are generated by Walmart’s system as their order moves through each stage of fulfillment
- Sellers are also not permitted to contact sellers with any other unsolicited emails or phone calls
- Sellers must regularly monitor all email addresses tied to their account to ensure they are aware of any communication sent by Walmart
- If Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Attorney General Complaints are received, sellers are required to send a thorough, “high-quality” response within the first hour of receipt
- Customer support is still required during Additional Days Off; these are only designed to apply to order processing exceptions, and do not relieve sellers of their customer service duties
- All customer support, including phone and email support, must be provided in English
- Sellers are required to behave professionally, and courteously, with customers, Walmart, and other sellers; there is a zero tolerance policy for abusive or threatening language
If Walmart.com believes an order is fraudulent, it will not be released to the seller and the customer will receive a cancellation email. Cancellations are final. Once an order is canceled–by either party–it cannot be reversed or shipped.
This includes those times when a shopper cancels an order, and you must do everything you can that’s commercially reasonable to halt shipping to that individual.
Returns and Refunds
- Sellers are required to have a minimum return period window of 30 days for most items, with the option to extend this window beyond the 30-day period if they choose to
- The 30-day window begins 7 days after an item has shipped
- There are some exceptions to this minimum requirement; for certain electronics items, outlined here, sellers can shorten the return window to 15 days after the item has been delivered. Certain luxury items may also be set-up with return windows of 14 days, or shorter, following item receipt. One example of items that may qualify for this shorter window are precious metals, whose value fluctuates often
Customers are able to easily return items to Walmart.com or a physical Walmart store as long as all conditions outlined in the seller’s policy are satisfied. If sellers are offering items for which the circumstances of returning are more complex, they can request an exception to the standard return process. Some of these circumstances include:
- Freight shipments, or other shipments that are unable to be handled via ground shipment
- Shipments that are classified as Hazmat
- Non-returnable items (ie. perishable food items)
- Shipments that are unable to be returned in a single box
- Luxury items (ie. high-end jewelry and watches)
- Prepaid mobile phone cards
Walmart offers sellers the choice of shipping through FedEx or UPS—their currently supported shipping carriers—and gives sellers the option to use Returns Shipping Service (RSS) from Walmart for label generation. If sellers opt to participate in RSS, the following conditions apply:
- The discounted rates available through RSS are only for Walmart Marketplace returns; sellers cannot take advantage of these rates for items not sold on Walmart Marketplace
- Items that are returned to a physical Walmart store will have RSS applied automatically
- RSS rates are confidential; sellers cannot disclose or otherwise distribute the rates they are receiving, per the Walmart Retailer Agreement
It is required that sellers configure a minimum of 1 return center for orders, though the option for multiple return centers is available. When multiple return centers are provided, items will be returned to the center that is closest to the origin of the returned item to secure the best shipping rates. If there are certain items that you would like returned to a specific return center, this can be set at the item-level.
Have certain items up for sale for which the overall costs/profit don’t justify paying for a shipped return? Walmart allows for “Keep It” rules to be applied “at a particular price threshold for every product category.” These are items for which the customer will receive a refund, but don’t have to ship the item back and can simply “keep it.”
Customers will not be aware that the item they have purchased has Keep It rules in place unless a return is initiated through Walmart.com or the Walmart Customer Care team. Returns made in-store will be processed as normal.
There are several factors that could dramatically influence your sales on the Walmart Marketplace. The work that goes into satisfying all of these factors is ongoing, but can be grouped into a few key areas:
- Low product price (and subsequent buy box ownership)
- Customer reviews
- Meeting customer expectations/Walmart requirements, to include fast and efficient order fulfillment
- Optimized product listing information
- Advertising on Walmart Marketplace – sponsored products, display
1. Win the Walmart Marketplace Buy Box
When Walmart.com opened its marketplace to 3P sellers, they introduced Buy Box competition to their products.
Walmart uses Buy Boxes to encourage competition among sellers who are offering the same product. This allows them to offer that product to the customer at a fair price.
While the Buy Box includes the option to compare with other sellers, it’s likely that most shoppers don’t investigate that option, just as they don’t on Amazon.
While there are numerous factors that influence Buy Box availability on Amazon, the Walmart.com Buy Box appears to be primarily influenced by price (selling price+shipping).
If Walmart is a seller of the product, they will usually have the lowest price, and thus they’ll own the Buy Box.
Another way to potentially influence your Buy Box wins? Make your products available for Walmart’s expedited shipping programs, ThreeDay and TwoDay. If you do manage to win the Buy Box, you may be able to offset your lower price with more sales for that item.
Considering pricing is key on Walmart’s Marketplace, an algorithmic-based repricing tool could be a key investment. A repricing tool works in real-time via the APIs of the marketplace (be that Amazon or Walmart usually) to meet or beat the current market prices with competitors without going below your set floor (or the marketplace’s), enabling you to be much more likely to win.
2. Generate Stellar Customer Reviews
If available, customer reviews of the product will appear under the price.
It’s important to consider that some site visitors may search by average review. If that’s the case, these product reviews could really impact your sales.
3. Meet Seller Requirements for Customer Service and Shipping
Just as an Amazon seller must sell up to Amazon’s standards, you’ll need to make sure you’re upholding Walmart’s shipping and customer service standards. Otherwise, you’ll risk suspension. Seller Performance Standards include:
- Order Cancellation Rate: < 2% in a 14-day period
- On-Time Delivery Rate (OTD): > 95% in a 14-day period
- Valid Tracking Rate (VTR): > 99% in a 14-day period
- Return Rate: < 6% in a 90-day period
Sellers can keep tabs on all of the above within the Performance section of Seller Center. Performance is regularly reviewed by Walmart’s Marketplace Performance team, and an email alert will be sent to any sellers whose account does not meet these standards.
Sellers may receive up to two alerts, and will be given “21 days to improve your performance and meet seller standards before facing account suspension.” New sellers may receive additional alerts and time to address issues; up to three alerts, and 28 days, respectively. That said, Walmart relies on the seller to proactively address any performance shortcomings, and continually self-monitor.
4. Advertise on Walmart.com
Ads are a great way to promote your products on Walmart.com above organic results.
There are several reasons why sellers should advertise on Walmart.com:
- Increased visibility and discoverability through advertising assists with an organic presence on Walmart.com
- New sellers and products can drive sales through advertising
- Struggling or low performing SKUs can improve visibility
- Seasonal products can take advantage of seasonality spikes, faster
- Improve seller’s share of voice
All featured/sponsored product sections operate on a cost-per-click (CPC) pricing model.
Advertisers are charged only when a user clicks on the ad and is forwarded to the ad’s landing page.
If you want to learn more about how you can drive ecommerce growth through Walmart’s expanding advertising platform, check out our Advertising on Walmart Marketplace: Updated Guide for 2021.
5. Optimize Your Walmart Product Listing Page Content
If you go above and beyond to ensure you’re in line with Walmart’s style guide for product listings, and take advantage of all inputs to create optimized listings, it can have an enormous impact on your catalog performance.
Optimizing your product listings can result in:
- Higher conversion rates
- Increased revenue
- Improved discoverability
- Higher external search rankings
As a Walmart seller, you have an opportunity to optimize product listings and product visuals to create better customer and brand experience on Walmart’s marketplace.
Product titles, descriptions, images, variants, and more can all impact conversion rates, revenue, and even your product search rankings.
“High quality and captivating item page content is imperative for a product’s success on Walmart Marketplace. Optimizing a listing’s content will result in a significant increase in traffic & conversions, ultimately resulting in long term sales growth for a product.”
– Santiago Rocha, Brand Services Specialist at Tinuiti
Here are some best practices for making the most of your Walmart product listing content:
- Be concise
- Tell the value proposition of your products to make them stand out
- Utilize and repeat relevant keywords, but do not use the same keyword more than three times
- Use an active voice
- Include images that show your product in use
- Add video if your product category allows it
- Don’t forget to add product attributes, tagging, and backend keywords via Walmart Seller Center
Go deeper into Walmart product listing optimization with our guide to Walmart SEO.
While Walmart has made great strides as a platform, there are still some challenges that sellers may face when transitioning to Walmart’s marketplace.
Potentially Lower Margins
You may see lower margins on the Walmart Marketplace than you would on Amazon or via your ecommerce site.
Potential Walmart Marketplace Listing Issues
Walmart uses a unified catalog system that is essentially first-come-first-serve. What this means is that the first seller to list a product on the site is likely to be the home base for other sellers also selling that product.
According to some sellers, brand owners may find their Universal Product Code (UPCs) or Global Trade Item Number (GTINs) are already listed on product pages and may have little control over listing alterations. Those products with the same UPC are presented together on the site.
The use of single UPCs can result in some troublesome issues. Here’s one seller’s experience:
“…I’ve also [run] into issues where I want to sell a single count of an item…I go to enter in the UPC from its packaging only to find out someone already is already using that UPC as a multi-pack, which now makes it impossible to sell the item as a single.”
Stringent Pricing Requirements
Sellers are allowed to list their own prices for products on Walmart.com. However, some Walmart sellers have found that their products have been delisted for price competition elsewhere.
Walmart has made strides in the right direction by working to expand its ecommerce platform and marketing capabilities, but brands can still find that navigating the marketplace and leveraging the right strategies is a challenge.
Sellers looking to make the most of their Walmart operations shouldn’t have to go it alone—which is why Tinuiti’s marketplace experts are here to help.
Here’s why you should consider Tinuiti’s Walmart Marketplace program:
- As of May 2021, Tinuiti is 1 of 8 Walmart Advertising API partners. This privilege enables us to offer unique benefits to our clients, including increased efficiencies in campaign management, advanced escalation resources should they be required, enhanced training and enablement, and exclusive access to exciting beta opportunities
- Tinuiti also has API connections with Amazon, Amazon DSP, Instacart, and Criteo. Stuart Clay, Associate Director, Marketplace Strategic Services at Tinuiti, explains:
“Having your omnichannel marketing efforts consolidated in Tinuiti’s proprietary tech—MobiusX—allows for greater efficiencies at scale. It enables a holistic view of your advertising performance, which is crucial in driving omnichannel ad efforts, strategies, and priorities.”
- Marketplace advertising expertise and experience. Tinuiti has a long history of adopting and growing clients with advertising on marketplace channels. Our Marketplace Team was founded in 2007, and boasts a 97% customer retention rate. They have navigated every change and update big and small for 14 years and counting
- Tinuiti has a proven methodology of campaign structure, keyword optimization, and product promotion in marketplace advertising and developing a unique to Walmart approach
- Tinuiti is working directly with Walmart as a partner in product development and business development to improve functionality, features, and scalability of its products to drive results for sellers and advertisers
If you want to learn more about our Walmart services, drop us a line and we’ll be in touch!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in January 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.