How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace in 2020: The Definitive Guide
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes, 30 seconds.
Walmart exists to make life easier for consumers. This is clear in everything from their branding to the layout of their physical stores - it’s a one-stop-shop; it’s the most affordable stuff all in one place; it’s trusted, recognizable brands that consumers know and can depend on.
Walmart’s fast growing online marketplace is an opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs to get all the benefits of having their products in a department store, with the convenience and increased reach of ecommerce.
If you aren’t already selling on Walmart’s Marketplace, it’s something you should seriously consider.
We’re sure you have plenty of questions, so we’ve created a guide - written for humans - to help get you started and learn how to sell on Walmart online.
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
- What is Walmart Marketplace?
- Why sell on Walmart Marketplace?
- Who can sell on Walmart Marketplace?
- The Application Process
- How much does it cost?
- How will you get paid?
- Set up successful listings in Walmart Marketplace
- Useful Integrations
What is Walmart Marketplace?
You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of the international department store giant that is Walmart - but more on that later. Walmart’s online marketplace is the company’s response to the growth in ecommerce marketing and demand. It’s a curated online market, with over 33,000 sellers offering more than 50 million product listings - and it’s growing rapidly.
With Walmart’s brand strength behind it, as well as the trust of consumers, their ecommerce sales will likely represent around 5% of the total U.S. ecommerce sales in 2020.
Why sell on Walmart Marketplace?
Ecommerce is serious business in 2020. Entrepreneurs need to keep up with exponential developments in technology and digitization in order to remain competitive.
But why Walmart? Why not just have your own ecommerce store, or sell with relative ease on Amazon?
Walmart Marketplace advantage 1: buyer behavior
Consumers trust Walmart. The structure of their business has always been one that reduces barriers for buying. They have strong customer satisfaction and return processes, so buyers perceive it as a low-risk place to shop: they know that if they’re unhappy, it will be taken care of.
Walmart Marketplace advantage 2: brand equity
Walmart is well-known, with huge brand recognition. The strength of their brand equity means that they’re often the first thing to come to mind when someone is considering making a purchase.
Walmart Marketplace advantage 3: visibility and reach
With over 100 million monthly visitors, Walmart’s online marketplace reflects the convenience of their physical stores - 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Walmart store. They are simply beyond compare in the world of bricks and mortar retail.
Walmart Marketplace advantage 4: simplicity
It’s easy to manage your listings on Walmart Marketplace. Once you become an approved selling partner, you maintain control over your offerings - you can manage price, inventory, fulfillment, and customer care.
Is it any better than Amazon?
Sellers are diversifying away from Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. More and more the focus on the consumer is becoming a top priority. What gives Walmart an advantage over Amazon is that the suppliers must be approved by Walmart before becoming a partner. Their reputation is important, so people trust products from Walmart more than they would something from Amazon.
Who can sell on Walmart Marketplace?
Not just anyone can sell on Walmart Marketplace - that’s for sure. It’s a great way for established sellers on Amazon and Shopify to extend their reach - but this is more than an extra platform - it’s a partnership.
Three factors influence your eligibility to sell:
Be a US registered business with US address for your warehouses
You’ll need to be already established in the ecommerce world, with some experience - preferably on Amazon or eBay. But that’s just the beginning. You’ll also need to be a registered company.
This doesn’t mean you have to be based in the US - international sellers can get a DUNS number.
Specialize in a Walmart category - and make it cool
Walmart wants sellers who cater to their buyers. Your business can be niche, but it should specialize in one of Walmart’s categories. Furthermore, sell something they need. Walmart favors items that are unique and compelling. They don’t need another vendor selling plastic cutlery.
Have a good track record, and outstanding customer service
Your reviews, feedback, and customer experiences matter. Walmart wants assurance that you’re able to handle customer service to their high standard. There’s an element of social proof involved here, but they will also consider things like how swiftly you respond when your customers contact you (Walmart promises a 24-hour response time), and how you handle and resolve problems and complaints.
The Application Process: how to get approved to sell on Walmart
Applying to sell on Walmart’s Marketplace is simple, but unlike many other ecommerce platforms, it does require approval.
As long as you have everything at the ready, the form should only take around 15 minutes. It’s recommended to use the Chrome browser to complete it.
- US Business Tax ID (not just a social security number).
- W9 or W8.
- EIN verification letter from the Department of Treasury (verifies US place of operations).
- Address/place of physical operations.
- A plan for the integration of your product catalogue.
- Primary product categories, catalogue size, and any other product info .
Got the stuff already? Great! You can get started here.
Once you submit your application, you should hear back from Walmart within two weeks. They will thoroughly review your application, and then you’ll be contacted by one of their business managers for verification.
If your application is accepted, you’ll be sent their Retailer Agreement to sign, and then you can begin onboarding.
This entire process can take up to four weeks.
Increase your chances of getting approved
We can’t tell you it’s not competitive - we’ve already mentioned there are over 33,000 sellers on their marketplace, and they often reject applications - they are by no means scraping the barrel. So with that said, how do you make your application stand out among other bidders?
Like a lot of things, it’s easy to say, and a little harder to pull off.
Reasons why Walmart might approve your application
Walmart’s tagline is “Save Money. Live Better.” They want to offer consumers affordable, attractive options. Everything about their brand is simple, convenient, and efficient. Ask yourself: can your offering be made to fit their reputation and their message?
To set yourself up for a successful application, consider the following four criteria:
1. Competitive Pricing
You can’t have your products listed elsewhere at a lower price - that’s a no-brainer. But your items also need to be competitively priced in terms of their category, quality, and performance. If you are an established seller, you’ll already have a good idea of where your products sit in the market. Show that in your pricing.
2. Excellent Customer Support
As we’ve already discussed, your customer experience is going to be a major deciding factor in your application. Show that you have the ability to respond quickly, and resolve issues to your customers satisfaction.
3. Unique and Compelling Products
Given the right visibility, will your products garner excitement in consumers? Do you have a notable point of difference from similar items available in your category? Is it innovative, and does it respond to trends in buyer behavior and demand?
4. Quick, Reliable Fulfilment
If you think you’ll have trouble getting orders fulfilled on time, you might consider using Walmart’s fulfilment service. It’s incredibly important that customers receive their items on time, and in good condition.
Reasons why Walmart might reject your application
While it’s good to be aware of what will get Walmart’s attention in your application, you also ought to consider what might get you rejected.
Here are some red flags:
- Similar items are cheaper elsewhere.
- Bad product reviews.
- Bad service reviews.
- Lack of experience.
- They don’t perceive a demand for what you offer.
- No physical presence in the US.
- Product category is saturated.
- Slow processing/fulfilment timeframes.
- Slow response to customer queries.
How much does it cost? Walmart Marketplace fees
Walmart keeps it simple, so we will too. Unlike Amazon, you don’t need to pay to be a seller on Walmart Marketplace - there are no setup fees, no subscription fees, no credit card fees, and no monthly fees.
All you’ll pay is a referral percentage. That percentage depends on the product category of the item sold. Credit card fees are factored into this, so you’ll never pay more than the referral fee.
Exceptions to referral fees
Some higher value items - like jewelry and watches - offer a significant reduction in the referral percentage for higher sales prices. For example, watches are charged at 15% on the first $1500 of the sale, and then 3% for amounts higher.
You are in charge of order fulfilment and returns, but you can opt to have Walmart take care of your storage, packing and shipping through their Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). Of course, this benefits both sellers and buyers, by making the process faster and more cost efficient.
But how much does it cost? You’ll pay a monthly storage fee as well as a fulfilment price which is based on the item’s weight.
If you opt to use Walmart’s fulfilment service, Walmart only passes on the shipping charges for returns if you are at fault for the return. The circumstances for this could be:
- Defective product.
- Damaged product.
- Incorrect product.
- Product missing parts.
- Product not as described.
How will you get paid?
Payments will automatically go into your US bank account every two weeks.
Software integrations now allow sellers from outside the US to participate in Walmart’s Marketplace. We explain this in greater depth in the useful integrations section of this article.
Set up your listings for success: Walmart ecommerce strategy
Once you become an approved partner, you’ll want to ensure that you actually show up in the listings. With literally millions of product listings in the marketplace, taking a few steps to get you visible to the right people will earn you the edge you need to get noticed.
Here are our top tips to help ensure that your Walmart ecommerce strategy is successful:
Optimize listings for the search function
Optimize your keywords, title, and content by imagining what someone would put into the search bar to find your product. You are also able to list competitor brands names, products, and models in the keyword field.
Users can search using product and delivery attributes, so make these very clear when you’re setting up your listing. They might be prepared to pay more for a product that offers 2 day shipping, or free same-day pickup, for example. If you struggle to reduce your prices to the lowest offer, you’ll still be able to capture some buyers who value convenience.
Prioritize delivery timeframes
Delivery timeframes are an important metric for Walmart. Remember, they’re trying to make the customer journey as easy as possible, and receiving the item quickly is a huge part of that. If your timeframes are a little loose, get them nice and tight for when your listings go live.
Research your competitors regularly
We don’t want to labor over this point too much - but this is a competitive space. You’ll need to stay aware of when your competitors drop their prices, and when new sellers come into the mix. Walmart buyers will price-shop, and Walmart makes this easy by showing them the best deals for the things they want.
Make it high value
Walmart tends to better showcase lower priced products, and items that offer free or low-cost shipping. If you make it into the coveted Buy Box, you’ll get the attention of more people. Analyse your competitors and their pricing, and compete, compete, compete.
Speaking of the Walmart Buy Box…
If you’ve been looking into Walmart, you’ve probably come across numerous claims that getting into the buy box is, for want of a better word, goals. So what is it?
When numerous sellers offer the same product, the results for that product all show up on a single page - but only one makes it to the buy box. The item in the buy box is usually labelled “sold and shipped by Walmart” - because that’s the deal they most endorse.
The Buy Box item is the default that will go into the users cart when they hit “add to cart”. It’s here because it has been deemed the best value in terms of price, shipping, and delivery timeframes.
The remaining offers are relegated to the “compare all sellers” section, where the user can compare the total price with delivery, and view any other deals on offer, like “free shipping on orders $35+”. But of course, Walmart has already compared them - and the Buy Box item has already come out on top.
Getting into the Buy Box is the result of how you perform. You’ll need to:
- Offer the best price for the item.
- Offer free shipping.
- Always have plenty of stock.
- Deliver the product on time - or early.
- Have great product reviews.
It’s pretty logical really - the better you can make the customer experience, the better your listings are going to perform.
These are all organic methods for successful listings, but if you want to back up your strategy with paid advertising, check out our guide to using performance-based ads for your Walmart listings.
Useful Integrations for sellers
You’re busy running a business, so the more time you can save automating the stuff you’d otherwise have to do manually, the better. Here’s a quick cheat-sheet for the best Walmart Marketplace integrations to make your life easier.
Boost visibility with Shopify
You’re going to save a whole lot of time by integrating your Shopify store with Walmart. Rather than working across platforms, this integration enables you to sell on Walmart through your Shopify dashboard.
Better yet, it means that the systems are synchronized in real time. Things like stock management and shipping settings can be applied across the board.
Keen to save time and manage your listings in one place? Find out how to integrate Shopify with Walmart here.
Remove uncertainty with CED Commerce
If you’re a bit nervous about getting your listings right and getting your stock out on time, you might consider a CED Commerce integration. This is a handy service that will save you many hours of manual box-ticking, and they’ll personalize it to your needs. They are also an official partner of Walmart, so you can feel assured that their systems are designed with Walmart in mind.
They also offer delivery solutions like drop shipping - so they’re well worth a look. Users comment on their exceptional customer support, so if you have any trouble with their systems there’s always someone waiting to help.
Focus on what you do best by letting TaxJar handle your sales tax
At some point, we were going to need to have the Tax Talk. Sorting your tax when selling on Walmart can be more than a little complicated… it can take days. TaxJar has developed a way to automate your sales tax reports for filing that can be ready in minutes, and it integrates across platforms as well.
If calculating tax is far from your favourite pastime, go ahead and check out TaxJar here. If it is - we don’t judge, we’ve still got your back - have a look at our guide to getting your Walmart sales tax right.
Automate your Walmart accounting with A2X
Shameless self-plug? Don’t mind if we do. Getting your books exactly right is the foundation of everything - you need an easy way to see what’s happening with your business finances at a glance. A2X for Walmart gives you accurate, up to date data, saves you a ton of time, and helps you scale. If you’re always looking for reasons why your hard-gained calculations aren’t adding up, this is the integration for you.
Ready to get started?
Save time, work smarter and get reliable Amazon and Shopify financials you can trust, in a matter of minutes.