What Is Walmart Marketplace?
Walmart Marketplace operates much like Walmart itself, but it allows third-party sellers to post their products and services on the site. Take a minute to check it out for yourself on the Marketplace website. You’ll notice right away it is easy to navigate, has comprehensive information in product listings, looks and professional.
Marketplace Pulse offers some data on Walmart Marketplace that’s pretty interesting. In 2016, the company had only 5 million products listed on its website. When you consider the size of the competition, the company moved to grow this number. By the end of 2016, they grew it to over 17 million. In 2017, it hit 31 million. The growth for the platform is there, and some of that is thanks to the number of sellers growing on its platform.
Why Is Walmart Marketplace the Place to Be?
While Walmart Marketplace is one of many options, it is a heavy player in eCommerce sales. There are a number of reasons you’ll want to be on this site to sell your products.
#1: There’s No Monthly Fee to Pay
One of the biggest reasons to choose this location is there are no monthly fees to pay. Although, you’ll pay a referral fee for using the site. That fee ranges from 6 to 15 percent and is based on the type of product you plan to sell. Unlike other sites where you’ll pay a monthly rate on top of selling fees, this works out in favor of many sellers.
The company’s referral fees are based on the category your product falls in, but they are very transparent about what these are (check here for current fees for your category). The highest fees are in areas such as baby, apparel, furniture, gourmet food, and home and garden. The lowest prices are in areas such as video game consoles, appliances, and consumer electronics.
You set your prices on your products, which means Walmart does not control how much you charge. Of course, being competitive is important if you want to sell at a higher conversion rate.
#2: The Competition Remains Low
Everyone wants to sell their products on Amazon mainly because of how big it is. That’s a good plan, but selling on Walmart Seller Central means you’ll have less people to compete against. Ultimately, that tends to lead to more buyers, though many other factors play a role in that as well.
What makes for less competition is the fact that the company is very selective in who it allows to be a seller on the site. Their selection process can be lengthy and rigid. Yet when you do, it yields better results.
#3: It’s Good for Building Your Brand
Marketplace gives you the ability to build your brand in front of one of the largest consumer bases in the world. Even if a consumer does not buy your product when they browse the site, your name, logo, and product line are gaining exposure and brand awareness. This yields better results for you in the long term.
It’s also a good way to build trust in consumers. If your brand is lesser-known, consumers may not want to buy it simply because they do not know much about it. Yet, people trust Walmart itself to provide quality products. Being on the Walmart Marketplace site gives your brand a bit of added trust as a result.
#4: Reach More of Your Customers and Get Conversions
Walmart Marketplace may help you to get more leads. Many people that use the site to make purchases do not want to pay to be an Amazon Prime member – they may not even use Amazon at all. Walmart offers two-day shipping but doesn’t charge the fees associated with Amazon Prime.
One of the biggest benefits of selling on the site is higher conversions. Here’s one way that happens: the buy box is a big factor on Amazon. However, winning the buy box is hard to do, especially when you are competing against Amazon itself for the sale. On Walmart, the buy box goes to the seller with the lowest price.
#5: Advertise to the Right Customers
Similarly to other advertising platforms, Walmart allows you to pay for advertising directly on the platform. You’ll still be looking at similar metrics like impressions and cost per click as well as be able to track sales. What’s interesting about Walmart’s ads is the ability to target your ideal customer. Utilize Walmart’s proprietary search, browse, and purchase data to advertise to your target audience.
What Type of Businesses Do Well on the Walmart Marketplace?
A variety of types of products can do well on Walmart Marketplace. If you’ve ever walked into a Walmart store, you know the wide range of products they sell – and there’s much more to it than that on Walmart Seller Central. There are some sellers that may do better on the site than others.
Walmart’s Top Categories
Those who are selling products in the company’s largest categories will do well on the platform in most cases. This includes products that fall into the home improvement, electronics, and appliance areas. Other areas still do well.
Already Developed Products
You’ll do best on this platform if your products are already developed and ready to be sold. The company’s product lineup is extensive, but there’s no time to wait.
You Can Handle Significant Volume
You also need to have ample inventory ready. Because of how large Walmart Marketplace is, most products get attention. This means you should have inventory ready to go – and Walmart will want to know if you do before approving your access to the platform. If you don’t fit these requirements, take a look at our 5 recommended online marketplaces to sell on blog for our other recommended marketplaces.
Who Is Eligible to Sell on Walmart?
Walmart Seller Center provides very specific rules on eligibility for products. If you want to be a Walmart Marketplace seller, you’ll need to:
- Have a registered business in the U.S. You also have to have a U.S. address for your warehouse(s).
- Provide a DUNS number if you are outside of the U.S.
- Have good reviews of your products elsewhere.
- Be able to fit into one of the company’s product categories.
- Have a competitively priced product.
To secure an invitation, show Walmart that your product is competitive with other products they have on their site. This may mean that you are offering a better product assortment and/or you may have a better price point. You have to show Walmart you are able to provide a reliable product that is consistently at the same quality. You need to have a fast fulfillment setup. You also need to be able to provide your buyers with good customer service. All of these factors determine whether or not they will send an invitation to you.
How do you let them know your company exists and can meet these goals? You have to apply for access. Go to the Request to Sell page on the site. You’ll need to provide information and complete the Retailer Agreement to be considered. Then, they will help you with the onboarding process.
What Is the Process Once You Receive Approval?
Once you get the formal “let’s do it” email, the next step is to get your business set up on the site. This is not as difficult as it may sound, and there are only five steps:
- Create an account on Walmart Seller Center. This setup is very easy and pretty self-explanatory.
- Provide company registration information. Remember, U.S.-based or DUNS info needs to be submitted.
- Provide tax information, which includes filling out a W-9.
- Set up payment information. Walmart will pay you every two weeks for all sales you have during the previous time frame. They will then send those funds to the bank account you provide.
- Provide shipping information. This means providing information about how much you will charge for shipping.
It’s really that easy and will not take you long to work through the process!
How to Increase Sales on the Walmart Marketplace Platform
Once you are on the site, Walmart Seller Center is rather easy to use to set up your products and to ensure they look fantastic. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start selling. Most importantly, you need to know how to succeed. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:
Competitive Pricing Is Key
Look at your competitors on the site and learn how much they are pricing their products. Consider the importance of pricing yours in the same manner. The lowest price in the buy box wins the sale in many cases. For that reason, you need to be competitive here.
Your goal should be to:
- Keep your stock amount high enough to meet the demand.
- Offer free shipping or keep shipping at the lowest possible amount.
- Deliver on time every time.
- Keep pricing a focus – change it as often as you need to remain competitive.
- Monitor your competition.
Get Product Reviews
From that first sale, your priority should be to get product reviews. This is not easy to do, but the process of reaching out to your customers on the site is easy enough. The key is to do so consistently. Reviews can help you to win the sale over the competition time and time again. They are just as valuable here as they are on Amazon.
To do this, consider these tips:
- Try to answer all customer emails within 24 hours.
- Work to maintain a positive relationship with every customer you can.
- Use a fulfillment provider that’s dependable.
- Always provide accurate and fast tracking information to your customers.
- Deliver on time and in the condition promised.
Meet Seller Requirements
To be a successful seller, Walmart wants to know you have what it takes to compete. This means providing exceptional customer service to your customers. You do not want Walmart to learn that you haven’t done this as they can take you off the platform, but that doesn’t mean you have to give everything away to do well. Rather, just provide reliable customer service to your customers.
Another big factor is shipping and costs for shipping will always range. However, speed is a big factor. Walmart’s biggest limitation when it comes to competing with Amazon is that it does not offer next-day shipping in most cases. While it does provide two-day shipping, it’s hard to compete over Amazon Prime’s sometimes-better offer. For that reason, it pays attention to when you ship and if you fail to miss delivery windows.
Optimize Your Product Listings
You will need to complete your item setup as a component of setting up your Walmart Seller Center account. You can upload as many products as you want to the system which you can do individually or by using the bulk upload method. There are currently 24 categories on the site and also 79 subcategories. You’ll need to choose which are the most appropriate for your business. Choose the right locations as this is what determines if your product shows up in search results.
You’ll need to load in all of the product images and descriptions. Pricing can vary from one product to another. You can also test your items using the preview feature.
There are several things you can do to optimize your product listings. The tips below may help improve their presence on the site and help more customers find your products.
Use the specific product name – keep it short and unique. You have to use at least 50 characters but no more than 75. Try to do a setup such as brand name followed by size, key feature, item name, style, and pack count. Be sure to avoid using another company’s name or information in your product name. Don’t use special characters. Don’t use special offers or “top-selling” or “best” terms in the product name.
These are always important in eCommerce sales. You’ll want to ensure your images are zoomed in as far as you can (without compromise their quality) to take up as much of the background as possible. Thus, use only high-resolution images. The front view should be your primary image and the background is always white. Choose different angles or in-use pictures as well.
Focus on Key Features Throughout
When writing your product descriptions, include feature terms that people may be searching for when using the site. This may be key features or other factors that help the product stand out. The product shelf description and short description are good places for this.
Your shelf description field needs to showcase the benefits or significant feature advantages of your product. List three to five of these advantages in this component and utilize bullet points. Don’t duplicate information in the shelf description that is anywhere else. This is also where you need to throw in product keywords. Make it a priority to ensure your shelf description is beneficial and easily readable to the customer.
The short description gives you a bit more room with 500 to 1,000 characters. This is the area positioned right under the shelf description. It should have keywords in it – again, make it reader-friendly as a priority. Use all of this space to hold the customer’s attention. Make the short description easy to read, thorough, and with proper spacing. Don’t add generic content and make every bit of it count. You’ll need to include things like the brand name, product name, style, and features here as you see fit.
The final step is the long description, which follows the short description as you scroll down the page. Include all the details of your product here; and after reading your long description, your customer shouldn’t have any other questions about your product. You have 1,000 to 4,000 characters. One of the best ways to use this space is to create a feature-benefit structure by listing 10 or more of these. Don’t copy information from the above sections. Make sure this section offers facts enabling the reader to use the information to achieve their goal. You can be conversational and friendly with your readers but avoid sales language.
Utilize PPC Marketing for Your Products
One of the things Walmart does a bit differently is to ensure you know how to market on the site. They do this through an advertising webinar they provide to new sellers. The Walmart Media Group will send you an invite to it – make sure to attend.
This group hosts training programs like this on a weekly basis. They are filled with information and provide you with ample opportunity to attend, such as different times and methods. There is a live Q&A session that works well if you’re struggling at any point.
You’ll have the ability to go into your Walmart Seller Central account at this point, which means gaining access to ad approval and webinars. The Walmart Media Group is who will provide access to the advertising platform as well.
This will teach you how to create ads and use the system. You still have a lot of decisions to make (which is why we suggest working with Nuanced Media for some help getting your ad campaign up and rolling).
Walmart performance ads, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is one of the ways you can advertise. This system uses relevancy to determine where and when to place your ads, but it system does not rely on keywords like other PPC advertising platforms do. Rather, it uses automatic targeting-like methods. It uses data to help to find the right keywords for your ads to target.
You also have other ad options, including catapult ads. They appear on the top of product listings and in the “Featured Items” category on pages. These use product categories rather than a relevancy engine to determine where to place these ads. Native banner ads are another option for advertising. They place your ads on the Marketplace where buyers can easily see them, but these tend to be much more expensive to use.
Why Choose Walmart Marketplace Over Amazon?
Generally speaking, you don’t have to choose. You can list your products on both, and that’s often a good idea because it allows you to reach different leads. Remember, people on Walmart don’t want to pay for Amazon’s Prime access and typically don’t use both platforms.
You’ll also find that Walmart Marketplace is more affordable overall when it comes to listing fees and costs (and it is far easier to understand what you are likely to pay when you sell something). Not having to pay a fee to list your products is a good thing.
The market here is competitive and growing, but there’s still little competition. If you can make it past the gate and get an invitation from Walmart to join, it’s certainly worth the effort to do so. Keep in mind: although that there’s no real risk to giving it a try, you’ll spend a bit of time with your application – but you’re not paying anything.
Is it possible to do as well as you would on Amazon? The answer here really depends on what you’re selling and the competition you have on both sites. Do some research to find out where your products are likely to do their best. Or, even better, reach out to get some help with the process.
Nuanced Media is happy to help you compare your options based on any goals you have. Reach out to us today to learn more!
Ryan Flannagan is the Founder & CEO of Nuanced Media, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of Millions online and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed, CNBC, and Modern Retail.