Walmart is one of the world’s largest retailers. And with more and more consumers shopping online these days, getting your products on Walmart.com can be a major benefit. The process for selling on Walmart Marketplace differs from selling your products in physical Walmart stores. But this gives sellers the option to reach tons of online buyers.
You can sell a huge variety of products on Walmart.com. Walmart sellers also enjoy the freedom to manage their own shop policies, products, and fulfillment. But third-party sellers require approval from Walmart and must meet rigorous qualifications before using the platform.
If you want your products to reach a wider audience, here’s what you need to know about selling on Walmart Marketplace.
What is Walmart Marketplace?
Walmart Marketplace is an ecommerce platform from Walmart. The retail giant partners with various sellers and brands to bring tons of products together on Walmart.com. It’s a similar concept to Amazon and other online marketplaces. But since you’re selling under the Walmart umbrella, third party sellers must apply and be approved beforehand.
The main benefit of selling on Walmart Marketplace is the reach. Walmart has a wide base of customers in various locations and demographics. In fact, 265 million customers shop at Walmart stores and online each week. And there are more than 100 million unique visitors to Walmart.com each month. So businesses in various niches can benefit from selling on their online marketplace. Generally, shoppers tend to be fairly price-conscious and practical-minded. So affordable items and things like household essentials tend to do better than unique or expensive items with high price tags in the Walmart market.
Walmart Marketplace does not collect any setup, listing, or monthly fees from sellers. Instead, they charge what they call a “reasonable referral fee” for each product sold. The rates for these fees vary by category. For example, the referral fee for apparel and accessories is 15 percent. The fee for consumer electronics is 8 percent. And the fee for jewelry is 20 percent. All referral fees fall somewhere between 8 and 20 percent. Even if you sell products in multiple categories, each fee is calculated separately. And they are taken out automatically. So you don’t need to calculate expenses or plan for specific payments in your product listings.
How Do I Get Approved to Sell on Walmart.com?
Selling on Walmart.com is similar to selling on other marketplace sites. You apply as a seller — then you have the ability to upload products and manage the product listings of your shop on your own. But Walmart Marketplace only accepts reputable sellers with a strong history of meeting customer expectations.
Before you can start selling, you need to fill out the online application. As part of the onboarding process, you will need some basic contact information about your business along with your tax ID, EIN, and product category info. Walmart recommends setting aside about 15 minutes to complete the application. The company doesn’t outline many specific qualifications for marketplace sellers. You simply need a U.S. address and products that fit into one of Walmart’s many categories. However, the company looks to partner with established businesses. So having positive reviews, quality products, fast shipping such as one or two-day shipping and fulfillment can help you get approved.
Once you’ve submitted your application, Walmart will alert you when your shop has been approved. Then you can set up your seller account and sign a Retailer Agreement contract. You’ll also need to complete your profile, connect a payment account, integrate your product catalog, and test orders. From there, you can request a final review from Walmart and launch your marketplace shop.
This is not the process for selling in Walmart stores. That process requires patents, certifications, and rigorous vendor requirements. And instead of selling products direct to consumers online, you sell them to Walmart stores. They are then the ones responsible for getting them to customers. If you want to sell your products in physical retail locations, you need to complete that process separately.
What Can I Sell on Walmart Marketplace?
You can sell nearly anything on Walmart Marketplace. Items simply need to fit into one of Walmart’s categories. These include, but are not limited to:
- Clothing and accessories
- Home and furniture
- Patio and Garden
- Household Essentials
- Pharmacy and Health
- Personal Care Products
- Office Supplies
- Sporting Goods
- Video Games
- Arts and Crafts
There’s also a category for “everything else.” So nearly anything that might be of interest to Walmart’s extensive customer base is able to be sold on the company’s website.
Sellers add information about their product catalog during the application and setup process. So once you’re approved, you don’t need to continue getting new products approved. You simply integrate the Walmart Marketplace with your inventory management system. There are no SKU minimums or maximums. So you can use a fixed threshold method to limit what’s available or just include your entire catalog. If you have items in your spreadsheet that are out of stock, those items won’t be listed on Walmart.com.
Like other marketplaces, Walmart.com also allows third party sellers to list items that are also sold by others. The platform uses product identifiers like UPC and GTIN to match items that are already for sale. Then those listings are presented together to buyers on Walmart.com. Usually, those with the lowest prices appear in results first. But other factors like reviews are also taken into account.
Since these product identifiers are a big part of listing on Walmart Marketplace, it’s not the ideal place for selling handmade, vintage, or one-of-a-kind items. There’s also a list of prohibited items, including alcohol, artifacts, unauthorized reproductions or collectibles, drug paraphernalia, expired food, products with tampered packaging, tobacco, and firearms. Basically, any items that are deemed to be unsafe, illegal, or potentially offensive may be prohibited. And Walmart may take down listings that fall into these categories.
What Products Sell the Best on Walmart.com?
The products that sell the best on Walmart Marketplace include household essentials and electronics. An Instant Pot pressure cooker was the top-selling item in 2019. And other items like baby wipes and paper towels were among the top sellers. Popular electronics like TVs and smartphones tend to do well in the year they’re released.
This doesn’t mean you can or should only sell these items. But Walmart shoppers tend to look for practical items that are affordably priced. If you sell products that fit into any of Walmart’s categories, they may sell well as long as you can price them competitively.
In fact, small businesses that are just getting started selling on Walmart Marketplace may actually find it easier to sell products with slightly less demand. There’s likely to be less competition for the buy box and top tier listings. So it may be easier to get your products seen by customers.
What Can I Do on Walmart Seller Central?
Walmart Seller Center is the online portal that sellers can use to manage products, add listings, and fulfill orders. Once you’ve been approved as a seller, you simply log in with your credentials to access all of your seller profile.
When adding products, you can use the Walmart API to integrate your product spreadsheet or connect with your inventory management system. The Walmart Seller Center outlines what information is required under each product category. There are also templates you can use when listing. These give you the basic outline of what information you need to add for each listing.
Seller Center also includes details on sold products so you can fulfill orders quickly. You’re responsible for setting your own shipping times and policies. Then Walmart Marketplace keeps track of how successful you are when it comes to fulfillment. So if your orders regularly ship and arrive on time, you’ll receive a high rating. If you don’t stay in compliance with your own policies, you can see that you have room for improvement.
There are also options for responding to customer inquiries and sharing information about orders and shipping. So if customers have questions about a product or want to know the status of their fulfillment services, you’ll receive a notification so you can respond quickly. You also have the option to reach out to new customers if there’s an issue or if you want to share updates about their orders.
In addition, Walmart Connect Center provides details about how much you’ve earned from sales once fees have been taken out. Walmart Marketplace takes these referral fees out automatically. So you don’t need to calculate or plan for these expenses. The earnings that appear in your dashboard should already have these fees taken out.
How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace: Overview of the Process
With the approval process in hand, it’s up to you to manage your item setup, orders, and customer service on Walmart Marketplace. Here are some of the activities you’ll need to handle regularly to keep your shop up and running as a seller.
1. Add New Products
In addition to adding products when you first sign up on Walmart as a seller, you need to continue managing them as you run your shop. When you add new products to your inventory list, you need to add titles and descriptions to give customers the information they need. There are also other details that may need to be added, as outlined below.
2. Update Inventory
Walmart allows third party sellers to integrate their inventory management system or spreadsheets to automate this process. So by updating your inventory list, you can quickly add new products to your shop. Aside from adding new products, you also need to update the amount of inventory you have available as a seller. When products sell, you need to keep track of those transactions in your spreadsheet or management platform. Then those changes should appear on Walmart.com. For example, if you run out of a product or a specific variety, those products should no longer appear on the website. You can also do this manually through Walmart Seller Center.
3. Set Prices
Each product also needs a price. Consider your own costs and the costs of other products to make your listings as competitive as possible. Pricing is very important on Walmart Marketplace. So carefully analyze your costs and research your competition before finalizing your listings.
4. Include Photos
Each product also needs at least have one image, but you can add more if you wish. This gives customers a look at your products’ style and function so they can make an informed decision. This part is pretty similar to that of other online marketplaces. You start in Walmart Seller Central as you’re adding products. Then you can upload images from your computer or select them from a URL.
5. Fulfill Orders
Walmart Marketplace sellers are responsible for their own fulfillment. So sellers need to create and maintain a process for getting products out quickly. You can set Walmart fulfillment policies, including shipping dates and predicted shipping times. Then it’s up to you to keep up with them. Generally, Walmart sellers need to have an established fulfillment process before being approved. So you simply need to keep up with your policies and keep your customers happy with each purchase on Walmart.
6. Manage Returns
You also need a return policy for those customers who may not be satisfied with their purchases. When customers are dissatisfied or want to exchange their order for something else, they can reach out to you. Then you can use the Walmart Seller Center to communicate with them and facilitate returns, refunds, and exchanges. Just make sure that your actions are consistent with your return policy so customers remain satisfied with their experience. This is key for good customer service, which will get you better reviews and more visibility from Walmart as a seller.
7. Communicate with Customers
Even when customers don’t want to send back their purchases, communication is essential. You can use the Walmart Seller Center to reach out to customers with order information or requests for reviews. Customers can also reach out to you with questions or concerns about your products or shipping times. So responding to them quickly can help you create a positive experience and keep your ratings and visibility up. Make sure to have all of your contact information such as your email address and phone numbers up to date.
Best Practices When Selling on Walmart.com
Once you have the basics covered, it’s time to increase your sales. The following tips can help you get the most out of Walmart Marketplace as a seller:
- Price competitively – Price is king for many Walmart shoppers. When you are a seller it impacts how your products appear in search results as well. The Walmart “Buy Box” is the first listing that shows up for a specific product. While other factors are taken into account as well, it seems that price plays the biggest role in determining who gets the Buy Box. So research both product and shipping prices before setting yours to ensure you end up in the Buy Box more often.
- Start small – Selling on Walmart Marketplace can lead to a big influx in sales quickly. That’s great for businesses that can fulfill those orders. But if you run a smaller operation, it can overwhelming. For those who are unsure about their ability to handle the extra workload, start with just a few products. You can upload listings manually to start before adding your full inventory list and arranging your fulfillment centers. This gives you a chance to get used to the platform without being overwhelmed and potentially falling behind. As you grow, find the right fulfillment centers if you can’t do it yourself. And keep your shipping, whether it is one or two-day shipping a priority.
- Choose an ecommerce management platform that integrates with Walmart – You can upload products directly to Walmart Marketplace or use a spreadsheet with your inventory list. However, the process may be easier if you use a platform that integrates with Walmart directly. These include Shopify CED Commerce, GeekSeller, M2E, and a variety of other tools you can use as a seller.
- Include extra images – Online buyers like to see their products from multiple angles. Go above and beyond when uploading photos. Include shots that show different views, uses, and scales. And make sure images meet Walmart’s quality standards.
- Consider your SEO – As with any product listing, relevant keywords are essential. Include searchable terms like the product name, brand, and use in the title, tags, and description. Include enough information in the description to answer customer questions. But as a seller, you should cut out fluff so your keywords and important information stand out.
- Choose the Right Product Categories – In addition to searching, customers can also browse for products on Walmart Marketplace. If you choose the most relevant categories, shoppers are more likely to find what you have to offer. Some sellers try to stand out by varying their categories. But this can negatively impact your visibility. The more clear you are, the easier it is for the Walmart algorithm to give your products the visibility they need which can include a place in the Buy Box.
- Offer free two-day shipping – Today’s customers want fast shipping. And they don’t want to pay for it. Walmart.com specifies which products qualify for free two-day or next-day shipping. So customers often prioritize these items. To get your products under this tag, you need to be a seller for at least 90 days. And you must have fulfilled at least 100 orders over the past month. Walmart tracks how often your products are shipped on time or early. So you must have a 95 percent success rate and meet other qualifications when it makes this consideration. With consistent shipping methods that meet these requirements, you can meet the Walmart fulfillment requirements to get listed higher in the rankings.
- Generate positive reviews – Reviews are also considered when determining where products fall under customer searches. You can’t always control what a customer might share about your business on your Walmart store. But you can focus on providing quality customer service and answering inquiries quickly. Additionally, you might send out quick messages to happy customers to remind them to leave reviews after they’ve completed purchases.
- Respond to Customer Inquiries Quickly – Another way to improve customer satisfaction is to answer their questions promptly. If they reach out to you about a product or ask about shipping delays, quick responses can keep them happy and informed. To accomplish this, sign in to Seller Center regularly to find updates and keep clients informed. Customer support is key in ecommerce if you want good reviews and increase your customer base. Keep track of contact information such as an email address to deliver personalized messages.
- Advertise – Like other online marketplace platforms, you can advertise on Walmart Marketplace to improve visibility. As a seller, you can sponsor products to ensure they appear higher in search results. This represents another cost. But it’s a cost per click structure. So you can set your own budget and pay for actual results and bring visibility to your products with performance ads.
Marketplace Seller vs. Walmart Supplier
A marketplace seller is a business that sells directly on Walmart.com. You’re responsible for managing your listings, fulfillment, and customer service. So you have more control over the process. This is fairly similar to other online marketplaces.
A Walmart supplier is a company that sells products to Walmart. You can sell these items in retail stores, online, or both. But Walmart purchases these items from brands and then sells them using their own processes. The approval process of a supplier requires working with the Walmart team directly. So it tends to be more time consuming and has more requirements.
Will My Products Be Sold in Walmart Stores?
No, not unless you get separately approved to sell in stores. Marketplace (Walmart.com) is different from the physical store. If you get your products into the physical stores, you can also sell them online if Walmart chooses to list them there. But signing up for Marketplace does not mean that your products will also be sold on store shelves.
The process of selling your products in stores is different. One option is to attend an OPEN Call event. The company usually holds one each year to vet potential suppliers. You can also apply online. Then you need to work with Walmart to complete your application and supply products.
Is Selling on the Walmart Marketplace Worth It?
If you meet the qualifications as a seller on Walmart Marketplace, it’s likely worth the time investment and fees to get your products in front of so many shoppers. Shoppers are likely to already be on Walmart.com for other items. So if you can provide additional value, your shop may be very successful. You can get tons of traffic and control your own listings and fulfillment much as you can on other sites. But you don’t need to worry about any payments aside from those automatic fees when you actually make a sale. So it can be fairly affordable when you compare it to other selling methods.
However, companies that sell specialty items or who don’t have the necessary inventory management and fulfillment processes in place may struggle to thrive on Walmart.com. The website isn’t popular with shoppers looking for expensive goods or one-of-a-kind products. So if your items are not priced competitively and popular with practical-minded Walmart shoppers, it may not be worthwhile. Other ecommerce marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and even Amazon tend to be less rigorous and time-consuming. So if you’re new to marketplaces and don’t have tons of inventory to promote, starting smaller may be a safer bet.
This article, "How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace" was first published on Small Business Trends