If you're an eCommerce business you're probably considering, if not already, selling on Walmart Marketplace. The inescapable retail giant has become an online marketplace behemoth, quickly catching up to Amazon. In order to become a seller on Walmart Marketplace you've got to jump through a few hoops first. Here's your guide to get started now.
History of Walmart Online Marketplace
In 2009 Wal-Mart entered the online marketplace game creating the Walmart Online Marketplace to give companies like Amazon a run for their money. Since it's inception, Walmart now boasts 300 retailers and counting, including giants like Wayfair, eBags, and ProTeam. Third-party seller items are sold alongside Wal-Mart's online inventory with a "Walmart Marketplace" moniker to differentiate them from regular items. These items sold from third-parties are not sold in-stores or taken possession of by Wal-Mart.
In August of 2016, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. acquired eCommerce giant Jet.com, Inc. in a $3 billion deal. So what's in it for the seller? Their items are available to be sold in Walmart.com promotions, and not to mention a bigger consumer audience. In this article, I will highlight everything a potential Walmart Marketplace seller needs to know to get started.
How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace
*DISCLAIMER: The following information is provided by the Walmart Marketplace website. Your personal experience may differ when it comes to how long it takes to sign up as a seller.
Achieve Walmart Online Marketplace seller status in a few easy steps. All information can be found on their website, but I'll list them below for your convenience.
- To apply and qualify as a marketplace seller, sellers are chosen based on reputation, sales projections, and alignment with Walmart values. Sellers request an invitation to qualify, providing information like their legal company name, online annual sales, product categories, etc. The current number of sellers is estimated to be in the hundreds, with plans to accelerate by the holiday season. Wal-Mart is looking for sellers who fill the gap of products they can’t fit inside stores.
- Add your goods to the marketplace and give regular online Walmart items a competitive counterpart.
- Ship directly to customers, handle inquires, and return of goods to fulfill orders.
- GET PAID! Ah, music to your ears. Your business receives payment for your sales, while the marketplace takes a referral fee for contract categories, such as grocery and beauty.
Bada-bing, bada-boom. You have become a marketplace seller.
So, What Are The Perks?
Like similar online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, sellers provide the goods while marketplaces provide the audience. With the audience comes inevitable complaints and even hackers. Walmart's marketplace works with sellers to ensure a smooth experience for every party involved. Here are a few perks sellers can expect.
- HUGE exposure. Walmart.com sees 80 million visitors/month. That's a lot of people that could be looking for something unique offered by your business.
- Easy breezy transactions. The marketplace brags on their newly remodeled website promising a smooth browsing and ordering process with minimal clicks. Shoppers today want immediate satisfaction, duh.
- Provided security. Walmart provides operational safety measures to ensure sellers and consumers their items will be secured through every step.
- Tender loving care. Sellers will receive support and metrics to provide insight into their sales and growth.
- Access to a super helpful knowledge base to answer all the nitty gritty questions, like reducing out-of-stock items.
What Are Walmart's Online Consumers Looking For?
Online customers are looking for more products than they can find in-store. Plain and simple. And the best way for Walmart to keep and attract more consumers is to bring them online, with an abundance of stocked products. They want what they're looking for, at that moment, in full supply, in every variety possible, at a low price. However, the value Walmart consumers seek in-store doesn't necessarily mirror the value online shoppers seek. Research suggests Walmart.com consumers show higher in millennials and those in higher income brackets versus those that shop in-store. Nevertheless, value is what the people want, and Wal-Mart strives to provide that.
They also want a seamless checkout process.
Although a marketplace seller's item is clearly marked, some consumers hardly noticed they bought items from third party offers, and appreciate the smooth process. Integrating third-party sellers expand product selection, and with the help of an additional integrated optimization service I will later explain, eases the complexity of a sometimes stressful online buying process.
Know The Company You Keep
No one is too successful to ask for help, even if you're ranked as No. 4 in the top 500 web merchants list. In April of 2016 Wal-Mart teamed up with ChannelAdvisor, a cloud-based eCommerce solutions firm to integrate with their global marketplace. The deal is huge and means consumers and retailers will only have a better experience all-around with the marketplace. In order to be considered as a seller on Wal-Mart through ChannelAdvisor, sellers give their data to a sales rep at ChannelAdvisor, and they turn that information into Wal-Mart for application approval.
Sellers can expect a number of positive changes from the integration, such as:
- Optimized merchandise sales
- Access to ChannelAdvisor's customer base
- Facilitated product listing
- Expanded brands and products
- Efficient management of products across multiple channels
Although Wal-Mart hasn't caught up to its big brother Amazon, the online marketplace is catching up quickly. 65% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 to be exact. With the fastest growing marketplace it was inevitable that they needed the teamwork of an integrated optimization service to keep up the success.
The Future of WalMart As a Marketplace
Wal-Mart's marketplace is stepping on the heels of Amazon and eBay, but it still has a long way to go. Currently, Walmart.com is the second most-visited e-commerce site in the U.S. with 88 million visitors per month and 11 million items for sale. That' still behind Amazon with 260 million items. However, plans to expand their products are in place. The online marketplace intends to add one million items per month. This is due in part from the help of their website revamp which allows more variety, more item information and continued support of third-party sellers.
U.S. e-commerce sales are predicted to reach $684.24 billion by 2020. It's essential Wal-Mart's marketplace continues to grow and keep up with its competitors. If the company ever plans to roll out features like in-store pickup of online purchases from the marketplace, they would have a hefty advantage over Amazon. So, if sellers are finding continuous success via Wal-Mart, keep on riding that train because it could lead to a potential lead over the strongest online marketplace to-date.
Online marketplaces are nothing new. Buying goods from the comfort of your own home has become second nature next to riding a bike. But the takeaway from selling goods on the Walmart Online Marketplace, and what sets it apart from other marketplaces, is that they have expanded onto their brick-and-mortar stores. Their inventory and selection is even more vast than what could possibly fit inside. And it's only continuing to grow. Sellers will see expansive visibility of their products while Wal-Mart provides the customer service. The integration of ChannelAdvisor is also another feature sellers will continue to value and depend on. Kind of like knowing peanut butter and jelly will always work well together.