How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace: Your Guide to Get Started Now

How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace: Your Guide to Get Started Now

how to sell on walmart marketplace

 

If you’re an ecommerce business you’re probably considering, if not already selling, on Walmart Marketplace.

When it comes to online retail sales, there’s Amazon and everybody else. Amazon controls 38.7% of all ecommerce sales in the U.S. However, there’s a rising player in online sales and it’s the world’s largest retailer: Walmart. Two years ago, Walmart passed up Apple to take the number two position.

Walmart still has a long way to go to rival Amazon when it comes to online sales. In 2020, Walmart’s share of online retail sales sits at 5.3%. However, many online sellers are having significant success using Walmart’s online marketplace for third-party sellers. Some are using it exclusively while others are adding into their sales channels along with Amazon.

What is the Walmart Marketplace?

Walmart Marketplace is an ecommerce platform that allows third-party sellers to list items for sale on Walmart.com. It’s similar to Amazon or eBay, but with some important differences.

Nearly 50,000 sellers are using the Walmart marketplace. More than 15,000 have joined the ranks this year alone listing more than 50 million SKUs. 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.

Walmart says growing its online marketplace is a strategic priority. That’s one reason it recently announced it will be joining forces with Shopify to incorporate Shopify sellers into their network. It allows Shopify sellers to seamlessly list their items for sales on Walmart.com as well as in their Shopify stores.

Currently, Walmart allows third-party sellers in more than 35 product categories. However, the Walmart marketplace only works with established online sellers. That makes selling on Walmart vs. Amazon or eBay different. If you are just starting and don’t have an ecommerce track record, your application likely won’t get approved. Walmart will research your sales history on other platforms during the approval process.

Why is Selling on the Walmart Marketplace Important?

Walmart.com gets an incredible number of visits to its website. In May 2020, the website had more than 438 million visits. While that number was high due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not unusual for the website to have nearly 300 million visits each month.

Getting your products listed gives you incredible potential for exposure. Besides the site itself, Walmart marketplace products can be featured in search engine results in the shopping category.

It provides a familiar interface for users and makes transactions easy.

How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace

While your experience may vary, for most third-party sellers, signing up for the Walmart marketplace is a fairly easy process.

Apply and Qualify as a Walmart Marketplace Seller

To apply and qualify as a marketplace seller, sellers are chosen based on reputation, sales projections, and alignment with Walmart values, according to the company’s website. To apply, go to the Walmart marketplace website and click the Request to Sell button partway down the page. Walmart recommends you use Google Chrome and says the process will take about 10-15 minutes.

Before completing the application, you’ll need the following information:

Primary product categories, catalog size, and related information (e.g. total SKUs you will be selling on Walmart.com initially with verified UPC information, etc.)

Make sure you fill out all the appropriate information and check for errors. If you make mistakes, it will slow down the approval process. When selling on Walmart vs. Amazon, you’ll need to handle fulfillment yourself. While Amazon offers Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) for third-party sellers, Walmart does not.

Agree to the Retailer Agreement

You’ll also need to read and agree to the Walmart Marketplace Program Retailer Agreement that becomes the standard terms and conditions. It’s 35 pages and there’s plenty of legalese. If you have questions, consult with an attorney before agreeing to terms as you’ll be bound by them.

Wait to be Approved

Wait for an email from Walmart letting you know you’ve been approved. The email should include a unique link to create your Partner Profile. Here you’ll need to create your account, enter your bank account information, and provide a W-9 form for tax purposes.

You’ll also need to set up an account with Payoneer. Walmart recently partnered with Payoneer to handle all payments. Payoneer will handle moving money from Walmart to your bank account. If you register your account through Seller Central on the Walmart platform, there are no fees associated with using Payoneer. If you do it directly, there’s a $1.50 fee for each withdrawal.

Fill out the Partner Profile

When you are filling out your Partner Profile, the signup wizard will guide you through the steps. The next phase is crucial as it’s the information shoppers will see when looking at your products. Pay careful attention to every word.

Earn Your First Penny from Walmart

It’s time for the Penny deposit. To verify your bank account information and make sure Walmart can communicate with your band, the company will deposit one penny in your bank account. It typically shows up within a day. Once the deposit has come through, you’ll go back to your Partner Profile launch checklist and mark it complete.

Build Your Product Listings

Take a breath! The approval process is complete. Now it’s time to get down to business.

This next phase is where you’ll set up items for sale. If you’re doing it manually, it will be the most time-consuming and painstaking part of the whole process. If you are approved for the Walmart marketplace, you’re likely already selling some volume of SKUs and using other online marketplaces. You’ll want your product listings to mirror listings on other platforms and sync with your inventory management system.

Manual Entry or Bulk CSV Files

If you are using Excel for your inventory management, it’s time to ditch it and move to a more robust system. Excel means manual entry and constant updating. If you’re a multi-channel seller, keep accurate inventory counts to avoid oversells and stock-outs, it’s going to be a nightmare to keep it all straight. If you insist on staying with Excel, you can download your inventory into CSV files for bulk upload into the Walmart marketplace, but you’ll need to update it manually every time you make a sale.

It’s going to be complex, too. Here is the first list of attributes you’ll need to fill in (or match with your spreadsheet):

  • Group
  • Attribute Name
  • Field Name
  • Definition
  • Example Values
  • Valid Values
  • Requirement Level

Then, you’ll need your Product IDs:

  • Product Name
  • Product ID Type
  • Product ID Number
  • SKU
  • Brand
  • Manufacturer and other optional identifiers

Next, you’ll need to provide long descriptions (4,000 characters), short descriptions (1,000 characters), and a “shelf description” – a bullet point list of key features.

You’ll also need to provide images, tax and price attributes, shipping, variant, and category-specific attributes.

Hopefully, we’ve talked you out of trying to handle this on your own. If you still want to take this burden on, here’s the Quick Start guide to make it happen. Fair warning, though. It’s going to get even more complicated from here. You’re going to need to set up variant groups for products, such as colors or sizes. Each item in a variant group needs to be set up as a separate item. For example, if you are selling bed sheets that come in 20 colors and 5 sizes, you’ll need 100 rows of data with each variation defined in a separate row.

Instead, Automate Your Catalog

A better way to manage this process is to use an inventory management system, such as SkuVault, to handle the details of your catalog and act as the backbone for all of your online sales platforms. SkuVault inventory management system integrates with Walmart US and Walmart Canada to reflect the actual physical quantities in your warehouse onto your store. The Walmart inventory management integration pulls order information from Walmart and sends an acknowledgment of the sale back so you know where your inventory is at all times. The whole process is automated for you.

SkuVault’s Walmart inventory management system integration updates the quantities in your warehouse every 5-10 minutes or every 12 hours to your store. When selling on Walmart vs. Amazon, there’s no need to worry or duplicate effort. SkuVault can populate both marketplaces and others, such as Back Market, eBay, Etsy, New Egg, Rakuten, Reverb, and Sears, and keep them all in sync in near real-time.

Test Your Feed

Now that everything is in the platform, you will need to test the feed. Walmart will provide you with a test feed for your review and approval. If that meets your approval, you’ll want to test your order management connections.

If you have 1,000 unique SKUs or less, you can test the whole catalog at once. If your catalog is larger than that, you probably want to test portions of your catalog at a time. After you send your test products to Walmart, you can check on the status of your feed and probe for any data errors. You’ll be able to drill down and preview items that are being staged before they are published. It will show you what the product listing will look like as sellers would see it.

Before you publish or launch the catalog, you’ll also need to do a test order to make sure everything’s working properly. Publish an item and click on Purchase Item to start the test. Don’t do this for more than three orders or the system may flag it as fraud due to too many purchases in a short period.

Next, you’ll need to test the data that comes back. If you’re doing it manually, you’ll want to head to the Seller Center dashboard to check on things. If you’re using an inventory management system, such as SkuVault, or a third-party integrator, you should check it there. You’ll want to test various scenarios that customer may use, including:

Assuming all this works well, you are officially READY TO LAUNCH! Congratulations, you can now go live on the Walmart marketplace and make some money. 

Common Questions About the Walmart Marketplace

Here are some of the common questions ecommerce sellers have about selling on the Walmart marketplace.

What does Walmart charge sellers?

Here’s another difference between selling on Walmart vs. Amazon. Walmart does not charge an account subscription fee to launch and sell on its marketplace. Sellers will have to pay a referral fee, similar to Amazon, which can range from 6% to 20% of your products selling price depending on the category. Here are the current product categories and referral fees:

1.

Apparel & Accessories

15%

2.

Automotive & Powersports

12%

3.

Baby

15%

4.

Beauty 

15%

5.

Books

15%

6.

Camera & Photo

8%

7.

Cell Phones

8%

8.

Consumer Electronics

8%

9.

Electronics Accessories

15%

10.

Furniture & Decor

15%

11.

Gourmet Food

15%

12.

Grocery

15%

13.

Health & Personal Care

15%

14.

Home & Garden

15%

15.

Jewelry

20%

16.

Kitchen

15%

17.

Luggage & Travel Accessories

15%

18.

Major Appliances

8%

19.

Music

15%

20.

Musical Instruments

12%

21.

Office Products

15%

22.

Outdoors

15%

23.

Personal Computers

6%

24.

Pet Supplies

15%

25.

Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses 

15%

26.

Software & Computer Video Games

15%

27.

Sporting Goods

15%

28.

Tires & Wheels

10%

29.

Tools & Home Improvement

15%

30.

Toys & Games

15%

31.

Video & DVD

15%

32.

Video Game Consoles

8%

33.

Video Games

15%

34.

Watches

15%

35.

Everything Else 

15%

 

Can I just add the referral fee to my price?

Well, you could do that. However, keep in mind that your product and prices are going to be shown alongside any other third-party sellers and Walmart’s own products. When setting a price point, remember you’re going up against the world’s largest retailer with incredible purchasing power and control over pricing.

Remember, Walmart’s marketing strategy is low prices and saving customers money. You’re paying the referral fee to get the exposure, but your profit margins will likely need to absorb the hit to stay competitive.

What’s the Walmart Buy Box?

When several sellers offer the same item, the listings are consolidated onto one page. Customers typically choose the first option, so winning the Buy Box is important. On Amazon, for example, 82% of its sales go through the Buy Box (and it’s higher form mobile).

To win the Buy Box, you’ll have to have a strong seller rating and offer the same product at the lowest price, including shipping.

How competitive is the Walmart marketplace for third-party sellers?

It’s competitive. You’re going up against other third-party sellers, but selling on Walmart vs. Amazon means far less competition. Amazon has more than two million sellers compared to Walmart’s 50,000. However, the Walmart marketplace is growing rapidly.

What are Walmart’s online customers 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.

Although a marketplace seller’s item is clearly marked, some consumers hardly notice they bought items from third-party offers, and appreciate the smooth process. This lets sellers trade on Walmart’s reputation when buyers are purchasing goods.

Conclusion

Selling on the Walmart marketplace can be a great way to increase your sales. If you are selling on multiple marketplaces or online platforms, your best bet is to use a third-party solution to manage your inventory and make sure you have accurate counts across every channel. SkuVault acts as a central repository for all of your inventory information and can feed the Walmart marketplace and each of your other platforms. It keeps everything in sync to make sure you always have an accurate count.

Plus, SkuVault can also help you manage your entire supply chain and handle your pick, pack, and ship process for a seamless end-to-end solution from sale to fulfillment. Contact SkuVault today for a demo.

 

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