Walmart.com is gaining traction as a digital marketplace, but how does it compare to selling on an established platform like Amazon?
Just ask LifeSeasons. LifeSeasons is a premium supplement brand who was successful on Amazon, but—like all supplement brands can attest to—was having ongoing issues with Amazon dramatically changing its dietary supplement approval requirements. One day a product is in the clear, driving revenue and helping consumers, the next it’s no longer approved to sell on Amazon, hurting both LifeSeasons’ sales and their mission to help consumers live life to its fullest.
Along with working to ensure the brand met Amazon’s ever-evolving specifications, LifeSeasons partnered with Pattern to explore alternative options to deliver supplements to their consumers. With the help of Pattern, LifeSeasons identified Walmart.com —an untapped marketplace, full of new consumers who had yet to discover LifeSeasons’ perfectly blended formulas.
Pattern analyzed the opportunity, as well as provided expert advice and an extra set of hands every step of the way–ensuring a seamless onboarding, optimized product listings, organized logistics, and consistent prices across all sales channels.
But did it pay off? With sales continuing on Amazon, LifeSeasons launched their nature-based products on the new platform, and went from $0 to five digit growth on Walmart.com within two months of release. Growth they could have lost to competitors.
Why Sell on Walmart.com?
Just because the opportunity worked for LifeSeasons, would it work for your brand? What are the 4 benefits of becoming a Walmart seller?
1. Walmart consumers are loyal to the platform
2. Easier returns than Amazon
Similar to Amazon’s Prime program, Walmart+ members get free shipping and delivery on almost all orders. But outdoing Amazon, Walmart’s 4,740 US store locations act as distribution centers for orders. Since 90% of Americans live within 15 minutes of a Walmart, this means faster shipments and easier returns for your customers.
3. Fewer sellers to compete with
With an overwhelming 6.3 million sellers competing for attention on Amazon, and just over 150,000 third-party sellers on Walmart.com, you have all the more reason to launch on the platform now. With less competition, your product will stand out to Walmart Marketplace’s 118 monthly unique visitors.
4. No hidden fees
Still looking for benefits? On Walmart.com there are almost no setup or monthly fees to be a seller, only a referral fee on purchases, which range from 6 to 20% depending on the product. So if you’re not making money, Walmart’s not either.
Walmart also charges for storing products in their fulfillment centers, but this cost is stated up front and based purely on the timeline of product storage and size.
Are there downsides? There really aren’t any downsides to selling on Walmart Marketplace. It’s a great opportunity to expand your market exposure and diversify your ecommerce business.
Get on Walmart.com now to stay ahead of future competitors. Discoverability of your brand is now dependent on listing quality score, which means the higher quality your listings, the better the chances are to be discovered. Ready to get started? We have the 4 simple steps to start selling on Walmart Marketplace.
4 Steps to Sell on Walmart.com
Now that you know why you should be on Walmart.com, it’s time to learn the 4 steps to start selling on the ecommerce platform.
1. Choose your selling type
To sell on Walmart.com, you have three options. You can sell as a First-Party (1P) Owned, 1P dropship vendor (DSV), or Third-Party (3P). Let’s go over how each is different:
- As a 1P owned supplier, you supply the product directly to Walmart (to the Walmart Ecommerce Fulfillment Network), who then handles the fulfillment to customers by listing, marketing, and selling it to customers on their website.
- As a dropship vendor, you also sell to Walmart at wholesale prices, but you store the goods in your own facilities and in your own facilities and you ship directly to the end customer as the orders come in. Products will still show up on the product detail page as “sold and shipped by Walmart.com”.
- As a 3P seller, you use Walmart as a marketplace to list, market, and sell your product at your own retail price, giving you full control over sales, and branding on your product detail page (PDP) since 1P cannot change your content.
2. Become a seller on Walmart
We recommend partnering with a 3P Walmart seller like Pattern, which gives your brand the maximum potential to grow with the minimum stress of optimizing a new platform. Working with Pattern, you won’t need to worry about the process of applying to become a seller or setting up your online seller account—Pattern will handle all of the paperwork. Here’s how to apply:
- If you choose to go 3P, first, you need to apply online.
- Go to the Walmart Marketplace website and click “Request to sell” in the top right corner.
- You’ll then be asked to gather required business information in order to complete the application process.
- Your seller application could take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to be processed and approved.
3. Set up your Walmart.com selling profile
After becoming a seller, you’ll create a Partner Profile by providing additional company information and adding your product catalog. You can integrate your products directly via API, bulk upload them with Walmart’s category-specific excel template, or add SKUs individually. Make sure to mark all relevant item attributes so your products are correctly categorized later in a shopper’s search results.
Setting up your profile and listings can feel complicated and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. If you work with an experienced 3P seller like Pattern, we know the ins and outs of optimizing your brand and products to obtain the highest possible listing quality score. Walmart’s updated algorithm has made a brand’s listing quality score more important than ever. Pattern’s expertise in listing optimization can help brands achieve a high listing quality score.
A few other things to be aware of—prohibited items and strict pricing rules. On top of local, state, and federal laws and regulations, Walmart has several product categories they won’t allow you to sell. Noncompliant products will be removed.
As for pricing, Walmart tracks off-platform pricing for products, and having a lower price elsewhere (regardless of who is winning the buy-box on other platforms) can cause products to have lower listing quality scores and therefore poorer discoverability. Ultimately, it could disqualify brands from putting events on the spot. For states that require it, Walmart Marketplace also collects sales tax on your behalf. It is your responsibility to collect sales tax from customers in other states unless you opt to have Walmart remit all sales tax for you.
With your Partner Profile set up, you’re ready to navigate Walmart’s Seller Center. This is where you can manage all your product listings, inventory, orders, and analytics. To learn your way around the Seller Center, we recommend checking out Walmart’s Seller Help knowledge base, which offers a number of guides and answers to FAQs. Walmart Marketplace was built for sellers, so it provides tons of resources to help you succeed.
4. Choose your Walmart logistics strategy
Now for the final step in selling on Walmart, finalizing your logistics plan. Afterall, what good is selling on Walmart if you can’t get the products to your customers?
Walmart Fulfillment Service (WFS)
When it comes to logistics, we highly recommend using Walmart Fulfillment Service (WFS). Launched in 2020, WFS is similar to Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) and handles storing, picking, packing, and shipping your products for you. Simply send your inventory directly to a WFS location and Walmart will send it to customers as orders are placed.
The benefits of WFS: In addition, WFS offers sellers a variety of benefits: They handle nation-wide 2-day shipping on most of your listings, giving them “TwoDay Delivery” tags for extra visibility. They manage all your returns and customer service and offer you enhanced seller support with their dedicated WFS call center. In short, WFS helps streamline your supply chain and takes all the guesswork out of fulfillment.
How does WFS compare to FBA?: If you’re familiar with FBA, it’s also worth comparing Walmart vs. Amazon fulfillment services. WFS has stricter seller requirements to keep customer satisfaction high. As a result, it’s harder to qualify for WFS. But if you do, you benefit from a better buyer-to-seller ratio. With WFS, you’re competing with 150K other sellers instead of Amazon’s 6.3 million. Though applying for FBA is easier and faster, WFS gives your brand a competitive edge.
Handling Logistics In-house
When choosing to handle the logistics yourself, Walmart offers 6 different shipping methods, ranging from Free Value Shipping (3-7 business days) to Next Day shipping (0-1 business days). Sellers need to offer at least one method. Just remember, consumers expect fast delivery, so the more expedited shipping options you offer, the better. You can also optimize your products’ shipping settings with Walmart’s shipping templates.
Dealing with returns: With some exceptions, Walmart requires sellers to offer a 30-day return window starting 7 days after an item ships and to have at least 1 return center. That way, customers can return products in-store or online. You can also have Walmart handle your returns for you with their Enhanced Returns program and Returns Shipping Service (RSS). Also be aware that cancellations are final. Whether a customer or Walmart itself cancels your order due to a violation, you need to halt shipping immediately.
The benefits of handling logistics in-house: By opting to handle the shipping process, your brand takes on more responsibility, but also more freedom. In this scenario you have the ability to look into and compare every shipping option, carrier company, and associated cost. You then have the flexibility to choose what best fits both your business and customer needs.
But beware, this comes with the additional pressure of ensuring you hit all promised shipping timelines, that your shipments arrive in the same condition they left in, and finding your own creative solutions to unexpected obstacles, like weather delays.
Using a 3rd-Party
One of the best parts of partnering with a Walmart 3P seller like Pattern? They handle all of this for you. As your authorized seller we will oversee the inventory management, ensuring your products are delivered to the correct warehouses at the appropriate times so you stay in stock. We also handle your customer support and returns, giving you extra room to breathe and focus on the areas you know best.
Partner with Pattern
Whether you need help managing your marketplaces or you’re looking to maximize your potential on Walmart Marketplace, our experts at Pattern can help.
Pattern was one of Walmart’s first WFS sellers—we started as a beta tester and have only continued to grow our understanding and success—so we know the ins and outs of what it takes to support your brand on the platform. Onboarding over 90 brands to the Walmart marketplace, Pattern is an expert in the process and helping brands gain success right at the beginning. Take your Walmart strategy to the next level by getting in touch today.