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.
Just because the opportunity worked for LifeSeasons, would it work for your brand? What are the 4 benefits of becoming a Walmart seller?
Similar to Amazon’s Prime program, Walmart+ members get free shipping and delivery on 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.
With an overwhelming 6.3 million sellers competing for attention on Amazon, and just over 100,000 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 308 million monthly visitors.
Still looking for benefits? On Walmart.com there are 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. All other factors equal, Walmart.com has a first-come-first-serve cataloging system, which means the sooner you list your products, the better the chances are to be discovered. Ready to get started? We have the 4 simple steps to start selling on Walmart Marketplace.
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.
To sell on Walmart Marketplace, you have three options. You can sell as a First-Party (1P), dropship vendor, or Third-Party (3P). Let’s go over how each is different:
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.
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. There, you’ll be asked to gather required business information in order to complete the application process
Then, your seller application could take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to be processed and approved.
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 and, in turn, the highest search rank.
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 will remove items that are significantly overpriced or any product where the product is priced lower on another website. 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.
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?
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 all 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 100K other sellers instead of Amazon’s 6 million. Though applying for FBA is easier and faster, WFS gives your brand a competitive edge.
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.
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.
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. Overall, our brands are seeing an average growth on Walmart Marketplace of 250%. Take your Walmart strategy to the next level by getting in touch today.
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Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.
And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.
Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.
Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.
Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.
Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.)
To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.
Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.
Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.
Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers.
The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:
Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);
Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).
To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging.
Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place.
It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.
Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.
It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.
By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.
Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.
Pattern’s Accelerate22 event, the global ecommerce acceleration summit, provided a way for participants to learn from each other and leading experts about building a successful ecommerce presence. During our Brand Control and Compliance track, Leslie Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting and an Amazon expert, spoke to attendees about “Bezophobia”—the fear of losing brand control on Amazon. She talked about the importance of having a clear strategy to help you perform your best on the digital marketplace and the fact that achieving that is much harder to do in a 1P Amazon relationship.
With better control, which is more achievable in a 3P relationship, brands can let go of their fears and more richly enjoy the inherent benefits of selling on Amazon. If you think you could have a case of Bezophobia, read below for three important areas every brand should have control over when selling on Amazon.
Pricing is a huge concern for brands selling on Amazon—in most cases, Amazon prioritizes their customers’ happiness and providing a great experience for them on the platform over brands’ best interests. So, they want to offer their customers the best price available at all times.
This seems harmless enough until a rogue or unauthorized seller enters the ecommerce space. They’d like to capture your consumers’ interest as well, and often list your products at a lower price than you’d authorize. When Amazon notices the change, whether on its platform or on another, they drop your listing price to match.
Many brands seriously struggle to raise their prices after events like this occur, leading to what we call the Profitability Death Spiral. As your product prices fall, it’ll be harder and harder to raise them again, especially if you’re operating with Amazon as a 1P seller.
At Pattern, we know brands can’t achieve marketplace acceleration without brand control. So, we partner with econtrol firm VORYs to allow all brand partners to better understand their distribution channels and how to address control problems that ultimately lead to pricing issues.
The next key area of control brands should be focused on is their product selection on Amazon. Leslie spoke about this being a common issue for brands—as mentioned above, Amazon doesn’t see your brand as its top priority.
Many brands provide a certain assortment of their products to Amazon to sell, then find that their expectations don’t match Amazon’s efforts. Leslie has worked with many brands that have believed that Amazon will list, market, and move product the way a brand would if they were managing their Amazon presence themselves.
But, in a 1P relationship, it’s difficult to get true visibility into what’s really going on. If Amazon buys your products without putting the effort in to represent your product selection in the way you think, it can cause big, long-term issues that are very difficult for brands to reconcile.
In Leslie’s experience, this is a brand’s most important area to have control over on Amazon. Your ability to sell products is completely dependent on how you’re able to showcase those products through your content. And, in a 1P relationship, brands lose the ability to have the final say over how their products appear to consumers.
Leslie has seen many cases of brands’ sales dropping inexplicably, only for them to discover that their vendor has made significant changes to product detail pages and other marketing materials, such that they no longer reflect the brand.
Pattern understands how important your brand representation is on digital marketplaces like Amazon. So, when we agree to partner with brands, we provide a suite of creative services to help your products look their best, including a studio team for fully-optimized pictures and videos and an expert advertising team that knows how to write descriptions and copy that really help your products stand out among the competition.
If you’re able to get ahead and get in control of your Amazon strategy, especially in your pricing, selection, and marketing efforts, you have no need to fear the digital marketplace. As an Amazon expert and ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows what it takes for brands to truly succeed, and is committed to helping all brands take charge of their strategy to achieve long-term success.
Set up a call to talk more about Amazon and ways Pattern can help you make the platform work better for you.