The Future of Ecommerce Fulfillment: How to Avoid Platform Lock-in

Manish Chowdhary

August 25, 2022

Why did Amazon go from a severe lack of warehouse space to overstaffed and looking to sublease their warehouses in a span of just four months? Major changes are happening in the fulfillment landscape among the biggest ecommerce players, and they have big implications for sellers.

Marketplaces Accelerate Fulfillment Strategies

In Amazon’s April ‘22 earnings call, CFO Brian Olsavsky’s admission about warehouse capacity, “We quickly transitioned from being understaffed to being overstaffed”, caught many by surprise. The statement went along with another announcement that flew under the radar in the press, but is much more important for the future of ecommerce. On April 21st, Amazon launched a new service: Buy with Prime, which will enable direct-to-consumer (DTC) merchants to offer Prime checkout & shipping on their websites.

Shopify saw the shot across its bow, and it didn’t take them long to respond in a big way. In May, they announced their own big move: they’re acquiring Deliverr, a 3PL network, and plan to launch Shop Promise, a new service that will offer Shopify merchants one- and two-day delivery options.

Not to be outdone, Walmart is pushing hard to grow their own ecommerce delivery network, Walmart Fulfillment Services. In June, they announced that they’re building four “next generation fulfillment centers” to modernize their ecommerce supply chain. They explain, “Today we use our 31 dedicated ecommerce fulfillment centers and 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population to fulfill online orders at exceptional speed. But we’re not stopping there.”

Why are the three titans of ecommerce all hitting the accelerator on fulfillment? What does it mean for you?

It Isn’t Just About Fulfillment: It’s Also About Locking Merchants to Platforms

Amazon Prime is the service that hundreds of millions use to get online delivery in two days or fewer, so Buy with Prime must be about fulfillment, right? Only on the surface.

Here’s how Buy with Prime will work: for a fee, the service will let third-party ecommerce merchants use Amazon’s fulfillment network for orders from their own sites. In addition, Buy with Prime will put the Prime badge on DTC websites next to items eligible for free 2-day and 3-day shipping. Last, the whole checkout experience will be powered by Amazon Pay.

The last part has gone overlooked, but it explains much of where ecommerce is heading.

The key is in the relative profitability of different pieces of ecommerce: online retail, logistics, and fulfillment all have fairly small margins. In contrast, payments are extremely lucrative.

Who is getting that lucrative payments profit on direct-to-consumer websites right now? Shopify, not Amazon. Shopify’s Merchant Solutions revenue, which notably includes revenue from Shop Pay, is growing much more quickly than their Subscription Solutions revenue. In their Q1 ‘22 earnings guidance, Shopify noted that Merchant Solutions grew to make up 71% of their total revenue, dwarfing Subscription Solutions’ 29%. The numbers show it clearly: payments are Shopify’s lifeblood.

Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify are all ecommerce “landlords” that want to charge rent to their “tenants”, ecommerce merchants, everywhere they can. They’re locked in a race to provide ever-more-compelling platforms to merchants not only to capture more of the merchants’ GMV, but especially for all of the extra services that they can bolt on top. Not to mention, the payment processor gets access to first-party data, the lifeblood of modern digital advertising.

Amazon Buy with Prime ratchets up the pressure on Shopify to help its sellers offer fast delivery. If Shopify had done nothing, they risked defection to Buy with Prime, and then they would have lost much of their massive payments revenue. Shopify had no choice - they had to come out with a bold upgrade to their own platform, which they did with the Deliverr acquisition.

Properly understood, the flurry of fulfillment announcements from Amazon, Shopify, and Walmart are more about keeping sellers happy and on their platforms, where their other services rake in the profit.

You Need One-to-Many Solutions

Some see the fulfillment competition between Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify as a good thing – in trying to one-up one another, they’re continually improving the options that merchants have at their fingertips. And it would be a positive development, except for one key issue: they’re tying their ecommerce order fulfillment networks to their own platforms. Here’s the downsides.

Yes, sellers can use Fulfillment by Amazon for their DTC site with Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment and Buy with Prime; but MCF is >50% more expensive, and it shares inventory limits with Amazon volume. On top of that, DTC orders come in Amazon branding, and many marketplaces like Walmart don’t allow FBA at all.

Walmart is even less flexible: Walmart Fulfillment Services only fulfills orders sold on Walmart.com.

Meanwhile, Deliverr is quickly pivoting to prioritize Shopify. Shopify introduced Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) just three years ago in mid-2019, and it never grew past an invite-only platform available only to Shopify sellers. In fact, earlier this year they looked to be giving up on SFN when they announced that they were cutting fulfillment locations. Given the relative small size of SFN and Deliverr, we’re not surprised that Deliverr’s recent product release announcements have been mostly tailored for Shopify sellers.

As more sellers expand to additional channels to boost growth, the realization that their current fulfillment strategy can’t support them throws cold water on their growth plans. Having many fulfillment providers adds complexity and failure points, and more importantly it also adds costs in the form of duplicated inventory. Sellers want to consolidate as much as possible to enjoy economies of scale, but Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify are doing everything they can to deny one-to-many solutions.

Faced with this threat to their profitability, sellers must move past convenient, but un-scalable solutions. Amazon wants you on FBA, Walmart wants you on Walmart Fulfillment Services, and Shopify wants you on Shopify Fulfillment Network. You need a flexible one-to-many fulfillment service (like Cahoot!) that powers Amazon-like speed and cost no matter the channel. Don’t let the ecommerce giants force you into their boxes – keep your growth opportunities open and enjoy economies of scale with a channel-agnostic partner.

Contributing Author: Manish Chowdhary, Founder & CEO at Cahoot (World's 1st Peer-to-Peer Fulfillment Network for Brands & Retailers)

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

World Cup US Header
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How Global Soccer Scores with U.S. Shoppers

**How Soccer Leagues & FIFA World Cup Influence U.S. Consumer Demand** In this analysis, Pattern evaluates changes in U.S. consumer demand for soccer products. This report will help uncover: * When are soccer products in highest demand in the U.S.? * Major League Soccer vs. English Football League * Does the FIFA Club World Cup influence consumer demand? * Do FIFA World Cup group announcements impact consumer demand? * Which soccer player jerseys are the most popular among U.S. consumers? * North American players * South American players * European players * How ecommerce retailers can prepare for the World Cup and more The [FIFA World Cup](https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/worldcup/qatar2022) is hosted every four years, and the next tournament will kick off on November 20, 2022. With soccer top-of-mind for many consumers, we thought it would be a great opportunity to evaluate how consumer demand is impacted by soccer events in the U.S., Europe, and globally. To help ecommerce retailers and social media strategists better meet their consumers’ preferences, we also analyzed which player jerseys were the most popular among U.S. Amazon shoppers. **When are Soccer Products in Highest Demand in the U.S.?** Unsurprisingly, consumer demand for soccer products appears to be highest when league-specific events are in play. What is interesting to note, however, is which leagues have the strongest influence on consumer demand. Despite what one may believe, it isn’t North American activity that drives the most demand for U.S. shoppers. **Major League Soccer vs. English Football League** In the U.S., Major League Soccer is the official league for soccer players. Similarly, the English Football League is the official league in the United Kingdom. When comparing change in U.S. consumer demand month over month from 2019 – 2022, we found some noteworthy behaviors. As can be seen in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 charts below, there are moderate increases in consumer demand for soccer balls and jerseys when the Major League Soccer season starts across all years: <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2019" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-Y5KoK" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Y5KoK/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> At the start of the Major League Soccer season in 2019, demand for soccer cleats rose by 43%, demand for soccer balls rose by 38%, and demand for soccer jerseys rose by 28% compared to the month prior. <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2020" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-byv7E" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/byv7E/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> Again, at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season in 2020, demand for soccer balls rose by 28%. During this same period, however, interest in soccer cleats and soccer jerseys fell by 46% and 38%, respectively. This is likely due to the fact that the Major League Soccer season’s 2020 start date nearly coincided with the formal announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic. <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-cBDJT" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cBDJT/4/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> In 2021, the start of the Major League Soccer season in the U.S. saw a 46% increase in demand for soccer balls and 16% increase in demand for soccer jerseys. However, demand for soccer cleats fell by 24% during this same period. While moderate changes can be observed each year at the start of the Major League Soccer season, even more significant increases can be seen when the English Football League season commences. Here’s how consumer demand was impacted across all three years at the start of the English Foot League season: * **2019:** 47% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 0% increase in demand for soccer balls; 10% decrease in demand for soccer jerseys * **2020:** 54% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 47% increase in demand for soccer balls; 19% increase in demand for soccer jerseys * **2021:** 66% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 38% increase in demand for soccer balls; 40% increase in demand for soccer jerseys Except for 2019, consumer demand for soccer products in all three categories was higher at the start of the English Football League season than at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season. This suggests consumers are more closely following the English soccer season than the American league. **Does the FIFA Club World Cup Influence Consumer Demand?** As aforementioned, the FIFA World Cup occurs once every four years. However, the [FIFA Club World Cup](https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/clubworldcup) is held every year. In 2020, the FIFA Club World Cup was originally planned for December; however, this got postponed until February 2021. As we can observe in the graph below, demand across all three soccer product categories reached their peak for the year during this time: <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-cBDJT" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cBDJT/4/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> This same trend was not observed during the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup tournament. During the timeframe of the tournament from December 11 – 21, 2019, demand across all three soccer product categories was relatively low: <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2019" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-d4ECO" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/d4ECO/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> Several factors could explain why consumer demand increased coinciding with the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup compared to the 2019 tournament, including: * **Pandemic Worries:** While the global pandemic was not officially announced until March 11, 2020, initial reports on the coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019. Consumers may have been less interested in recreational activities and more focused on the emerging updates coming out of Wuhan, China. * **Tournament Planning:** The 2019 FIFA Club World Cup was formally announced on September 30, 2019 (only about two months from the tournament start date). By contrast, the 2021 tournament was announced in September 2020, originally slated for December 2020, and finally postponed until February 2021. The added anticipation and game delay could have contributed to more buzz around the tournament. * **Seasonality:** Since December marks the height of the basketball season in the U.S., consumers were likely more focused on basketball-related events than on soccer. This could also explain why more consumers were interested in soccer products during the FIFA Club World Cup in 2021 than in 2019. **Do FIFA World Cup Group Announcements Impact Consumer Demand?** We were able to take a look at how U.S. consumer demand changed following the 2022 FIFA World Cup group announcement. As it turns out, U.S. consumers actually experienced decreased demand following the announcement on April 1, 2022: <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2022" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-lX0B6" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/lX0B6/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> Since the FIFA World Cup announcement coincided with the end of March Madness and the start of the 2022 National Basketball Association playoffs, this could explain the decreased demand in soccer products among U.S. consumers. **Which Soccer Player Jerseys are the Most Popular?** Our team wanted to see which soccer player jerseys were most popular among U.S. consumers. To find this, we compiled a list of the most searched-for players in North America, South America, and Europe. From there, we tallied up all the searches in each category for all players from 2019 – 2022. Then, we compared the total searches for each individual player to the total for all players in their category. **North American Players** When it comes to soccer player preference for North American players, U.S. consumers have a clear favorite. According to our data, 95% of all searches for North American player-specific soccer jerseys between 2019 – 2022 were for American soccer player, Christian Pulisic. <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for U.S. Soccer Team Member Jerseys 2019 – 2022" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-fBlO2" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/fBlO2/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="255"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> While Pulisic is an attacking midfielder/winger for the United States national team, he currently plays for the Premier League club Chelsea in the United Kingdom. Since U.S. consumer demand for soccer jerseys is highest at the start of the English Football League season, this could explain Pulisic’s extreme popularity among U.S. shoppers. **South American Players** Consumer preference for South American players is a little less cut-and-dry; however, there is still a clear winner in the category. It turns out that most U.S. consumers (49%) prefer to support Lionel Andrés Messi of Argentina when it comes to South American soccer jerseys. Since many of these players also play in Europe, it makes sense that U.S. shoppers would be more interested in their jerseys than in U.S.-based players: <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for South American Soccer Team Member Jerseys 2019 – 2022" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0dK9s" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0dK9s/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="255"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **European Players** When observing the top searched-for European players, we were surprised to see that no players from the English Football League appeared at the top. However, there was a clear favorite again in this category for U.S. consumers: Kylian Mbappé. With 88% of total searches for European players, Mbappé’s popularity among U.S. consumers is undeniable: <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for European Soccer Team Member Jerseys 2019 – 2022" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-cIRiH" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cIRiH/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="279"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **How Ecommerce Retailers Can Prepare for the World Cup & More** Understanding how U.S. consumers follow and respond to soccer leagues, both nationally and internationally, is essential for ecommerce retailers to anticipate and satisfy changes in demand. Using this data, online sporting retailers now understand the relationship between higher consumer demand for soccer products and gear to the start of the English Football League season. Empowered with this information, they can plan their supply chain and marketing calendars more effectively, ensuring all inventory, advertising, and customer support needs are met. Here are the top takeaways ecommerce retailers should prepare for based on our knowledge: * While demand is higher during the English Football League season start than the Major League Soccer season start, demand for soccer products is higher than the seasonal average at both times, so prepare accordingly. * The top three most popular soccer player jerseys among U.S. consumers are for Christian Pulisic, Kylian Mbappé, and Lionel Andrés Messi. * The FIFA Club World Cup may also have an impact on soccer product sales, so it’s a good idea to ensure products are well-stocked during this time each year. **If you’re interested in uncovering more data like this to empower your ecommerce strategy, [request a demo](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) from Pattern today!**

How Pricing Changes on Walmart.com Affect Your Brand
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How Pricing Changes on Walmart.com Affect Your Brand

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 “Was Price” and Promotional Changes

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.

Promotional Policy Changes

  • 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.

“Was Price” Changes

  • 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).

How to Strategize for Success

1. Plan for Promotions Well in Advance

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. 

2. Keep Pricing Consistent

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.

3. Establish Excellent Brand Control

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.

Find Marketplace Confidence with Pattern

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.

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