Amazon may be the biggest shark in the ecommerce ocean, but it’s by no means the only one biting.
Walmart has proven itself to be a rapidly-growing competitor in the ecommerce industry, increasing its online sales by 79% in the 2021 fiscal year. As Walmart continues its dramatic growth, brands are quickly realizing the importance of selling on Walmart.com and many are joining Walmart’s ranks through the Walmart Drop Ship Vendor program.
We’re here to answer all your questions about Walmart dropshipping and help you decide which selling model is best for your brand to start (or continue) selling on Walmart.com.
To better understand Walmart dropshipping, it may be helpful to first explore the various selling options available to brands who sell on Walmart.com.
The first option is Walmart 1P. As is the case with 1P selling on Amazon, Walmart 1P simply requires you to ship your product to a Walmart Fulfillment Center, and Walmart takes care of the rest. As a first-party seller, Walmart controls everything about your product—your listing, pricing, shipping, returns, and customer service—making things easier for your ecommerce team and winning your product the instant credibility that comes with the Walmart name. Walmart also calls these sellers Warehouse Suppliers.
Walmart 3P sellers, on the other hand, sell their products on Walmart’s site as a third party and control their own Walmart listings and inventory. Both 3P models require more work on your end but in return give you significantly more control over your listing and brand.
Some 3P vendors sell on the Walmart marketplace, which means they’re completely in charge of content optimization, advertising, marketing, and customer service. This model is ideal for businesses with abundant resources that place a high value on how their brand is portrayed and priced across platforms. In this case, Walmart is a useful platform for brands to reach more customers but plays a minimal role in the promotion and fulfillment of the products.
Other 3P vendors sell with the help of Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). These vendors control their own listings and pricing but aren’t responsible for fulfilling orders. Instead, they ship their products to Walmart, which then stores inventory and fulfills orders. While these vendors still have the increased control that comes with a 3P model, their products also boast a badge on their listing that states “Fulfilled by Walmart,” immediately boosting listing credibility. Additionally, sellers benefit from Walmart 2-shipping nationwide.
Walmart dropshipping is a hybrid between the 1P and 3P models of selling. Walmart purchases your product from you at wholesale price and lists the product on its website. Walmart then handles the listing optimization, pricing, and anything else customers see on Walmart.com, just like it does for 1P sellers. But unlike the 1P model, you as the seller hold all your own inventory and are responsible for shipping orders made on Walmart.com, either directly to the customer or to a Walmart store.
Even though you’re responsible for shipping your products, Walmart will pay for all product shipping, including two-day shipping. You are simply responsible for getting the item out the door and Walmart handles the rest. Becoming a Walmart drop ship vendor—also known as a Walmart DSV—gives your brand both the increased control that typically accompanies a 3P model and the convenience that is the hallmark of a 1P model.
As with every selling model, there are pros and cons to Walmart dropshipping. It’s important for each brand to weigh these considerations to decide which avenue will be the most profitable for their products. It’s worth noting that a vendor can sell some products through dropshipping and others as a marketplace seller, so you may need to evaluate whether specific products are better suited for one model over the other.
Let’s start by discussing the benefits of dropshipping. Selling your product under Walmart’s name instills consumer trust in your listings. Shoppers are more likely to buy a product shipped and sold by Walmart over a product sold by an unfamiliar brand.
Since Walmart handles the listing optimization, Walmart teams also take care of the listing content and ensure the listing is getting the highest organic search traffic possible. Products that Walmart sells and ships get an automatic boost on Walmart.com. Walmart handles all product marketing, which further boosts dropshipping products to the highest rank possible, and makes it easier for your product to win the Buy Box.
Another perk of dropshipping is that Walmart pays to ship products to the consumers. This relieves a significant price burden for brands, especially because Walmart pays for 2-day shipping most of the time. If your product is expensive to ship, this benefit alone may be enough to make Walmart dropshipping worth it for your brand.
Even with all the benefits, dropshipping also comes with a few drawbacks. When you become a Walmart drop ship vendor, you sell your products at wholesale prices, so your margins aren’t as high as they would be if you cut out the middleman and sold your products directly on Walmart’s marketplace. You also can’t make sales in bulk—unlike a 1P model, in which Walmart buys your product in bulk from you, Walmart drop ship vendors sell their products only as quickly as consumers buy them.
The basic idea of Walmart dropshipping mirrors the dropshipping we see on other sites, like Amazon—as a drop ship vendor, it’s up to you to directly ship your product to your consumers once an order has been placed online.
But there are a few distinctions unique to Walmart dropshipping that we don’t see elsewhere. For one, Walmart handles all listing optimization for its dropshipping vendors. Additionally, like we mentioned earlier, Walmart completely covers shipping costs for its drop ship vendors to ship items quickly. Other ecommerce sites, like Amazon, may offer discounted shipping rates for its dropshipping vendors, but it’s ultimately up to the brand to cover shipping prices. This makes the cost of selling on Amazon higher when selling through the dropshipping model.
Another benefit unique to Walmart dropshipping is that customers can choose to pick up the product from one of Walmart’s almost 5,000 U.S. stores. In this case, the vendor ships the product to the Walmart store instead of directly to the consumer’s home or mailbox. This option leverages Walmart’s extensive brick-and-mortar network and offers another convenient and appealing option that may improve customer experience.
If you’ve decided that the Walmart dropshipping program is the best choice for your brand moving forward, you must first meet the DSV program requirements and apply online to get started. Walmart’s website has detailed, step-by-step instructions to help make the onboarding process as smooth as possible.
Need help deciding how to choose the best Walmart selling model for your brand? Struggling to maximize your profits while selling on Walmart.com? Pattern is here to help. Contact us for more information or set up a free consultation today!
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.