The Walmart Marketplace is a robust online selling platform. Backed by Walmart’s widely recognized brand, it’s appealing to businesses looking for additional sales channels or those who want to try their hand at eCommerce.
However, there are some initial steps to complete before becoming a Walmart Marketplace seller. To help you out, we’ll discuss them in detail and share some tips so you can hit the ground running.
Walmart Marketplace is Walmart’s eCommerce arm and platform where both Walmart and third-party merchants can sell items to consumers. It boasts a curated community of professional sellers that offer high-quality products and customer service.
To become a seller, you have to go through an intricate application process. But once you pass, Walmart will handle all fulfillment and customer service responsibilities for you. The Marketplace also features integrations, programs, and partners that can help you grow your business — all of which we’ll discuss further below.
Although relatively young compared to others, Walmart Marketplace has several advantages that make it a strong contender among eCommerce platforms.
Broaden your brand’s visibility with Walmart’s nearly 120 million unique monthly visitors. What’s more, these visitors frequently buy online:
Walmart’s brand already possesses a massive, loyal customer base. An astounding 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store, and those who are Walmart customers keep coming back:
You can implement a multi-channel approach by adding the Walmart Marketplace as one of your income streams. This diversification also decreases risk for your business.
For example, let’s say you have three sales channels. You then discover one of them is failing. The two thriving channels will cover for the losses of your third as well as allow you to eliminate it completely. If you relied on a single channel though, your losses would be more severe.
Accessing a large and faithful consumer base and diversifying income streams naturally leads to increased revenue. As Shopify reported, businesses with multiple sales channels generate 190% more revenue than those that use only one.
You also get to tap into Walmart’s outstanding eCommerce presence. According to the company’s earnings report, by Q4 of 2021, Walmart’s eCommerce sales grew 1% and 70% on a two-year stack. Meanwhile, for the full year, the company’s eCommerce sales in the U.S. grew by 11.0% and 90% on a two-year stack.
Whereas you might be limited to certain items and types on other marketplaces (for example, handmade, vintage, or craft supply items on Etsy), you can sell a broad range of goods on Walmart.com.
Tip: Be mindful of their policies on prohibited products and product limitations.
Walmart sellers enjoy a convenient method of receiving payments, with no setup or monthly fees. Walmart simply deducts a referral fee once a sale occurs on the Marketplace. Then, they automatically deposit your payments into your preferred U.S. bank account every two weeks.
Walmart Marketplace also has some of the most competitive marketplace seller fees available. As of March 2022, referral fees ranged from 6% to 15% across most categories.
We’ll discuss the costs of selling on Walmart.com further below.
Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) is a program that gives sellers access to Walmart warehouses to store inventory and fulfill orders. Similar to FBA, WFS also handles customer support when related to shipping concerns.
You can choose from a flexible array of carriers, delivery methods, and shipping prices. We’ll discuss them in greater detail below, along with what WFS can do for you.
WFS lets you leverage Walmart’s established supply chain and team of experts. It provides end-to-end fulfillment, customer service, and seller support that’s available seven days a week.
With Walmart handling order fulfillment and the customer experience, you’ll be able to focus on activities like successfully scaling your business.
WFS can take your brand to the next level by improving your customer experience. It has several features that can achieve this.
With WFS, you can offer two-day shipping to anywhere in the United States. However, it’s not guaranteed during the peak season (September to January). You can also offer free and easy returns to keep customers satisfied with (and thus loyal to) your brand.
WFS items are included in the Walmart+ free shipping subscription program, which helps customers save on delivery costs. Minimizing your buyers’ expenses can entice them to keep coming back.
Your WFS items will prominently display the “Two-Day Delivery” and Fulfilled by Walmart tags. Walmart claims this can achieve higher search rankings and Buy Box wins, which results in 30% to 50% more sales on average.
WFS can reduce your business expenses through its Preferred Carrier Program, which helps merchants save on inbound transportation costs.
Compared to those shipping inbound themselves, early participants report an average of 50% lower rates on inbound shipping. WFS also charges minimal fees for shipping customer returns and inventory removals.
WFS features dashboards and APIs that let you view real-time data on your sales performance. You can manage your inventory, shipments, and order tracking through Walmart’s Seller Center, direct APIs and third-party solution providers.
Walmart Marketplace has a premium advertising option from Walmart Connect known as Sponsored Products.
Sponsored Products ads are native, cost-per-click (CPC) ads that direct Walmart customers to the promoted products’ detail pages. They’re easier to discover since they’re given prominent placements:
These ads make your items more visible and help drive more sales for your business. Also, since they’re CPC ads, you only need to pay when someone clicks on them.
Also, your products must comply with certain eligibility requirements:
To be eligible for Search In-grid placement, your items should also:
All you need to do is complete an interest form, then Walmart will pair you with an ad partner. That partner will contact you within a week, fill you in on the details, and help you with the onboarding process.
Your last option is to use a third-party AdTech platform. You can start by contacting any of Walmart’s four official advertising partners:
The Sponsored Products platform has two campaign types: automatic and manual. Determining which is the best option for you will depend on your goals.
Automatic campaigns are ideal for users who are new to advertising or want to expand their reach. They serve ads to all customers searching for items similar to yours, and offer three key benefits:
Manual campaigns are ideal for businesses that know their customers, have a history with Walmart, and want a targeted approach. This type presents your ads to customers based on the keywords they use, and you also get the following perks:
We’ve introduced you to the Walmart Marketplace. Now, we’ll discuss the application process.
It can take you 14 to 30 days to complete the whole process. To speed things up, we’ll walk you through the steps.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need before you begin filling out your application:
Once your requirements are prepared, you can then complete Walmart’s application. It asks for your personal information, primary contact information, and information regarding the requirements mentioned in step 1.
Tip: Save each section as you go and remember to double-check the information you input.
After you submit your application, the approval process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, so be patient. The time varies from business to business and depends on factors like:
Once approved, you’ll receive a notification from Walmart. Then comes the fine print.
Congrats! You made it to signing Walmart Marketplace’s Retailer Agreement. The screenshot below shows what it looks like.
Read it closely before signing, as it’ll detail your duties as a retailer to ensure continued access to the platform and sales.
The Retailer Agreement outlines important information like:
Now it’s time to complete your registration. You’ll need to create your seller profile and connect your payment account, for which you’ll receive a unique link via email. Click on it, then complete the following steps.
Your Walmart Marketplace account’s username is auto-filled based on the information you provided during the application process. Now it’s time to create your password. Keep it in a safe place and make copies.
You’ll use these credentials whenever you log in to the Marketplace and Walmart’s seller account management portal, the Seller Center, so make sure they’re secure.
To register your business, all you need to do is input its display name and corporate address.
Your display name is what Walmart.com customers see, while your corporate address is what you use internally.
For tax purposes, you’ll need to fill out a W-9 form. Required fields are:
For sellers with a W-8 tax classification, be aware your only option is Payoneer.
Next is setting up your shipping options. You’ll need to configure your shipping model, pricing, transit times, etc.
Also, once you’re approved, you can set your standard processing schedule, shipping time zones, days off, and shipping policies in your settings.
After finishing your account setup, it’s time for onboarding. During this, you’ll choose your integration method and add your items. Below is a diagram showing the milestones you’ll hit throughout the process.
The onboarding process can take a few weeks, but it depends on how fast you can complete the order testing scenarios without problems.
With the previous steps finished, all that’s left is to file a request for your store’s launch.
Walmart will conduct a final review, then release your account so you can go live and start selling.
Your merchandise will be published to Walmart.com, becoming transactable within a few hours and searchable within 24 to 48.
We mentioned Walmart only deducts a referral fee once a sale occurs. The cost is simply a percentage of your gross sales proceeds taken from the sale of each product.
The applicable rate varies according to each product’s category and the information provided at the time of the upload. They’re typically 15%, but certain categories have rates as low as 6%.
Certain product categories have potentially lower referral fees depending on the total sales price:
You now have the tools to get started on Walmart Marketplace. To finish it off, here are some tips to help you thrive as a seller.
Besides its TwoDay delivery service, Walmart also has programs designed to help you reach more customers and sell more products.
The FedEx Advantage program lets sellers utilize the established and reliable services of the carrier. You can save on shipping costs with discounts of up to 50%, which are also applicable to international shipping (namely Canada and Mexico). The program also helps you perform consistently on the Walmart marketplace thanks to:
All of these perks come with a money-back guarantee, and you’ll have your $1 return label fee waived.
The Marcus by Goldman Sachs program gives eligible sellers a business line of credit. Goldman Sachs offers funding at flexible or fixed, yet competitive interest rates and transparent terms. What’s more, the program has a streamlined application process.
This is invaluable for sellers who may find themselves in a financial pinch, such as:
Earlier, we mentioned the Listing Quality Score as a requirement for Sponsored products. It also shows how effective your listings are, reflected as a percentage (from 0 to 99) that appears at the item and catalog levels.
You can view it on the Listing Quality Dashboard, which also shares tips for improving your listings and attracting more customers.
This is more important than you might think; one Walmart seller, Big Red House, experienced an increase in sales after improving their Listing Quality Score from 17 to 78.
To round out your role as a Marketplace seller, you should opt into Walmart’s Enhanced Returns program. With it, you can lower your returns processing costs: The service gives you access to discounted rates, so you can save on customer service and return fees. Along with easy label printing, you can also offer free returns and multiple returns options, making the overall customer experience more seamless.
All you need to do is select Walmart’s Returns Shipping Service (RSS) as your preferred option for label printing.
Marketplace ad programs at Amazon and eBay use a 2nd price auction method, which means if you win a bid, you would have bid the most, but you only have the pay the cost of the second highest bidder. This method helps to mitigate overpayment.
However, Walmart Sponsored Products uses a 1st price auction method, which means if you win a bid, you pay whatever you were bidding.
We suggest starting with a bid that’s 30% under what you’re willing to pay, monitoring results, and then slowly upping your bid price from there.
The good thing about Sponsored Products is you only have to pay for clicks, and you can set up different match types based on what your advertising strategy is (phrase, broad, exact, and auto). For example, you might go with exact match for your best sellers, and broad match if you’re looking to get more exposure for a new product.
One other thing to note is that Walmart Marketplace only shows either organic or paid listings in search results, but not both. That means you have to be extra careful not to cannibalize your already-successful organically ranking listings with ads for the same items.
Leverage Sponsored Product ads strategically to align with your goals.
The Walmart Marketplace is a powerful eCommerce platform backed by the company’s strong brand recognition and massive customer base. It can take care of many headaches, but has several intricacies to joining and using. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with it first, but once you become a seller, the platform can drive major growth for your business.