Don’t Get Left Behind – What You Need to Know About Selling On Walmart in 2023
The battle for supremacy between the two ecommerce giants has just begun. Here’s why Amazon sellers might want to take a closer look!
Over the last six months, food budgets have become a touchy subject. Until very recently, most of us were in the habit of throwing items in our shopping carts without checking the price.
Now, the slow creep of inflation has changed that.
It’s a big reason why the food fight taking place right now between Amazon and Walmart is so relevant.
A year ago, this battle royal between two ecommerce giants over something as pedestrian as groceries seemed a little underwhelming.
No one is laughing now.
Some of you selling on Amazon have already made the move to Walmart’s complementary platform. If not, this post is designed to tell you what you need to know to get started.
But first, and to underscore the question of selling on Walmart versus Amazon’s own ecommerce ecosystem, let’s take a look at a study by SaaS (Software as a Service) company, Jungle Scout. As one of the premier builders of software tools for ecommerce sellers, they know a thing or two about selling on both Amazon and Walmart.
In their 2022 Amazon vs Walmart report, they point out that out of more than 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed, 57% said they’re more likely to shop Walmart for groceries, compared with 15% that looked to Amazon.com for their food. That’s particularly significant because Walmart’s 429 million average monthly site visitors pales in comparison to Amazon’s 2.5 billion visitors.
It’s important to keep in mind that even though Amazon casts a very large online shadow, Walmart’s overall net sales of 151 billion far surpasses Amazon’s 121 billion.
These numbers are important because they hint at the growth potential of Walmart and why Amazon might have a very concerned eye on their rear view mirror.
This post is going to offer an introduction to selling on Walmart as well as a high level view of the Walmart marketplace versus Amazon. The main takeaway for Amazon sellers reading this post is that you’ve probably already done 95% of the work that will allow you to be a successful Walmart seller. This might offer a perfect opportunity to put a few of your online-commerce eggs in a different basket.
As always, the Walmart Specialists at Canopy Management are happy to help you with the process.
Signing Up to Sell On Walmart
Much like selling on Amazon, getting started selling on Walmart is a simple process. The first step involves creating your selling account in Walmart’s Seller Center and (if you’re using Walmart’s all-in-one selling ecosystem, Walmart Fulfillment Services), adding your WFS details. If you’re already an Amazon seller, the similarities of WFS vs FBA will make it easy. It takes only one minute to create your Walmart Marketplace account.
From there, you’ll just need to complete the 3-step setup to begin onboarding as a Walmart marketplace seller.
- Business Verification – Submit your business details to Walmart to complete your Seller Profile
- Payments – Tell Walmart where to send your payments. No setup, subscription, or monthly fees
- Shipping – Configure your shipping methods and costs. Select your preferred returns method and carriers for your budget
Next up, converting your products’ details into Walmart-fulfilled listings. After that, if you’re using Walmart’s WFS, it’s just a matter of sending your items into the Walmart Fulfillment Center.
Now it’s time to discuss the biggest difference between selling on Amazon and selling on Walmart. Compared to Amazon, Walmart is a “gated” community. On Amazon, virtually anyone can register to sell and within a few days have a product listed. On Walmart.com, you need to apply and be approved before you can sell.
Here’s what’s needed to begin the application process:
Walmart’s Business Requirements
- Business Tax ID(s) (SSN not accepted) or Business License Number
- Supporting documents that verify your Business Name and Address
- History of marketplace or eCommerce success
- Products that have GTIN/UPC GS1 Company Prefix Numbers
- Catalog that complies with Walmart Prohibited Products Policy
- Fulfillment through Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) or another B2C US warehouse with returns capability
You Know This! – WFS Program Benefits
Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) allows sellers to store their inventory at Walmart fulfillment centers. After placing an order on Walmart.com, Walmart picks, packs, and ships the item(s) to the customer. WFS also handles all customer support and returns for these orders.
WFS also gives sellers access to Walmart’s Free & Easy Returns program. Participating items are displayed with 2-Day Shipping and Fulfilled by Walmart tags that dramatically increase both visibility and conversion rates for sellers.
- Stores your products
- Prepares them for shipping after orders are placed
- Tracks inventory, orders, and shipments with easy-to-read dashboards
- Delivers your items
- Gain higher search rankings and Buy Box prominence with 2-Day Shipping tags
- Supports customer inquiries
- Optimize your returns with Walmart’s omnichannel Free & Easy Returns program
Walmart’s fulfillment program features a fixed monthly storage fee and a fulfillment structure based on item weight alone. In addition there’s zero signup or monthly subscription fees!
WFS Product Requirements
There are some limits to the types of products that can be included in the program:
- Products must ship to Walmart fulfillment centers from within the United States
- No perishable or regulated products
- No prohibited products
- Maximum product weight is 150 lb.
- Maximum product dimensions are 108″ in length and 165″ in length + girth
Setting Up Your Walmart Items for Sale
Marketplace sellers have 3 options for integrating their catalogs with Walmart.com.
- Walmart partners with a number of leading solution providers to offer a full range of eCommerce services to online sellers
- While some solution providers offer wide range of eCommerce services (including item setup inventory, order fulfillment, pricing etc), others provide more specific functions
- Integrations are tailored to the precise needs of individual Walmart sellers
Marketplace sellers and supplier developers are able to access API tools allowing for integration with the Walmart eCommerce platform.
Using Seller Center, you can Integrate your Walmart products with SellerSetup by Match, Single Item, or Bulk Upload Setup.
Walmart Sponsored Search (ADS)
If you’re an Amazon seller, this will feel very familiar!
Just like Amazon PPC advertising, Sponsored Search advertising from Walmart Connect puts your brand and products in front of customers that are searching and browsing Walmart’s site and app for products like yours.
And, like Amazon PPC, you only pay when customers click your ad.
Walmart Sponsored Advertising Variations
Sponsored Products ads appear in high-visibility placements, including within relevant search results and on item pages. A click advances customers to your product’s item page.
Sponsored Brand ads send your brand logo and products to the top of relevant search results. These premium placements have the highest viewability on search pages and are available to Marketplace brand owners registered with the Walmart Brand Portal.
Automatic Ad Signup on Walmart
New Marketplace sellers are automatically registered to Walmart Ad Center, Walmart’s self-serve ad platform. It offers step-by-step information and strategies that help first time sellers set up their Walmart ad campaigns.
How to Get Started With Walmart Ads
- Check your product eligibility requirements then set your campaign goals
- Select the variation of the Walmart Sponsored Search campaign you want to run. Combine Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands for the best results
- Determine your targeting strategy. Just like selling on Amazon, do your research and capitalize on relevant, searchable keywords in your campaigns
You’ve Promoted Your Products, Now Promote Your Brand!
Sponsored Brands ads can help with the launch of new or seasonal items, when promoting items with lower search rankings and to help boost performance of higher-priced items.
- Sponsored Brands ads include your brand logo, custom headline and up to four advertised items, with shoppable links.
- Sponsored Brands ads are designed to increase awareness and conversion by increasing your product’s and brand’s visibility and conversions
- Sponsored Brands ads are great for newer brands that may not yet have high organic search rankings at Walmart
To use Sponsored Brands, Walmart Marketplace sellers must be a brand owner and meet the following criteria:
- Based in the United States, China, Hong Kong or the United Kingdom; or a pre-approved seller in India
- Rights owner registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Onboarded to the Walmart Brand Portal, Walmart’s intellectual property rights management platform
Determining Your Walmart Advertising Targeting Strategy
Choose from two campaign types:
Automatic campaigns depend on Walmart’s algorithm to select the best keywords for your ad campaign. Just like Amazon’s ad program, this is perfect for those new to Sponsored Search advertising
With Manual Campaigns, you choose your own keywords. This is a better option for advertisers who have a good idea of the keywords that their products already rank (or are searched) for.
What are the Biggest Differences Between FBA and WFS?
Even though there are a number of ways that selling on Walmart is very much like selling on Amazon, there are significant differences. Here are a few of the biggest ones.
1. Sellers Need to Apply and Be Approved to Sell on Walmart.com
This might be the biggest difference between the two platforms and it’s where Amazon gets the win. With Amazon, virtually anyone can register to sell and within a few days have a product listed. On Walmart.com, you need to apply and be approved before you can sell. In fact, the following sentence is part of Walmart’s welcome page:
However, this does mean that there’s a good chance that you’ll have less competition from other sellers on Walmart’s marketplace.
2. When It Comes to Pricing, Walmart Referral Fees Keep It Simple
Walmart marketplace fees are straightforward and feature a simple Walmart referral fee structure.
There is no setup, monthly, or hidden fees for any sellers. Instead, on Walmart, you pay for what you sell. Walmart deducts a referral fee from each completed purchase. The commission rates vary by category and total sales price but range from 6% to 15%.
While Walmart’s fixed storage and fulfillment fee is based on the shipping weight of the product, Amazon’s storage fees also factor in the amount of inventory you have stored in their warehouses.
3. Walmart – No Monthly Subscription Fee for Sellers
Amazon has two different selling plans to choose from. If you want to use Amazon PPC advertising (and who wouldn’t?), you need to opt for the Professional selling plan at $39.99 a month.
By contrast, Walmart doesn’t charge its sellers a monthly subscription fee.
4. Personalized Account Management
Walmart will connect sellers with a WFS fulfillment expert free of charge to develop personalized recommendations on business optimization and growth.
To work with one of Amazon’s dedicated Account Managers, sellers are required to pay $1,600 per month plus a percentage of their sales.
More Alike Than You Might Realize
Here are the similarities that really matter between the two eCommerce platforms.
1. Guaranteed 2-Day Free Shipping PLUS Free Returns
Just like Amazon FBA, when sellers store their products in a Walmart Fulfillment Center, they’re able to offer 2-day free shipping to their customers. Walmart will pick, pack, ship, and deliver orders to your customers within 48 hours. Sounds familiar? Yep, that mirrors Amazon’s FBA features.
2. Let Walmart Manage . . . Everything
Both Amazon and Walmart.com give sellers the option of fulfilling customer orders themselves or through their own proprietary fulfillment centers.
Amazon began offering FBA in 2006, In 2020 Walmart introduced WFS to keep pace with Amazon’s increasingly popular fulfillment option. Much like Amazon’s FBA platform, Walmart manages customer service and returns for its sellers. (This benefit applies to sellers taking advantage of WFS fulfillment)
3. Seller Support
Although Amazon’s seller support typically receives mixed reviews, Walmart will duplicate that effort with dedicated WFS call center associates to take care of marketplace sellers.
4. Ultra-High Quality Listing Content
Both platforms offer their own version of ultra-high quality listing content. On Amazon, brand registered sellers can access A+ Content that features images, infographics, logos, and unique modules.
Walmart sellers don’t need brand registry, but they do need to sign up for WFS. Then, they can create what’s called “Item Page Content.” If you’re not brand registered, this is a big plus for Walmart.
5. Listing Optimization
This is a big one!
As an ecommerce seller, you probably have a good idea how important it is to have your listings fully optimized. Selling on Walmart, that’s not going to change.
If you’re going to sell products online, you need to make sure that your listing is found.
Just like Amazon, it’s in Walmart’s best interest to connect shoppers with high-quality products that fit their needs.
That’s why the Walmart search engine is designed to provide the most relevant products for every search. Too many sellers focus on driving a high volume of traffic, and fail to consider relevancy to their audience.
Instead, you need to focus on selecting keywords and phrases that connect your product with the right shoppers at the right time in the purchasing journey.
How Canopy Management Can Help
Canopy Management is a full-service marketing agency for Amazon and Walmart sellers. Our team consists of former Amazonians, multi-million dollar sellers, and award-winning experts.
When you consider the many ways that Canopy Management can help you grow your business, you’ll see why selling on Amazon is much easier “under the Canopy.”
- Strategic Growth Planning
- Listing Copywriting Optimization
- Listing Photography
- Product Videography
- Advertising Management
- Customer Service
- Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP)
- Amazon Posts
- Full Service Management
- Amazon Review Aggregation