Selling online, you know one of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting all your eggs in one basket. And with the emergence of the Walmart Marketplace as a new player in the game, many online merchants are wondering if it’s a valid area to branch out in. RepricerExpress takes a look at what’s involved and who it’s right for.
Walmart: A Behemoth In Its Own Right
To say Walmart is huge would be a massive understatement. Their employee count outnumbers a bunch of this world’s populations. In fact, if Walmart was a country, they’d be in the low 20s in terms of economic measurement. Their website receives 80-some odd million unique visitors each month, and they’re partnered up with thousands of suppliers and sellers.
Pretty big selling audience, eh?
It seemed to be more a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ they would enter the online marketplace world and compete with the likes of Amazon. And even though their market cap of $229 billion is about half of Amazon’s market cap of $467 billion, Walmart has a brick-and-mortar store within 10 miles of 90% of Americans. They’re everywhere.
Amazon: Still King of the World
Amazon still reigns supreme when it comes to buying and selling online. They receive about 183-some odd million unique visitors each month and are the top-ranked website (in terms of visitors) in the U.S. They’re also in a comfortable-enough position to change their marketing strategies seemingly on a whim to compete with other companies — when Walmart made two-day shipping free on orders that topped $35, Amazon quickly responded by lowering their two-day free shipping threshold to $25 (for non-Prime members), and enticing more buyers to sign up for Prime by reducing membership by 45% for low-income shoppers.
How Selling on the Walmart Marketplace Works
The process is very similar to Amazon’s, with one key difference: you simply register with Amazon, while you have to apply with Walmart.
- Visit Walmart Marketplace to apply
- Wait to see if you’ve been approved — if you are, they’ll send you an ‘Invitation to Sign Up’ email where you can set up your account on Seller Central
- Upload your items and fulfill orders
- Pay a referral fee instead of a monthly or setup fee
Another key difference here is the type of seller you’ll be. While Walmart allows drop ship vendors to sell on Walmart Marketplace, you can’t be both that and a Marketplace Seller. You’ll have to choose to be one or the other, but not both.
What Sellers Can Expect
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Walmart’s ecommerce branch only accounts for about 2-3% of their total sales, and this is reflected in their website. Their site, well, it kinda sucks. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve tried to search for an item only to discover I’ve apparently been inputting the ‘wrong’ keywords, or that their site shows an item at a particular location only to have that product not stocked when I go to the store. Categories list items in seemingly random ways, and the left-side nav filters don’t work in a predictable way. For sellers, the benefit of this is plenty of freedom to do things pretty much how they want and not stick to a rigid confinement of rules.
On the plus side, the Walmart Marketplace is still pretty new, so you’ll have a lot of space to yourself to roam around and sell things. You’ll still need to price things competitively, of course, and do things like offer free shipping and set up sales tax codes by yourself, but you’re going to have immediate exposure to a huge audience with plenty of those people looking for a change from Amazon’s ways. And with Walmart having acquired Jet.com, Hayneedle.com, Shoes.com, Moosejaw and Modcloth.com, there’ll be no shortage of potential magic you can work.