To online merchants used to selling on Amazon and eBay, choosing to sell on Walmart Marketplace is like embarking on a new frontier. That makes it an especially enticing target for savvy sellers seeking sales somewhere other than the usual marketplace suspects.
For starters, Walmart.com is far from saturated, and some categories are especially sparse.
Walmart also offers access to a different customer base than Amazon and eBay to merchants looking to branch out.
And, since sellers on Walmart Marketplace must handle shipping, returns, customer services, and exchanges, only the most capable sellers can gain access to the platform.
With the right strategy, planning, and execution, sellers of any size can positively impact their bottom lines by expanding to Walmart.com.
And why wouldn't they want to expand to a marketplace with such a rosy outlook?
Want to see if this new, massive online marketplace makes sense for your future expansion efforts? Keep reading to find out.
Walmart Marketplace has serious growth potential
This certainly isn’t an investing blog, but if it was, we’d recommend you add Walmart to your list of stocks to watch. That’s because the retail giant has recently been experiencing serious eCommerce growth.
In May 2017, Walmart reported a 63% increase in eCommerce sales and 69% increase in GMV in Q1 2017. To add context, the number of products listed on Walmart Marketplace quadrupled between 2016 and the start of 2017.
On top of that, in August 2017, Walmart then reported a 60% increase in online sales in Q2 2017. That's some serious growth!
Still, with approximately 40 million products for sale on Walmart.com, it’s still an open playing field relative to its biggest competition, Amazon and eBay.
What that means for sellers is clear: Those who get in early will be able to ride waves of success during this period of rapid growth.
Walmart has also invested heavily in eCommerce infrastructure by purchasing Hoboken, NJ-based Jet.com for $3.3 billion in 2016. In buying Jet, Walmart also acquired eCommerce company Hayneedle to strengthen its effort in the furniture category.
This move was followed up with the purchase of retailer Moosejaw to boost Walmart’s presence in the outdoor apparel space and acquisitions of Modcloth and Shoebuy to help attract Millennials shoppers.
And with over 6,300 Walmart International locations and over 5,300 retail units in the United States as of January, 2017 (including over 3,500 Supercenters and nearly 700 Sam’s Clubs), Walmart is poised to compete with its online rivals even more by shifting these retail spaces to “fulfillment centers” should they decide to pivot to a more aggressive eCommerce strategy.
In a recent statement, the company reiterated its vision of expanding its presence online by offering more "digital experiences" in place of building new brick-and-mortar locations. Amazon better be ready for an increase in competition!
The Walmart Marketplace seller community is highly exclusive
In order to be granted access to sell on Walmart.com, sellers must first apply or be invited by Walmart.
That’s right: access to Walmart Marketplace used to be invitation-only—but now you can apply and hope you’re qualified enough to meet Walmart’s stringent seller requirements and get accepted.
If you’re a highly skilled seller with stellar ratings on Amazon, eBay, and/or your own webstore, this is great news. That’s because you won’t be dealing with inferior competitors (or counterfeiters) trying to steal market share with shady business tactics if you gain access to Walmart Marketplace.
According to Walmart, the qualities looked for when inviting sellers to join Walmart Marketplace are:
• First-class customer service
• Unique product assortment
• Competitive pricing
• Fast and reliable fulfillment
On the Walmart Marketplace Application, you’ll be asked to provide basic personal and business information. You’ll also be asked to provide information about your primary, secondary, and tertiary selling categories, as well as your product assortment.
Be ready to supply information about your:
• Annual online revenue
• Total SKUs in catalog
• Projected number of SKUs on Walmart.com
• % Of SKUs With UPC Codes
• % Of Sales From Used Items
• % Of Sales From Refurbished Items
You’ll also be asked to share information like your:
• Average order value
• Years of eCommerce experience
• Amazon and eBay account details
• Total number of reviews in the past 12 months
• Positive rating %
Don’t be surprised to also see questions relating to the usage of FBA and dropshipping for fulfillment. And, expect to be asked about your choice of shipping method, customer service, and returns policies, since Walmart.com sellers are responsible for all of those, as opposed to when selling via Amazon FBA.
Assuming you apply and get in (or you’re awesome enough to be invited by Walmart to participate), you’ll be in the company of other reputable sellers who understand how to keep Walmart Marketplace profitable for everyone, despite the competition.
(And if you don't get accepted, perhaps you should start following these seller best practices to sharpen your game.)
Selling on Walmart Marketplace will expand your overall reach
While Amazon is currently in the top spot in Internet Retailer’s most recent Top 500 Guide for eCommerce marketplaces, Walmart is already in third place despite being fashionably late to the party.
That’s because Walmart is attracting “over 110 million unique visitors a month (and growing),” according to its website. That means smart sellers can get in and establish a presence with Walmart’s already massive user base, which only overlaps with Amazon’s somewhat.
On top of that, Walmart recently introduced free 2-day shipping on eligible orders $35 and up, if placed by 2pm in the time-zone of the delivery address, and without customers having to pay an annual fee.
This power play is designed to steal market share directly from Amazon Prime, which charges an annual fee to customers who want the benefit of free 2-day shipping on most orders.
With plenty of new potential customers to reach on Walmart Marketplace and reasonable referral fees that vary by category, including it in your multichannel sales strategy makes more sense than avoiding it.
The company is also transparent about the ongoing optimization being made to the Walmart Marketplace platform, so sellers can feel confident that Walmart has their back as they look to expand their own reach in the eCommerce space.
You can gain competitive advantage on Walmart with repricing
As you may have heard, Appeagle just expanded its automated repricing platform to help sellers fuel sales on Walmart Marketplace.
The Appeagle-Walmart integration is major news for current and prospective Walmart Marketplace sellers. That’s because using a repricer to automate your price changes can seriously boost sales and help you gain valuable insight into your product mix, and Appeagle gives sellers the option of algorithmic repricing as well as pre-configured and fully customizable rules-based strategies.
Walmart uses a similar “Buy Box” system to Amazon, where one seller “wins the Buy Box” for any given listing that has multiple sellers.
While Walmart’s algorithm for determining Buy Box winners is currently set at picking the lowest-priced offering on a listing, we’re confident the company will start taking into account different seller metrics similar to Amazon’s system of basing winners on a set of seller performance metrics.
And you’d better believe that having competitive prices on your listings is one of the most heavily weighted factors in awarding the Buy Box on Walmart Marketplace.
Walmart also constantly monitors prices of products sold by third-party sellers and will remove any listings deemed uncompetitive.
Using an automated repricer can help you keep the prices of your Walmart Marketplace listings competitive at all times, so you can be making sales even while you sleep.
As one of the first and only repricing tools available to Walmart sellers, Appeagle is poised to lead the way for Walmart Marketplace repricing as its popularity scales.