If your brand is looking to grab a piece of the burgeoning eCommerce market, the Walmart Marketplace has probably popped up on your radar. Walmart wields the power of 324 million unique monthly visitors to its site, a strong reputation online and offline and relatively low seller fees.
While it’s no Amazon, there’s still a lot of opportunity to be had. But being successful on Walmart requires a clear understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do as a seller. Certain best practices will not only help you get ahead of the competition, but also protect you from getting unpublished—or worse, having your selling privileges revoked altogether.
Continue reading to learn the top dos and don’ts of selling your brand on Walmart.
1. DO Optimize Your Product Listings
One of the basic, yet smartest things you can do is to check that your product listings are easy to find. Like all other marketplaces, Walmart has its own search engine algorithm that decides what products are shown when a buyer types in “headphones for running” or “tea pot” into the Walmart search bar.
But the reality is, you’re up against 80 million other listed products on Walmart.com’s Marketplace. To make sure your brand gets seen, make sure that you:
- List to the right categories and subcategories (avoid using “other”)
- Include complete item specs
- Include keywords into your product description and title without affecting readability
- Write a clear, concise product name that’s within 50-75 characters long and doesn’t include special symbols
- Use multiple strong images that are appropriately sized (e.g., fashion images must be portrait mode with 3:4 aspect ratio) and follow Walmart’s product content policies
- Cut out generic “fluff” from your descriptions and focus on highlighting key differentiators, customer FAQs or necessary instructions
- Study all the essential components of a Walmart listing and SEO best practices to improve searchability
A well-optimized Walmart listing should include copy that differentiates your product from competitors
2. DO Practice Price Parity
Uncompetitive pricing is the number one reason for getting delisted on Walmart. In an effort to offer the lowest price possible for any product on its shelves, Walmart strictly enforces two price-related rules:
- Price Parity Rule, i.e., your item cannot be purchased from you at a lower price (including cost of shipping) from any competing website
- Price Leadership Rule, i.e., your item cannot be purchased at a drastically lower price (including cost of shipping) from anyone on Walmart.com or any competing site
Avoid violating these rules by pricing your product the same on all of your marketplaces and webstores. Be mindful of how shipping fees might affect the total price. And if you temporarily change the price on any channel, be vigilant in checking that it doesn’t cause you to get unpublished elsewhere.
Make sure to keep an eye on your competitors’ prices. If you’re a retailer posting to a competitive listing, an algorithmic Walmart repricer can help you automatically maintain the Buy Box within boundaries that you set.
If you rely on services like Amazon FBA that drive up your seller fees, you’ll want to rethink your strategy. Beyond limiting your ability to price competitively, using Amazon FBA could get you suspended on Walmart (see donts).
3. DO Take Advantage of Walmart’s Free 2-Day Shipping Program
Walmart’s 2-Day Shipping program is rooted in the idea that buyers who checkout more items in one transaction can offset shipping costs. By participating in this program, you can offer your buyers two-day shipping (no membership required) and spend less time competing on price, more time competing on service.
In addition, any listing that’s included in this program will sport a “fast shipping” tag. Buyers can filter for products based on this tag and Walmart’s search engine will automatically prioritize items that offer free, fast shipping.
Fortunately, any marketplace seller can apply for this program. The only catch is that you must meet (and maintain) certain eligibility requirements:
- Be a Walmart Marketplace seller for more than 90 days
- Have fulfilled a minimum of 100 orders on Walmart Marketplace
- On-time shipping >95%
- On-time delivery >95%
- Accurate products shipped > 99.5%
- Valid Tracking > 95%
- Cancel rate <1.5%
- Generous return policy
Request access through your Seller Center. Once approved, you can select which states and regions you can support two-day shipping.
4. DO Leverage Kits and Bundles
Offering products as multipacks, preassembled bundles or virtual kits can increase average order value (AOV) while lowering shipping costs. For example, imagine a customer, Jerry, is looking to buy shampoo from you. He stumbles on your listing for a 2-pack at a 10% discount. Jerry knows that he’ll eventually have to buy shampoo again and figures that he might as well save a couple bucks, in turn saving you the cost of making two individual shipments.
In another instance, a customer, Shannon, might find your listing for a bundle that includes the shampoo, conditioner and a new line of body lotion. She wasn’t looking to buy conditioner, let alone try a product she’s never used before. However, she sees that she’s receiving a $40 value at a lower price and thinks, “Why not?”
Kits have great convincing power. They simultaneously give you an opportunity to couple slow-moving products with popular ones. You can additionally create unique product listings for kits, helping you stand out from competitors who might be selling the same or similar products as single units. All of this, on top of their innate ability to increase AOV.
Note: When listing a kit, you cannot use the same UPC as an underlying single unit. Walmart will only allow one listing per UPC, so you will have to assign a unique UPC to your kit.
5. DON’T Sell a Used Product
Walmart forbids the sale of used, counterfeit, vintage or handmade products. Violating this rule will get you kicked off. The general rule of thumb for selling on Walmart’s Marketplace successfully is to offer products that are moderately-priced, versus luxury items or products with low margins that’ll hurt your profitability on such a price-sensitive platform.
Walmart also has a separate list of prohibited products that includes alcoholic beverages, digital products and recalled items. Specific categories like cell phone accessories and seasonal products require additional approval.
6. DON’T Use Walmart Performance Ads (WPA) Blindly
WPA is to Walmart as Sponsored Products are to Amazon. Walmart’s pay-per-click (PPC) ads let you prominently display products when a buyer searches for relevant keywords or phrases on walmart.com. You’re required to spend a minimum of $1,000 per campaign and a minimum daily budget of $100 per day.
Ideally, every product you promote through WPA will receive more views and sales. But this isn’t always the case. The trick is knowing which products are ad-worthy. Every listing you promote should be well-optimized with clear photos, compelling copy and competitive pricing/shipping.
Products with five-star reviews have a leg up, as do unique private-label items. If your ad gets a lot of views but fails to attract a sale, consider ways to further differentiate your product listing and improve ad performance.
7. DON’T Fulfill via Amazon FBA
One surefire way to get suspended from Walmart marketplace is by fulfilling orders through Amazon FBA. Walmart doesn’t hide its disdain for FBA shipments, which are all packaged in Amazon-branded boxes.
“Sellers should not use FBA or any system that will deliver items purchased through Walmart in competitors’ packaging, as this implicitly advertises another marketplace and causes customer confusion,” the retailer states.
Beyond this, Amazon FBA will dilute the visibility of your own brand. Buyers may instinctively go back to Amazon.com to repurchase items as opposed to going to your site.
Safe to say that those who have their own warehouses and shipping capabilities have the greatest advantage. Consider how you can similarly bring shipping in-house, if only for your Walmart sales.
8. DON’T Manage Walmart in Isolation
Chances are, Walmart Marketplace is just one of several channels that you’re selling on. If this is the case, make sure that your channels all talk to each other so that product data and inventory (among other things) stay in balance.
Avoid managing each channel from separate seller portals or entering the number of available units by hand. Besides being inefficient, these tactics will leave you vulnerable to human errors, overselling and/or shipping delays from forgotten or miscommunicated orders.
Alternately, consider automating and centralizing your workflows with a commerce operations management (COM) system like Zentail. Remove the redundancy from listing across multiple channels. Control price parity between marketplaces. Keep multichannel inventory in sync. Automatically route orders to the right warehouses with the right lead times. And get multichannel analytics, so you know what’s selling where.
As with every ecommerce channel, Walmart Marketplace has its unique quirks and rules of engagement. Be smart about how you list and price your products. Create unique product listings by assembling kits and bundles.
Avoid common mistakes, like throwing money at ads without a clear plan or managing Walmart separately from your other online channels. While some of these steps may require more due diligence, the long-term rewards far outweigh the upfront time investment. Heed these tips to maximize your opportunity and make Walmart work for you.
About the Author
Allison Lee is the marketing manager at Zentail, the industry’s leading commerce operations management (COM) system for multichannel sellers. Zentail helps brands centralize, simplify and automate their operations with top-rated listing, order and inventory management tools. It leads the market with its AI-driven listing solution, SMART Types, and user-friendly interface. Learn more at www.zentail.com or follow them on Twitter @zentailcommerce. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]