If you’ve been looking through the stats, the commentary, the facts and the figures about Walmart Marketplace and licking your lips with anticipation, then there’s just one massive question to cover.
How on earth do you get onto the Walmart Marketplace?
Walmart vets anyone who wants to sell on its marketplace. There’s an application process, and it’s far from a free-for-all when it comes to receiving approval.
The marketplace exists to allow “elite” sellers to a) complement the retail giant’s existing selection of products and b) improve the level of service it can offer. If you can’t offer something new (at a great level of service, of course) or offer an even better level of service and price than Walmart itself, you’re far less likely to be approved.
That means you better be the best in your business if you want to get onto Walmart, and it helps too if you sell something that doesn’t already exist in the catalogue.
Thinking about it from the other side’s perspective is helpful here: if you’re Walmart, you want an extensive inventory to compete with Amazon and others in every possible niche. You don’t want the customer experience to be up to any totally unproven individual though.
Where Amazon trusts the market to right itself and weed out underperformers, Walmart simply doesn’t let anyone but the best get on to start with.
That's great if you're the best - you get the advantage of huge exposure, without being undercut by businesses offering a lesser service or product.
So how does Walmart pick the best?
Walmart states that it wants sellers who have:
First-class customer service
Unique product assortment
Fast and reliable fulfilment
It’s also looking for sellers that sell on other marketplaces, especially Amazon. It’s looking for sellers with a track record of fulfilling to customers and proven customer satisfaction in order processing, returns, and customer service.
To put that in numbers, here’s what you need in order to be approved to sell on Walmart:
An Amazon feedback rating at or above 95% or 4.5 stars. Sellers with a feedback below 97% or 4.8 stars will need to give an explanation.
A large number of annual customer reviews – this proves significant sales volume
Late shipment rate at or below 1%
Refund rate below 5%
As you can see, it’s cut-throat stuff. If you want a piece of the action on America’s fastest growing marketplace, you need to have your business running as smoothly as possible before you think about applying.
In case you’re interested, we’ve outlined the process for vetting and implementing you on the Volo platform, because this what we do. If you like, you can imagine doing the Volo pieces yourself. Here we go.
How We Do It
In the application phase, we send your details as a ‘lead’ to Walmart to generate the application process. We’re an integration partner so we have some sway here. Walmart sends you the application link and you apply. Walmart then validates your application and you provide additional information if necessary. If you're good to go, Walmart approves your application and sends you an electronic contract. You sign the contract electronically and get a registration email back.
In the integration phase, you complete the sign-up wizard and your profile, at which point you get an authorization token. With this token we create a Walmart account in the Volo system. We set the sales order start date to ‘today’ and implement your authorization token. We give you an import layout and give you guidance on the required fields and data you need to get started.
You then select around 100 products across a few categories, load them into the Volo system, set them active and push them out to Walmart marketplace. We review your handiwork and walk you through the process of placing a test order. You then place orders using the last ‘Launch Checklist’ option and mark the checklist as ‘Done’. Walmart then deems that you have gone live.
In the go live phase, you then load up to 80% of your inventory up to the Volo system, which we review and provide support where necessary. At this point Walmart transitions you from the Implementation team to the Support team and gives you a scorecard rating. You work to improve your scorecard rating over time, supported by us, and you're done.
All in all, it’s not exactly easy – but the reward is access to a huge volume of traffic with significantly reduced competition.