Thinking about Walmart Marketplace? Ask these 3 questions.
Wednesday September 6, 2017 | By Ethan Morgan
In a previous post we explored the Walmart opportunity. It sounds great, but what are the key points to consider?
These are the key points for your Walmart gameplan.
1. How do you get onto Walmart?
One thing we didn’t mention is that Walmart keeps its cards close to its chest on getting onto the marketplace. The process for selling on the Walmart marketplace is described (by Walmart) as proprietary and confidential.
Despite the apparent mystery, sellers who aren’t already on Walmart still have access to the opportunity. As an integration partner, Volo can pass candidates to Walmart’s new business team for consideration. We’ll talk more about that later, in another post.
Right now, Walmart is a US only marketplace. If you're a US seller, great. If you're not based out of the US, then you’ll need products in the US, a legally registered presence there, and either a third-party logistics presence or your own domestic warehouse to do business.
2. How can you make your business resilient?
As a third-party seller you are prey to the whims and fortunes of a marketplace. If a single marketplace provides you with most of your business, and you get kicked off that marketplace, perhaps in circumstances beyond your control; or the marketplace takes a nose dive; your business is in trouble. Many Amazon sellers have run into this type of issue in the past.
It's far better to have your business coming equally from a number of revenue streams. You’re better able to adjust your channel strategy to market conditions, and in a much better position if one channel is compromised by suspension or similar.
Plus, with a new marketplace, especially one the size of Walmart, you get access to millions of customers who are new to you. Each marketplace has its own rules of engagement. For example, on Walmart you can sell branded items that aren't allowed on Amazon due to brand gating.
There’s also fairer competition with Walmart's own products, since the Walmart ethos is very cheap pricing and they are happy for marketplace sellers to provide cheaper prices than they can or will. This, of course, is also a downside, because it can mean slim margins.
3. Which categories will be right for me on Walmart?
How suitable is Walmart.com for you as a seller? Well, a lot depends on the category you sell in. Grocery and consumable item sellers, whether you're a brand, merchant or retailer, need approval to sell in these categories. Only approved Sellers will be able to sell these items (based on their ability to offer additional assortment at competitive prices.)
Items that Walmart will approve should expand its existing selection and follow the rules about competitive pricing. Walmart may take some items down temporarily because its systems haven’t been able to verify that their price is competitive. These items go through an approval process before they can be published.
Finally, Walmart does limit the selling of some branded goods to those which are within the last 12 months. For example, sellers can’t offer current year models of products from the following brands: Beats, Canon, Fitbit, GoPro, LG, Nikon, Samsung and Sony Televisions. You can continue to offer older or refurbished models of these brands.