Walmart Marketplace

How the Walmart Marketplace Differs from Amazon

We all know Amazon is the most visited shopping website in the US. But how many of us know that Walmart is ranked number two? Boasting more than 88 million unique visitors a month and 11 million unique items, maybe it’s time to start thinking about selling on the Walmart Marketplace.

How the Walmart Marketplace Differs from Amazon

Steep Barrier to Entry

The most obvious difference between the two platforms is Walmart’s barrier to entry. Sellers have to be invited to sell on the Walmart’s Marketplace, which can take anywhere from two to four weeks. This may be a complete letdown to many sellers but it’s actually a good thing. Why? Because Walmart wants sellers who have an excellent reputation on Amazon and eBay. Sellers should have an order defect rate below 1%, and have impeccable seller feedback. But once sellers have been approved, getting started is fairly straight forward.

Less Competition

As a result of the steep barrier to entry, there is less competition on the Walmart Marketplace, which means sellers who get in will have a great chance of standing out. It’s estimated that Walmart has approximately 1,000 third-party sellers—with hundreds of new sellers added monthly. This is a drop in the bucket compared to Amazon’s two million third-party sellers. But  fewer sellers means a greater chance at winning the Buy Box. The Walmart Buy Box is based on whoever is selling their product at the lowest price; whereas Amazon’s Buy Box takes into account a seller’s performance, price, sales, fulfillment, order defect rate and a whole slew of factors. Will the Walmart Buy Box become more sophisticated, who knows? But Walmart wants shoppers to get the absolute lowest price anywhere.

Smaller Product Selection

The Walmart Marketplace currently offers 10 million SKUs but it’s adding a million more each month. Compare that to Amazon’s bulging 260 million SKUs and it’s not hard to see why Amazon is called “The Everything Store.” But sellers and shoppers shouldn’t write off Walmart because of its current product offering. This just means Walmart has ample space to grow. And Walmart is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Don’t forget, Walmart recently acquired e-commerce start-up Jet.com for $3 billion in cash. So there remains still much to be seen about what Walmart does with its e-commerce platforms moving forward. I think it’s safe to assume there will be more than 100 million SKUs available soon.

Fulfillment by Walmart

Similar to Fulfillment by Amazon, Walmart is adopting a similar process to pick, pack and ship products to customers. The main difference between FBA and FBW is Walmart has multiple ways to fulfill orders. Walmart uses its “fulfillment centers, store distribution centers, 4,500 stores and the company’s world-class transportation fleet to ship online orders.” Whereas Amazon fulfills orders from its Fulfillment Centers, the Merchant Fulfillment Network (MFN), and Seller-Fulfilled Prime. Walmart is using its diverse infrastructure to meet the demands of its shoppers. It may not be as optimized as Amazon’s but I wouldn’t discredit Walmart’s ability to delight customers.

But after browsing around Walmart.com and looking at the shipping options, it’s easy to see that two-day shipping will cost shoppers. The Rush shipping option, which takes two days, costs $10.97 for an iPad Air 2—that’s more than 10% of what a Prime membership would cost for a year. So if a shopper isn’t happy with the free snail mail option, they’re going to pay. Walmart does offer its free Store Pickup option but it’s currently not available to Marketplace sellers.

Is the Walmart Marketplace Worth Your Time?

Yes. Especially if you can prove you’re an excellent seller. Walmart has expressed its meticulous requirements for potential third-party sellers. The investment Walmart has made into its e-commerce platform should make seller everywhere perk up and pay attention to this already-established retail behemoth. In the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce, sellers must diversify and adapt in order to succeed. And Walmart presents a golden opportunity for those who are qualified. You can submit your application to sell here

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Cory Checketts

Cory is the content marketing manager at Seller Labs. He has more than five years of experience doing strategic communications and professional writing. When he’s not writing he’s getting dropped off the back of amateur cycling pelotons or yammering incessantly about motorsports.

This Post Has 26 Comments
  1. I was accepted to the Walmart Marketplace about 2 weeks ago. From my perspective, the fees are less than Amazon and I have nothing to lose (but a little bit of time).

    1. Seth,

      That’s great! Our friend Patrick just got accepted, too. He said he won’t be able to start selling until early 2017 though. What did you hear?

          1. I have a non-traditional Fulfillment center in Wisconsin that currently fulfills all of my FBM, Company Store (ECWID cart), and Ebay sales). I will continue with that until Walmart does some fulfillment that works for me.

  2. IMO you can not compare the two. Amazon is so much better. If there is an issue with a seller, Amazon steps in immediately and puts the seller in check. I have had Amazon reimburse me for a product sold to me by a third party seller and then they were reimbursed by the seller. This is a great way for Amazon to keep their customers happy. Anytime I have an issue and their have been few compared to Walmart, Amazon takes care of it. Walmart basically tells you the issue is between you and the seller.

    1. That’s a great point. Keeping the customer happy and resolving issues with FBA shipments is a huge plus with Amazon. I’m curious to see how Walmart expands their fulfillment program. Regardless of Walmart being supportive of sellers or shoppers, it’s going to be a huge opportunity for all sellers alike.

    2. walmart has NO customer service for marketplace customers. If you have an issue they just say it between you and the seller and to “please email the marketplace retailer directly”. You buy through their website (walmart.com) and you pay walmart not the seller but you have to get a refund from the seller. What service are they providing other than a listing site. They offer no protection for the buyer. Amazon, on the other hand no only has a great web site where you can manage everything about your oder including tracking you package and contact seller (not having to directly email them) they have the best customer service in the industry. When i have a problem they handle everythihg. and i mean everything, including contacting the seller, approving shipping upgrades and refunding purchases. they always exceed my expectations. Walmart marketplace is a joke. it’s like good luck your on your own.

      1. Thanks for the insightful comment.

        Many sellers are sheepish about selling on Walmart.com for the reasons you expressed. As frustrating as Amazon can be with how it handles 3P sellers, it does an amazing job of serving its customer’s needs. All of which is a benefit to sellers. I agree that the Walmart marketplace has a long way to go if it truly wants to compete with Amazon.

  3. It’s kind of well known that Amazon tracks SKU’s/Products that sell, buys those items to sell themselves, and knocks the 3P out of the buy box. So if the seller does a good job, Amazon will sell the product themselves.

    Do you have any idea if Wal-mart does the same? We would be interested in selling on Jet and Walmart. But we don’t currently sell on Amazon, for the above posted reason, and would probably avoid Walmart and Jet for similar reasons. We have however had decent luck on eBay (our primary market place).

    1. Cullen,

      From what I’ve heard around the internet, no, it doesn’t seem like Walmart would start private labeling your product at the moment. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t adopt a similar approach to Amazon’s Basic product line. But Walmart does have its Mainstays like which could in theory replicate a popular product.

    2. I don’t know if Walmart does that same thing Amazon does in regards to the buy box at the moment. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Walmart started selling its own Mainstays brand in popular categories, similar to what Amazon does with Basics.

  4. question… how does everybody purchase their shipping with walmart? does walmart provide a platform to purchase labels right online like ebay and amazon?

    1. Lux,

      We’re not able to give you an answer at the moment. We’re in the process of getting setup on Walmart.com. We’ll write a post once we get rolling.

  5. We just bought some sunscreen through Walmart on-line. It arrived on 6/13/17. The expiration dates are 12/16 and 8/15. Walmart makes it clear they will not do anything. For the price is it not worth pursuing with some obviously marginal third party. I see that Amazon would make it right and I have had consistent good experience with them. I’ll never visit a Walmart again.

  6. WalMart marketplace is terrible! I ordered items for Christmas back in November. The shipment was incorrectly shipped to an address in California ( I live in Wisconsin!) I contacted Walmart.com when it didn’t arrive. They made me try to contact the vendor first. When they gave no response, I contacted Walmart.com again, re-explained the situation. That rep transferred me to another rep who then tried to call the vendor getting no answer. Finally, that rep offered me a refund. Giving them the benefit of the doubt that anyone could make a mistake once, I reordered the items through a different Marketplace vendor via Walmart.com. Can’t happen twice right? WRONG! The second shipment was sent to Pennsylvania…again, I live in Wisconsin! Is it really that complicated? It makes me question the process they use to transfer the info. Why are the addresses so far off what is indicated on my WalMart account? In both cases, my WalMart account indicated the items were delivered to my correct address; however, when I clicked on the USPS tracking number, they indicated the city that the items were actually delivered to. Two out of two times and I still don’t have the items I ordered. Fortunately, I was able to find an Amazon vendor in the USA that will ship it to MY address by Christmas… Thanks Amazon, so long WalMart.com!

  7. Interesting to hear how someone said the fees are lower. Interesting if so; just looking at it it appears to me one advantage would be that there are less adds for other products other than your own. That would mean a higher conversion rate of people who come to your product page.

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