Armin Alispahic is a Team Lead at Bobsled, an Acadia company.
In 2020, Bobsled created a popular guide to teach clients How to Sell on Walmart effectively. Since then, there have been a number of important changes that can help brands become an important part of this eCommerce platform. With recent (and significant) growth in sales and better advertising efforts over the past few years, this is more than enough to encourage clients to take the Walmart marketplace more seriously as part of their omnichannel approach.
Walmart U.S. quarterly eCommerce sales growth in the United States from the fiscal year 2018 to 2022 (Source: Statista)
Walmart is finally starting to put the time into making its online marketplace as successful as the big contenders. Given enough time, the platform may even steal away a market share percentage from Amazon. With these new and exciting changes roaring into action, how can brands successfully start selling on Walmart.com? In this blog, I’m going to preview 2 of the 5 essential steps brands must follow in order to get properly set up with this advertising platform. Download our full Selling on Walmart guide to access all 5 steps!
Rising Interest in Walmart
A lot of our clients have been more interested in Walmart as of late; most of the time, it is being included as part of a brand’s expansion efforts as the first step away from Amazon. A lot of people will go to Walmart after Amazon due to its ease of access and the scope of opportunity on this eCommerce platform. Since a lot of major brands already exist in Walmart stores, it is even more important to get a foot in the door of the virtual retail space.
Walmart has a lot of its own channels that already coexist and support each other. For example, Walmart's Pickup and Delivery Services allow you to order items online, fulfill the order through an in-store representative, then have an associate (or third-party partner) deliver the items to your front door - or pick it up with special curbside delivery. Every day, Walmart.com is becoming far more accessible than an actual brick-and-mortar Walmart store, so it’s important to ensure that a brand’s best-selling products are taking advantage of this growth.
Comparing Amazon and Walmart
There are several differences - and a few similarities - between Amazon and Walmart eCommerce platforms that brands looking to expand their omnichannel efforts should be aware of.
Let’s start with the obvious: Amazon is a much larger eCommerce platform than Walmart, with a wider selection of products to boot. It also has more marketing tools available to sellers in terms of advertising, content, promotions, and discounts. This can be both a good and bad thing, as a larger platform gives way to higher chances of success but carries a risk of running into counterfeits or bad apples.
Reporting within Amazon is a more detailed and lengthy process, whereas Walmart purchases product reviews from other sites (such as a brand’s DTC). It is easy for clients to syndicate reviews from other websites through their seller center. For example, sellers can connect reviews from BazaarVoice or REviews.io that will feed into their product pages on Walmart. Amazon does not afford this luxury, only approving reviews that come from verified purchases on its own platform.
Both of these platforms are rather large; therefore, they are hugely in competition with each other. They are constantly trying to be the best with their pricing and fee structures, which is why Walmart recently introduced Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) to match Amazon’s FBA. Additionally, Walmart introduced Walmart Plus, which is a comparable equivalent to Amazon Prime.
A Word of Caution…
I want to warn my clients that Walmart’s reporting system is currently not as robust as it is on Amazon. It is still easy for data to get missed or not updated on time. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect a good ROI during the initial stages of your Walmart launch. Expansion into this platform should be seen as a future investment and an opportunity that will yield good results for early adopters of the platform.
A couple of other things to note:
- Ad auctions only take the first 128 products into account with organic search terms. If your product isn’t among the top 128, it will not be eligible for a sponsored auction (regardless of your bid amount).
- Since Walmart.com is merging with Walmart’s grocery and pick-up platforms, it is impossible to get enhanced content syndication regardless of your provider.
- Updating your content can be rough and time-consuming; this is because there are several levels of content authority at Walmart. Many SKUs have a “merchant manual block”, which means that Walmart's internal employees have the ultimate authority to decide what content is displayed on PDP.
More and more advertising options are being introduced to Walmart.com, and soon brands should be able to push more content to the platform.
Our Grocery Brands are Already Making the Switch
A grocery brand that already had somewhat of a presence in Walmart stores reached out to Bobsled to run their advertising on Walmart.com. Before joining us, the company did not have a clear advertising strategy for this particular platform. With the help of my team, we created a strategy that aligned the prospecting campaigns with the brand’s defense campaigns in order to scale profitability. Not to mention, this also helps to achieve better YoY results.
Surprisingly or not, the Walmart app proved to be our strongest performer by far and we have been continuing to optimize this on the platform. This brand has been changing aisles for some of its top sellers in the physical stores, so Bobsled has been developing awareness campaigns to inform customers of this change. The move itself, along with new advertising efforts, resulted in a huge spike in sales - check out the chart below!
With these changes allowing for increased omnichannel opportunities for many of our brands, we want to help newcomers get introduced to the seller’s account system at Walmart.
Next, we’ll show you some of the steps to setting up a new account, launching new products, and establishing important logistics.
Get Insight Into Bobsled’s Walmart Marketplace Expertise By Checking Out Our Walmart Marketplace Partner Network Announcement!
How to Start Selling on Walmart
Walmart will continue to grow and invest in its own eCommerce platform, driving more brands to join the bandwagon. The platform’s goal is still to match Amazon; they will probably be playing catch-up for several years before they reach success. Nonetheless, there will be more marketing options to choose from for brands looking to expand their omnichannel networking.
Below, I want to share 2 of the 5 steps to selling on Walmart that can quickly jumpstart your growth on this emerging platform. You can download our PDF guide afterward to get the final 3 steps!
1. Account Setup
Unless a brand receives an exclusive invitation to join Walmart’s Supplier Center, which is a 1P model, new sellers will be able to set up a 3P seller account in Walmart’s Seller Center. Here’s how to register:
Step 1: Account Creation
To create your account within the Seller Center, you’ll need the following:
- Company address
- Company bank account information (to receive payments from Walmart)
- Company tax information
You can visit the Walmart Marketplace Website and apply for your account creation by clicking the “Request to Sell” button. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to the Seller Center, where you can then input and update your information.
Step 2: Walmart Retailer Agreement
You will then be prompted to view the Walmart Retailer Agreement, which you can sign if you agree to the terms. Just click “Submit” at the bottom of the page, then “Continue” after that.
Step 3: Company Registration
During the registration process, you will be asked to create a Display Name that customers will see and a Corporate Address that Walmart will use internally. Once you input this information, your account is officially created.
Step 4: Tax Forms
Put your name in the box where it requires “Signature of U.S. Person”, then check the box below it to agree to the Terms of Acceptance on Walmart.com. You can choose to “Save” or “Continue” to the next steps.
Step 5: Payment Information
Currently, Walmart is partnered with Payoneer and Hyperwallet to process its payments. It’s important to know that Payoneer is the only option available for sellers with W8-BENE and W-8ECI tax classifications.
Step 6: Shipping Information
You can decide what shipping models to use when you enter this step of the account creation process. In the event that you have some items that are exceptions to your default shipping methods, you can create exceptions through the “Item Setup” process.
You can select your Pricing Model based on these criteria:
- Price of the Total Orders - Choose this option if the amount you charge for shipping is determined by the order’s total cost. You should also select this option if you offer free shipping.
- Item Weight or Number of Items Per Order - Choose this shipping model if you charge different shipping amounts based on the number of items shipped, or the weight of items shipped.
Then, you must select your different Shipping Methods and Regions where you will be sending your products. You can select the default shipping methods and regions where your items are naturally supported. This is the last step of the account registration process, but if you need more information, you can check out the Partner Profile Settings in Seller Center.
2. List Your Products
You can create listings on Walmart.com in two different ways:
- Add Item (single item setup)
- Add Items in Bulk (to create new items and item groups)
Let’s go over these in more detail:
1. Add Item - Single Item Setup
NEW: Single item setup has an option to save your item as a draft listing for 30 days, giving you plenty of time to fill out all of the product’s necessary details. You can save your progress at any time by clicking “Save as Draft” at the bottom of the page.
You can access your drafts by clicking the “Drafts” option on your Items Dashboard. Click on the item’s title to complete the setup or add more details.
How to Add a Listing
In the left navigation menu, make sure to select “Items” under the category “Product Catalog”. Then, you’ll want to “Add Single Item” from the drop-down menu. Please note that brands looking to utilize Walmart Fulfillment Services need to complete an extra step, which can be found here.
Creating Your Listing
- Select the ID type of your product and provide the item identifier (UPC, EAN, ISBN, or GTIN).
- Select your “Category”. If you are unsure which category your item falls into, check out the Item Categorization Guide.
- Enter your item name and fill in all required attributes. You should try to fill out the optional required attributes as well in order to improve product discoverability.
- Add images under the “Imagery & Media” tab. Make sure that the image you want to appear first on your Item Page is set as the Primary Image.
- Select the “Offer” tab and fill in the item’s important attributes such as Sell Price and Shipping Weight, along with additional pertinent information.
- When you’re done, click the blue “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.
2. Add Items in Bulk
Adding items in bulk is a very similar process to adding a single item. Here’s what you need to do:
- In the left navigation menu, select “Items” under “Product Catalog”.
- Click on “Add Items in Bulk” from the drop-down menu.
- Under Full Setup, be sure to select the right category for your item and then click the “Download” button. Those looking to fulfill through WFS need to select a fulfillment type: Seller Fulfilled or Walmart Fulfilled.
- Fill out the downloaded Full Item Specifications and try to fill out the optional specifications as well.
- When you’re done, click the blue “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.
Need more help creating product variants or uploading products in bulk? You can get some good information from Walmart’s knowledge base on the Manage Variant Groups page.
Want to follow the rest of the guide? Access Steps 3 - 5 by downloading our full PDF guide to selling on Walmart.com!
Access the Walmart Marketplace Today
Before visiting the full checklist, it’s important to discuss whether or not you need an agency to get started on Walmart.com or if this is something that you can do by yourself. It is absolutely possible to start setting up an account by yourself, and many brands choose to do this. But when you choose to work with Bobsled Marketing, you are choosing to work with one of only 10 agency partners for the Walmart Marketplace.
Through our relationship with Walmart, we are able to access an expedited account setup and approval process, shortening turnaround times so you can start selling even faster. We also help to shorten support queries, helping you get your questions answered twice as fast as you would by being a regular marketplace seller. We’ve been working with Walmart sellers and advertisers since 2018, helping us secure a spot as one of the top omnichannel agencies for brands looking to make this switch.
So, if getting it done right the first time is important to you, request a meeting with our experts to learn more about our Walmart support services!