Walmart’s website gets 643 million monthly visitors, so becoming a Walmart marketplace seller offers many opportunities for many eCommerce sellers. Over 150,000 sellers are already on the marketplace, but there’s still plenty of room for more: Walmart recently saw a 16% year-over-year increase in U.S. eCommerce sales.
Walmart Marketplace now includes thousands of sellers, and it's growing. Walmart Marketplace offers a wide range of products and a lucrative sales channel for both small and large sellers in the U.S. With the increase in eCommerce during the pandemic, millions of people have turned to online shopping, and Walmart has the benefit of brand recognition and consumers' trust.
Due to Walmart Marketplace’s lack of a monthly subscription or setup fee, you can start on its marketplace with a low upfront cost. Additionally, Walmart lets you control your pricing, inventory, customer service, and fulfillment.
The guide below will take you step-by-step through how to become a Walmart marketplace seller, from the application process to launch.
An overview of Walmart Marketplace
Walmart Marketplace, like Amazon, is an online platform for third-party sellers to list their inventory and reach millions of potential buyers. It's easy to sell to Walmart's online marketplace. When people search Walmart.com for products, a third-party seller's products will appear in search results along with other items.
1. Reach a large, established audience
Walmart.com is one of the U.S.' most popular online shopping destinations because of its brand recognition and enormous product catalog, from jewelry to diapers, clothing, textbooks, and more.
You can leverage this traffic to get your products in front of millions of people's eyes, reaching a new customer base already accustomed to buying on Walmart.com.
2. Less competition
Even with Walmart Marketplace’s expanded reach, you might have less competition than you'd think because Walmart curates its marketplace. There's a screening process to ensure Walmart's customers only see high-quality, competitively priced products. The screening process ensures less competition for companies selling on Walmart Marketplace.
Additionally, because fewer competitors exist, sellers have better odds of winning the Buy Box on Walmart Marketplace than on Amazon Marketplace.
3. You pay for what you sell (no monthly fees)
When selling on Walmart Marketplace, fees are reasonable. The platform has a simple pricing structure and no setup or monthly fees. Instead, third-party sellers pay a referral fee of 3% to 20% for each purchase. The referral fee is 15% for most products, including furniture, apparel, kitchen, pet supplies, sporting goods, and toys.
4. You get access to advanced marketing and inventory-management tools
Walmart provides its marketplace sellers with eCommerce tools to organically increase conversion, monitor sales performance, better understand leads, create more effective campaigns, and more.
5. You can list unlimited SKUs
Walmart doesn't limit sellers to SKU minimums or maximums on its marketplace. Sellers can put their whole catalog on Walmart Marketplace, provided their products do not appear on Walmart's prohibited item list. Businesses with an extensive product catalog will find Walmart Marketplace appealing.
6. Customizable return policy
Sellers can create their return policy on Walmart Marketplace with greater control over the terms than on other marketplaces like Amazon. Brands don't have to set up restocking or return shipping fees; they can set up automated "keep-it rules." This means that if a returned product falls below a price threshold, the customer can get a refund and keep the product instead of putting themselves (and the seller) through the hassle of the return process.
When sellers apply to join the Walmart Marketplace, they must write a return policy under 4,000 characters with the following minimum standards:
- 14-day return window for electronics and luxury items
- 30-day return window for other items
During the holidays, however, Walmart automatically applies a different return window to your orders. As of this writing, customers can return items purchased between October 1st and December 31st until the following January 31st.
1. Stringent price requirements
Walmart's corporate mission is to save people money by offering the lowest possible product prices. This approach applies to its marketplace, too. Although brands and sellers can choose pricing, they can't conflict with Walmart's Price Parity Rule and Price Leadership Rule.
Price Parity prohibits sellers and brands from listing products at lower prices on other marketplaces. Price Leadership will take down listings if the same items are cheaper on another marketplace (even if it's another seller). When doing this, Walmart considers the cost of the product, shipping costs, and any additional fees.
2. Slimmer profit margins
Due to Walmart's Every Day Low Prices (EDLP) Guarantee, sellers and brands may have to lower their product prices on Walmart Marketplace and their websites. While offering products at lower rates may increase sales volume, sellers will probably see lower profit margins.
3. Not a one-shot solution
While you should always diversify sales channels to minimize risk in case one of them goes down, this is especially true for Walmart. According to Ahrefs, for example, Amazon gets over four times as many monthly visitors as Walmart: 955 million versus 226 million. Brands should avoid selling on Walmart Marketplace alone.
4. Walmart fulfillment is limited
Walmart used to require third-party sellers to sell, fulfill and ship their products and do customer service and returns.
Then Walmart launched Walmart Fulfillment Service in 2020. This service takes care of fulfillment, customer inquiries, delivery, and returns for eligible sellers. However, sellers and brands that do not qualify for Walmart Fulfillment Services must manage these aspects on their own. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), by contrast, is open to anyone with an Amazon Seller account.
5. Might face listing challenges
Walmart Marketplace operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. Regarding the Buy Box, the seller who lists a product first has priority over other sellers selling the same item. Sellers can only beat the original seller by offering a lower price, which will help win the Buy Box.
Selling on Walmart Marketplace: how to join
Now that you know some of the advantages and disadvantages of Walmart Marketplace, keep reading to learn how to sell on Walmart marketplace.
Submit a seller application
Applying to sell on Walmart Marketplace takes 10-15 minutes if you have the needed information ready. Here are the requirements:
- U.S. Business Tax ID (no SSN)
- W9 or W8 and EIN verification letter from the Internal Revenue Service that verifies your U.S. business address and place of physical operations
- Your primary product categories, catalog size, total SKUs you plan to sell on Walmart Marketplace, and other related data
- How you plan to integrate your product catalog (API, bulk upload, third-party software)
- No items from Walmart's Prohibited Products Policy
- Track record of eCommerce success
By giving as much information upfront as possible, you'll save time later. If you have to correspond with Walmart Marketplace during their review, respond quickly to avoid delays in the company approving you.
Once approved, complete the registration process
Once Walmart has approved you, the company will email you the link to finish registration.
Walmart's signup tool will guide you through the following steps:
- Creating account
- Signing Walmart marketplace seller agreement
- Registering business
- Filling out a W9 form
- Providing payment information
- Giving shipping information
As part of inputting your shipping information, you'll set up shipping rates and order fulfillment timeframes.
Next, you'll fill out your public-facing Seller Profile with the information below:
- "About Us" information for shoppers
- Phone number, email, and operating hours
- Return policy
- Shipping options and costs
- Tax information
First, you’ll provide your tax nexus. Tax nexus is a business' physical presence that creates a tax obligation to a state. Warehouses, offices, and call centers can determine nexus.
The nexus page will show a list of states where you may have nexus. To choose the nexus for a state, select the state and then the “sub-state.” By “sub-state,” Walmart means localities within a state that issue taxes. Some states have no sub-states, while others have thousands.
Next, you’ll select shipping sales tax codes, which let Walmart know what to charge customers for shipping.
Finally, you’ll provide details about your sales tax policies in under 4,000 characters. For example: "X% sales tax will be applied to all orders shipped to any [state] address."
In the shipping section, you’ll first choose your shipping model from one of the following options:
- Price of the total orders: this is when the order’s total cost determines the shipping charge. You can also choose this option if you offer free shipping.
- Item weight or the number of items per order: this is when you charge different amounts depending on the number or weight of the products.
Next, you’ll choose your shipping methods. Walmart requires that you provide “standard” and “value” shipping, and you can offer expedited, two-day, and next-day shipping options.
After that, you’ll choose transit times, so customers have accurate expectations for delivery times. Walmart’s requirements are as follows:
- Value: delivery required within three to seven days
- Standard: delivery required within two to five days
- Expedited: delivery required within one to two days
- Next day: delivery required within one day
Next, you’ll confirm shipping pricing based on which shipping model you chose, choose your processing schedule, choose your shipping time zones and add a brief explanation of your shipping policy for customers.
There are seven key ways to reduce your shipping costs, so consider these as you plan your Walmart operation.
Walmart uses Payoneer and Hyperwallet to disburse Marketplace partner payments, so you'll need to register with one of these services. However, you can only use Payoneer if you have a W-8ECI tax classification.
List and test your items
The last onboarding step is listing your catalog and testing orders before you go live to give customers a seamless checkout experience.
Start with your top-selling products first, and remember that these items will go live once you’ve completed testing. Therefore, don't put "test" in the names or product descriptions — these are actual items for purchase. If you sell items in multiple categories, include a handful of items per category.
Next, test a few orders by testing these processes: order acknowledgment, cancellation, shipping, and refund. You don't need to actually ship these orders.
Submit a launch request to go live
Once the ordering process goes off without a hitch, you can submit a launch request. Walmart’s go-live criteria are as follows:
- You’ve classified at least 95% of your products correctly.
- You’ve correctly filled out all the previous settings.
- You’ve correctly priced your inventory.
- Your payment account is active.
Click the “Ready to Launch” button,” and then Walmart will do a final review and launch your account for the public to access. Customers can buy your products within a few hours, but your products won't appear in their search results for 24-48 hours.
Best practices for getting approved to sell
Make sure your products aren't prohibited
Ensuring none of your products fall into the list below will help you get approved:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Butane gas
- Car batteries
- Certain medicines
- DOT fully regulated hazardous materials
- Fire extinguishers
- Household cleaners
- Household paints
- Lighter fluid
- Motor oil
- Paint thinners
- Pool chemicals
- Syringes with needles*
- Temperature-controlled items
Walmart doesn’t accept syringes with needles for subcutaneous injections, but it permits the following items:
- Empty syringes
- Sewing needles
- Basting needles/syringes for cooking purposes
- Automotive/tire needles
Have a track record of eCommerce success
Walmart is more likely to approve a seller with at least one year of selling history, positive reviews on other sites, or proof that you’ve successfully fulfilled customer orders. Walmart will use metrics from other platforms you’re on to analyze your business's performance, including sales success and customer satisfaction.
If Walmart would be your first online marketplace, you may want to try eBay or Amazon or make sure you’re doing volume on your brand’s site. Walmart doesn’t have an exact business size it requires for approval, but anecdotally, it seems to approve sellers with at least six figures in annual sales.
Provide as many details about your business as possible
Ensure your company's information, like address, name, and phone number is consistent across all forms of documentation because discrepancies may lead to the rejection of your application. Additionally, don’t worry about going overboard in proving your track record as an eCommerce seller; it’s better for Walmart to have too much than too little.
Tips for success as a Walmart Marketplace seller
Optimize your product listings
Walmart's algorithm gives your product listings a score ranging from 0% to 99%. Your score considers product descriptions, product images, ratings and reviews, content and discoverability, and post-purchase quality. Post-purchase quality includes criteria like cancellation and return rates. You can find your Listing Quality Score in your Seller Center dashboard, along with ideas on improving your listing quality.
Work towards earning a pro seller badge
Walmart displays the Pro Seller Badge next to your business name. Sellers receive this badge by delivering consistent on-time delivery, excellent customer service, and free returns. Listing Quality is also an important factor, and Walmart updates badges twice per month.
Here are the Pro Seller Badge criteria:
- Delivery defects rate: less than 10%
- Orders in the past 90 days: more than 100
- Cancellation rate: less than 2%
- Violations of trust and safety or performance standards: none
- Listing Quality Score: at least 60% on at least 70% of the seller's trending catalog
- Seller account active: minimum of 90 days
Walmart Marketplace automatically grants or revokes badges based on these criteria.
Offer quality customer service
Walmart keeps a close eye on customer satisfaction, and you can keep yours high by doing the following:
- Answer every email with a human response within 24 hours.
- Have a business phone number (not a cell or home number).
- Provide customer support in English.
- Have customer service representatives available 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- Have a notification system in place so you can respond to the Better Business Bureau or Attorney General within one hour.
- Have voicemail available for when your customer service time is unavailable.
- Return all voicemails within 24 hours.
Make selling on online marketplaces simple
A lot goes into being successful on Walmart Marketplace, and Cart Channels can help you save time and boost your profits. Our platform automates fulfillment, pricing, and promotions across over 2,000 advertising channels and marketplaces. Cart Channels helps our customers win the Buy Box on Amazon and Walmart 72% of the time on average, so you earn more sales.
We also offer managed services to help you execute day-to-day operations like onboarding teams and a category manager, setting up products on new marketplaces, auditing listings, and optimizing advertising. Our Price Watch Tool will help you monitor your competition to maintain your pricing edge.
Learn more about Cart Channels here.