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Walmart Opens to 3P Sellers, Gradually

As Walmart opens up its Marketplace to increasing numbers of third-party merchants, more ecommerce service providers have been announcing support for the channel. For example, multi-channel shipping solution ShipRush and distributed commerce network CommerceHub have both recently announced their integrations with the retail giant’s ecommerce venue.

As Walmart is in the process of growing its Marketplace from hundreds of third-party merchants to thousands, we checked in with CommerceHub executive Bill Kong to learn what sellers should know about selling on Walmart.com, and how it differs from selling on Amazon. CommerceHub recently expanded its partnership with Walmart to allow its 9,500 retailer and brand customers to easily sell on the marketplace.

What type of seller should look into selling on Walmart Marketplace?

Bill Kong: Walmart is an invitation-only marketplace, with preference given to experienced marketplace sellers with a great reputation in customer service and strong product reviews. Interested sellers can submit information for review at Marketplace.walmart.com and are then selected based on reputation, sales projections, and alignment with Walmart’s values.

What are the biggest differences between selling on Walmart and selling on Amazon for online sellers?

Bill Kong: The biggest difference between Walmart and Amazon’s marketplaces is the barrier to entry for sellers. Because Walmart is invitation only, it has a relatively smaller group of sellers that are carefully reviewed, selected and approved. At the same time, Walmart.com is one of the top trafficked ecommerce sites in the U.S. with over 80 million unique visitors shopping on walmart.com every month – so there is still a large white space for the right sellers to grow their businesses.

Sellers on Amazon can become obsessed with winning the Buy Box – understandably so. Do you expect the same kind of competitive pressure on Walmart?

Bill Kong: There will be competition to win the “Buy Box” on Walmart. However, because the Walmart marketplace is invitation only, there are fewer sellers competing.

Walmart has also stated that it wants to have an even playing field, so they don’t weight Walmart first-party products more heavily than those from third-party sellers when surfacing items to shoppers.

What would you tell small merchants and micro sellers about the opportunities and challenges of selling on Walmart Marketplace?

Bill Kong: The most important point to note is that merchants must fill out an informational form and get an invitation from Walmart to become sellers. To improve their chances of success, sellers should do their homework – researching the top categories and sellers on the Walmart marketplace, understanding how products are priced, and identifying assortment gaps they can fill.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.