Walmart is giving a boost to marketplace sellers beginning in November. Scott Hilton, Chief Revenue Officer for Walmart eCommerce US, announced the news on the Walmart blog this morning.
“We’re working with our marketplace sellers to make millions of items available for free two-day shipping without a membership fee and simplifying the returns process for items purchased from marketplace sellers, including launching the ability to facilitate returns of these items at any one of our 4,700 stores,” Hilton wrote.
Walmart is working with hundreds of “high-performing marketplace sellers” to make millions of their items available for free two-day shipping. Note that Walmart makes free two-day shipping available on orders over $35.
And starting in mid-November, here’s how in-store returns will work for marketplace orders:
– The customer packages the product for return;
– The customer brings the item to the Services desk at any of our Walmart stores;
– We will facilitate the return by shipping the item back to the seller and the customer will receive the refund from the seller.
We’ve got some question in to Walmart, such as who will pay for the return shipping to the seller and how many third-party sellers are active on Walmart Marketplace.
Hilton said in his post that a great product return experience is a top contributor to overall customer satisfaction and repeat purchases. The company is currently rolling out the ability for customers to log in to Walmart, print out a return label and ship back to the seller. And in-store returns will roll out next month. He noted that 140 million customers shop Walmart stores weekly, adding that 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store.
Update 10/23/18: A Walmart spokesperson told us in-store returns will be available for eligible items. “We’re working with sellers now and expect millions of items to be available for in-store returns.”
As to who picks up the tab for the cost of shipping the item back to the seller, she said: “Return shipping fees vary by seller and by reason for the return. The important point here is that the return policy for sellers isn’t changing; we’re making it easier and more seamless to facilitate the return.”
Walmart offers 75 million items in total – it does not break out its own items versus marketplace items. It expect “millions of additional items” to become eligible for free two-day shipping.