How to Sell on Walmart Marketplace: The Ultimate Guide
Amazon and eBay are no longer the only two online marketplaces you should pay attention to. If you want to sell as many products as possible online, you need to get on the Walmart Marketplace as well.
The Walmart Marketplace is becoming a real force to be reckoned with in eCommerce. And it’s growing at a rapid pace. In Q2 2020, total online sales increased by 97% YoY.
In this post, we’re going to cover the Walmart Marketplace, fees, pros, and cons, compare it to Amazon Seller Center, and show you how to quickly set up your own account and start selling more products.
Use the links below to jump straight to the section that interests you the most:
- 1. Walmart: Going Big on eCommerce in 2021
- 2. What Is the Walmart Marketplace and Why Should You Care?
- 3. Walmart Marketplace Requirements: What Do You Need?
- 4. Walmart Marketplace vs Amazon Seller Central
- 5. Walmart Marketplace Pros and Cons
- 6. 6 Steps to Register Your Walmart Marketplace Account and Start Selling
- 7. 10 Best-Selling Walmart Marketplace Products You Can Learn From
- 8. Critical Considerations
- 9. Final thoughts
- 10. Walmart Marketplace FAQs
Walmart: Going Big on eCommerce in 2021
Most of you already know of the retail giant Walmart, but it may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about platforms to sell more products online.
But with the wild growth in 2020 and 2021, the online Walmart store is becoming one of the leading players in the market.
Over the past few years, the total online sales have more than doubled, with a forecasted 43 billion dollars in online sales in the US alone in 2021.
Part of the reason for this growth is the pandemic, sure, but Walmart’s leadership has also invested heavily in the transition to eCommerce.
Walmart has invested billions of dollars in successful eCommerce brands, most notably acquiring ecommerce retailer Jet.com for $3 billion in 2016.
Jet.com was never commercially successful itself, but it developed the core infrastructure that Walmart needed to make a big move in eCommerce, including an API that likely helps power Walmart Marketplace today.
Walmart has continued to acquire brands over the past few years, and the company is now using the expertise of those founders and staff to help grow its own business.
Direct-to-consumer clothing brand Bonobos is just one example of more recent acquisitions. This time, Walmart “only” had to spend $310 million.
One of the easiest ways to notice the impact of these investments is to pay attention to the transformation in the user experience of the walmart.com site.
Today, it’s an easy-to-use online shopping site, not really any more clunky than the established giant, Amazon.
The unique advantage Walmart has over Amazon is that it can offer store pickup (curbside pickup these days) for thousands of locations around the country. (Though this doesn’t help you unless Walmart decides to carry your product on its shelves.)
What Is the Walmart Marketplace and Why Should You Care?
The Walmart Marketplace is the equivalent of Amazon Seller Central, Walmart’s way to let third-party sellers offer products on their platform for a fee on each completed sale.
It lets individual store owners or brands sign up directly on the official site, and start offering their product catalog directly on walmart.com.
Once Walmart approves your account, consumers can see your products when browsing categories or searching for something specific in the online store.
If you want another channel to sell even more products online, Walmart Marketplace is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Walmart’s online store now ranks #3 globally in terms of online sales volume. If you’re a (mainly) online retailer, or a brand, that’s something you can’t afford to miss.
While Amazon is still bigger, Walmart’s online sales are growing faster and starting to catch up to its main competitor.
How does Walmart Marketplace work?
Walmart Marketplace works as a relatively open platform for third-party sellers (as long as they have a registered business in the US or Canada).
To start listing your products, you need to follow the following process:
- Sign up for a seller's account and apply.
- Get approved during the manual review process.
- Start listing and selling products in the Walmart Marketplace.
- Pay Walmart a fee for each sale.
There is no up-front signup fee or ongoing subscription cost to become a seller. Instead, you pay a percentage of the sales for each product.
Note: The specific percentage varies with product category and price, but 8% is quite common for a lot of products.
So, in essence, you get access to a whole new potential audience for your products without having to invest in an expensive (and risky) marketing campaign.
All you have to do is sign up and start selling your products on Walmart. Now that you understand a little bit more about what the Walmart Marketplace is, let’s talk about requirements.
What do you need to sign up and get approved by Walmart’s audit team? Let’s find out.
Walmart Marketplace Requirements: What Do You Need to Start Selling on Walmart?
The Walmart Marketplace requirements are a lot stricter than the requirements for its affiliate program.
The reason for that is simple: Walmart is going to be selling physical products that you supply. That comes with a much higher level of inherent risk than simply letting someone advertise its products.
In general, Walmart Marketplace is only open to US-or-Canada-based businesses (or companies with a US or Canadian subsidiary), and requires the documentation to prove it.
So here are the things you need to apply for your Walmart Marketplace account today:
The US or Canadian Business Tax ID
Unlike with affiliate marketing services, your private SSN just won’t cut it. You need a unique US business tax ID to sign up.
If Walmart’s sellers don’t pay taxes, Walmart doesn’t want to have to get into arguments with the IRS. (Unlike Amazon, Walmart actually pays its taxes.)
It’s not enough to just have a business tax ID, either. You need to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that you have a registered, legitimate business in the US.
A Confirmed US Business Address With a W9 or W8 and an EIN Letter
The next thing you need is a confirmed US or Canadian business address, complete with W9 or W8 tax ID forms, and an EIN verification letter.
The EIN verification letter from the Department of Treasury verifies your business and its location.
If you don’t have an EIN number or letter yet, you can apply for it online through IRS’s official website.
The process is fairly straightforward, but unfortunately, it does take the Department of Treasure some time to process requests.
So if you don’t have one of these, the first step can delay the signup process considerably. Once you’ve proven that you have a US business, it’s time to show that you have products relevant to walmart.com for sale.
A Comprehensive Digital Product Catalog
The next necessary item is a digital catalog of all your products. It must include SKUs, product categories, and no prohibited products (for example, alcohol or prescription medicine).
You can look at Walmart Marketplace’s official product catalog template to learn more about its required information.
Basically, you need to include most the information available in your warehouse management system or ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.
Note: When you’re adding products during the signup process, do not add any test items. The catalog must only include real products, as they’ll automatically show up on walmart.com when your account is approved.
An Easily Confirmable Record of Ecommerce Success
Walmart needs to be able to see that your products actually sell and that you’re worth having on its marketplace. This is one of the considerations during the manual review process.
For example, if you’ve got a well-reviewed storefront on Amazon, that will help you get through the approval process.
If you exclusively sell your products through your own website, showcasing confirmed reviews and other social proof will help your case.
Many potential sellers also wonder if it’s a requirement that the products they sell are new and unopened.
If you opt to fulfill your own deliveries, there are a few requirements to note (if you want to remain a seller).
- You cannot use any branding or logos on the packaging or include any marketing materials (other than Walmart’s) in the packaging beyond your product.
- You must offer at least two of Walmart’s approved shipping options: Value (3–7 days) and Standard (2–5 days). You can also offer expedited, 2-day, and next-day shipping options.
(Source: Walmart Marketplace)
If you can’t meet these requirements, you will either fail during the initial review, or lose your account as soon as the auditors notice.
Customer Service Requirements
Walmart Marketplace also mandates a certain level of customer service from its vendors.
- You must answer all customer service emails or questions within 48 hours of receiving the message.
- The response must be “high-quality” and written by a human. No chat bots allowed.
- You must supply phone support in English.
- You can’t register a cell phone, residential phone, or internet phone service number. It must be a real office number registered in the US or Canada.
Can You Sell Used Items on Walmart Marketplace?
The short answer is yes, you can sell used items on Walmart Marketplace. While you can’t sell any used or opened cosmetics products or other perishable items, other used items are fine.
Used items aren’t mentioned in the “prohibited product categories” list, and you can quickly find marketplace sellers who are indeed selling used products on the platform.
Used sports equipment, for example, is a fairly large and established niche in the online store, though it doesn’t have its own category.
Used golf balls, in particular, seem to be making someone a nice chunk of change.
So basically, as long as the products are non-perishable and you specify that the products are used, you’ll be okay.
Of course, unless you have multiple used products that fall under the same label, you may have an issue establishing a popular product (as reviews are crucial for making sales and getting prioritized in the search results).
Walmart Marketplace vs Amazon Seller Central
To show you the benefits of the Walmart Marketplace, let’s compare it to the industry standard, the Amazon Seller Central.
For most inexpensive products, like books and toys, Walmart charges a 15% referral fee for all sales.
On higher-priced items like cell phones and other consumer electronics, it typically charges 8%.
This is comparable to Amazon Seller Central referral fees, which also tend to stay between 8 or 15% (except for official Amazon device-related products).
With Amazon, however, you also have to pay a flat $0.99 selling fee for each sale, or pay for a monthly $39.99 subscription to sell on Seller Central.
That’s actually the main difference in fees and pricing, because Walmart charges no additional fees beyond the commission.
Of course, if you sell thousands of products, $40 per month is nothing. But for someone just starting out on their eCommerce journey, it could make a difference. (Although if you’re scared of investing $40, you shouldn’t be embarking on an online business adventure.)
For large vendors, though, the fees are virtually identical for all intents and purposes — which is a nice benefit.
It means that you won’t have to change your pricing between platforms to maintain your profit level.
If you don’t want to fulfill your own online sales, you don’t have to. Both Amazon and Walmart offer fulfillment options.
Amazon has FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) and Walmart offers WFS (Walmart Fulfillment Services)
The prices are very competitive, and in some cases, Walmart actually comes out on top. The only issue is that FBA caters better to vendors who sell a lot of smaller items.
- $3.40 per item under a pound
- $0.75 per cubic feet of storage per month
- $1.97 per item under 4 oz. (113 grams) ($3.48 for items up to a pound)
- $0.75 per cubic feet of storage per month
As you can see, Walmart is slightly cheaper for items under a pound, but it doesn’t offer a lower price tier for smaller products.
So if you sell small, inexpensive items, Amazon Seller Central is the clear option here. However, if you sell larger, more expensive items, WFS is just as good, if not better.
Now that we’ve looked at their fees, and realized they’re virtually the same, let’s examine the sales potential of the different platforms.
Sales Potential: Site Traffic and Sales Volume
First, let’s take a look at the traffic. We analyzed both amazon.com and walmart.com using a website statistics tool called Similarweb.
According to the results, Amazon has over 5x the amount of monthly traffic of Walmart. Amazon.com gets over 2 billion monthly visits, versus “just” 430 million for walmart.com.
Now, that’s a huge difference in the number of potential customer eyeballs that you can potentially put your product in front of.
When it comes to online sales volume, we also see the same story.
Amazon expects $100 billion in online sales in Q1 2021. That’s more than double Walmart’s entire 2021 eCommerce sales of $43 billion dollars (that we highlighted in the graph in the introduction).
Still, over $10 billion dollars of eCommerce sales per quarter is nothing to scoff at. Even though it’s smaller than Amazon, it’s still a force to be reckoned with.
You wouldn’t say no thank you to a piece of a 43-billion-dollar pie, would you?
As the best-established marketplace for online sellers outside of eBay, there are a lot of registered sellers to compete with on Amazon.
There are literally millions of sellers on the platform (over 9 million registered, and 1.9 million active sellers, according to Marketplace Pulse).
On the other hand, Walmart Marketplace has yet to break 100,000.
(Source: Marketplace Pulse)
That means you may have a lot less competition on the platform. There’ll be a lot fewer independent vendors selling the same products.
If you sell products in obscure categories, this can be a huge help, as your listings may automatically show up closer to the top of the search results.
The battle for the buy box is a lot easier when fewer sellers are trying to underbid each other.
Reputation and Future Prospects
Since Walmart is raising the company’s minimum hourly wage to $15 for over 700,000 workers, there’s a brand position play you can make by partnering with Walmart over Amazon.
At the same time, while Amazon is getting a lot of bad press and negative publicity and social media coverage, it’s posting record sales numbers quarter after quarter.
Can you really afford not to have your products on the biggest online marketplace in the world?
Both Walmart and Amazon are predicted to continue growing at breakneck speed as the transition to online and omnichannel shopping continues.
So the best idea for most companies and entrepreneurs is to use both platforms to sell more products.
If you’re worried about Walmart’s reputation as a discount grocery retailer, you shouldn’t be. That’s not how Walmart operates online. The online store includes a wide range of products, including premium ones that appear to sell quite well.
Walmart Marketplace Pros and Cons
So to wrap things up, let’s boil everything down to pros and cons, and conclude whether you should sign up for Walmart Marketplace.
Pro: Low Competition
While “low” might be a stretch if you’re in one of the popular product categories, there’s definitely a lot less competition than on Amazon, especially in obscure categories where Amazon FBA niche businesses thrive.
One crucial marketing concept is known as “first-mover advantage,” where the first company to release a certain product, or reach a certain market has an undeniable advantage over all competitors.
If you can be the first person to start selling a niche product on Walmart, you can stock up on reviews and sales rank, and other products (even from established companies) will struggle to catch up on the platform.
Pro: Growing Marketplace With a Lot of Potential
With a more than doubling sales volume over the past year, it’s no longer a platform you can afford to ignore.
No matter which type of products you sell online, there’s starting to become a market for it on walmart.com.
In the US, more and more people are taking advantage of curbside pickup to get products they want. They don’t want to risk packages being stolen from their front door, which is getting alarmingly common. In 2020, 1.7 million packages were stolen or went missing every single day. And that’s just in the US.
Walmart definitely has the omnichannel retail advantage, and is starting to gain a following with a more affluent shopping audience, not just discount shoppers.
Pro: Identical Fees as Amazon Seller Central from Category to Category
If you’re already on Amazon Seller Central, there’s no need for adjustments. You don’t need to change your prices, budgets, or how you calculate profits.
Virtually all fees from category to category are the same. Just take a look at the table below.
Amazon Seller Central
Camera & Photo
Video Game Consoles
Pro: Get 30 days of Commission-Free Sales (If You Sign Up Now)
Walmart is running a campaign to get more serious online retailers and brands onto its platform. If you sign up for the platform now, you can get 30 days of sales on walmart.com without having to pay any commissions at all.
The deadline is June 30, 2021.
Con: Lower Overall Sales Volume
Compared to Amazon, the main competitor, Walmart does sell a lower volume of products online. There’s no getting around that fact.
But the platform still does billions of dollars in sales every single year. Can you afford to just ignore the second-largest eCommerce marketplace in the US?
Con: Only Available for US- or Canadian-Registered Businesses
Unlike Amazon Seller Central, companies only registered in major EU countries have no quick and easy way of signing up for the platform and starting to sell their products.
You must first register your company through the W8-ECI form to start paying corporate taxes in the US.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a legitimate business with a respected brand. To circumvent it, you either need to set up a US subsidiary, or find an existing Walmart seller to partner with.
Con: Strict Manual Review Process
Walmart Marketplace has a fairly strict manual review process, and only wants to partner with serious online retailers or brands.
If you don’t have an established online presence, like an online store that easily shows up when Googling, or an established Amazon storefront with positive reviews, you may not pass the manual review process.
If you do have an established online store, then this turns from a con to a pro, as this manual review process is part of what keeps the level of competition lower than on Amazon.
Con: Price Pressure to Go to the Bottom
If you can’t offer “Walmart-friendly prices,” Walmart may reject your application, even if you’re an established brand with a lot to offer.
This doesn’t mean you have to sell cheap products, but that your prices are less than 25% higher than vendors for directly competing products.
For example, if you sell leather furniture, it can’t be 5 times more expensive than the next store.
All in all, the pros far outweigh any of the minor cons, unless you’re a European company looking to sell more products within the EU.
6 Steps to Register Your Walmart Marketplace Account and Start Selling
Hopefully, we’ve now convinced you that Walmart Marketplace is a great place to list your products and start landing more sales.
To get started, follow the simple 6-step registration and application process below.
First, you need to start off by getting your documentation in order.
Line up Your Required Documents
The first thing you need is proof that you have a legitimate business in either Canada or the US.
You need concrete proof of your US or Canadian business address. In the case of the US, you need an EIN letter and a W9 or W8 form.
Canadian businesses can include a copy of their business license or Government of Canada business registration details.
You must also:
- Have UPC (unique product code) codes for all your products.
- A digitized product catalog that includes all the required information. (For example, specifying the product status, like new, used, or refurbished.)
If you don’t have any of these things lined up, you need to get them in order before you apply.
Start the Application
Once you’ve got the required documents and information lined up, you can go straight to the signup page and start the process.
Note: the application process varies a bit, with the Canadian form requiring you to specify your eCommerce experience, not just submit your documents and company information.
Register Your Company and Main Contact Information
The first step is to register your company and submit the required documents we mentioned earlier.
It’s a straightforward process, as long as you have all the required information in front of you.
Just fill out the main contact information, your role at the company, and all the various company details like the year it was founded, whether it’s registered on the stock market, name, etc..
Describe Your Product Catalog (And How You Plan to Upload It)
Once you've registered your company and tax information, you go straight to describing your product catalog, and how you plan to integrate it.
For example, you need to clarify if you sell luxury or software products, what percentage of your products are used or refurbished, and how you plan to upload your product catalog or integrate with the Walmart Marketplace.
Walmart Marketplace supports integrations for major eCommerce platforms like Shopify and third-party fulfillment services like Deliverr, Shipbob, and Shipworks.
Specify Your Shipping Carriers and Add Warehouse Addresses
The final thing you need to do is specify which shipping carrier you use, and where your warehouses are located.
On this page, Walmart also includes a little box for you to explain why you’d be a good fit for Walmart Marketplace.
- Your previous eCommerce experience and success (if possible).
- Why your product catalog is a good fit for Walmart.
There’s no need to into your brand’s life story or your desire to reach a larger audience. Just keep it simple.
Wait for Approval
Once you’ve completed all these steps, all that’s left to do is to wait for approval. The manual review process can take up to 4 business days, so be patient.
10 Best-Selling Walmart Marketplace Products You Can Learn From
Kinbor Patio Furniture Set
This particular product is one of the best-selling products of a Walmart Marketplace and Amazon Seller Central seller who specializes in outdoor furniture.
Kinbor isn’t an established, well-known-and-loved brand. It’s just a well-marketed product with professional images, and a good seller reputation.
It proves that with a unique product (in an eye-catching color), you can stand out without having a recognizable brand name.
EEEkit Boxing Gloves
More than anything, EEEkit boxing gloves prove the power of price anchoring and a low price. The registered “list price” for these gloves is over twice as high as the price they’re selling them for on walmart.com
If you have certain products where you know you’re clearly winning on price, Walmart Marketplace is the perfect place to list your products.
It also does one other thing well — showcasing the product both in use, and in different colors.
Cat Dancer Pet Toy
Pet supplies and pet toys are actually one of the stronger categories on Walmart’s online store, and may even rival Amazon in terms of total sales volume.
This Cat Dancer toy from a marketplace seller wins out among all of Walmart’s preferred brands.
Again, the sales profile isn’t amazing, but it does showcase the potential impact of a fun, low-priced product listed on the Walmart Marketplace.
It also showcases the value of quick, pain-free shipping and delivery. Part of the reason it has such strong reviews is not just the product, but that the seller got the product to the customer as promised.
Pioneer Woman’s Pantry Set
But if you do your marketing and branding right, not everything needs to be the cheapest thing on the market.
The blogger and influencer that goes under the moniker “The Pioneer Woman” successfully sells a pantry essentials set for $60 on Walmart marketplace.
It just proves that if you can build a following online, you can successfully launch a brand anywhere, at any price.
Marketing and branding outside of the eCommerce platform is just as important as optimizing your listings and paying for ads.
Rothco Cargo Shorts
Rothco’s cargo shorts show the importance of selecting products that resonate with the main customer bases of Walmart.
They successfully sell a lot of military-themed clothes, none selling better than these “paratrooper cargo shorts.”
Of course, military enthusiasts aren’t the only people in Walmart’s customer base.
When doing customer research, you should try asking your customers where they shop, and in this day and age, most people will probably include Walmart on that list.
But the core audiences for Walmart are still regular, hard-working Americans who are looking for a deal (or a product that resonates with them).
If you can’t win on price alone, you can win by choosing the right products for the platform.
IQAir Air Purifier
IQAir’s GC Air Purifier is the perfect example of an expensive specialty product that is thriving on walmart.com.
Because some people may need it because of their living circumstances or allergies, it’s hard to call it a luxury product, but with a price tag of $1,299, it’s not your average air purifier.
With a robust multi-channel marketing campaign and a stellar customer reputation, IQAir manages to sell a comparable amount of products as the average 40-buck air purifier (that doesn’t do much).
If you sell expensive specialty products, don’t be afraid to give Walmart Marketplace a try.
The Veradek planter (the #1 best seller in the planter category) is far from an “as cheap as you can get” product.
Instead, it shows the power of a unique design and standing out from your competition. If your brand (or the products you carry) have this quality, you can do well on any marketplace you list your products on.
Zodaca Tote Bag
The Zodaca tote bag shows the power of a unique product at an affordable price on Walmart marketplace.
If you’ve got something fun that costs $10-20, it may very well go on to become a best seller.
Also make note of the product title. Just like on Amazon, it pays off to include as many identifying adjectives as possible.
Have you ever heard of a lightweight, all-purpose shoulder bag?
Don’t be afraid to experiment with titles.
Clatina Desk Organizer
This next desk organizer doesn’t live off of the brand impact or marketing it does on other channels.
It’s become a successful product on Walmart Marketplace alone.
It’s a simple, fairly-priced product that looks good, and is titled in a way that helps it show up for a variety of searches.
It also features a lot of high-quality images of the product (though the text overlay is a bit uninspiring).
A winning product doesn’t need to look futuristic, as long as it works well and makes the customers happy.
Instead of competing for the buy box, carrying unique products is the best way to go for small retailers.
Brinley Co. Sandals
Brinley Co. is an online retailer (mostly Amazon and Walmart) that specializes in women’s footwear.
With high-quality products, good product images, and fast processing and shipping, they’ve landed multiple best-selling product spots for their shoes.
These sandals, for example, have a stellar reputation.
- With rapid growth in Walmart’s eCommerce platform, it’s rapidly becoming a platform sellers can’t ignore.
- With under 100,000 sellers, there’s a lot less competition than on Amazon Seller Central.
- It has its own fulfillment platform, WFS, so you don’t need to handle shipments or warehousing yourself.
- It’s not just a platform for cheap products — high-quality products at a fair price can do very well. (Like the $1,000+ air purifier and $75 planter we covered in the examples).
- If you have a history of eCommerce success, it’s a lot easier to get approved as a Walmart seller.
With the growth that Walmart is seeing on their online platform, the Walmart Marketplace is no longer a platform you can afford to ignore.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, getting started and starting to sell on Walmart Marketplace can seem like a long and complicated process.
But once you get down to it, it’s actually quite simple. Just follow the steps outlined in this guide, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
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