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Walmart Marketplace’s recent expansion has been remarkable, and it now boasts 110 million unique visitors and achieved $555 billion in net sales in 2021 (the latter figure according to Statista). And now could be the perfect time to launch your ecommerce brand there, while it’s still in its growing phase.
However, with many requirements and strict criteria in place, doing so requires a unique set of strategies. If you’re already selling on another marketplace, the experience will certainly give a competitive advantage to your store, but the process still needs to be tweaked according to the needs of the platform.
Some guidance to get you started:
1. Establish competitive product prices
While selling on Walmart is lucrative, it comes with its own challenges, such as strict pricing rules. This company, from its inception, wanted to provide the best possible deals for customers, and ensures this via strict pricing regulations on its marketplace. Customers love it, too; Walmart’s pricing is one of the reasons why it’s so popular, of course.
Competitive pricing is not a new concept, certainly, but a key difference here is how “unfair pricing” is treated. Low pricing brings visibility to products on other platforms like Amazon and eBay, but on Walmart’s, items considered unfairly priced are removed automatically. Not only that, your seller ID might be put at risk of suspension.
So, to be successful, be sure to follow the rules:
• If your product is listed at a lower price (including shipping) on a competitor’s marketplace, it’ll be regarded as “unfair pricing” by Walmart and its listing will be unpublished. To avoid this, make sure you keep a track of your prices across different channels and offer a similar (or lower) price on Walmart’s.
• If a buyer can find the same product as yours on a competitor’s website or marketplace at a much lower price, regardless of the seller, your listing will be removed, with the notation “reasonable price not satisfied.” This means that not only do you have to keep track of your own rates, but also need to conduct regular market research to make sure your offer is not being beaten by other sellers.
This might seem like a lot of extra work, but having a competitive offer increases your chances to win the Walmart Buy Box. Anyone in that category becomes the default seller for products sold by more than one seller. Since it’s the most convenient option for the customers, achieving Buy Box certification will increase sales by a substantial margin. And while there are various factors (such as shipping) involved in, pricing remains the most important.
2. Optimize product listings
Providing comprehensive product details is not only useful for search engines, but also for your potential customers. They are making a purchase without the in-store experience, so the more details you can provide the more trust you’ll be able to build. What’s more, just as in search engines like Google, Walmart has its own algorithm for ranking, and optimized product listings increase both visibility and the likelihood of winning that coveted Buy Box.
This task includes optimizing product title, description, images, shipping details and categorization.
• Title: This is the first thing that potential customers see, so include necessary information like, brand, product name, quantity included, stock-keeping unit details like color and size and other important details (like “organic” and “waterproof”).
• Description: This is where you give consumers as much information as possible. Instead of trying to stuff it with keywords, write a description with your target audience in mind and the questions they might have.
• Images: Research shows that high-quality product images have a direct impact on conversion rates, and Walmart offers clear instructions for theirs: Listings must include two images; they should be well-lit and in focus; and primary images should be shot against a white background.
3. Don’t neglect shipping
To provide the best customer experience, Walmart has instituted strict shipping criteria, akin to their approval and pricing rules. It asks for a timely shipping rate of 99%, and the final shipped rate should be at least 99.5%. Apart from that, Walmart’s algorithm takes into account shipping fees and days required to ship as ranking factors. Good numbers for both add to the probability of Buy Box classification.
If you qualify for and enable “Free 2-day Shipping,” your products will acquire one of the higher ranks in search results. If you don’t yet qualify for that, make sure you enable “Free 3-day shipping.”
4. Leverage Walmart ads
As soon as you’ve optimized product listings and shipping, move to this next step to increase visibility and sales. Walmart has an affordable ad service, with a cost-per-click model that lets sellers reach more people and have more conversions.
But here’s the catch: targeting ideal customers and generating a significant ROI by running ads is tricky when starting out. It requires an investment of money and time, so experimenting with ads could mean losing out on business income, but that risk can be reduced by outsourcing this important task to an agency. Many are also turning to brand accelerators to optimize success and better position themselves.
5. Provide excellent customer service
Walmart Marketplace is built on the principle of providing a terrific user experience, so make sure you respond to customers promptly, minimize your return rate and ship good-quality products. Serving customers right will translate to an increased number of 5-star reviews for your store, which in turn will help in ranking your products better and increasing brand credibility.
Walmart has made it easier for sellers to grow on its platform with clear and simple guidelines. While these include strict criteria, they actually work in favor of genuine sellers by weeding out competition so that they can focus on providing great customer service.
Merchants can always enlist the help of full-service agencies to help them grow there, including assistance with meeting often daunting requirements. Instead of being intimidated, business owners should take advantage of this lucrative opportunity to grow in an emerging marketplace.