Do you put your products on the shelf in Walmart? If YES, here is a detailed 8-step guide on how to get your products selling in Walmart stores nationwide.
Walmart has grown into one of the fastest-growing marketplaces and continues to roll out features that make it easier for sellers and brands to reach Walmart’s enormous customer base. Walmart describes itself as the largest multi-channel retailer and provides sellers with an opportunity to get their products in front of millions of customers.
Why Sell your Products at Walmart?
Walmart has established a vast and varied marketplace to rival Amazon and has been accepting third-party ecommerce sellers since 2016. According to reports, there were over 300 million unique visitors a month on Walmart.com in 2019, peaking during the previous holiday season at just under 500 million.
Shoppers also are beginning to see Walmart’s online marketplace as a real alternative to Amazon. Reports also have it that a huge 26% of all U.S. shoppers planned to use Walmart for shopping during the 2019 holiday season. There are 83.1 million millennials which forms a quarter of U.S. population.
88% of the millennials live in metropolitan areas. More than 40% are parents, therefore, invariably they end up spending more on everyday essentials. Together they spent $600 billion each year and make 54% of their purchases online. Walmart adopted a new strategy by opening its doors to third-party sellers with excellent products, great customer service and a history of quick delivery.
Walmart also started to acquire excellent brands within their product categories. Depending on what you offer, Walmart may ask you to become a vendor or a seller on Walmart.com and its affiliate websites (Jet.com, Moosejaw.com, Shoes.com, and Hayneedle.com).
However, this is extremely rare. If you are not selected to be a vendor, you can apply via Walmart’s website. Since Walmart enviably is an invitation-only marketplace, you first need to apply to sell on Walmart. Most recently, non-US seller can apply to sell on Walmart ecommerce marketplace.
But to sell in Walmart, you must have your business registered in the US and also have a US address for your warehouses. For those outside the US, you need a DUNS number – a worldwide standard that assigns a unique numeric identifier to a single business entity. Also, for international sellers, they are required to provide their international headquarters address.
You also need to be a category specialist to sell on Walmart. Conspicuous for its acquisition of Bonobos, Modcloth, Moosejaw, and others, your business offering can be highly niche-based, catering to a section of buyers. Your business should also have positive reviews elsewhere on the internet where you’re already selling.
While Walmart will still need a long time to catch up with Amazon, it has presented itself as great alternative for independent brand labels to connect with their potential customers through adopting a multichannel strategy.
How to Get your Product Selling in Walmart Stores Nationwide
The competition to sell in Walmart is intense. Although more opportunities now exist for companies to sell through the Walmart online marketplace, very few make the cut to get on its retail shelves. The company has been known to accept as little as 2% of applicants. Below is a detailed guide on how to get your product selling in Walmart.
- Prepare Yourself
The first thing you have to do is to ensure your company is ready to do business with Walmart. Walmart have supplier standards that must be met. Walmart vendors must carry Product liability insurance, have their financial information listed with a reporting agency such as Dun & Bradstreet, and have proper Universal Product Code (UPC) Identification Numbers for all their products.
They must also comply with all product and food safety requirements, which means a factory audit may be necessary. Once you have a satisfactory legal framework, you’ll be ready to start the process of applying to be a Walmart supplier—a process that is not only time-consuming but may also be expensive. So before you bother trying to get your products into Walmart, consider whether you have what Walmart is looking for.
- Create a Solid Track Record
Walmart won’t even want to bother with untried and unproven businesses. For one thing, there are so many businesses competing to be Walmart vendors. Also, Walmart don’t want to account for too much of your business, as this could cause problems if they need to adjust order volume.
Having a good mix of other retailers purchasing from you will increase your chances of landing the account. And just going out and getting a bunch of accounts won’t help either—Walmart wants its vendors to have a verifiable history.
- Have a Unique Product and Offer a Product Line
Any product you plan to sell should stand out in some way. There’s so much duplication in so many product categories that there’s absolutely no incentive for a buyer to commit to carrying another one.
The ideal product is something well differentiated from the other products in its category, yet that still fits with the retailer’s current product lines. Even if you can get the buyer interested in your product, having only one product to offer can be a deal killer.
Setting up a new supplier takes time and effort, so the potential supplier who can offer a complete line rather than a single product will always have the edge. Once the manager likes your product, they will pass the information about it up the line and provide you with the name of the regional general manager so you can fill out the product submission form.
- Complete your Partner registration
Within a few weeks of submitting your application, you should receive an email from Walmart. If approved, the email will have the following subject line, “Congratulations! Time to Setup Your Account on Walmart Marketplace!” It’s advisable you routinely check your email for this notification, as you need to complete your registration within 48 hours.
If not, your team will need to contact Walmart Marketplace for additional assistance. You will have to create your account via Seller Center with a secure password and security questions. Walmart Marketplace generates a username for you, based on your application.
Next, you can register your business with Walmart Marketplace. This information helps Walmart create your Partner Account, as well as provide helpful information to shoppers. Choose a display name for shoppers to see and list your corporate address for Walmart’s private records. Don’t forget that Walmart requires Form W-9 for tax purposes. At the end of each year, Walmart will issue a 1099, which your company will need to reference when filing its taxes.
- Customize your Profile
Following your registration, Walmart Marketplace will automatically log you into Seller Center. At this point, you can take a break or continue customizing your account. Once you finish your Partner Profile, you can move into adding your products.
Ensure to provide good company information. Your company information provides shoppers with helpful information about your business. Per Walmart Marketplace, your team must complete this section. If you don’t, Walmart Marketplace will not allow your store to launch.
- Set Up Your Walmart Products
You can manually enter products into your Walmart product catalog, but if you are accepted to sell on Walmart, you will likely sell in some volume. Manual entry isn’t realistic for most Walmart sellers. So, you’ll probably need to upload products to Walmart via bulk upload or a product feed.
Once you’ve decided how to upload products, you need to build your product feed. If you’re an experienced seller, you’ll recognize most of Walmart’s product attribute fields, such as item name, SKU, Brand, and Descriptions. But some attributes are exclusive to Walmart, like Shelf Description.
- Test Your Product Feed & Order Management Functions
Walmart will mandate you to send a test feed for review for approval of your feed setup. After that’s uploaded to your account, you’ll need to set up and test your order management connection and features. This is the last series of setup steps before you can launch.
If you have a small product collection, say under 1000 unique SKUs, you can send your entire product feed as the test. But, if you have a large product catalog, it’s best to send just a portion, say just one brand or category. Send your test products to Walmart for review and approval using your chosen integration method, or via upload if using a CSV file.
After you submit your feed, you can check the status of the feed and check for any data errors under the Feed Status tab in your Seller Center dashboard. Your test products will be listed in Stage status, which tells you they aren’t live on the marketplace site.
But you can see what they will look like once live by going to Item Details and clicking Preview Item. Also while your product feed is being reviewed and approved, you need to set up your order management method.
As a Walmart marketplace seller, you need to take care of all order processing, shipping, exchanges, returns, and customer service. For that, you need to access orders as they come in and update your shipment tracking information as orders are sent.
- Ask to Launch & Start Selling
After you check off Complete Item & Order Testing in your Seller Setup Checklist, a pop-up will appear asking if you’re ready to launch. Click Yes. The Walmart Integration team will make a full review of your account setup, products, and settings, then make your listings live. Congratulations!
You are now an official Walmart marketplace seller. As an established seller, you already have order management and fulfillment procedures in place, and your Walmart marketplace orders should fall into your normal workflow. But, as with any marketplace sales channel, you do need to monitor your Walmart seller account too.
Although Amazon is still the king of ecommerce, Walmart has created more opportunities for entrepreneurs to sell in Walmart’s rapidly expanding marketplace. Walmart’s online marketplace, which allows you to sell nationwide and beyond, now consists of over 33,000 sellers that span 52 million product SKUs, self-service advertising capabilities and more.
Selling on the Walmart marketplace becomes all the more essential when you consider the fact that 57% of Amazon shoppers shop on Walmart.com.
Becoming a Walmart vendor or seller isn’t an appropriate goal for every product-based small business, nor is it the only route to retail success. But if your products and company are a good fit, selling in Walmart can be extremely rewarding.