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Featured Selling on the Walmart Marketplace through Volo Origin – Q&A

Discussion in 'General Announcements' started by Ethan Morgan, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. Ethan Morgan

    Community Team Volo Staff Volo Marketing

    Nov 28, 2016
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    #1 Ethan Morgan, Aug 25, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    Did you know you can now manage your Walmart.com business, from listing through to order processing and data analysis, in the Volo platform?

    You’ve probably got a bunch of questions, which is good because we’ve got bunch of answers to match.

    Who can sell on Walmart?

    Firstly, Walmart is a US only marketplace at the time of writing, and you need a third-party logistics presence or domestic warehouse presence as well as a US-registered business entity.

    Secondly, Walmart vets sellers and currently selling on the platform is effectively by invitation only – it’s not like Amazon or eBay in this sense. That means it’s not a case of flipping a switch and listing products immediately.

    We’ll be keeping a close eye on these rules – as Walmart continue to build out its inventory and ecommerce presence, there’s the possibility that these restrictions will change in future.

    walmart.jpg

    So what’s the deal with Walmart and Volo Origin?

    Volo Origin allows Walmart-approved sellers to list products, organise promotions, and process orders on the Walmart marketplace as part of their multichannel selling strategy. Operating very much like Amazon, marketplace.walmart.com allows third party sellers – including drop ship vendors – to place their products alongside Walmart’s.

    Walmart has integrated its marketplace into the main web portal www.walmart.com. This offers a seamless experience and, similar to Amazon, it’s not obvious to buyers whether the item is being sold by Walmart or by a third party. Walmart has announced its intention to complete with Amazon, indicated by the speed with which it is adding sellers and products to the marketplace. Walmart’s selling portal is called Seller Center.

    Walmart’s back in the ecommerce game?

    Yes it is, 2016 was a turnaround year. WalMart’s ecommerce business includes all web-initiated transactions including those through Walmart.com – such as ship-to-home, ship-to-store, pick up today, and online grocery – as well as transactions through the acquired Jet.com.

    Globally, on a constant currency basis, the company’s e-commerce sales and GMV increased 15.5% and 17.5%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 (ending January 2017). Online sales for the most recent quarter ending April 2017, however, jumped an amazing 63% on the previous quarter, to about one-sixth what Amazon does (http://fortune.com/2017/05/18/walmart-online/).

    What’s fuelling this?

    A desire to complete with Amazon for one thing, a major push to increase the breadth of online items, and sellers like you. As of May 2017 the company covers more than 50 million SKUs from a marketplace perspective, which is up from 34 million only 3 months before, and 10 million only a year before. In addition, the company expanded the number of locations for shoppers to pick up online orders – including paying Walmart staff to deliver orders as part of their commute – making the process more convenient.

    In 2016, Walmart’s ecommerce sales contributed 15% of its total retail sales. This compares very favourably with the US ecommerce as a whole, which is 8.1% of total retail.

    Any quirkiness depending on category?

    A little. Grocery and consumable item sellers – brands, merchants or retailers – need approval to sell in these categories. Only approved sellers will be able to sell these items based on their ability to offer additional assortment at competitive prices. Items should expand Walmart’s existing selection and follow certain rules about competitive pricing. Some items may be temporarily taken down because Walmart’s systems have been unable to verify that their price is competitive. These items will go through an approval process before they can be published.

    Walmart doesn’t have a ‘Brand Experience’ for Brands where they can govern the look and feel of their brand and how it appears to buyers. They limit the selling of some branded goods to those which are within the last 12 months, such as Beats, Canon, Fitbit, GoPro, LG, Nikon, Samsung and Sony televisions (other Sony products are unaffected). You can continue to offer older or refurbished models of these brands.

    I’m new to Walmart, why should I care?

    Walmart is a serious alternative to Amazon and eBay in the US. You can increase your channel resilience and decrease your risky reliance on one major channel. This is a great opportunity for Volo sellers who aren't existing Walmart sellers, since we can pass leads directly to the Walmart new business team. This is a benefit of being a recognised integration partner.

    With Walmart you get access to millions of new (to you) customers. You can sell branded items that aren't allowed on Amazon due to brand gating. There’s fairer competition with Walmart’s own products since the Walmart ethos is very cheap pricing. Walmart is choosy on who is available to sell, so although margins are smaller, there’s less competitors so your chances of getting sales are greater

    I already sell on Walmart, can you tell me something I don't already know?

    Well, why not add Walmart to your multichannel operations and automate your business processes centrally with Volo? You can bring your listings into Volo Origin and we can take over your listings with no data loss. Then you can take advantage of our centralised stock synchronisation, and cost formulae, price parity compliance and rapid listing capabilities. We make it easy for you to run your Walmart business, with things like product field filtering by category, custom variation type composition, data mapping and instructive tooltips.

    Volo Origin replicates all the processes and functionality you would expect to see on the Walmart marketplace. You get the full listing experience with all categories and their fields, including swatches and variations. You can easily build promotions, including applying promotions to item sets. Full order processing includes refunds and cancellations. And, of course, sitting on top of the platform is Volo Vision’s reporting & analysis module, with filtering for the Walmart marketplace. This gives you deep visibility into your performance on Walmart so you can fine-tune your strategy.

    What about shipping with Walmart?

    Walmart Marketplace offers 5 shipping methods to sellers (Value, Standard, Expedited, Next Day and Freight). You must support a minimum of 1 shipping method.

    The free Value shipping method is enabled for all sellers in Walmart’s Seller Center. This method offers best the value to both customers and sellers: customers get free shipping and you can fulfill orders using slower but cheaper shipping service levels with carriers of your choice. Free Value shipping is only supported for “48 State - Street” region. Free Value transit time is pre-configured to 3-7 business days. The free Value shipping price is pre-configured to ‘free’ (you can’t charge customers for this slow shipping method). You can’t disable the free Value shipping method through Seller Center, but you can exclude individual items through Shipping Overrides.

    What are the key selling considerations?

    If Walmart’s a new selling channel for you, as with any marketplaces there are some nuances to get your head around:
    • Walmart uses a shared product listing page. This means that multiple sellers are listing their offers on the same page. They have a similar concept to Amazon's Buy Box in that one seller will have the main offer and buy button
    • Product Identifiers are required. Walmart will accept UPC, EAN, GTIN-14, ISBN-10, ISBN-13
    • You can set your own returns policies - if free returns is not specified, you need to explain to Walmart when being rated how you’ll maintain customer satisfaction
    • You can set your own customer service policies
    • Walmart requires robust fulfillment solutions. Walmart will check this
    • Payments are made within 7 days between the end of each period. The period is generally determined by agreement between you and Walmart. You can check by reviewing the Marketplace Retailer Agreement or by checking the Payment History within the Walmart Seller Center
    • Commissions are in line with other marketplaces. You can check in the daily Reconciliation report that Walmart generates in the Seller Center
    • Walmart expects sellers to keep with the brand promise of ‘Always Low Prices’. Selling using promotions can help for this
    • Walmart often caps the number of SKUs a seller can sell until they have proved themselves. Strong sales performance is the main way to do this. Once approved, there is no SKU cap limit on the Walmart Marketplace platform
    • You need to allow Walmart to collect tax on the Seller's behalf. This uses a ‘Tax Nexus’ tool and requires the correct tax codes to be set on the products when listing. The combination of the Seller address and Buyer postcode allows Walmart to accurately work out the tax value to set when the buyer purchases. There are up to 5000 different tax codes but there is a standard tax code and a standard exempt code. It’s your responsibility to work these out
    • Personalised products are not possible
    • Bundles are category specific
    • Walmart provides customer service up until the point that it becomes a product issue. Then the buyer is referred to you
    • Walmart.com does not allow remarketing
    • You can sell as both a Drop Ship Vendor (DSV) and a Marketplace seller. However, any items you offer must be sold as either a DSV or a seller. You can’t sell the same item as both a seller and a DSV
    OK, so what’s the process for getting onto Walmart in Volo Origin?

    Walmart vets all sellers who want to sell on the Walmart marketplace. Walmart’s verification process is proprietary and confidential. There are 3 phases. The first phase is the application process to Walmart. The second is the integration with Volo Origin. The third is ‘go live’.

    In Phase 1, Walmart is looking for sellers who are ‘elite’. By this they mean that sellers are the best for their product or category assortment and / or sell a product or category that's not already represented on Walmart.com. Walmart benefits from this approach by increasing the breadth of products, which as we’ve mentioned is a key part of their strategy. Walmart states that it wants sellers who have:
    • First-class customer service
    • Unique product assortment
    • Competitive pricing
    • Fast and reliable fulfilment
    Walmart is also looking for sellers that sell on other marketplaces, especially Amazon. It’s looking for sellers with a track record of fulfilling to customers and proven customer satisfaction in order processing, returns, and customer service. The key metrics are:
    • A feedback rating at or above 95% or 4.5 stars. Sellers with a feedback below 97% or 4.8 stars will need to give an explanation to Walmart
    • A large number of annual customer reviews - this proves significant sales volume
    • Late shipment rate at or below 1%
    • Refund rate below 5%
    What if I decide not to go onto Walmart?

    That’s OK, though we advise you to give the marketplace some serious consideration from both the business case and channel resilience perspectives

    What if I decide not to do my Walmart business within the Volo platform?

    That’s fine too, though you’ll miss out on major growth and efficiency gains that far outweigh the marginal increase in your monthly revenue share charges. You’ll also be flying blind, since you won’t get the full analytics visibility of your performance across this immense marketplace.

    Will we be getting training on this?

    Yes, there will be a Walmart Navigation Guide coming soon from the Learning team.

    Where can I get more information on Walmart?

    Here are some useful FAQ links from Walmart: