This is a guest post from Sarah Whedon, content marketing manager at Teikametrics. Teikametrics helps sellers and brand owners grow their businesses on Amazon and Walmart.com through the combination of data, AI-powered technology, and marketplace expertise.
Ever since Walmart unveiled its eCommerce marketplace, the Walmart team has regularly rolled out innovations to support sellers and create new opportunities.
The innovations run the gamut, from ways of drawing more shoppers into the Walmart ecosystem, to opportunities for brand promotion within the marketplace, to integrations that make it easier for sellers to get up and running quickly and smoothly.
It can be challenging to keep up with everything new that’s happening in the Walmart marketplace. Some innovations are more exploratory or experimental, while others represent fundamental updates.
So we’ve rounded up some of the most impactful Walmart Marketplace merchant tools and innovations of the last six months.
Walmart Marketplace merchant tools and innovations
September 2020. A lot of media buzz preceded the launch of Walmart+, the retail giant’s shopper loyalty program.
Many commentators have compared the program to Amazon’s wildly successful shopper loyalty program Amazon Prime. Notably, Walmart’s program capitalizes on the vast brick and mortar presence backing up the dot com, with the rewards of the program representing the omnichannel shopping experience.
The important thing for sellers to understand is that the purpose of Walmart+ is to promote customer acquisition and retention, assuring that shoppers will be engaged with the marketplace. Five months after launch, the Walmart+ program had already gained as many as 8.2 million members. Time will tell how much more growth this program will drive for Walmart.
2) Pro Seller Badge
October 2020. Walmart’s rollout of the Pro Seller badge reflects the organization’s commitment to maintaining high expectations for fulfillment and service from sellers on the site.
The Pro Seller Badge is meant to reward sellers for high listing quality and the ability to delight customers and to draw shoppers’ attention to these listings. Concurrently it is a cue to shoppers to expect quality from the seller.
There’s no application process for this badge. Walmart will grant it automatically when certain conditions are met. These conditions include:
- High listing quality score
- Low defect rate
- Low cancellation rate
- All items free return
3) Livestream With TikTok
eCommerce and social media are moving rapidly toward each other. Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter have been rolling out new features for sellers. Meanwhile, Amazon offers social selling with Amazon Posts and Amazon Live, allowing brands to boost their presence on the marketplace in a way that mimics Instagram and YouTube respectively.
That mega-deal fell through, meaning Walmart won’t get a seat at the TikTok table. Nonetheless, Walmart’s winter holiday livestream on TikTok in December 2020 saw the retailer dipping its toe into live social selling. In its relationship with TikTok, Walmart seems to be exploring how to answer or even leapfrog ahead of Amazon’s livestream offering, right onto the fastest growing social media platform.
4) More Ad Opportunities
January 2021. Walmart has been deliberate in the rollout of its marketplace, including its advertising programs, intending to maintain high quality and relevancy in the shopper experience.
As such, Walmart marketplace advertising started with only a relatively small array of advertising options but has expanded to what is now a robust set of opportunities for Walmart marketplace advertising. Notably, Walmart sponsored products that previously were limited in their placements can now appear in any position on page one of search results and can appear on the first three pages of search results. Walmart has also made valuable new reports available to advertisers which support ad optimization.
Most recently, in January, Walmart Media Group signaled the intention to overhaul and expand dramatically by rebranding themselves as Walmart Connect. The freshly branded organization also announced a partnership with The Trade Desk, with plans to release its own DSP. Watch for that development yet to come, slated for later this year.
5) Big Commerce Integration
February 2021. BigCommerce recently made news with the announcement of a BigCommerce integration with Walmart.com. The move makes it super easy for BigCommerce sellers to get started on the Walmart marketplace. Sellers also get access to other solution providers like Teikametrics for ad optimization and Deliverr for fulfillment.
This news comes on the heels of last year’s Shopify integration, encouraging more small and medium-sized businesses to enter the Walmart marketplace. Shopify sellers have already been enjoying the ease with which they can manage their Walmart marketplace sales through the Shopify app.
6) Pick Up & Delivery
March 2021. Walmart Connect’s most recent innovation is launching the integration of advertising for Pick Up & Delivery and Walmart.com. Pick Up & Delivery is Walmart’s app and site which allows shoppers to order groceries and many other items from their local Walmart store for curbside pick up or home delivery.
This ad campaign integration streamlines ad management for sellers by enabling all inventory on both platforms to be advertised via the same campaigns. This new development means unified reported and ad sales attribution. Pick Up and Delivery ads have multiple placement possibilities: search in-grid, featured items, carousel, and “you may also like.” As a longstanding advertising API partner, Teikametrics account managers have worked with Walmart to prepare to seamlessly enable and optimize unified campaigns.
What’s Coming for the Walmart Marketplace
Walmart’s growth has been simultaneously deliberate and dramatic. Walmart gets 160 million omnichannel shoppers a week. In the past year, the Walmart marketplace has seen a 56% increase in search queries and 185% growth for Walmart sponsored products ads.
All of the innovations detailed above leave room for development and expansion. It won’t be surprising to see Walmart continue to invest in customer acquisition and retention, tools to make sellers’ workflows easier and their efforts more fruitful, and innovations that keep the marketplace on the cutting edge for eCommerce.
If your brand hasn’t yet joined the Walmart marketplace, there is still time to be an early adopter and it’s well worth it to investigate the opportunity.