All sellers are required to comply with Walmart Performance and Policy Standards for Walmart Marketplace. Walmart collaborates with sellers to understand what’s causing performance problems or for any policy violations and to work with Sellers to find solutions. However, when problems persist or violations have occurred, seller accounts may be suspended temporarily… or even permanently.
If you’ve found yourself suspended, don’t panic. It’s certainly not the situation you want to find yourself in but it is possible to recover your account from this event. Don’t be fooled, though: the process is demanding and you will need to dedicate yourself to it and ongoing improvement if you want to remain a Walmart Marketplace Seller. Let’s dig in.
Reasons for suspension
As a world-class, online marketplace, Walmart Marketplace has high standards around service and quality that sellers must meet consistently in order to remain in good standing. Generally speaking, there are four main reasons why seller accounts are suspended.
1. Failure to meet seller performance standards
The Walmart Performance Standards that sellers must follow include (but are not limited to):
- The Order Defect Rate (ODR) should be less than 2% when calculated over a 90 day period.
- The Rate of Shipment in time should be higher than 99%.
- Walmart sellers must provide valid tracking details within 24-hours of shipment more than 99% of time.
2. Violations of Marketplace Retailer Agreement
When you sign up as a Seller, you agree to the Marketplace Retailer Agreement. Of course, the Agreement isn’t just a set of guidelines – it’s a legally binding contract which, once you’ve signed, means you must abide by the Terms and Conditions outlined by Walmart.
Violations can include selling inauthentic merchandise, used goods, selling items you’re not legally entitled to sell, not fulfilling orders, neglecting to share shipping status, or neglecting to process returns, refunds, or order cancellations.
3. Failure to meet operational standards
Sellers on Walmart Marketplace must maintain top-level operations at all times. This includes ensuring on-time shipments and deliveries, providing excellent customer service, and issuing refunds within the designated time period.Specific standards of operation include, but are not limited to:
- Customer Service: Transparently and correctly supplying all information about products so that customers are well-informed about their purchases; cooperating with Walmart as a partner and providing timely responses to inquiries from customers; complying with the changes to standards over time.
- Respect and Equality: Sellers must not engage in the practice of forced or underage labor; must not discriminate based on race, gender, age, or creed; must abide by all laws around recompensating and working hours of workers, must not make deductions that do not align with laws, nor retain wages or delay them in unfair or illegal practices; must not discourage the formation of trade unions; must ensure a safe work environment for all workers.
4. Violations of Trust and Safety standards
Sellers on Walmart Marketplace are required to maintain the Trust and Safety Standards set forth by Walmart, lest their accounts be immediately suspended. These standards have the following clauses:
- Regulatory compliance: A breach of this standard occurs when a banned product or product that is a risk to product and food safety regulations is listed on Marketplace. This could include prescription drugs, gambling or surveillance products, or baby products which have not been certified or tested, for example.
- Offensive product: A breach of this standard occurs when you’ve listed an item that is considered offensive to customers, including products that encourage discrimination or violence or products that display profanity or nudity.
- Intellectual property: Violations of this clause occur when you’ve been found to have listed a painting or other product without citing its creator, or if you don’t have permission or rights to distribute.
The Review and Suspension Process
Walmart has a fair process when it comes to suspending accounts, meaning you won’t wake up suspended with no warning or notice. In fact, Walmart provide the reason for your account suspension as well as offering up additionalrequirements or advice to change the issue in the future, giving you a chance to shape up.
Not surprisingly, a violation of any of the above-mentioned standards, policies, or agreements can lead to an account suspension, the process itself isn’t quite so simple. Walmart reviews the performance of Sellers through a team of experts, via their Walmart Partner Performance Review.
Any time the ODR limit of 2% increases, Walmart intervenes. Generally speaking, Sellers can expect to receive ONE warning before the account is supended and only sellers who have been on Walmart Marketplace for three consecutive months or longer are susceptible to suspension. In an effort to be fair and promote Seller success, Walmart gives ample opportunity to improve one’s ODR before taking action.
The team bases observation on a past 90-day ODR and, for sellers with 50+ transactions over 120 days, it judges them on the most recent three month period. After a warning has been issued, Walmart will check in to see if necessary changes have been implemented and if the ODR has improved within 30 days.
If a Seller has not improved the ODR or made the required changes to their practices to bring them into compliance, Walmart will suspend the Seller account. When this occurs, other actions – including terminating all open orders on your account – may also be taken, though Walmart will communicate this to you clearly.
Upon suspension, Sellers will receive a notice of the suspension with the earliest date upon which they can appeal for the re-establishment of the account. Once this occurs, you must begin the Appeals Process.
How to appeal your suspension
Here’s how you can try to appeal your suspension and get your account re-instated. This is only applicable if your Walmart account suspension wasn’t related to Trust and Safety Standard violations.
1. Analyze seller performance standards and/or adherence to retailer agreement policies
You made a mistake, it’s time to dig in and understand what happened. First, establish the specific reasons or factors that contributed to your violation of Walmart Performance Standards or Retailer Agreement Policies.
It may be necessary to consult with an expert and figure out what caused a rise in your ODR, if that’s the culprit. If so, make a list of the different types of Order Defects and track the reasons behind them. List them all and identify how you can do better in the future. Document this.
2. Create a business plan of action to get you back in compliance
Based on what you’ve learned in your analysis, it’s time to devise a strategy to get you back in the game. Make sure your plan ensures that while you sell at Walmart Marketplace in the future, excellence is your highest priority. Don’t neglect to outline how your trade practices will remain in-line with Walmart’s Performance Standards and Retailer Agreement.
It’s important to ensure that your action plan reflects your understanding of the issue, the cause, and the solution. Do it in such a way that Walmart cannot refute that you can address the issue and resolve it.
If your issue is related to Performance Standards, demonstrate how you will address issues like on-time delivery (partnering with fulfillment partners, for example), customer service (utilizing Customer Service tools), and inventory management (figure out how to best manage your ecommerce store inventories)
3. Send business plan of action to Walmart
Now that you’ve created your Business Plan of Action, it’s time to send it to Walmart. Here’s how:
- Log into the Seller Central space
- Go to Support > Partner Account/Profile > Appealing Account Supspension
- Attach your Plan of Action
- Submit your case
Merely submitting the plan won’t reinstate your account, of course. After your submission, Walmart will review your Business Plan of Action and will notify you within two days of their decision. If you are re-instated, you can expect to be given strict guidelines to follow to ensure you remain in compliance as well as steps you must follow in order to have your account returned to good standing.
It’s important to be aware that not all suspensions can be appealed. If you’ve been suspended as a result of violating Trust and Safety Standards, you might not be eligible to appeal. You will be notified if you are not eligible to appeal.
4. Continue improving your performance if you are reinstated
Even though your account has been reinstated, you’re not in the clear. Now it’s imperative you follow through on your business action plan and continue to push your performance standards up.
When and if Walmart revokes the suspension, you’re required to strictly improve your ODR to avoid future violations and ensure full compliance with all Standards and Retailer Agreements. However, if your performance does not improve, you may face another suspension or even termination.
The bottom line?
The most important thing to do when you begin selling on Walmart Marketplace is to do your best to avoid any violations. Since there’s no guarantee you’ll be reinstated after a suspension – and no promise you won’t be terminated, either – we’re sure you’ll agree the best course of action is to avoid putting yourself in that position!
- Comply with all Performance and Operations Standards.
- Follow the rules and guidelines laid down by the Walmart Retailer Agreement.
- Supply correct Customer Service contact information in your Partner Profile settings.
- Regularly update your listing descriptions so they are accurate; never lie.
- Pay close attention to your shipping timelines, communicate them clearly, and make sure your packaging is appropriate to safeguard your items in transit.
- Monitor your scorecard closely and remain vigilant to maintain top performance.
- Don’t skimp on customer service.