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The Category Rule to Selling on Walmart

While Walmart’s marketplace introduces an incredible opportunity, bringing in millions of customers every day, it can be tricky to navigate for newer merchants. Being one of the go-to fulfillment providers for Walmart sellers, we’ve learned some fascinating stories from our merchants as it relates to product research.

Earlier this year, I released a blog on the 14:1 rule to selling on Walmart, which talked about the opportunity of the platform given it’s strong buyer:selection ratio as it relates to other marketplaces. While I suggest reviewing that article as a primer for learning about Walmart, in this piece, I’ll dive into a few more tactical strategies for existing Walmart sellers.

Introducing the Category Rule

Walmart’s investment in eCommerce means they’re employing multiple strategies to get conversions on their online marketplace. One of the more ingenious ways sellers can take advantage of this is to pay attention to their most popular categories and utilize what I’m calling “the category rule”.

Higher traffic = More detailed category pages

Traffic is concentrated on certain categories, and we can observe how Walmart notices this traffic and amplifies it by refining those category pages. For example, take a look at the search results for “paint thinner” versus “camping chairs” below.

Paint thinner search results
Paint thinner search results

“Paint thinner” brings back a generic list of search results, whereas “camping chairs” features a category page with a cover image, suggested sub-categories, and multiple listings with plenty of reviews.

Camping chairs search results
Camping chairs search results

This indicates that Walmart has clarity on which type of items move the fastest on their platform, and invests especially heavily in the shopper experience for these categories.

Tip: Use Walmart’s BSR feature to find the highest potential items and categories to sell.

Category pages = Search engine results

Walmart category pages have the SEO benefit of combined high-traffic and clicks, helping it rise to the top of search results. When searching for “camping chairs” on Google, the entire category page of Walmart appears on the first page of results.

Clicking into the Walmart category page in Google takes us to the category page below.

There are a few things at play here. Two of the first line of results are sponsored products. Not only are these sponsored items getting more search prominence from the category page itself, they’re also getting all the views that come from the first page of Google search results.

We should also take a look at what it takes to make it to the top of this category page. Every single item on the first line has some form of fast or free shipping, and of the 3 items that aren’t sponsored products, every single one offers fast shipping.

This indicates that Walmart merchants who;

stand to gain the most advantage from the advertising investment of Walmart, and the combined SEO benefits of the entire category page and its traffic.

Tip: Before you invest in a certain category. Take a look at the search results and make sure the other listings are a mix of 1P and 3P (if not all 3P).

Walmart items in PLAs

Taking a look again at the “camping chairs” search results on Google, one of Walmart’s items in that category appears in Google product listing ads (PLAs).

Clicking into the Walmart result in the PLAs above takes us to the listing on Walmart, but above that there’s a row of other items that customers also considered. That means items that are able to appear on this page are benefitting from the PLAs visibility on Google as well.

Interestingly, many of the items listed above the product have more reviews than the main item, and the first two also promise 2-day delivery. This shows us the power of reviews and fast shipping as a differentiator and qualifier for appearing here.

To recap:

  • Appearing in popular category pages gives sellers enormous visibility, thanks to investment in SEM and organic SEO from pooled, already-high traffic.
  • Getting fast shipping tags and investing in reviews gives sellers a better chance to appear on category pages and individual product pages.
  • Offering free 2-day delivery helps merchants get the best organic chance of ranking well on these popular pages.

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