As Walmart Marketplace continues to grow in popularity, it’s only natural to enter the marketplace with high hopes. But remember that Walmart isn’t Amazon. Nor is it eBay or Google.
Before you imagine yourself raking in sales from Walmart.com, you’ll want to temper your expectations and understand what makes Walmart Marketplace unique. Investigate buyer behaviors. Check out which products sell best on the site—and which ones often fall flat.
Though Walmart lets you list as many or as few SKUs as you want at no charge, you’ll want to go into the marketplace with realistic expectations and an idea of which products will resonate best with Walmart.com shoppers. To help you get there, here’s a list of tips for how to pick the right products to sell on Walmart.
Pro Tip: A listing automation platform like Zentail can make it ridiculously easy to get your products up and running on Walmart. Heck, we’d even argue, why not list your entire catalog on Walmart Marketplace? Take this approach when you’ve got the right safeguards in place, and apply the tips below to set the right goals and gauge the right amount of inventory to set aside for Walmart.
Walmart Marketplaces by the Numbers
For context, the competition is heating up on Walmart. More and more sellers are getting approved to sell on the channel, and Walmart's digital shelves are filling up with loads of new items.
- Walmart.com is now home to more than 52 millions SKUs
- As of July 2021, there are more than 105,000 sellers on Walmart Marketplace (source)
- Walmart Marketplaces offers 27,000 monthly visitors per seller vs. Amazon’s 2,100 monthly visitors per seller (in other words, Walmart sellers get 13x more visitors a month due to a less saturated space)
- Just about a hundred China-based sellers joined Walmart Marketplace this year— Walmart is rumored to be testing a program that allows non-U.S. sellers to joins the marketplace, but Walmart has not commented on this (source)
- There are over 60 million Walmart+ subscribers in the U.S.
How to Pick Which Products to Sell
Taking the time to understand what products sell best on Walmart will benefit you in the long run. Rather than listing your catalog blindly to the marketplace, you can predict how your items will perform and adjust your goals and efforts accordingly. Follow these six steps for analyzing the top-selling products on Walmart.
1. Know What You Can and Cannot Sell
Walmart’s 35 product categories span everything from baby products to apparel, automotive to software. Essentially what you see in a Walmart store is what can be sold online, though not everything sold in store is available online (Walmart.com and Walmart store inventory are managed separately).
However, Walmart does not accept used, vintage or handmade products. It additionally prohibits the selling of art, artifacts and other products as named in its Prohibited Products Policy.
2. Understand Walmart.com’s Buyer Persona
Walmart.com earns hundreds of millions of visitors each month. And before you jump to conclusions—no, the people who shop online aren’t exactly the same as the people who shop in stores.
In fact, Walmart itself testifies that the two audiences are noticeably different. Over a third of its online shoppers are between the ages 23 and 38, and more than half are married or partnered with kids. By contrast, the average in-store shopper is 46 years old living in a rural area.
More than half of Walmart.com buyers are also homeowners with medium-to-high household incomes, according to Walmart.
Another study points out that Walmart+ has, more recently, started to capture millennial attention. It estimates that three in every 10 millennial shoppers are subscribed to Walmart+.
Using these data points, you can better gauge what people are looking for on the marketplace. Products within the “health and beauty” and “household essentials” categories have historically performed well, but with the rise of Walmart+ and other initiatives aimed at getting younger shoppers online, there’s an opportunity to appeal to Walmart’s newer buyer base.
3. Scope out the Competition
It’s best practice to look up the products already listed for sale in your target categories. Peek at how many results appear when you enter a relevant keyword into Walmart’s search box, and which brands appear at the top of search result pages.
Do you see any familiar brand names? Is there any overlap between Walmart’s catalog and yours? What are the price points like?
Click on the “Best Sellers” filter on the left side of any search results page to easily identify best-performing items. Or, if you have a Seller Center account, you can go to Analytics > Growth Opportunities > Walmart’s Best Sellers. This report will show you a ranking of products within any given category, alongside the brand, number of reviews, number of sellers and more.
If you’re a reseller, this report can be particularly useful in showing you whether someone else has already listed your product to the marketplace. If so, you may have difficulty editing the contents of the listing (Walmart works on a first-come-first-serve basis when it comes to control over a listing). On the flip side, this report can indicate if there’s a lot of demand for your product and whether competing with other sellers will be worth your while.
In addition to all this, take note of which products are marked for clearance, rollback or reduced price on Walmart.com to see what products are struggling to gain traction.
4. Learn What’s Considered a Page-One Result
Aside from offering a popular product, you’ll need to understand what other attributes your buyers (and Walmart) care about. This involves everything from a low price, two-day delivery, free returns and more.
Make sure you can tick off all of the most prevalent boxes as you project sales and/or decide how much effort you put into promoting your product. It’s possible that while you offer a product that Walmart shoppers are clearly interested in, the economics don’t make sense for you unless you outsource fulfillment or find new suppliers (as examples).
Furthermore, pay attention to the products marked with a pro seller badge. These products tend to rank high on search results because Walmart has identified the main seller to be reliable and consistent, both in terms of shipping and overall customer service. There’s a chance that in order to rank high within your product category, you’ll have to strive to meet Walmart’s pro seller standards.
5. Accept the Differences Between Walmart and Amazon
We can’t say this enough: what works on Amazon may not necessarily work on Walmart.
Sellers too often list their best-selling Amazon products on Walmart, expecting similar results. The problem with this is that Amazon’s audience and algorithm are different from Walmart’s. Not to mention, many products thrive on Amazon because of Prime status.
To state the obvious, Walmart’s search engine does not take Prime status into account. You’ll have to start from square one and build your way back up the food chain by playing by Walmart’s rules.
Worth noting though, Walmart is pursuing a Prime-like flywheel in which WFS plays a primary role. You’ll want to consider whether gaining “W+ status” is within your best interest, and acknowledge the importance of building a good customer experience through high-quality listings, fast shipping and more.
6. Run the Numbers
Last but not least, you’ll want to keep your pulse on profit margins based on the costs of doing business on Walmart.
While Walmart does not charge any setup or listing fees, you’ll have to pay a commission fee with every sale. You may additionally be paying for advertising, promotions, fulfillment and product sourcing—all while offering your products at a competitive price.
Here’s a basic formula for calculating your margins:
(Total Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold) / Total Revenue
Does the resulting number align with what you expected? Are there any steps you can take to reduce costs and increase margins? You can additionally use this free Walmart Sales Estimator to calculate your sales potential on the marketplace.
Don’t sell on Walmart blindly. Take the time to take stock of what’s currently performing well, as well as what you believe will sell well based on your preliminary research. Trust us when we say this will save you from unwanted surprises, disappointment and wasted costs.