Editor's note: This blog was originally published on May 5, 2017. It has since been updated to reflect newer information and tips.
So, you’ve gone through the checklist.
- Applied to sell on Walmart and received approval: check
- Imported your catalog into Seller Center: check
- Optimized your listings using Walmart SEO best practices: check
Why, then, are your listings showing up as unpublished?
There are a couple reasons why this could be happening—and fortunately, many are easy to address. Keep reading for an overview of why your listings may be automatically unpublished when selling on Walmart Marketplace.
1. Uncompetitive Pricing
It’s no secret that Walmart cares about price. When signing the Marketplace Retailer Agreement, you promise that your price “and every other term of offer and/or sale of the Products (including associated shipping and handling charges and options, any ‘low price’ guarantee, rebate or discount, any free or discounted products or other benefit available as a result of purchasing one or more other products, and terms of applicable return and refund policies) is at least as favorable to Walmart.com users as the most favorable terms upon which a product is offered.”
In simpler terms, you agree that your Walmart price will equal the lowest available price of your product. If your product can be purchased from you on a competing site (like Amazon) at a lower price, then that’s grounds for delisting. Or, if your items can be found at a drastically lower price by any seller on Walmart or competing marketplaces, then your listing will get taken down.
The solution: Ensure that you’re following price parity guidelines and offering your product at the same or similar price across all of your marketplace accounts. If you’re using an algorithmic repricer, check that it’s set up so that it doesn’t lower your price at a much steeper rate on another marketplace to inadvertently trigger a pricing issue.
2. Equal Pricing Between 1P (Walmart) and 3P Seller (Marketplace Seller)
In a similar vein, if your prices match that of a first-party (1P) vendor for the same item, then the 1P seller will get priority. This is because Walmart is controlling the supply chain and can (in their eyes) more predictably provide a great customer experience.
The solution: If you sell the same product as a 1P vendor, then you’ll need to undercut their pricing…Or, you can consider offering your items as kits or bundles, which allow you to sell on a unique, non-competitive listing and offer more value to your customers.
3. Low Seller Ratings
Your seller ratings are a clear indication of not only how customers feel about your product or service but, in turn, how Walmart also views your account. If your ratings are consistently low, then Walmart may unpublish your listing before considering suspension.
The solution: If you start to notice a decline in your ratings, check what reviewers have to say as well as other aspects of your Seller Scorecard. The issue may have to do with the efficiency of your fulfillment or the quality of your listing. In the latter instance, you’ll want to comb through return reasons in addition to written reviews and see what you can address more clearly in your listing: Should you include better images? Can you address FAQs directly in your listing? Are you lacking any crucial (though maybe not required) product details?
If you use a tool like Zentail, you can make edits quickly across your listing (or a group of listings) without impacting your listings of the same product on other channels.
4. Low Inventory
If you have low inventory or your SKU is out of stock, your listing may get unpublished. This is Walmart’s way of protecting the customer experience; lower inventory means higher risk of backorder, and it’s within Walmart’s best interest to ensure that buyers aren’t disappointed by out-of-stock notices or surprised by later-than-expected shipments.
The solution: If you find yourself overselling or struggling to display the right quantities, find an inventory management solution that can automatically sync quantities across your warehouses and sales channels. Zentail’s inventory tools also let you set inventory thresholds, which further prevent overselling, and reorder products in real time. Our built-in forecasting tools make it easy for you to check sales velocity, profit margin, opportunity cost and more on the fly, so you can make an informed decision on what/when to reorder.
5. Walmart Restricted Products, Categories and Brands
Certain product types, like fragrances and seasonal products, are restricted by Walmart and require special permission to start selling. In some instances, a brand may also have an agreement with Walmart in which third-party sellers are not allowed to list its products.
If this happens, you’ll likely see one of these messages:
"Your item is violating the rules and regulations of your Retailer Agreement. Please re-ingest your item to meet the standards outlined in the Retailer Agreement."
“This item is prohibited because it violates one of our legal or compliance policies. For more details, create a case for Partner Support and include the code COMP.”
“This item is unpublished because the brand is prohibited. Please visit our knowledge base article: http://bit.ly/wmppp for more information. If you have additional questions, please open a support case and reference code BIZ.”
The solution: The only way around this is to gain approval from Walmart or the brand itself. Request approval by contacting Partner Support under the “Item and Inventory” category.
If you see that your Walmart listing has been unpublished, don’t panic. Consider the above reasons as to why it might have happened, and if it becomes a persistent issue, holler at our team.
Walmart Marketplace can feel like the Wild Wild West, especially as the platform is rapidly expanding, but it’s full of opportunity for those who take the time to understand it.