How to Set up Promotions in Walmart Marketplace

Allison Lee

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November 10, 2020

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Running a store on Walmart Marketplace can be a profitable venture. However, with thousands of sellers and millions of products competing for the same audience, it’s necessary to take extra measures to generate sales.

One of the best methods for increasing visibility and revenues is through Walmart Promotions. These are options available on the platform that are endorsed by Walmart to help sellers succeed. There are many different promotions and badges that can be used or earned for different purposes that can set you apart.

Read on to learn more about promotions and how to make them work for your business.

Types of Walmart Promotions

Walmart promotions largely center around pricing, and while promos can mean lower profit margins, they have the power to attract more buyers to your products. As with any type of promo, the goal is to increase sales in a shorter period of time. 

In addition to this, buyers have the ability to filter search results by “Special Offers” on Walmart. Your promoted items will appear on these filtered pages, as well as on item pages for similar products. Or, if you’re winning the buy box, your listing will feature the Reduced price flag and strikethrough pricing to further aid conversion. 

Overall, promotions are Walmart’s take on traditional promo codes and BOGO campaigns, which Walmart Marketplace does not currently support. They allow you to highlight special pricing at the item-level. 

Note: It is against the Marketplace Retailer Agreement to offer deals to individual customers.

1.  Clearance

screenshot of clearance items on walmart marketplace

One of the key elements of running a successful Walmart store is having the right amounts of inventory. Even if sales are good, any inventory that remains behind will eat at your profits. In other cases, products may not sell as much as you expected. Either way, it is crucial to find a way to move this stock.

For this, Walmart has a clearance promotion that you can use to get slow-moving products off your shelves. As the name suggests, this promotion should only be used when trying to clear out stock via significant price reductions.

2.  Reduced

screenshot of reduced product on walmart marketplace

Depending on the products you sell and the time of year, sales may fluctuate. When this happens, you must try to find creative ways to entice shoppers to continue purchasing your products.

An excellent way to achieve this is by applying Promotional pricing. When you discount your item by at least 5% of the original cost, or at least $5 on products above $100, the ‘Reduced Price’ tag will be applied.  

Restrictions 

While these promotions are available to any Marketplace seller, there are strict guidelines that you must keep in mind. 

  • The start time for the promotion should be at least four hours from when it's created 
  • Each promotion must have a start and end date
  • Promotions should not last longer than 365 days
  • Promotions cannot be removed within four hours of when they take effect
  • Promotion end date can’t be before or equal to the promotion start date
  • Your promotion should feature the lowest available price for your product (in other words, if you sell on other channels like Amazon, you should only price lower than what’s on those channels)
  • You cannot run multiple promotions for one product at the same time, though you can schedule up to five promotions for one product in Seller Center or up to 10 via API (their promotion dates just can’t overlap) 

How to Run a Walmart Promotion via Seller Center

If you’re interested in running a promo, you can sign into Seller Center and navigate to Items & Inventory > Bulk Updates. From there, you can select “Bulk Pricing and Promo Update” in the Select Spec dropdown, then hit Download.

This will return an Excel template that you can use to update both prices and promotions. To submit a promotional price, fill out the necessary fields, including SKU, Price (which will appear as the original price), Promotions Status, Promo Price, Promo Start Date, Promo End Date, Promo Type (optional) and Promo Placement* (optional). 

You can create up to five promotions for one SKU, but their start/end dates must not overlap, or else your entry will be rejected.

Once you’ve completed the template, you can upload it into Seller Center on the same page where you downloaded the template (Step 2). Mark the spec type as “Bulk Pricing and Promo Update” and the update type as “Promotional Price Update.” Hit Submit!

* Promo Placement is an alternative to regular Walmart Promotions. You can only add a value here if you have not selected a Promo Type. While regular Walmart Promotions let you display discounts from category or item pages, Promo Placements keep your price hidden until a buyer adds your product to his/her cart or is on the checkout page. Learn more.

How to Run Strikethrough Pricing via Zentail

If you’re a Zentail user, you can schedule Walmart strikethrough pricing, which has a similar effect as Walmart promotions, directly within your account. This option allows you to skip several manual steps—plus avoid spreadsheets—and make more immediate changes. All you have to do is click on your SKU from the Catalog Manager, scroll to Walmart and hit “Advanced Options.” Under “Schedule Sale,” enter the start date, end date, sales price and item price (your original price). Then hit Update.

If you prefer to schedule promos in bulk, choose from either QuickEdit, automation rules or import/export. From each, you can apply a start date, end date, sales price and item price to your SKUs. QuickEdit lets you do this right inside the Zentail interface, while import/export lets you do this on an Excel spreadsheet. Automation rules, on the other hand, let you automatically schedule promos for a certain category or group of products based on custom triggers that you set. 

A Creative Alternative to Promos: Kits and Bundles 

multipack of shampoo bottles and bundle of conditioner and shampoo

Walmart Promotions can be tedious to set up or lack appeal, especially if your products are already competitively priced. For this reason, some sellers choose to test kits and bundles instead. 

By offering your products as multipacks or special bundles, you can increase your gross profit while still delivering value to your customers. You can additionally list a competitive SKU under its own listing and sidestep competition over the buy box.

Of course, to offer kits/bundles successfully, you need software that can accurately route and track single units of an item in addition to the bundled SKU. (This, quite frankly, is why many sellers can't offer kits or bundles.) Fortunately, inventory tools likes Zentail's can handle this and ensure that kits/bundles don't complicate operations, or lead to overselling and incorrect shipments.

Tips for Running a Successful Promotion

When it comes to promotions, it's easy to become fixated on price and forget to consider other factors that can make a big impact. Similar to Walmart ads, you should check that your listings are primed for wider distribution and have all the elements of a strong Walmart listing. While discounts can help generate attention, avoid using them as a crutch or selling yourself short. The below tips can help to guide you in the right direction as you prepare.

1.  Check Listing Quality

Make sure you're putting your best foot forward before starting your promotion. Check that your listing includes a variety of professional-looking images, in addition to a unique title and description. Avoid copying and pasting a manufacturer's description or a listing that you've already published on another channel. Instead, write fresh copy that speaks to your buyers' interest and lifestyles.

Consider questions that you've received within customer chats or reviews and answer them upfront in your listing. Remember to highlight benefits, not strictly features, and follow other Walmart SEO guidelines that give your listing the best chance at being seen.

2. Participate in Free TwoDay Delivery

Expedited shipping is a hallmark of Walmart Marketplace, where two-day shipping is nearly a requirement to remain competitive. By offering fast shipping together with a discount, your customer is that much more likely to click on your listing and hit purchase.

Two-day shipping can have other advantages, like increased rankings and inclusion within results pages filtered by "2-day delivery." You also stand to win the buy box more often with fast shipping enabled.

3. Shave Your Costs

Price reductions can quickly become a sore point as they chip away at your margins. But you can give yourself more leeway by cutting costs when it comes to product packaging (try unbranded, standard boxes) or shipping supplies. You may additionally want to find a regional carrier (Walmart offers discounted FedEx rates and WFS) or a 3PL.

There are plenty of other strategies for lowering your shipping costs. Take some time to consider your options and start plucking away at low-hanging fruit.

4. Collect Positive Reviews

Today, 56% of customers read at least four reviews before making a purchase online. Reviews are a source of validation and social proof. So, while it's against Walmart's policies to solicit reviews, you should take steps to inspire more activity. As a good housekeeping measure, check that your listings are accurate in how they describe your product. Do you offer enough images and product details to avoid any confusion about product size or usage?

Respond quickly to any customer inquiries and make sure to deliver on your promises as it relates to fast, accurate shipping. If you're having trouble meeting customer expectations, WFS, a 3PL or shipping software can be helpful.

In Summary

Walmart Promotions should be a well-calculated step. They can entice more clicks and sales, but can easily corrode margins too if not handled carefully. Keep Walmart SEO best practices in mind, as well as other cost-saving techniques, to make promotions work for—not against—you.

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