Walmart launched a Pro Seller badge that highlights and rewards top-performing sellers. Three hundred fifty out of the 60,000 sellers on Walmart have it. The badge appears to be an attempt to increase conversions for sellers with the badge, thus incentivizing others to achieve it too.
To qualify for the Pro Seller badge, sellers must have: a high on-time delivery rate and low cancellation rate, most items should have a high listing quality, and all must allow free online and in-store returns, and the seller must be consistently compliant with the marketplace policies. Walmart emailed the exact eligibility requirements to select pilot sellers, and whether the seller meets each of the criteria was added to the Seller Center dashboard.
The badge appears in the search results, product pages, and the shopping cart; its design is reminiscent of the verified users’ badge used by social networks like Facebook and Twitter. It is also similar to the Top Rated Seller status eBay awards to sellers. eBay’s badge was introduced in October 2009 and replaced the Power Seller status. It has similar eligibility requirements and offers comparable benefits like the promised improved conversion.
While hovering the badge, Walmart displays three Pro Seller advantages: quality service provider, consistent on-time delivery, and free online or in-store returns. However, those advantages will confuse shoppers because most will assume all Walmart sellers offer them. It is odd to expect shoppers to choose other sellers - not Pro Sellers - knowing that they, for example, do not provide on-time delivery. The badge passes the seller’s selection on to the shopper, rather than Walmart hiding or suspending underperforming sellers.
Pro Sellers do not rank higher in search. They should. The status should be less a visual queue to shoppers and more a strong signal in search ranking. Shopping on Walmart shouldn’t be more like eBay, where the shopper picks the item and often vets the seller themselves. It should be more like modern marketplaces, for instance, Airbnb, which ranks “superhosts” at the top of the list. Retail marketplaces should be practically invisible to shoppers.