Walmart Opens Third-Party Seller Floodgates

A lot more sellers are joining the Walmart marketplace after Walmart relaxed its strict approval requirements.

Sellers interested in joining the Walmart marketplace previously required Walmart’s approval. The button to start the application was even titled “Request to sell.” Last week, Walmart replaced it with a more welcoming “Join Marketplace” and streamlined the registration form.

Walmart has almost completely removed the approval process - sellers now go live on the marketplace after filling out only their business names and contact details. It then asks for business verification, payment details, and shipping info. Gone are questions about revenue, catalog size, other marketplaces, and the like. However, some sellers will not pass business verification which has replaced the initial application.

According to Marketplace Pulse research, nearly a thousand new sellers joined the Walmart marketplace each day of this week. Roughly four times more than before and almost as much as the Amazon marketplace in the U.S.

New Walmart Marketplace Sellers Weekly

Walmart used to be cautious with the marketplace but has went all-in over the past twelve months. First, it invited international sellers (most of whom have since been from China). Second, it pushes sellers to use Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) for their inventory. And finally, advertising like sponsored products in search results has become essential. “The relationship between digital growth, marketplace growth, advertising is something that we’re trying to take advantage of,” said Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, this month.

Previously, Walmart appeared to operate the marketplace as a traditional retailer, trying to control the number of sellers providing assortment in the same niche. It doesn’t seem to want to do that anymore, leaving it up to the competition of sellers to surface the best products.

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Juozas Kaziuk─Śnas

Founder of Marketplace Pulse, Juozas wears multiple hats in the management of Marketplace Pulse, including writing most of the articles. Based in New York City. Advisor to other startups and entrepreneurs. Occasional speaker at conferences.

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