The Big News
Today Walmart announced a partnership with Shopify to help bring more third party sellers into the Walmart marketplace. Walmart has been pushing hard in recent years to build up their ecommerce presence and compete as a fully fledged marketplace with third party sellers like Amazon. While Walmart's Jet.com acquisition has since been shuttered, they took their lessons learned and doubled down on their in house offerings. This is the next step in that process.
The New Amazon?
While Walmart is nothing if not a juggernaut, many other retail giants have floundered or failed online. Walmart has emerged as the leading contender to Amazon's dominance, but while they've taken a lot from the Amazon playbook, they have some distinct differences.
Walmart decided from the beginning to lock down their marketplace much more than Amazon does. While some now see Amazon as the wild west full of counterfeits and review farms, Walmart does not let just anyone sell on their marketplace. Walmart curates their products and vets each seller. This has helped them keep out the flood of counterfeits, but at the same time has kept many small merchants locked out of their ecosystem. This new partnership marks (ever so slightly) the opening up of the Walmart ecosystem. In the end Walmart must do this to fully compete with Amazon, but it is smart of them to do so cautiously and gain the reputation as the safer option at a time when buyers have begun to lose trust in purchases from Amazon. Competition is good, but a second Amazon that doesn't fix the issues of the first doesn't benefit you as a seller. Walmart still has a bit of the old school retail mindset which has held them back before, but as they begin to embrace the new ecommerce world further, they will continue to chip away at Amazon's lead.
Selling On Walmart
When it comes down to it as a seller, Walmart is still a closed marketplace. This new deal does not change things overnight as Walmart only plans to onboard 1,200 Shopify sellers this year. The barrier to entry is lowering however and they are beginning to let in more and smaller sellers. As Walmart's popularity rises with buyers and it becomes easier to get in and list items as a seller, Walmart becomes a more worthwhile consideration of your time. Now may be the right time to start looking at Walmart as a serious new sales channel. And whether you are using Shopify or not, CartRover can help you.
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