On March 18, 2021, Walmart removed requirements for sellers on its platform to have a US address or business tax identification. As a result, sellers based outside of the US can now sell on Walmart.com, assuming they receive approval.
Unlike Amazon, Walmart’s online marketplace is gated; sellers need approval from Walmart before they can start selling on the platform. Walmart will maintain these vetting procedures for new US and foreign sellers to continue to protect its marketplace from counterfeits and other undesirable goods.
How This News Affects Sellers
Prior to this policy update, foreign sellers could sell on the Walmart marketplace, but they were required to have a physical presence in the US, which greatly limited the number of foreign sellers able to apply to Walmart. The policy update positions Walmart to more aggressively compete with Amazon for ecommerce market share.
Amazon has allowed non-US based sellers to operate on its US marketplace for years. In 2020, 48% of sellers on Amazon.com were from outside the US, the vast majority of whom are based out of China. Now that Walmart has opened its doors to foreign sellers, Walmart may experience a similar diversification, though it will surely take time.
Requirements for Chinese Sellers
Walmart announced the news to Chinese sellers at a conference in China on March 25th. According to Marketplace Pulse, sellers must meet the following requirements to sell on Walmart.com:
- Valid Chinese business license
- 1+ year of selling experience in North American marketplaces
- Good store ratings
- Must use Walmart Fulfillment Services
Marketplace Pulse reports that nearly one hundred China-based sellers have joined the Walmart Marketplace since the policy update.
The Future of the Walmart Marketplace
The increase in sellers means the marketplace will likely become more competitive. Product selection, prices, and advertising costs will all be affected. It’s worth noting that many foreign sellers interested in Walmart likely already have an Amazon presence. As they expand to Walmart, they will have to coordinate Walmart pricing and branding strategy with Amazon. This may lessen the impact to product pricing on Walmart.
In the fiscal year ending January 31st, 2021, Walmart’s ecommerce sales grew 79% year-over-year (YOY). Total US sales increased 8.6% YOY and international sales grew 1% YOY.
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