Launching on the Walmart E-Commerce Platform

Episode 71

Are you planning to sell at Walmart? Then, don’t miss this episode. Ken will share his experiences so far in selling in Walmart. We will talk about the things we like about it, including how easy the integration is and how the sales are going. We will also discuss more topics to make your Walmart experience worthwhile, including how to get top-quality reviews for your products. 

Listen to this episode and start your Walmart journey! 

[00:01 – 03:21] Opening Segment

  • We introduce our topic for today
  • Why we are on Walmart 

[03:22 – 09:07] Start Your Walmart Journey 

  • Ken walks us through his Day 1
    • What to expect in the application process
  • How to set up your listings
    • The 3 different ways to set up
  • Explore the Listing Quality Dashboard 

[09:08 – 16:49] Sell in Walmart 

  • How to sell using Walmart
  • Ken shares his current experience with Walmart 
    • Learn the bright side of his experience 
  • Don’t miss Ken’s review of Walmart’s customer service! 
  • Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
    • Promo code: FTM400
  • What you should know about the Walmart Fulfillment Services
    • How is it different from Amazon’s FBA? 

[16:50 – 26:14] Ken’s Walmart Pro Tips

  • How to leverage third-party logistics in Walmart 
  • Ken talks about his experience in delivering products
    • Why his grade, for now, is B
  • Get top quality reviews for your products
  • Don’t miss Ken’s pro tips to get into Walmart! 

[26:15 – 27:35] Closing Segment 

  • Connect with us. Links below
  • Final words

Tweetable Quotes:

“Walmart has this thing called Pro Seller Badge, and if you meet this criteria, they automatically grant you this badge.” – Ken Wilson

“For us to actually sell on Walmart now with [Walmart Fulfillment Services] not an option, we had to choose a [third-party logistics].” – Ken Wilson

Resources Mentioned:

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David 0:00
Real quick before we get into the show, I wanted to share a new service called Getida that Ken and I have been using that has made us over $10,000 in Amazon reimbursements. The service requires no monthly subscription, and getida collects a small percentage of the money they recover for you. It takes less than five minutes to set up and works on all Amazon marketplaces. Go to getida.com GETIDA, and enter promo code FTM 400. That’s FTM for firing the man 400 to get your first $400 in reimbursements commission free, how much money does Amazon owe you?

Ken 0:42
the look and feel the navigation it’s definitely clunky, you can tell they’re at the beginning stages of it, you know, so sometimes the you know, the screen will hang up a little bit here and there, you kind of got to refresh it, there’s not a ton of options. It’s high level, in my opinion, it’s way better than Amazon’s current state of support. So yeah, that was a really good strong metric for Walmart. All of the carriers are like having mandatory delays due to huge q4 shipping volumes, as well as you know budget constraints and just the massive influx of e commerce packages. And so we were actually shipping all of our inventory in at about that same time. And so it actually took six weeks for our inventory to get in to delivers warehouses and to be stocked on the shelves and ready for sale on Walmart.

Intro 1:37
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us. This show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your host, serial entrepreneurs, David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

David 2:02
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we take a look at the first 60 days of selling on Walmart. What were some surprises and how sales have been? Which three PO we chose and how easy integration and deployment was, we’re going to cover the Walmart review program and talk about what’s next. Be sure to stay tuned to find out how to get more reviews on Walmart. Ken, what’s going on man?

Ken 2:26
David, how are you?

David 2:27
I’m doing well. I’m doing well. You know, we started this, you know, we did a news episode probably three months ago and just made a decision on that day we’re going into Walmart, it seems to be on the up and up. They’re gaining market share. And we made a joint decision not to bet against Walmart. And so you have been the captain of the Walmart ship in terms of integrating our brands. And so really looking forward to seeing how things are going, you know, inside of the first 60 days, what you’ve learned.

Ken 2:57
yeah, absolutely. So, you know, like you mentioned, we’re kind of testing out the Walmart waters, the approach has been, hey, let’s take a brand that has minimal amount of skews the brand that we took in there, it only has 12 skews. So it’d be easy. Let’s kind of test the waters a little bit. Let’s, you know, find out what works, what doesn’t. Just really learn the process. And before we take other brands with hundreds of skews in there and the complexity. So that was kind of the the strategy behind it. You know, we didn’t want to kind of stomp in there and dominate competition and spend a bunch of money to figure something out, we’re kind of like, hey, let’s test this out. Let’s kind of stroll into the room and kind of quietly sit at the table. But you’re right, like you definitely want a seat at the table in Walmart. And so that’s been the approach. And it’s been fun.

David 3:48
For sure. No, I’m really looking forward to it. And I find myself as a consumer hopping on walmart.com just to see how that stacks up against Amazon. And it seems to be making great improvements. And so I would only imagine that it’s going to get better and better over the next couple of years. So let’s dive into day one. I’m guessing there was probably some sort of application or what was the first step that you took?

Ken 4:11
Yeah, absolutely. So there’s an application process. And, you know, for the listeners, all of the links are going to be in the show notes for applying to Walmart for just about everything we’re going to talk about. So, you know, the application process it took about I don’t know the application was pretty generic, you know, probably took 5 10 15 minutes, kind of plug in normal standard business type stuff to get registered. And the approval process took you know, we started this back in December. And so at that point in time, the approval process took about three weeks. And you know, kind of ran through it, we get an email, hey, you’ve been approved to sell in Walmart, boom, and next steps, you know, we log in and kind of get this, you know, get this Walmart account set up and you know, getting the Walmart account setup was a little bit more nuanced. That process wasn’t as easy, you know, it probably took me a couple hours to kind of go through all of these, you know, template shipping templates, and, you know, it’s a little bit more involved there. But I mean, don’t let that deter you from doing it but just carve out a couple hours know that you’re gonna have to go through, you know, 20 30 different screens and kind of sign your name a ton of times, and a lot of the stuff is monotonous, I kind of jammed it through, you know, like, hey, what’s going on? What needs to go on here? Let me let me find some templates. Let me just jam this thing through. So yeah, you know, it was a couple hours to get the initial setup going.

Absolutely. And this is as far in the process as I’ve gotten. Actually, yesterday, I went through and took one of my brains through this registration process. The one thing that took me the longest was they wanted you to upload your brand logo, but it had to be 400 by 50 pixels, which is basically like a long, skinny rectangle. And that is not the shape of most logos. And so I had to get on Canva, type in my custom dimensions, and get a new, like, banner type logo setup for for my account. So but yeah, I would say, you know, you characterized it very well enter your EIN, enter your address, what to do with shipping, and so yeah, not too painful, but it did take some time to set up,

yeah, definitely just carve off a couple hours and, you know, sit down and just grind through it, it’ll be worth it. Kind of the next step was listing setups. And, you know, like I said, this brand that we tested out first only had 12 skews. So it wasn’t a super complicated, I found out that there’s three different ways to set up the listings that I know of, the first one is manual, you can kind of just point and click through the GUI, you know, add your titles, your bullet points, your descriptions, your images, pricing, you know, category, all of that you can manually do it. And then there’s two different Bulk Upload, like a flat file, it’s a bulk upload, one of them is called with a spec match, I believe, and you know, so you download this flat file, this Excel, download it, you add, I think it was 10 to 12 fields, 10 to 14 fields. And then Walmart will try to auto match it and take care of the rest. And then the last one was, you go in and you find your category that you’re selling in, and then you download that spec template for that category, and then you go in and fill and then that one has the full suite of options, you know, I think there was, you know, dozens of different fields to fill in, you know, pricing and quantity and color and variation. And, and so that one is the bulk upload full spec sheet. So and then, any of those three, what I have found out is when they’re done, then you know, it’s going to take some time for Walmart system to link up and for it to sync. And then you want to go in there and you want to make sure everything is showing up properly. And then you want to go into the listing manually, and then add anything that’s not in there, or that didn’t translate over. One item I found out was the bullet points, we had put in I think five and only three showed up. So we had to go in and manually put them in there. So just once you do that, you know, just double check, everything is showing up. And then one pro tip that I found for the listings. And this is after everything is done, give it a day or two to kind of sync. And then go into the analytics, the growth opportunities and the listing Quality Dashboard and fix any listing quality errors or missing Detail page info, because Walmart will, I don’t know if they rank you higher or not, I’m assuming they do. But they will score your listing based on how many fields you have open or if items are missing or whatever. So go in and check that out, get it filled out. And that also is a metric for the pro seller badge, which we’ll talk about a little bit later.

David 9:09
So one quick question on the Walmart listings do they like, so on Amazon, which I’m most familiar with, You’ve got your title, your bullet points and your description. How do things lay out on Walmart?

Ken 9:20
it is very similar. You have a title obviously, the you know, the kind of the character quantities are a little bit different and the placements are a little bit different. But you still have a title, description, images. And so all of that product detail pages, I would say it’s relatively similar to Amazon. But like I said, you want to go in and check your specific category, the character counts and things like that. And you can do that in the listing Quality Dashboard that will help you out tremendously.

David 9:49
So you’ve got your listing set up, you know, the next step would be presumably make a sale. What comes next?

Ken 9:55
Sure. So kind of along with setting up the account, what I’ve done is And I found that there’s a couple different ways to get your payouts from Walmart. And the way that we did the first brand is it was with hyperwallet, which is a PayPal service. And so you basically have to kind of go on their site, set up an account, link your business banking, you know, kind of do that little initial transfer, I can’t remember, I think it was like, Hey, we’re gonna transfer five cents in there and take it back out and verify your account, once that accounts verified, and you’re linked up, then you’re good to go. Currently, we’re on a two week delay, kind of the same as Amazon, where you make a sale, and then you know, the payment processes, and then kind of two weeks later, you get a payout. So every two weeks you get a payout from Walmart is what we’re set up with right now, I did see an option just last week that they have, you know, I think it’s a 24 hour payment plan where they’ll pay out early, you know, there’s a lot of vendors that do that, but they’ll take a percentage of it, I think it’s maybe 1% or something. So if you do need your cash quicker, or if that’s built into your business model, I believe that is an option if you need that. The next thing is, you know, kind of the Walmart marketplace structure navigation. And, you know, I think a lot of our listeners, you know, probably either sell on Amazon or familiar with it, and it’s kind of how I have measured Walmart, you know, coming from what the Amazon experience background is, like, how does this relate to Amazon comparable, and so the experience I would say has been okay, right now, you know, the look and feel the navigation, it’s definitely clunky, you can tell they’re at the beginning stages of it, you know, so sometimes the, you know, the screen will hang up a little bit here and there, you kind of got to refresh it, there’s not a ton of options, which is good for navigation, you, literally have, you know, maybe 12 or 15 options, but it’s definitely a new, you know, clunky kind of feel. But on the bright side to kind of wrap that up is just in the last, you know, two or three months that we’ve been on Walmart marketplace, we’ve noticed several updates, improvements, little bit of speed improvement, a couple new menu items, just the flow of it, I’ve noticed that they’re making progress. So it’s a good thing.

David 12:10
You know, whenever I start something new, you know, sign up with a new software or something else, generally, I’m always hitting that support button or help me. And sometimes it’s annoying, I’ll get a bot response. Sometimes I’ll get great customer service. And so have you tried out Walmart customer service, or I guess seller support? And what’s been your experience?

Ken 12:30
Yeah, absolutely. You know, and that was top on my mind just like anybody else’s, you know? And yes, I have I’ve opened probably between my team and I we’ve probably opened, you know, five or six cases with Walmart, and it’s called partner support is what Walmart’s support is I’ve been extremely impressed with their level of service and the speed. Like I’ve opened tickets, and they were resolved within 20 minutes in an email, like I was like holy cow like this was really good support. And, you know, not to dog offshore support or not. But the emails, I’ve actually received two phone calls from Walmart support, and they were native English speakers, they were not offshoring. And they, you know, I don’t know how their support teams work, but they were able to fix the issues that I had, within a matter of 30 minutes to an hour. So we did open two IP claims tickets, we had two different competitors using our trademark branded name in their listing, which was pretty ballsy. And so we opened infringement claims and they were taken down within two hours.

David 13:38
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And, you know, oftentimes, when you hear of black hat tactics, you think of someone ripping off your listing on Amazon, but I guess that this would be an effective strategy is see what’s performing well on Amazon, and go somewhere else, and try to sell it there. And so I think that is a good reminder to all of us to even if you’re not selling on a sales channel, check it out every so often and see if there’s some people that are stealing your images or, you know, infringing on your intellectual property because, you know, had we not signed up for Walmart, we probably never would have figured that out. Right?

Ken 14:15
Right. Yeah, it was something that I did months ago before I was ever on Walmart I went to the marketplace and searched for the brands and the trademark names for the brands and found them on there. So I knew there were other sellers using the brand names and so there is actually a way to file a complaint with Amazon even if you’re not a seller and to have those corrected but yeah, definitely if you have a brand recognition on Amazon if you have a popular brand you’ve been selling for several years go on Walmart and search your brand and see if anybody is using that and yeah make sure you protect that. So to kind of wrap up on the the Walmart partner support, I’m very impressed with it. It’s high level. It’s in my opinion it’s way better than Amazon’s current state of support. So yeah, that was a really good strong metric for Walmart.

David 15:09
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Ken 16:00
Kind of moving on. And the last kind of bit of the puzzle here is so when we got onto Walmart, you know, Walmart has everybody selling on Amazon is familiar with FBA Fulfillment by Amazon. And so Walmart, you know, they’re kind of lagging a little bit behind they’re playing catch up, but what they have is called w f s Walmart fulfillment services. So as soon as we signed up with Walmart, we applied to WFS. And so we got an email back, I’m just gonna read it here. Because this is likely what a lot of Walmart sellers are going to get this for a while, until they play catch up, because then the marketplace is getting flooded. So the reply we got back when we applied to WFS and granted this has been, I think 90 days ago now. So it says we appreciate your interest in Walmart fulfillment services, due to high demand, we are unable to proceed at this time, but we would like to place your business on our waitlist, we are excited about you joining WFS in the future, please keep an eye out for emails from us to get started on our website for program updates. And so, you know, I’ve been told like, you know, there are maybe if Walmart kind of takes a look at your brand and depending on the velocity of your brand and brand recognition, they kind of shuffle that list, this is just hearsay, I don’t know for sure. But we’ve been placed on the waitlist for WFS. So I’m excited for when that opportunity comes out, we’re going to get right in there as soon as it’s open. And that kind of brings me to my next point here. So for us to actually sell on Walmart now with WFS not an option, we had to choose a three PL and so we ran a mini series you know David you and I interviewed i don’t know i think four or five different three pls, we you know, kind of drug them all through the wringer. And so the winner was deliver. And that’s who we chose to go with this brand. You know, based on like what we talked about overall service features that matched what our businesses needed. So I’m gonna run through kind of the experience that we’ve had with with deliver and how we’re using deliver to fulfill Walmart orders. So first off, you know, the integration with deliver was was really easy. You know, probably took less than 10 minutes. They are a preferred Walmart partner. And so that is a really nice option to have, you can actually go to deliver’s website and apply to a Walmart marketplace through deliver so they are an approved vendor, they have a close relationship with Walmart. Integration was super easy. So delivers account support, so it was a little bit shaky, you know, we signed up we had a sales rep. And then you know, I think a couple weeks later we got moved to a new account manager getting the account set up you know, the listings synced, inventory shipped in and then a couple weeks later we got assigned to another account rep so I’m not sure like if that was normal if maybe someone left the company or what happened there but we did get shuffled around quite a bit so that continuity was not there. I was not super impressed with that. And so once we were set up it was kind of cool to see you know so with deliver it was a long delay and I don’t want to you know kind of pin all this on deliver its wasn’t delivers fault, but right around the time you know January February, you know USPS United States Postal Service UPS, FedEx all of the carriers were like having mandatory delays due to huge q4 shipping volumes, as well as you know, budget constraints and just the massive influx of e commerce packages. And so we were actually shipping all of our inventory in at about that same time. And so it actually took six weeks for our inventory to get in to delivers warehouses. To be stocked on the shelves and ready for sale on Walmart. Now again, that’s probably not normal. I think it was because of the timing of that. But it did, it took six weeks for us to do that. And so with deliver the two options that you have to send in inventory, you can send it to one warehouse. And at the time that we did that they had a solution where they would ship out, if you sent in multiple case quantity items to one warehouse, they would ship them out to the other warehouses in the US for the different regions deliver works in regions like most fulfillment services. And so you could do that or what would be faster is if you took your case quantities, you know your different cases, and shipped them to multiple delivery warehouses, right. And so I did a little bit of both, actually, because I shipped in a couple of skews to one warehouse to their main warehouse and then I noticed like it was taking forever so the other skews that we shipped in, we shipped to three different warehouses. And so with those specific skews, it is actually really interesting on deliver’s portal is really cool. You can go in and click on your skew and see where all your inventory is and see how quick you can get your, so you know Walmart works right now on two day and three day shipping. Like if you have two day and three day badge shipping on your listing, it’s crucial and deliver offers that integration with Walmart. And in delivers portal, you can say okay, I have, you know, I have 100 units in you know, California warehouse, and you know, so Nevada, Arizona, California. So that region, however far you can get that product to a customer within two days, it covers that map, and you can visually see it on there. So you know, if someone that’s in California, they’re shopping on Walmart, they’re going to get that two day badge. And so but someone in Minnesota shopping on Walmart is not going to get that two day badge when they look at that product listing. And so what you want to do is you want to kind of make sure you have coverage. Obviously anybody in e commerce knows, you know, California, Florida, Texas, New York, those are the heavy hitters, right? So that’s kind of where we decided, hey, we’re going to ship our products into those states. And then we get the maximum amount of coverage for customers with that two day badging. And so that’s kind of what we went for. But again it took, even with the shipping them to multiple warehouses, it took several weeks for them to get received and stocked in, you know, just with anything else deliver is just getting inundated with more people and growing and with the expansion, but overall, the kind of wrap up the deliver, it’s been a good experience, you know, they’ve reached out actually the director of engineering reached out, hey, do you have any feedback on, you know, your process, you know, your experience. I provided some feedback to them, they’re going through Growing Pains as well as everyone else. So but I would rate them, you know, the services a B, you know, I’ve had a good experience so far. And so kind of to wrap up that three PL portion.

David 22:58
You know, the piece that you talked about having different warehouses across the United States, you know, something I think people should think about is, if you’re selling like saltwater gear, right, you don’t want to be sending your inventory to Peoria, Illinois, you want to be on the coast. And I don’t think that that model really applies to a lot of different products. But I would say like regionally, if you have products that tend to sell really well in one part of the United States, then that makes sense to send in your inventory there. So anyway, that was just a little bit of a side note. But uh, so anyway, what are you, you know, looking forward to the next 60 days? What are you gonna focus on?

Ken 23:37
Sure, absolutely. So, you know, like we mentioned earlier, we’re going to do a couple of updates on selling on Walmart, this is kind of update 1 60 days, hey, this has been our experience, this is how we went about it. So kind of the next two to four months, our six month window, we’re really going to focus on getting reviews on our listings, you know, kind of buffing up our listings, making sure they’re top quality, getting reviews on them, and we’re going to start PPC advertising. So I’ve been studying that a little bit on the side, I’m excited to get that going. I don’t think there’s a lot of that on Walmart now. It’s very rudimentary from what I’m seeing and hearing. So that’s really what we’re gonna focus on, getting reviews and starting pay per click.

David 24:17
So let’s go to the next segment of our show the pro tip off. So what would be a pro tip that you would share with our listeners if they are getting into Walmart?

Ken 24:26
Yeah, absolutely. So I have two today, one pro tip off, one bonus pro tip off. So the first one is, Walmart has this thing called pro seller badge. And if you meet these criteria, they automatically grant you this badge and it comes up on your listing, I believe it says like pro seller and they can kind of hover over it and it shows like these metrics, it’s just like it increases conversion rate. Huge, you know, it’s that trust, you know, consumer if they trust the seller they’re gonna convert easier. So the four metrics that Walmart uses before they hand out this pro seller badge, your listing quality score must be at least 50 or 60%. And we talked about that earlier in the show how to go in and once your listings are updated, you know, wait 24 hours go back in and add all the rest of that stuff in your listing. Delivery defect rate of 10% or less I would assume, cancellation rate of 1% or less, and 100% of your items offer free online or in store returns. That last one, I thought that was really interesting. Like, that’s not something that maybe some people don’t choose to do when you set up your account, it’s something else that when you’re setting up your account, that’s one of the steps to do that. So make sure you set it up to where you offer, you know, free online and in store returns, I think customers, you know, Amazon has spoiled customers now you know, and Walmart is also known for this in store like, Hey, you can pretty much take anything back you want. So it’s kind of a standard that you should offer that as a seller. And the second one second pro tip off is reviews. So we found two review programs that Walmart has, one of them is a pilot program. And it is they syndigate existing reviews from other marketplaces or other markets like your Shopify store, if you’re using any of the other review structures out there, and the second one has been around for a while, spark reviewer, and it’s by bizarre voice. And again, the links are going to be in the show notes for both of these. And I would suggest going and getting signed up for these as these services are getting hammered right now, the spark reviewer, most Amazon sellers will be familiar with this as basically you’re sending products to reviewers in exchange for an honest review. So that’s kind of what spark reviewer is.

David 26:56
Ken, you have posted a bunch of links this planning document which we’re going to transfer over to the show notes, so be sure to check those out. And we are going to continue to document this journey as we get up and going on Walmart. And so stay tuned in a couple months we’ll check back in and let you know how things are going on Walmart and what’s working for us. Thanks, everyone for tuning in. Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s firing the man podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to firingtheman.com and check out our resource library for exclusive firing the man discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is firingtheman.com\resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business, for that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at firing the man, and on YouTube at firing the man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer

Ken 28:00
and Ken Wilson. We’re out

David 28:17
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai