Top 10 Strategies for Selling on Walmart with Expert Ryan King

David 0:00
Are you looking to grow your sales on Amazon? Chances are if you’re not selling on Amazon’s international marketplaces, you are leaving some serious money on the table. What keeps a lot of people from selling internationally are all the confusing hoops you have to jump through to get started. That is why we worked with Kevin Sanderson from maximizing ecommerce on our international expansion. Kevin and his team take care of the details and guide you through the process of expanding so that you can grow your sales and reach new customers. If you’d like to find out if working with Kevin and his team is right for you head over to https://maximizingecommerce.com/fire, once again that is https://maximizingecommerce.com/fire

Ryan King 0:46
Anytime someone’s thinking about building their business out and growing it there is that question of this shiny object syndrome of do I stay the course or what I’m doing in Amazon? Am I maximizing that opportunity those things or the sounds cool, should I just jump over there and try it out? One of your actual listing to be the parent listing and the everything else is a child. The impact is you can only run advertising on your parent. You can’t run it on any of the child variation. Welcome everyone

Intro 1:18
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David 1:40
Welcome everyone to the firingtheman podcast on today’s episode we are joined by Ryan King Ryan is a former pastor and has been an E commerce for over six years. He’s the co founder and CEO of Blue Rice, a full service agency focused on walmart.com as a brand owner in private label seller on amazon.com. He partnered with multiple seven and eight figure sellers over the years to see brand growth on and off Amazon platforms. Seeing an emerging marketplace opportunity that Walmart presented Ryan and his co founder Daniel launched their agency in 2020 to help brands grow their revenues as they establish a strategic foothold on walmart.com. We are excited to take a deep dive on what Walmart has to offer right now. Welcome to the show, Ryan.

Ryan King 2:27
Great. Thank you, David. Thank you, Ken. Great to be here.

David 2:30
Yeah, absolutely. So So first things first, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself your background? And I’m particularly interested in that transition from pastor to e commerce professional.

Ryan King 2:41
Yeah, so yeah, that usually kind of raises a few eyebrows because people don’t see the natural segue between the two. And granted, it’s a little difficult in people’s mind to make that jump. So yeah, for about 15 years full time, I was in full time ministry and my particular area, I was doing a lot of things internationally with a focus on kind of engaging things around the world grazing issues and working with people around the world that we’re kind of facing a lot of just daunting challenges. And so kind of how I’m wired, I see gaps. And I’ve since learned that’s kind of just an entrepreneurial type wiring, in many ways when I see gaps trying to fix or come up with solutions. And so as we walked alongside different people realized one of those major gaps was gainful employment or getting kind of the financial flywheel going in a lot of places that would help people walk through weathers issues of systemic poverty or other things like that. And so that was one of the things that started kind of a bit of a splinter in the mind for a while thinking, what are some of the ways that nonprofits are doing a lot of great work here, what are some other ways to introduce some more systemic help in these ways. And so I looked around and as I thought through systems or models, I was seeing a few but decided at the time, another friend of mine was already a little bit dabbling in the E commerce side, this is back in 2000, maybe 15 2014. And we got to talking and I decided I wanted to just hang a shingle out there learn about the E commerce space it was saw is potentially one of those things that might be a model for helping around the world of such a globalized economy, globalizing even more, it’s virtual, all those things seemed like maybe good fits. And it seemed, at that time, you can go back to Amazon and 2014 2015 2016 was kind of a sense of, Well, there’s not too many hurdles to cross to find a product launch it and maybe this is something go and we’ve all learned since then it’s gotten way more complicated than that. But that was the initial step was starting on private label brand. I did that back in 2016. And started that going and I did that on the side that continued in my full time role as well. And after fast forward up until 2020, was about the time realizing Okay, I think this is time to pivot and go full in here. And different people have different reasons for changing careers and making those shifts for me it was looking around and realizing a lot of what I got to participate in was really well built out in the context I was in and our local church and our local context and had the itch to figure out what’s this new challenge, how do we throw ourselves into something else and try and build out one of those models? So we started our agency kind of with a focus of how do we do this not only in producing profit and helping clients and doing those things, but also maybe how do we connect some dots, even by identifying other populations, those places that we could through what we do help? So not just to giving a proceeds, but trying to strategically figure out how do we diversify our workforce in ways that are helpful in providing gainful employment. So it’s a fun challenge. So there’s a lot of agenda items to put on one business. And so we recognize that, but it’s been part of the fun of doing.

David 5:36
Absolutely, there’s a couple of things in your answer that I want to circle back on. One was you’re talking about gaps in employment. And that was something that Ken and I both kind of realized in our own lives was that we had been working for the man for a very long time, there were some areas about working for the man that we did not enjoy. And and so we decided to take on this initiative and start ecommerce companies and work towards firing the man. And so we had also talked about that the poverty piece. And that’s something that I think I grew up in a small town in Iowa, and there in terms of like job opportunities, unless you’re willing to commute very long ways, there was not a ton of jobs out there. And so the ability, I live in small town, Missouri now and am able to make a good living, participating in his global marketplace while still live in the small town life, which I love. And so yeah, it’s really neat. So anyway, so as we said in the intro, we’re here today to talk about walmart.com. And, and as a possible opportunity for sales channel expansion. And I can tell you, in our experience, sales channel expansion off of Amazon has been challenging today. For one, we uploaded a bunch of listings, and we’re getting like one or two sales a month, and it just, it wasn’t worth it. Then we did Groupon, I got kicked off a Groupon because I didn’t abide by their terms of service. I don’t know why. And so when I hear sales channel expansion, I’m a little hesitant now let’s talk about why Walmart may be different from some of these other sales channels, and why you may think it would be a good option.

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Ryan King 7:12
Yeah, so those are great points. And anytime someone’s thinking about building their business out and growing it there is that question of this shiny object syndrome of do I stay the course or what I’m doing in Amazon? Am I maximizing that opportunity? Those things or the sounds cool, should I just jump over there and try it out. And it can be a lot of sideways energy, like you explained there, testing different markets and doing those things. I think one thing that sets Walmart us as a maybe a unique opportunity, in some ways is it’s not an emerging marketplace, we all you may have already heard the term, the buzz out there, the it’s been thrown around. And I say it too, sometimes is Walmart is the Amazon of fill in the blank of what year was five to 10 years from now. And it’s true in many ways. It’s an emerging marketplace of those things. But the other thing that’s pretty unique about Walmart is it’s the world’s largest retailer. And so while there are a lot of things, they’re figuring out, still and emerging into this omni channel side of things, doing the E commerce play, they’ve had a few iterations of trying to do it without acquiring Jett in the day back in the day and those kinds of things, they’re continue to move forward. And they just, they’re a massive entity that’s putting a lot of money behind this play. And so they’re dedicated to growing market, it’s, there’s so many signals of them doing it throughout their structures, and even how they organize their teams and their retail strategy. So I think that for one kind of sets it apart is a different marketplace. But there’s other things that set it apart as far as or as an A as a good opportunity for brands that are looking because it’s showing in the numbers. So they’re still number two. Now, as the largest second largest ecommerce entity behind amazon, they’ve been tracking that direction, especially during COVID. It helps accelerate but in granted, they’re still by the figures a distant number two, but they gained over eBay and some others while Amazon was giving away a bit of market share across the board, Walmart showing signals of growing so they’ve been they’ve been doing that. I think one one thing is it’s a gated marketplace, which might make it more of a challenge to some that are trying to sell. There’s a challenge to some, but that challenge is the opportunity to others. And so whereas someone trying to continue fighting competition, Amazon with their catalogue, lower competition, there’s lower search volume, but there’s also lower competition. So for every dollar, I think there’s, for every seller on Amazon, there’s 120 customers, for every seller on Walmart, there’s 800. And so while it’s a lower number of shoppers, the ratio is much better. And so if you can capture that volume, you’re doing better. So there’s that and just the other opportunities that moats haven’t been built as strongly around a lot of brands on the Walmart marketplace as well. So for those looking to expand, there’s search volume, their search volume that’s similar in many ways to Amazon search volume. And there’s lower bars of entry as far as competition go once you’re on the marketplace. So if For those who are willing to deal with the bumps along the road, it presents some opportunities.

David 10:04
Okay, now there’s a phrase that you use, they’re gated for our listeners. Can you talk about what is a gated marketplace? What does that mean for purposes of becoming a walmart.com?

Ryan King 10:14
Sure, yeah. So you can basically what Walmart’s looking for is looking for companies that have a proven, general rule of thumb is they’re looking for proven ability to sell quality products and provide good customers. So maybe a rule of thumb would be if you’ve been in business for at least six months more likely better if it’s been in business, if you’ve been in business for over a year, if you’ve done at least if you’re doing at least 500,000, annual revenue would be a good felt good benchmark, those kinds of things. And if you have a skew assortment, that is additive overall, and somehow providing extra value to the marketplace. That’s an arbitrary one, honestly. But if you have more than one product, if you have additional skills, you’re going to provide meaningful concrete contribution to shoppers on Walmart. And the other one is you have to be a US based seller or an if you’re an international seller, you have to have at least a US. So you have to have your W nine or your W eight, to qualify to sell. I think there’s one exception they’ve been doing. They just did a big push in the UK for sellers as well. But yes, there’s so there’s more gates, around who can sell on Amazon right now. Just about anybody can sign up and start selling on the marketplace right now. So that’s one thing that sets it apart.

David 11:33
Okay. Now, for those of our listeners that are looking at Walmart as a potential sales channel, do you have any advice on what tends to be a good fit? Is there a certain type of product or a certain type of brand, that tends to be a better fit for Walmart than others?

Ryan King 11:48
Yeah, I think in our experience, sellers that are at least in the six figure range, you know, somewhere in six figures on up into seven plus figures, typically, sellers are that sellers have been maturing on the Amazon marketplace. And at that point, as they’ve been squeezing the most juice out of Amazon and maturing there. That’s the point at which they think and I want to either for my own purposes, de risk by getting additional revenue channels here, or just incremental sales lift by adding new channels, or maybe they’re thinking 1218 months, even though aggregators have been cooling off and their acquisitions the a year ago, the big play was, how quickly can I build this thing up, package it, maybe sell it, that’s a little bit of a longer play, it’s still happening, but for those sellers are looking to add that revenue, and add the channel revenue, and thus de risked their business and hopefully up their Exit Multiple, probably 12 to 18 months before they’re looking to go, that’s a good time to to get onto another channel. So they have time to do it and start maturing it as well see what else I think those that are just probably this gets into product mix, maybe, but brands that are not maybe just hyper, hyper niched. So the example I would give is on Amazon, you brands might have a reusable bamboo pour over coffee filter, and they may be selling them for 60 bucks on Walmart, you’re more likely to succeed with coffee filter. And so it’s a different type of product mix. It’s succeeding currently on the marketplace and getting larger volumes. So either sellers that have a breadth of catalog where they can test what heroes are going to be different. Or maybe they don’t have the ultra premium offering those can do well. There’s definitely outliers, and those are doing progressively better. But it’s kind of that those middle tier or lower cost type products that we’re seeing a lot of.

David 13:40
Okay, okay, very good. Now thinking about the walmart.com shoppers, are they after the same types of products that people are after on Amazon? Yeah. So

Ryan King 13:50
like I was saying, I think there they are, Walmart has been for a long time the brand of Walmart is low cost leader. And so And because it’s a retail first kind of entity, it’s existed as brick and mortar over the years and providing that that promise. I think one of the effects has been the shoppers that are on marketplace. The majority of shoppers are still purchasing with that kind of ethos there. You can imagine one One helpful way to think of it might be that shoppers are probably prone to purchase online on walmart.com Same kind of products they would find in the store. So if you’re thinking do my products make sense in the marketplace by and large. This is just a general rule of thumb there’s definitely exceptions to this but the imagining would my product makes sense on a shelf at Walmart? Does it fit with the type of assortment I want to use I’d be used to seeing what types of categories do I would I usually go to a Walmart to purchase a product for so things like a sports and outdoor garden patio, automotive home and all those are generally good performers on Walmart grocery is a standout one on Walmart anything CP GE replenishable those kinds of things is a high volume and where they’ve seen their largest growth on.com. And they’re still going to be a little bit more price sensitive on Walmart. Now they’re growing, the trends are showing that they’re growing in convenience based shopping. So that means higher price points over time. But yeah, that probably be a difference. Amazon shoppers, I think, are still used to saying I can whatever I imagine, I can go to Amazon and probably find, whereas Walmart shoppers are saying, instead of going into the store, can I get it online? And maybe that’s one way. And it’s helpful to think about the difference?

David 15:37
Absolutely, no, that’s really helpful. So for our listeners that are thinking about getting started on Walmart, and let’s assume that they’ve jumped through all the hula hoops in terms of getting on gated and getting their company registered, and they’re ready to start selling, what are some practical steps that they may take to find success on Walmart?

Ryan King 15:57
Yeah, so initially, is application. And so you can get onto it, you can do a quick Google search and go to Walmart Marketplace application, and begin the application there. My one tip, my big tip there is for a lot of sellers, you just have to pay attention to the process there. It’s not super difficult to do. But you just need to make sure you pay attention to matching your documentation with what you fill that fill out in the fields. What we hear often, quite often is because that gating, Walmart has big scale, a lot of people trying to apply. So they have AI and bots working to try and filter that for them, those bots are operating on a hair trigger. So one thing we see a lot is someone will apply and then almost immediate response says, Hey, we’ve evaluated your application, you’re not a fit for Walmart right now. And there’s no opportunity for appeal at this time. And it’s seems very formal and cold sometimes, but in reality that’s likely triggered, because maybe you misspelled your address. And that was it. And so the challenge is from there, figure out who do you talk to where’s the recourse and there’s ways to follow up, but it’s a challenge. So just get it right the first time, when you’re applying would be my biggest bit of advice there. From there, the practical steps are getting the acceptance during the follow up and doing the account setup. But you’ve got several steps in there that there’s a process to do. There’s if you’re going to be Seller Fulfilled, there’s shipping plans, things to fill out tax information, you fill out all those things, we recommend for majority of our supplier supplier partners brand partners to enroll immediately in WFS, it can take a while to get approved, that timeframe adjusts over time. But it might just it might only take two to three weeks application process might only take two to three weeks could take longer based on what comes up. But we recommend Walmart fulfillment services, what I was referring to is wfs earlier, just because it overcomes a lot of obstacles in kind of sometimes the challenges of the platform with acknowledging orders sending them out on time and those things. And it helps with ranking. So applying for that and then also getting advertising prepared and set up because that’s another step that might take about two weeks or so to get approval to do those things.

David 17:59
Sounds good. And I definitely want to start episode. Ken did you have so Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 18:02
real quick, Ryan. So I there was a metric that you mentioned earlier that I wanted to circle back to you had mentioned I think Amazon was like a honey people per product. And Walmart was like 800 shoppers per product interact,

Ryan King 18:16
it was a comparison of monthly shots to sellers on the platform. So based off the figures of MERS Amazon about 310 million worldwide, Walmart’s around 150,000 sellers and Amazon’s around 2.5 million sellers. So ratio of sellers to customers monthly.

Unknown Speaker 18:37
Okay, so yeah, that that is a huge opportunity for in way less competition selling on Walmart versus Amazon pretty staggering statistic.

Ryan King 18:48
Yeah. And they’re growing. They’re adding 1000s At least probably 1000 sellers a month or so. On the Walmart side. So it’s changing that. Eventually, that’ll be more normalized to Amazon, but certainly present the opportunity. Yeah.

David 19:04
Very good. Now. Go ahead. Can I

Unknown Speaker 19:08
follow up question is on that piece. Fifth Walmart is I think David likes to refer to Walmart as the 800 pound gorilla in the room. And so I think everybody as a seller, like it would be wonderful to get into brick and mortar. So what you know, option, is that happening. Can you talk? Can you speak to that a little bit?

Ryan King 19:27
Yeah, sure. So that is definitely unique opportunity with Walmart as compared to Amazon. So you know what we’ve seen, I’ll just I’ll share some signals we see to that end. So one thing I didn’t share at the beginning is we currently service ecommerce brands that are migrating over to Walmart we manage over there but we also worked with aggregators as well as retail brands. So Walmart, what they’ve done is basically they’ve gone omni channel and their approach. That’s the language they’re using, and it’s just standard in the industry, but they have actually merged their retail and E commerce teams functionally. And so now What we see is when we’ve sat in even in line reviews with retail brands that already have brick and mortar distribution, the these buyers when they’re coming up by annually, and they’re sitting down, one of the questions that buyers are asking repeatedly, consistently is can you show us a your.com? Performance? They care about the listings, they care about the sales volume, those things, and it’s part now materially with those retail suppliers have the discussion and its impact on will they get extra store accounts in distribution or not? And so will they get extra products added in. So we see the signal on that side, that Walmart cares about the.com side, even with existing supplier relationships, we also see we’ve seen with suppliers that we’ve introduced and worked with on the.com side, the opportunity and talking with category directors on the E commerce side, where the conversation has led to as sales start to grow and ask of would you like to be introduced to a Walmart buyer to start a conversation. And so we’ve had those introductions in those connections as well. And then the other signal I think, was a big telling one this year is Walmart does what they call open call every year, they just did it a little over a month ago. And so they do a nationwide call for us based manufacturers to basically come to a come to Arkansas and do basically a shark type pitch competition. And so for those that are selected to come in, they pitch and then they get an opportunity to potentially win an offer from a retail buyer there. And so what’s notable this year was the first round of that open call was exclusive to Walmart marketplace, sellers. So before they went nationwide, with the call, they first rolled that out to any seller on walmart.com marketplace. So they’re actively showing the signals. I was saying let’s connect those dots in that conversation between what we’re seeing online. And what’s happening there. I mean, you can think of it use a baseball analogy. If a team has their farm system a AAA leagues, or whatever it is, they’re seeing what’s happening, they’re seeing they have nationwide statistics of where the demand is they can start figuring out where would we run a trial, which stores are probably going to be the best performers for this. And they’re de risking their placement of that coveted shelf space in store by leveraging online data. So that’s all like it’s a, it’s probably going to be 1% or less of the products available. That makes sense, because you’re going to be likely displacing something else. So you got to be prepared to show performance, you got to have retail ready packaging, you got to do all those things. And I think one of the things is some suppliers need to think through one of the biggest obstacles for suppliers going into retail distribution is do they have the capital at the ready to scale up if that purchase order comes through? But if for those that are starting to put those ducks in a row and figure that out and want to have those conversations even advance of what would it look like? And how do I play in that direction? Those conversations are beginning now. And in various ways. So it is exciting for those that want to put that type of channel in their business plan.

David 22:50
Absolutely, yeah, we’re we would love to I would refer to that as a golden ticket is to get invited into Walmart brick and mortar. And that’s an interesting program that you had mentioned. So would have that been something that we would have had to register for or would have that been something that would have been in. So

Ryan King 23:06
that would have come up, I think in a lot of the seller accounts we work with that came up on when you log into seller center, there’s pops up, you have to click out of sometimes, and that probably would have popped up as one of those just kind of an open call notice. And with a link to register. So there’s a way to apply for that. And then you follow the subsequent steps through that process. So it’s a it’s not an invite only to apply necessarily. There is kind of a nationwide call as well. So people when they know it’s happening, anybody can go and register and apply to do that.

David 23:39
Okay, okay. Yeah, very good. So in the brains that you’ve worked with, what are some challenges that they’re facing on? walmart.com?

Ryan King 23:48
Yeah, great way to phrase it. I think challenges is the right positive spin on on these things, I think Walmart. They’re massive. And they’re dedicating a lot of resource to growing these things. But at scale, there’s always issues and challenges. And so because some of that presents itself in the actual interface in the UI trial, there’s less tools available that are developed specifically for the Walmart marketplace. So sellers are having to focus more on going directly through self serve option in the seller center. Rather than relying on secondary tools, there are several out there, which is good news, but interfaces in uploading content, uploading spec sheets, it can be a hit or miss, you put in a spec sheet to upload something and it may go through and it may work or it may not. And you may get feedback in the feed that it did, or it may not show up and the likelihood that it went through and so you have a little bit of grit and a little bit of brute force. I see Ken smiling over there. It looks like he’s done the same the so those things exist, those challenges exist. There are with one thing that’s presently bigger challenge on Walmart is the issue of content ranking right now. So trying to update fields to do things for different listings and not able the As fields are often locked in, that happens a lot more often on Walmart than it would elsewhere. And that’s some side effects, unintentional, sometimes on the Walmart side with the different bots that have, they’re trying to curate quality of listings those things. And so there’s ways to get around it, but it just takes a lot of time and patience, the right now the Seller Support is a bit of a gamble, when you kind of reach out to them as to whether or not you get something helpful at the moment. Again, they’re scaling up trying to train a lot of staff. So we, we had one where we had an item that was for different listings, it was basically color variations, but they weren’t variations of each other on the listings all got suppressed for a content error issue, that was not true, we sent four separate tickets, all with the same information, got four separate responses within 24 hours, and none of which of those four separate responses were accurate to the issue. So you’re gonna get those kinds of things on the system, as well. And I think the other challenge, I’d say, beyond just kind of picking on the system there a bit. But beyond that, it’s just different. It’s different than Amazon. So for a lot of sellers, if they’re looking just to do a quick fix of push their content over, put a lot of hooks in the water, not do much work extra unique to the Walmart marketplace. And hopefully it gets some nibbles. They’re not optimizing uniquely for that marketplace. And so, Walmart has different criteria about Title length, description, bullets, a lot of Amazon sellers don’t still don’t fill out their back end attributes on listings. And we know this because one of the ways we do it, one of the ways we work with sellers to get the category listing report from Amazon to get all the back end attributes if we can to fill it out. And usually those are largely blank. And because it’s not necessary on Amazon as much as it is Walmart, but it is fundamental. And so if someone on Walmart is a sleeping on that, and not filling out back end attributes, they might have the wrong product type I could go into the weeds with if he wanted, but the product type and fit and its effect on discoverability for search terms is huge. And that’s determined by title description, as determined by the back end attributes, all those things, and you just might effectively not be showing for any of the valuable search terms because you just didn’t completely fill out your attributes. So there’s just the broader point there is the challenge of how do they allocate their time, love the seller saying, okay, I’d like to expand but but I can’t just double my team and the attention, I play across a pay to two separate marketplaces. So how do I efficiently optimize for a secondary marketplace and really maximize the opportunity is a bigger one, I’d say the bright side would be there’s opportunity, which is if many people are just throwing their stuff over on the marketplace and not paying any attention for those who do. And those are willing to do things like fill out the attributes optimized specifically for what Walmart is looking for. They gave you a quantifiable score for listing quality. And if you’re at 80%, listing quality, Walmart gives you a small rank boost, not huge, a bigger rank boost if you use WF. And then if you do advertising, the average cost per click on Walmart right now is around 80 cents compared to $1.24 on Amazon. And so you’re getting cheaper advertising. So if you’re looking at your total advertising cost of sale across the board for your brand, every sales probably going to be much more cost efficient, therefore more profitable on Walmart. And so we’d say for Walmart, four to 12% of revenues, maybe what a maturing brand on Amazon might expect on the Walmart side for 12% of what they’re seeing on Amazon revenues right now. But if you look at it more at contribution margin, what is the profit per sale, each of those sales goes up in value, because a lower lower cost of sale they’re

David 28:33
sorry to interrupt the episode, you may have heard Ken and I talking recently about a new tool that we’re using for Amazon refunds. Now I have used other refund tools like this. However, I can tell you in the first seven days, they scrubbed the back end of my Amazon account going back 18 months and found $5,000 of refunds. And the nice thing about this is it’s my money, Amazon made a mistake and they are just auditing my account. The other thing I really like about this tool is there is no monthly fee. They only charge a commission if they are successful in getting you your money. Go to get tita.com GE T ID a Ida and enter promo code ft m for firing the man FTM 400. This is an awesome tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. Now back to the episode. Huge piece that’s advertising and I want to dive into that that’s been something that we’ve been internally working on getting right sized. And it has been our experience that just the method at which advertising is done on Walmart has changed they most recently are on a new bidding system. And so any just for people that are engaged or will soon be engaging in Walmart advertising, any suggestions for how to attack it?

Ryan King 29:54
Yeah, so yeah, you’re back in June, they rolled over finally from a first bid auction the second date auction so before June, it was quick, it was easy to lose your shirt on bids, because yeah, he bid a $55 to find the ceiling and next closest bid is 50 cents Walmart was having to take the $5 for that. And you might still only get placement number 40. For that $5. That’s adjusted now. So it’s more like you would expect on Amazon bidding system and we there was about a 30% drop in cost per click be as a result. So it’s getting it got cheaper. As a result, there’s limited opportunities. The other thing that changed was in the past before June, those that have any experience with Walmart’s system or Miry be on it and might not be aware of prior to June, if you one position one, or let’s say you want position one sponsored and you are already organically position five, you would lose your organic positioning in favor of your sponsored position. So there you could only as a result only show up one time on on search grid. And so there’s an additional complexity of do I even Should I even run ads on this product? If it’s already organically do I need to turn it on and turn it off and watch for it. So I’m not wasting ad spend all that kind of stuff that’s changed now to be more like Amazon as well where you actually can gain further real estate by getting sponsored placement. So that’s also good. Those are the normal things you might expect the on am on Walmart is still still relatively limited on what you can do. You can basically the options as a third party marketplace seller right now the options are limited to can you do a sponsored product placements, which is search grid, some carousels and the search results below by box on a product detail page or a carousel or two on the product detail page. And that’s really your options. And you’re going to be using either automatic or manual campaigns, we recommend both. That’d be one tip. Automatic campaigns have more placement options than manual does not qualify for all those positions I mentioned, mainly search grid. And a couple of carousels. So running both simultaneously is one. And now we’d say I’d say because that’s changed in June, there’s a lot of brands out there that might not have changed their bidding strategy. So now’s the time to really try and ramp up bids to see if you can find the ceiling of where those bids are why others have been cautious. And because they were burned previously, by the first bid auction, they may be bidding very conservatively. And now it’s up to you to flip it on its head more aggressively over them. If you’re in a competitive space where there’s traditional CPG brands, you think Unilever, Procter and Gamble, this big brand names, one opportunity would be to look at if you have the functionality and capability to do some day parting with bids. Those kinds of things are timing, when you’re pausing or making your campaigns active, make an active later in the day, when some of these less sophisticated ones, they’re just spending just allocating a daily spin or running out of their ad budgets, maybe you can capture some share from them later in the day. If they’re not getting more sophisticated, those would be some of the opportunities that I would see there. One note would be differences in how variations interact on Walmart versus Amazon. So on Walmart, if you have variations, you have to pick one of your actual listing to be the parent listing and the everything else is a child, the impact is you can only run advertising on your parent, you can’t run it on any of the child variations. So it’s something to consider when you’re trying to figure out how much real estate share of shelf you want to gain in your product mix. And it is a factor in figuring out your strategy of if you’re trying to conserve ad spend consolidate them all under one parent and just bid on the one that’s your highest converter and hopefully get the cross sell across variations. Or if you’re really wanting to dominate and you have more ad budget, you’re saying you’re gonna run ads across multiple variations, and you need to keep them separate. So they’re all servable on it, I could probably keep going a little bit and geeking out on that. But we could I’ll take a breath and see if you guys have any questions there.

The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and HowIt's Transforming the American Economy
291 Reviews
The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and HowIt's Transforming the American Economy
  • Fishman, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 12/26/2006 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

David 33:37
Now, it’s really helpful. And I know a lot of our so we’re just talking about variations. And I know a lot of our listeners will have say like a two pack four pack in a pack, right? Same product, but just you get more of them. Right? What would be your suggestion on handling a situation like that? In terms of like for advertising assigning a parent in advertising?

Ryan King 34:00
Yeah, yeah. I hate to give elicit a political answer. But it depends. I think that the question is, what’s the goal? Are you really trying to get aggressive to get exposure? In early stage, you kind of already hit that and you’re trying to optimize for profitability. But you know, some general rules of thumb would be considering which pack size if purchased, if it’s a two pack, versus I’d say often what we see is like a one pack and then a two pack. And the real question is, and if I run advertising on my one pack, I don’t have a whole lot of margin on that conversion. I’m cutting into more of my margin on that if I’m advertising that one and not getting as much conversion, versus if I advertise a two pack or a larger quantity count where I have a larger higher price point I have more advertising margin to run and be aggressive on bids if I get purchases on that unit. And so that’s something to consider is which one’s giving you more advertising margin, maybe if you’re going to get conversion on that one. That’s one thing to look at. I think in general, obviously, normal practice is if you can get the Low cost one visible, and then with the potential for upsell into the larger packs. That’s kind of the classic strategy. And so if you’re willing to have a low cost leader, that’s kind of a little bit on the front end in order to hopefully get the cross sell upsell into the higher packs where you’re going to get more margin. We’ve seen others be successful with that as well. So yeah, it’s hard to give a targeted strategy without the without some of the context there. But

David 35:23
yeah, no, absolutely, absolutely. Can anything else you want to dive into?

Ken 35:27
I think Ryan shared a ton of stuff on I would just say, Ryan, like, if you can give the audience your top three tips or tricks and all of Walmart, what you’ve seen a couple fellas doing or what you’ve shared with your client. Yeah,

Ryan King 35:40
I’ll just think about some of these, I think some of the top ones that people should need to be aware of is thinking through product type. So this is this goes into the weeds a little bit, but it’s important. So if someone were to go, if you go on to the account, and you were you’re already selling, you’re in there, and if you’re wondering, Am I showing up on the right search terms, go to growth opportunities, and your seller account. Under growth opportunities, you’ll see a dashboard for each listing once you click on them. In the middle, a little widget says product type. That product type is automatically determined by the algorithm. And often a miss categorizes and or slightly gets it off. But it’s really important to that product type determines the attributes that you’re going to be filling out on the back end. And it also determines what search terms you pass through for. So that’d be one to look at. And it’s really key. And I think a lot of people just don’t see the connections between the two because it’s not, there’s not a lot of material about that one. That’s a big, I would say, Let’s see another tip or trick reviews. Big one, this could be a whole topic in and of itself. But one of the big opportunities on Walmart right now. And obviously reviews is a really touchy subject, especially in the Walmart circles and all the attention the same Walmart has pathways to do incentivize reviews that are fully white and so Bizarre Voice has their spark reviewer program. That’d be like Vine voice for Amazon. There’s another one out there called field agent. If you go to field agent dotnet, we don’t have any kind of incentive to recommend it other than we we recommend them a lot. They’re really good. Are they often a lower cost provider for this. And you can do the purchase online leave review online white hat shows up as incentivized review on the listing. It’s about $15 per review per product plus the cost reimbursement of the product. But that’s a good one good way to get reviews if you need them. overall review counts are much lower on Walmart than they are on Amazon. So one good comparison I use a lot is Bluetooth earbuds on Amazon, you look that up, and you’re gonna see listings all over page one with 40,000 reviews or more. You look that same search up on Walmart right now we’re talking 400 to 1000, maybe 1400 reviews at the top in that job range. And so that if you draw that down to other categories, you can see real quick 20 reviews is going to get you pretty far. And if you can get more reviews even better couple of things for people, if they have reviews, this is an opportunity right now for sellers that they’re already D to see through Shopify, as well as Amazon. And if you have reviews on your own DTC site, if you’re using Bazaarvoice, iapo, for hosting, they have within their own systems opportunit ways to syndicate those reviews directly over to Walmart, and it may already be in your contract. And if you don’t know it already, you can just ask and see if you’re on one of those services. If you’re not on either of those services, Walmart has a process where you as a brand can apply through Walmart, to have reviews bulk uploaded for free via CSV, from your site to Walmart. And so there’s some qualifications around that, obviously Walmart wants real reviews, they want to make sure. I mean, you’re dealing with federal federal regulations at this point. So you’re not doing fake reviews. But if they’re legit, and you have all those, that’s a great opportunity. And that’s a great way right now to start building the boat around products. So that’d be another big tip. I could try and think of another one real quick. If we’ve got time, or if that’s good. It’s up to you guys hear.

David 38:55
Yeah, we got plenty of time. You got another Hot Tip. These are awesome,

Ryan King 38:59
man. Okay, let me think about one more. Let’s see, I had this in my head, and it’s escaped me. So I’m trying to recover real quick, what else would I do? I would just this is a definitely maximize the advertising. I think the one other one would be try and identify people behind the process. And so this one things we do is identifying category managers or category directors every chance we because they can open up additional opportunities. If you start doing volume on Walmart. Or if you’ve done meaningful volume on Amazon, there’s opportunities to get additional features turned on your on your account. So two other things I’ll mention you can do without getting extra thing turned to count badges on listings, there’s a reduced price badge and there’s a clearance badge. Those are promotional. Those are updated through a promotional spec upload sheet. And Walmart is in the middle of of kind of clarifying what previous price net versus what you’re promoting down to. But if you’re discounting 10% or more from your previous price And then you can be awarded a reduced price badge or clearance doesn’t have to discount deeper for clearance or anything, you just pick one of the other, and you set a timeframe on it, what you’re doing there and you’ll be awarded that that price badge. Walmart I think is moving towards if your price is lower that you’re doing in that promo than 30 out of the last 90 days, whatever that was price is, then when you get a strike through price and the reduced price or clearance price batch. So that’s a great tip. And that one’s already on every account. Those are just the criteria you have to fulfill. Getting a pro seller badge would be another one. There’s criteria at account level, there’s four basic, I think four basic criteria, maybe three, sorry, I’m just throwing out a lot of numbers right now. So I’m tripping myself up. But there’s simply there and the growth opportunities opportunity as well. And you’ll see which ones they are pro seller badges incremental lift and conversion when you have that increases trust. But if you talk to personnel, this last one, I’ll say if you talk to personnel, if you get in touch with somebody, there are seasonal campaigns you can apply for and it would show up in your menu items on your growth opportunities page. seasonal campaigns, which are back to school or something like that. And you’ll see, you’ll get a feed of which ones are coming up what the application deadline is and what the criteria for each are. You can apply for them. And they are just discount driven. You don’t pay for them, you don’t do anything else, you just you plan a discount around that you submit and if you get approved, you’re included in it. Now there’s a lot it’s still kind of opaque of what the impact is, where did they get displayed? How does it get sent out through email everything else, but it’s still advantageous to do. And the other one you can call you can get turned on is what they call flash pics. And that’s their version of Lightning Deals. And so you can qualify for those as well based on discount. So there’s a lot of opportunities like that, that if you’re doing everything else, right, I think the first thing I’d recommend, the biggest tip would be get your quality score above 95%. If you do that, and you’re doing you’re blocking, tackling, you got advertising going, and you’re showing sales volume, Walmart also, last thing, I’m sorry, I’m giving like six or seven, and I’m going all over the place here fire sale and tips. If you’re going if you drive off site traffic where you can’t, Walmart doesn’t have attribution links right now probably won’t have for the next year or two. But still Walmart’s optimizing for Google. And so that gives us real strong hint. They love Google traffic. And they love other off site traffic, if you can drive off site traffic to purchase and make conversions and click through to listings. That’s a huge help for your listings, and a huge driver for relevancy and ranking. So as you’re doing that, if you’re doing all that, and if you’re if you’ve got optimized 95% or higher, if you got the reviews on the listings and a decent number, you’re showing sales volume, when you talk to the people behind the process at Walmart, you get potential other opportunities presented to you. And that puts you on the best possible footing. There’s a lot of retail suppliers right now that are struggling with even getting to that quality score. They’re struggling even getting a couple reviews on their listing all those things. So it’s an opportunity right now to disrupt. So I’ll get off the soapbox, but those are a few of the quick tips I’d give there.

David 42:56
These are wonderful. A few. I have just a sheet of notes over here. I’m sure Ken does as well. So thank you so much for those before we get into the fire round. Can you tell us about Blue rice? What you guys do and what customers you serve?

Ryan King 43:09
Yeah, absolutely. So we service ecommerce brands, six, seven figure ecommerce brands and above aggregators, retail brands, we work with different retail broker groups as well. And really what we can do to what to boil it down, what we do is basically, we specialize in doing the heavy lifting for brands, as we partner with them understanding often the 8020 means focusing on maybe Amazon is their channel or if they’re in retail, Netflix, then we come alongside and partner and say, well apply our deep knowledge and expertise to Walmart will partner with you and manage that for you. So basically everything other than original image creation or original copywriting will do. So listing will guide through that patient process guide through listing setup and optimization, advertising management, strategy, consulting, and assisting an implementation of offsite strategies, all those things kind of A to Z as we partner with brands. So that’s kind of description of what we do. And if they want to get in touch with us, they can reach out to us through anybody can reach out to us through connect at Blue rice.com and dlerys.com. And if you’re we’re doing a summer special right now into summer special, which is if anybody signs up before September 22. And, and signs up with us before then we’ll give them 30% Or sorry, 20% off the first three months of service. And so you can definitely do that. If you get in touch with us. You can find me on LinkedIn or via email or through our website blue rice.com And be sure to mention firing the man podcast when you do reach out and we can get you that deal.

David 44:37
Awesome. Awesome. And to all of our listeners that are driving, keep driving, keep your eyes on the road. We’re going to post links to all that in the show notes. So all right, well, let’s get into the fire round you Are you ready?

Ryan King 44:48
I don’t know. We’ll see. All right. What is your favorite it’s probably say it’s come back to mind more recently of citizen soldiers by Ambrose just great book kind of covering looking at how did the US As ramp up operations from ordinary people to answer the urgent need during World War Two, how do they turn ordinary men and women into this machine that was able to build up so quickly? So that idea of the capacity of anybody to do some amazing stuff was just a fascinating study. So it’s great book.

David 45:18
Awesome. I’m gonna add that one to my reading list. What are your hobbies?

Ryan King 45:20
I’ve got three kids. So My hobbies are now largely their hobbies. And they’re all eight well, almost 10 and under now. And so soccer, do a lot of soccer do a lot of playing Monopoly. When I have time to myself, it’s building stuff. So not the Fine Woodworking stuff. But building a bench or table or anything with square edges. Mainly, very nice.

David 45:41
Very nice. What is one thing you do not miss about working for the man?

Ryan King 45:47
Yeah, well, I think the biggest thing was, I don’t miss the negative cop out. I don’t miss commuting. I don’t miss having to sit in the car back. And for those things, it’s advantage of working from home and maybe a flipside of the one thing I’m loving that I still had some opportunity back then to do but loving even more is all the new creative challenges. Everything else is just kind of, uh, every day is a new creative challenge to figure out how do we build something new and do something different? And so yeah, that’s one of the things I love. And so maybe to put it in the way you phrase that question, I don’t miss not having as many creative challenges, there’s that fulfill that answer?

David 46:20
Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. And finally, what do you think sets apart successful e commerce entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started?

Ryan King 46:30
Oh, man. Well, I’d say optimism and persistence. If they never got started, they didn’t have the optimism, try and give it a shot or and any entrepreneurs going to fail. It’s just kind of do you keep going even as you keep failing a little bit. So I’d say the persistence is really key there as well. Yeah, those probably first two things come to my mind.

David 46:51
Awesome. Well, very nice. Well, thank you so much for being a guest on the firingtheman podcast. And thank you for all these hot tips on Walmart and to our audience. If you’re interested in getting into Walmart, and would like some help check out all the links that we posted in the show notes and to get in touch with Ryan from Blue eyes.com. So thank you so much.

Ryan King 47:12
Thank you guys.

David 47:13
Thank you everyone for tuning into 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 ecommerce 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, or that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library Lastly, check us out on social media at firing the man in on YouTube at firingtheman for exclusive content. This is David Schomer

Ken 47:53
and Ken Wilson, we’re out

David 47:54
before you go fun fact for all you Amazon sellers out there when you start selling in international marketplaces, all of your reviews come with you. At the beginning of this year, Ken and I sat down and talked of ways that we could double our businesses in size and landed on international expansion as our number one initiative this year. We partnered up with Kevin Sanderson from maximizing e commerce and he has made the process an absolute breeze walking us step by step through the process. If you want to grow your revenue and reach new customers head on over to https://maximizingecommerce.com/fire and connect with Kevin Sanderson today. Now back to the show.