Walmart's new efforts to onboarding new marketplace sellers have been overwhelming for this giant retailer. The big question is, are they going to be competing against Amazon or themselves? What we are finding is 1+ week response times from their support team, and when they finally reply, they are not all that educated in how their system works - or doesn't work! In this post, we are going to talk about a few different problems that we have found to be a dealbreaker for most of the retailers that are trying to get on this fast-growing marketplace.
Product Data Feed Problems:
Walmart has some problematic areas of their data feed process. It doesn't help that they only allow products to be added and edited through a feed. If you don't like that method, then you can give Channeladvisor all your money, and they will gladly make your life easier. But we would instead not give our company to them and still get our products on Walmart Marketplace. Here are some of the problems with the data feed we found.
Walmart is a large, established company that has ventured into many different types of products. Everything from the end consumer good, leasing space inside their store, to auto services in the back of each store. Each supplier that has a contract with Walmart may have different tax codes, and for this reason, Walmart has required the same codes inside their data feed upload requirements. They are kind of like Microsoft trying to bring their old clunky system to a tablet. They are bringing the weight of their existing empire to their E-Commerce operations. Commonly there is just one tax code to use for 95% of the clients that we have serviced.
Unique ID, UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN, and or GTIN Codes:
Since Walmart has existing policies for its sellers (usually Suppliers and not other retailers), they require that each product has a GS1 Membership with Certified UPC or EAN codes. Commonly UPCs are not working if you have purchased aftermarket codes because those codes don't match up with the systems live checking tools that match brand names to the membership.
Usually, you would have a supplier that already has a GS1 Membership, and you just take the suppliers UPCs from a spreadsheet. But if you have your products, Bundles, Multi-Packs, Kits, etc.. then you may need to register for a GS1 Membership.
Here is a breakdown of the cost of a GS1 Membership for UPC, EAN, GTIN Codes:
When it comes to Product options like sizing, color, or whatever you may call your product label type, most systems are complicated. We find it to be the most challenging part of any system other than image uploading (see below). The critical problem that we are finding in Walmart's Product Variations requirements it the variations type label. Check through Walmart's documentation here to see the list of variations labels you can choose from. Some companies may call it "Color" like Walmart's system does, but many have unique names that are not accepted like "Stripe Color," "Second Color," "Shirt Size," and Walmart will only accept the predefined attributes.
You just can't seem to sell products without images online. This is why it is so essential to get Product Images uploaded into Walmart Marketplace correctly. Some common problems we're seeing are that companies have the following:
- Images in a folder on their computer.
- Links that are on Dropbox or other third-party services that offer image hosting.
- Images on their current website server.
All of this usually is just fine, but Walmart doesn't allow HTTPS secure URLs. You must use an image service that is not HTTPS, and there is no software wrapped around the image. Most systems are like this, but the HTTPS part is new for us, and that is why we have an image server just for our Walmart service.
How we can help:
We've tried to teach other retailers how to be self-sufficient on Walmart, and the system is so new, changing by the week and just too advanced for most people. So we offer a service to help you get all these problems solved, products uploaded and your products online ready to sell. This works better and is much faster to get up and running on Walmart Marketplace.
- Product Uploading in Bulk,
- Product Matching in Bulk (for existing items in the Walmart Catalog).
- Product Inventory Updates
- Ongoing Maintenance to keep existing items up to date, old items removed, and new items added into the catalog.
These four services cover most of everything you could need from an IT standpoint. Reach out and let's chat about getting you set up and running strong on Walmart Marketplace.