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What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

What is Walmart Fulfillment Services?

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

 

Walmart Fulfillment Services allows Walmart marketplace sellers to store inventory and fulfill orders through various Walmart fulfillment centers.

 

Walmart established the WFS program in February of 2020 to support third-party vendors selling on their platform, giving them access to multiple fulfillment centers and one of the most impressive supply chains in the world.

 

The service started off slowly, with Marketplace Pulse reporting that a mere 430 Walmart sellers started using the service by the end of 2020.

 

However, the service has grown alongside the marketplace as a whole with a variety of sharp jumps in the numbers throughout 2021, according to Michael Waters at Modern Retail.

 

As the new year rolls in, the company shows continued signs of prioritizing this part of their marketplace business to better serve their vendors.

Walmart Fulfillment Services Pros and Cons

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

 

There are lots of advantages to Walmart Fulfillment Services, but just like any other program, it comes with unique challenges. We want to give you a full picture–the good and the bad–with this pros and cons list.

 

Pros

Fast and free delivery for your customers. To stay competitive with Amazon, Walmart has introduced two-day shipping for WFS sellers.

  • Improved inventory management. The reporting dashboard offered by the WFS portal gives Walmart sellers the ability to track orders, manage stock levels, and monitor shipments all in real time. While everything is housed in a Walmart fulfillment center, you still have the ability to keep your eye on your products.
  • Simple pricing structure. There are only two primary costs that factor into the WFS price: a monthly storage fee and shipping costs according to the size of the product.
  • Greater visibility on the Walmart Marketplace. Joining Walmart Fulfillment Services also allows you to have higher search rankings and greater Buy Box prominence. WFS sellers automatically get assigned the TwoDay tag because of the two day shipping option attached to the program. The marketplace platform prioritizes these brands in their search rankings, making this a great way to get ahead of your competitors. You can also combine this with search boost tools that bring you even higher in the rankings.
  • Outstanding customer support. WFS sellers have access to Walmart’s excellent customer support services, and their team will handle issues on your behalf, too. They manage any of the inquiries, refunds, and return issues customers might have along the way.

Cons

  • Exclusivity Rules. Walmart Fulfillment Services doesn’t want to share its glory with others, so sellers cannot sell products through the program and other fulfillment services at the same time.
  • Geographically Limited. As of right now, Walmart sellers using WFS can only ship within the United States or to select military addresses and American territories.
  • Specific Product Dimensions. The size of eligible products can be frustrating and limiting for marketplace sellers looking to ship large items.

How does Walmart Fulfillment Services Work?

Like any specialized service, the WFS program is not right for every multichannel online seller. In order for the service to operate smoothly, they needed to put some guardrails around specific details like product specifications, shipping, and seller reputation.

Understanding the specific requirements will help you determine whether or not Walmart Fulfillment Services will work for your brand.

 

Eligibility Requirements

Products must fit the following criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • Must be shipped from within the US to Walmart fulfillment centers.
  • No perishable or regulated products allowed.
  • Shipping weight cannot exceed 30 pounds.
  • Dimensions of no more than 25″ x 20″ x 14″.

Cost

Walmart Fulfillment Services’ simple pricing structure makes it easy to predict the cost of the program for your company.

 

The price is made up of a fixed monthly storage fee as well as a fulfillment price that fluctuates based on only a product’s shipping weight.

 

Fulfillment fees start at $3.45 for one pound products and go up from there, topping out at $17.55 plus $0.40 per pound for anything between 51 and 150 pounds.

 

Oversize items have their own additional expenses, and you can find a detailed account of all fulfillment costs and storage fees at the Walmart website.

 

How Does Walmart Fulfillment Compare to Amazon FBA?

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

 

Walmart fulfillment services can be seen as a response to Amazon FBA, but the two aren’t exactly the same. Knowing the differences can help your team in your decision-making process.

  • WFS gives all Walmart shoppers access to free two-day shipping on orders over $35. Only Amazon customers with Prime memberships get that kind of fast shipping, no matter what services the seller has signed up for.
  • WFS has not had the same kind of delivery issues that Amazon experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Walmart’s extensive fulfillment network makes it likely that customers will always have their items delivered quickly and in good condition.
  • FBA requires sellers to ship their inventory to various fulfillment centers. WFS just uses one or two of Walmart’s fulfillment centers, making the process much simpler for Walmart sellers.

How to Get Started With Walmart Fulfillment Services

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

 

Online sellers looking to join Walmart fulfillment services will go through a simple onboarding process. Our company has partnered with Walmart to create a seamless application that shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes to fill out.

 

Every potential seller will need to provide the following information:

  • Your US Business Tax ID (not your SSN – that won’t be accepted).
  • Either a W9 or W8 form and a EIN Verification Letter from the Department of Treasury that verifies your US business address or place of physical operations.
  • The address or place of your company’s physical operations.
  • A US Business address.
  • Which integration method you plan to use for your product catalog.
  • Information regarding your primary product categories, catalog size, and other related items (things like total SKUs and if you sell new or refurbished items).

You can find the whole application and fill it out here.

 

Existing Walmart sellers can skip over the application part and simply sign in to their seller central account or add Walmart as a channel in their StoreAutomator dashboard.

Optimize Your Walmart Fulfillment Services Experience with StoreAutomator

Walmart fulfillment services offers a great opportunity to join an already booming marketplace. The growth of the Walmart ecommerce platform has shown that it can be a great tool for online sellers looking to diversify their sales channels.

 

Just like any channel, though, Walmart’s marketplace requires certain best practices if brands want to have the greatest level of success. Companies should look for ways to

  • Stay on top of their inventory management
  • Enhance their product listings to lead to more conversions
  • Monitor analytics across channels to identify successes and areas to improve.

StoreAutomator exists to help multichannel sellers thrive in such a competitive market. Our platform is well established, trusted by brands that focus on various niches and industries. We have the tech capabilities to easily integrate into your current workflows, empowering you to start strong as you join Walmart Fulfillment Services.

What Should Sellers Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services?

Why should you consider using WFS to bring your product to the online marketplace? Beyond potentially boosting your sales, it offers an assortment of perks to Marketplace sellers, including the following:

  • Customer service that entails packing, shipping, rapid delivery, and easy returns
  • Straightforward pricing
  • User-friendly dashboards to track inventory, orders, and shipments
  • Built-in tools to help elevate search rankings for your products
  • Dedicated call center support specialists to answer your questions or address your concerns
  • Detailed product listings to help increase conversions

It’s easy to get up and running with the platform. Once you’re approved as a Marketplace seller, mail your inventory to a Walmart fulfillment center and their team will handle the rest. This allows you to focus on making sales and growing your business.

What Are the Walmart Fulfillment Services Fees?

In addition to the benefits WFS offers sellers, the competitive pricing structure also makes this service stand out. There are no fees to get started with the program, and you won’t be hit with monthly subscription dues to use the platform. Instead, sellers are assessed a fixed monthly storage rate, and the Walmart fulfillment price is based on shipping weight.

Who Should Use WFS?

WFS is ideal for independent sellers who offer products that are simple to pack and ship, and are seeking ways to increase their online sales without spending a fortune. It’s also a good fit for e-commerce entities with high sales volumes who want to outsource the picking, packing, and shipping.

WFS is ideal for independent sellers who offer products that are simple to pack and ship, and are seeking ways to increase their online sales.

This low-cost solution can also help these brands identify even more prospective customers, increase brand awareness, and scale their business by attracting existing Walmart shoppers.

For many ecommerce merchants, it’s difficult to independently handle order fulfillment. On top of operational challenges, fulfillment isn’t cheap. According to Statista, 53% of merchants revealed that their fulfillment costs had risen in 2020.

These rising costs can be attributed to the need for personnel, insurance, and warehouse space. Working with a fulfillment service provider allows sellers to focus on other aspects of their business and continue to grow.

Walmart Fulfillment Services can make order management less time-consuming and costly for sellers. Sellers who want to meet Walmart’s performance standards and expectations understand the part that fast delivery at a low shipping cost plays in their success. Merchants using WFS typically see improved visibility in Walmart’s search results, faster shipping, and ultimately, business growth.

Here’s what Walmart sellers need to know to get started with WFS.

What is Walmart Fulfillment Services?

Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) is an order fulfillment service that allows sellers to outsource inventory management for a fee. It’s commonly called Walmart’s “answer to Fulfillment by Amazon.”

When a customer orders from a seller that uses WFS, Walmart takes over the order process. It fulfills the order, manages returns, and provides customer service on the seller’s behalf.

According to Gartner, Walmart has one of the most impressive supply chains globally. Walmart Fulfillment Services allows sellers to leverage Walmart’s efficient logistics capabilities with a trusted, reliable fulfillment process.

As Walmart grows and expands its marketplace, its fulfillment services are likely to grow with it.

Eligibility

To be eligible for WFS, you’ll need to be an existing Walmart Marketplace merchant. In addition, your products need to meet the following requirements:

  • Products must be shipped to Walmart fulfillment centers from within the United States
  • No perishable or regulated products
  • Products cannot weigh above 30 pounds
  • Product dimensions should not be more than 25″ x 20″ x 14″

You also need to be in good standing with the platform with a history of on-time orders, great customer satisfaction, and overall quality service.

Although Walmart was notoriously slow with approvals for the program, sellers have reported an uptick with monthlong applications going through.

Cost

One of Walmart’s stated selling points for Walmart Fulfillment Services is its simple pricing structure. As Walmart’s website states, “Enjoy a simple cost structure that includes a fixed monthly storage fee and a fulfillment price based on shipping weight alone.” However, apparel and hazmat items are exempt from this pricing structure.

As of August 20, 2021, the program’s pricing starts at $3.45 for products weighing under 16 ounces or 1 pound.

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

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Sellers can expect to pay $0.75 per cubic foot for storage space every month from January to September. However, the $0.75 fee only applies to items stored for less than 30 days from October to December.

Items stored for longer than that will add $1.50/cubic foot per month for a total cost of $2.25/cubic foot per month. This article offers more insight into WFS fees.

Walmart Fulfillment Services vs. Amazon FBA: What’s the difference?

WFS is often touted as Walmart’s answer to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). However, despite frequent comparisons, WFS and FBA are very different fulfillment services with distinct benefits.

  • While customers without Amazon Prime cannot access one- and two-day shipping, WFS offers free two-day shipping on all orders over $35—no Walmart+ membership required.
  • WFS has never had significant issues with two-day delivery. Amazon’s delivery suffered a blow at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it could not maintain two-day shipping. Granted, WFS handles a lower volume of shipments, but its strong delivery record is still likely a good indicator of future success.
  • The process of shipping products is simpler. FBA requires sellers to ship inventory to multiple fulfillment centers, but Walmart sellers only have to ship to one or two Walmart fulfillment centers.

Neither service is perfect. Ultimately, the choice of which marketplace service to use for your business should be determined by your business model.

Pros and cons of Walmart Fulfillment Services

For Walmart sellers, there’s no better third-party fulfillment option than the one offered by Walmart itself. By offering fast shipment at reasonable costs, Walmart Fulfillment Services allows sellers to focus solely on the core of their business.

Benefits

If you’re doubting whether to take the leap with Walmart Fulfillment Services, the program offers several benefits that might help you make a decision.

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

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  • Fast delivery. WFS sellers can offer two-day shipping on their products.
  • Simple pricing structure. Compared with platforms like Amazon’s FBA, which have hidden fees that sellers always need to keep track of, WFS’ pricing structure is straightforward.
  • Clear reporting. Through easy-to-read dashboards, sellers can track their orders and inventory.
  • Support for your customers and your business. WFS provides customer service on sellers’ behalf by managing all inquiries, refunds, and returns. Sellers can also get help from WFS customer support as needed.
  • Increased visibility in search. Sellers using WFS are automatically assigned Walmart’s TwoDay tags. Walmart prioritizes sellers with the two-day tag on their products, so sellers can gain higher rankings and Buy Box prominence in Walmart Marketplace search.

The benefits Walmart sellers will encounter using this service are likely to improve, as WFS is still in its early stages and will only grow as Walmart expands and more customers are drawn to the platform.

Drawbacks

WFS is a fairly new program, with Walmart launching it in February 2020. Its recency and low user rate mean that there are issues that sellers will encounter when using it. To provide as much information as possible, sellers also need to understand the drawbacks associated with WFS.

  • Strict rules. Merchants cannot sell the same products through WFS that they do through other fulfillment services like FBA. If discovered, sellers risk having their Walmart operations shut down.
  • Geographical limitations. WFS only ships in the U.S. Sellers can ship to all 50 states, some military addresses, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Limiting product dimensions. Walmart has very limited product dimensions, so certain sellers might not be able to use the service.

Despite the program’s restrictions, the WFS program is still worth pursuing for Walmart sellers.

How to set up Walmart Fulfillment Services

Getting started with WFS is fairly straightforward, as long as you’re a Walmart Marketplace seller. If you’re not, visit the Walmart Fulfillment Services Interest Form. Walmart recommends that sellers have the following details on hand before starting their seller application:

  • U.S. Business Tax ID. Social Security Numbers are not accepted
  • Primary product categories, catalog size, and related information (e.g., total SKUs you initially plan to fulfill with WFS)
  • Planned integration method for your product catalog (i.e., how you plan on adding your existing inventory to the platform. Some options provided are bulk upload, API, and external solution provider)

For existing Walmart sellers, just sign in to your Seller Center account and use the WFS link in the marketplace dashboard to begin the process.

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

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Walmart then reviews your application. If accepted, you will have to convert your products to Fulfilled by Walmart listings.

What Every Online Business Needs to Know About Walmart Fulfillment Services

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Keep in mind that any product you intend to enroll in the program must be set up on the Walmart Marketplace as well.

Next, you’ll send your inventory to Walmart fulfillment centers, where items will be stored until a customer places an order. Then, from Walmart’s warehouses, orders are packaged and shipped.

Strengthen your business with Walmart Fulfillment Services

With the burden of fulfillment taken away, WFS sellers can improve their operations to meet and surpass Walmart’s standards. Merchants can focus on meeting Walmart’s expectations by offering:

  • Products that are new to the marketplace
  • Competitive pricing
  • High-quality listings
  • Enough inventory to meet customer demand

The combination of a compliant business model with WFS will help your business scale significantly on the platform.

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