Walmart Fulfillment Services: How to Utilize Walmart’s Supply Chain for Your Ecommerce Business

Online shopping is the new normal, with many retailers, department stores, and companies modernizing their marketplaces to accommodate the digital age. With the increased popularity of e-commerce, many popular brick-and-mortar companies such as Walmart, have updated their networks to accommodate online shopping. Walmart’s e-commerce space, Walmart Marketplace, is the result of Walmart transitioning into modern markets through an online marketplace for consumers everywhere, regardless of their proximity to a local store. Walmart Marketplace was first created in 2009, and its widespread popularity among third-party sellers has resulted in an expansion of services, including Walmart fulfillment services (WFS).  In this article, we’ll explore:

What is Walmart Fulfillment Services

Walmart Marketplace was first created in 2009 for interested merchants to gain access to the large-scale exposure Walmart offers. Originally, these merchants were able to market their products on Walmart’s website as they took care of the order fulfillment and product delivery based on Walmart’s unique standards. Eventually, Walmart identified an opportunity for internal order fulfillment to simplify inventory management and supply chain processes for their third-party sellers. 

In February 2020, Walmart launched Walmart fulfillment services. Available to accepted Walmart Marketplace merchants, WFS provides third-party sellers with the option of leveraging Walmart’s already comprehensive and expansive e-commerce fulfillment network to help fulfill product orders more efficiently. Walmart has access to international high-level supply chain logistics, and merchants that choose to take advantage of Walmart fulfillment services can take a step back from the order fulfillment process. 

How Does Walmart Fulfillment Services Work

Now that we understand what Walmart fulfillment services are, it’s time to dive deeper into how the WFS program works. New or growing businesses that might lack experience with supply-chain management and order fulfillment processes can strongly benefit from the pre-existing networks of a larger e-commerce marketplace such as Walmart Marketplace. Walmart Marketplace merchants can take advantage of WFS for an additional fee. Once subscribed to the program, merchants can take a huge step back and let Walmart assume most of the responsibility for product handling. 

Third-party sellers interested in taking advantage of WFS are required to store their inventory at any Walmart Fulfillment Service designated center. Sellers are responsible for sending and preparing the inventory to be sent to Walmart. Once an order is placed through Walmart’s website, Walmart takes over. Walmart is the party responsible for handling storing, inventory selection, packaging, shipping, returns, and customer service for interested consumers. 

Walmart Fulfillment Service Fees

There are many benefits of choosing Walmart fulfillment services as a Walmart Marketplace merchant, but they come with a price. The pricing structure of WFS is designed to encourage a high inventory turnover rate, as Walmary doesn’t want to store products for an extended amount of time. Because of this, WFS fees are often fixed but merchants will be charged more for inventory stored for a longer time. The two pricing options available for Marketplace merchants are based on weight, and the more popular option, the fixed monthly storage fees. 

WFS based on weight is a common choice for third-party sellers that sell smaller or lighter items as these tend to be more affordable. For merchants selling goods of various shapes and sizes, the fixed monthly storage fee tends to make more sense. Pricing for the fixed fee will vary based on the time of year, certain peak seasons feature higher monthly rates than slower months. For example, in January a merchant would pay $1.75 for every cubic foot of space occupied that month. However, if they need WFS in December they can anticipate paying an extra $1.50 if the inventory has been stored for longer than 30 days. 

Walmart WFS vs FBA From Amazon

Walmart fulfillment services are a great option for Walmart Marketplace sellers but is far from the only option available to online merchants. Another popular option among e-commerce sellers is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) through Amazon’s supply-chain network. While both handle fulfillment processes for merchants, there are a handful of major differences that make these two services vary from each other considerably.  Some of the most notable differences between WFS vs. FBA include: 

  • USA-Exclusivity: While FBA is available to merchants selling international goods, WFS requires all product shipments to originate from the USA.
  • Labeling: Amazon allows ASIN labels to be printed and applied to products. WFS requires packaging to have UPC labels WFS also requires the country of origin to be printed on product packaging. 
  • Inventory Allotment: WFS has a bit more restrictive inventory allotment with a preference for smaller products. FBA allows larger and heavier products
  • Product Commingling: WFS avoids commingling products while FBA doesn’t have an issue with this practice.  
  • Marketing: WFS requires you to sell on Walmart Marketplace. Merchants do not need to sell on Amazon to use FBA services. 

Benefits of Walmart Fulfillment Services

When choosing any fulfillment service, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of what the e-commerce network can offer. There are many benefits to choosing to sell through Walmart Marketplace with Walmart fulfillment services in place. Some of the main advantages of the program include: 

  • Transparent Pricing: The fixed pricing structure of WFS is an attractive feature of the service as merchants are never shocked down the line by any unanticipated charges. 
  • Exclusive Inventory:  The exclusive inventory of Walmart Marketplace allows merchants to avoid commingled inventory issues and keeps their products competitive within the marketplace. 
  • Fast Shipping: Walmart Marketplace merchants can offer 2-day shipping just like Amazon’s Prime program, with special 2-day tags on products to help differentiate them from others. Quick shipping is bound to get more eyes on the seller’s goods. 
  • Simple Return Process: When a consumer places an order through Walmart’s website and is unhappy with the product they can return the item either by sending it back or by simply visiting a local Walmart store. Many people live near a Walmart, so the return policy can be an attractive selling point for consumers. 

At this time, Walmart fulfillment services are only available for products sold on Walmart’s Marketplace. While this might change over time, it’s worth researching Walmart’s application process to make sure that this service is the right choice for your company’s needs.

ShipCalm Can Help You Expand Into Walmart Today!

As one of the ultimate retail titans, exploring order fulfillment through Walmart can be a smart move for interested sellers that feel their company might benefit from the e-commerce marketplace’s vast network of resources. ShipCalm offers competitive pricing to help new and growing businesses improve their supply-chain management and order fulfillment processes. Whether that’s through the help of Walmart fulfillment services or with ShipCalm’s comprehensive e-commerce logistics network, we’re here to help. Contact a ShipCalm expert to learn more about expanding into Walmart’s vast e-commerce marketplace today!