Walmart Adds Fulfillment Services for Third-Party Vendors
What is Walmart Fulfillment Services?
If you’ve ever used FBA, then you’ll be familiar with what Walmart is rolling out to its third-party vendors with its Walmart Fulfillment Services, or WFS.
WFS handles order fulfillment, customer service, and provides sellers with a dashboard to track inventory and other account-related metrics.
Like Amazon’s FBA, Walmart Fulfillment Services, or WFS, will enable third-party sellers to not only gain more visibility on the ecommerce site, but sellers will also be able to streamline their operations for Walmart further.
Those sellers who are expanding out of Amazon and onto other marketplaces will be able to reduce their own warehousing and logistical needs.
Here are some other benefits of Walmart Fulfillment Services:
- Improved customer service with faster delivery, easy returns, and good customer service
- Save money with simple pricing and no hidden fees
- Track inventory, orders, and shipments with Walmart’s Dashboard
- Get higher search placement and visibility with Buy Box and Two Day tags, along with more control over item page
- Streamline returns and omnichannel free and easy returns (return online or at the store)
- Personalized support from a WFS expert
- Nationwide coverage with 2-day delivery
Why use WFS?
Sellers who use FBA know why a fulfillment service can be powerful: it reduces the need for employees to spend time handling support and order fulfillment.
Many sellers look to diversifying their marketplaces so that an incident, like a suspension, on one marketplace won’t drastically affect their business. But one obstacle to Walmart was the need to handle order fulfillment and customer service, aspects of a business that can be extremely labor-intensive and costly.
WFS provides roughly similar benefits to FBA, and just as importantly, WFS will allow sellers with limited warehouse space and technology to expand to a big marketplace like Walmart.
WFS and FBA are very similar in that both programs offer sellers the ability to offload their customer support, allowing Walmart and Amazon to handle customer service (questions, refunds, and returns).
Here are some possible advantages to WFS over FBA:
- Customers can return their purchases to a Walmart store
- As of March 2020, there are roughly 4 times more Walmart stores (4,769) than Kohl’s stores (1,158), making returns more convenient for customers
- Fixed monthly storage fee and fulfillment price based on shipping weight alone (with exceptions for apparel and hazmat items)
- Customer support for sellers from WFS associates
Like FBA, there are some restrictions for WFS that will turn away some sellers. Those are:
- Products must ship from within the US
- No perishable or regulated products
- Maximum product weight is 30 pounds
- Maximum product dimensions of 25″ x 20″ x 14″
The biggest of these restrictions is the first one: sellers won’t be able to ship from their factory out of the country straight into Walmart as they can with Amazon. This may help curb some of the rampant listings of Chinese products on Walmart.
Ultimately, sellers on Amazon will find it easier to migrate to an additional platform like Walmart. Previously, the need to handle warehousing, customer support, and other fulfillment logistics made selling on Walmart an obstacle, especially for the millions of smaller Amazon sellers.
Businesses will have to manage two different fulfillment services, so there’s likely room for mistakes and confusion, but once the confusion from adoption is resolved, sellers are likely to increase their sales with less work thanks to WFS.
Sellers who are already using FBA can easily expand to Walmart’s marketplace, and considering how ubiquitous Walmart is in the United States, the appeal to sell on Walmart through WFS will be very strong for all sellers if Walmart can make it work.