17 May Walmart.com Inventory Channels
Previously, we have discussed the importance of managing Walmart.com inventory for store–shared items. We covered what kicks off the inventory ordering process, why to focus on staying in stock, and how to forecast dotcom inventory for Omni-Channel items. In today’s discussion, we will be going into greater detail regarding the three primary channels you can sell inventory through for Walmart.com, and the intricacies within each channel.
Owned Inventory Network
One of the most common methods of shipping products to customers on Walmart.com is via the Owned Inventory Network. The reason it is an “Owned” channel is because suppliers ship inventory into Walmart’s Fulfillment Center (FC) Network. Customers who are receiving products via the owned channel are typically eligible for 2-day shipping. This is one of the key advantages to shipping products via the Owned network. Products that are eligible for 2-day shipping typically see an organic boost in ranking, which helps lift sales. Suppliers who want to ship products as Walmart.com Owned will need a vendor agreement to do so. This process is typically kicked off by the merchant for your product’s category. Owned product is shipped at a wholesale cost, and Walmart will control the retail price that is displayed on site. This can be a risk for those suppliers that have a very strict MAP policy. If you’re shipping to the Owned network, Walmart will typically want your item to be ordered on a replenishment basis. This means that the item can be ordered weekly based off sales volume and inventory constraints in the Fulfillment Center network.
Another common method of shipping products to Walmart.com is known as DSV, or “Dropship Vendor.” Shipping product via DSV means that the supplier is warehousing the product at their domestic facility and/or 3PL, and shipping product directly to the customer utilizing Walmart’s shipping account. The supplier is responsible for picking and packing the product, and then Walmart is responsible for shipping costs based off their rates with carriers. Since Walmart is still paying for the shipping, being a DSV vendor is still considered “1P”. Meaning the product is being sold first party on Walmart.com, and Walmart is responsible for managing the retail price based off the wholesale cost. This cost/retail structure is very similar to the Owned program previously mentioned.
Walmart Marketplace: Walmart Fulfillment Services & Seller Fulfilled
The third option for shipping products to Walmart.com customers can be split into two channels: Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) andWalmart Marketplace Seller Fulfilled. Seller Fulfilled means that the seller is fully responsible for shipping products to the Walmart.com customer’s location, such as how they would ship a DTC order. This differs greatly from Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). Shipping via the WFS network allows sellers to ship products in bulk to a Walmart Fulfillment Center and then Walmart fulfills the customer orders nationwide. One of the key advantages to shipping via WFS is that sellers’ products become eligible for nationwide 2-day shipping, which helps drive conversion and organic ranking. Both marketplace channels are considered “3P” since the seller of record is responsible for the cost of shipping. If a seller is shipping a Walmart Marketplace Order Seller Fulfilled or via Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), they still have autonomy over the retail price that is displayed to the end consumer. This is one of the key advantages to being a Marketplace seller on Walmart.com.
In closing, for a seller to reach their full potential on Walmart.com, they should understand the different shipping channels available to them. This allows sellers to strategically place their full assortment on Walmart.com and maximize the ability for customers to see their assortment breadth. Those who have this understanding and strategy will have a significant advantage over sellers who do not!