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Preparing for Walmart Marketplace

January 27, 2017 | Ecommerce

By Laura McCamy

There’s a new ecommerce powerhouse in town: Walmart Marketplace. The retail giant has a giant online presence too, with more than 80,000 unique visitors each month. After slowly adding sellers over the past several years, Walmart Marketplace has picked up the pace and started adding hundreds of new sellers in 2016. In addition, Walmart upgraded its back-end, so sellers have a much easier time adding items.

“Great!” you say. “Where do I sign up?” Well, you don’t. Unlike Amazon and eBay, Walmart Marketplace requires a lengthy vetting process. It can take six weeks or more to get your invitation to join the Marketplace.

Here’s what you need to know to join Walmart Marketplace.

Who Can Sell on Walmart Marketplace?

Before you can sign up as a Walmart Marketplace seller, you need to request an invitation. Walmart expects high quality and low prices from its Marketplace sellers, in keeping with Walmart’s brand.

The retailer will also want proof that you have terrific customer service. High seller ratings on other marketplace platforms are a must.

Walmart Marketplace is also looking for high volume sales. Your chances of getting an invitation go up if you are a brand owner, not a reseller. If you offer a wide and unique selection of products, especially something that Walmart doesn’t already sell, that’s also a plus.

Walmart Marketplace reportedly only accepts ecommerce businesses based in the U.S. or foreign companies that can ship from the U.S., at the current time.

Walmart Marketplace Orders

Customers can pay for Walmart and Walmart Marketplace items with one checkout. Walmart handles the financial transaction and remits payment — minus a fee — to the seller. As a seller on Walmart Marketplace, you handle all your own fulfillment, customer service, and returns.

While customers can view their Marketplace order status on Walmart.com, Walmart Marketplace items can’t be shipped to a Walmart store for pickup and must be returned directly to the seller, not to Walmart.

Walmart doesn’t provide any warehousing, fulfillment, or customer service to the sellers on its platform.

Walmart Marketplace Sales Tax

As a Walmart Marketplace seller, you are responsible for you own sales tax. Orders of Walmart’s own products are subject to sales tax in every U.S. state and territory that charges sales tax (because Walmart has stores — and sales tax nexus — everywhere).

Walmart’s website notes that Marketplace sellers might not collect and remit on every sale. When you join Walmart Marketplace, you can include sales tax in your prices or add it for sales that ship to the states where you have nexus.

Here’s the catch: Your affiliation with Walmart could give you click-through nexus in some states. In New York, affiliate sales of more than $10,000 in one year trigger click through nexus. In Pennsylvania, any amount of click-through sales will require you to register and collect state sales tax.

Click-through nexus laws are complex and constantly changing as more states adopt them. Walmart Marketplace is a terrific ecommerce opportunity. It’s also a giant can of sales tax worms. When you get your invitation to join this big league online marketplace, you may want to add sales tax automation software to your toolkit, to avoid compliance hassles down the road.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Share with us in the comments below.


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