Retail giants Walmart and Target own two of the most viable online marketplaces today. If you’re planning to sell on Walmart Marketplace or Target Plus, you’re probably wondering which one to prioritize.
Since 2019, both platforms have launched initiatives to chip away at the market share enjoyed by eCommerce powerhouse Amazon.
Their efforts have proven effective. By Q2 2020, both hit an impressive quarter-over-quarter (QOQ) growth in online sales: Walmart’s rose by 97 percent and Target’s by 195 percent (Yahoo Finance, 2020).
So, which is more efficient and profitable for third-party retailers? And which is better for your business?
This blog takes a quick dive into the salient features of each platform. As you go over each section, you will find information to help you decide which one to focus on: selling on Walmart Marketplace or Target Plus. In the end, you should be able to map out an eCommerce marketing strategy that includes either or both.
To help you do that, we’ll answer these questions:
• What is Walmart Marketplace?
• What is Target marketplace or Target Plus?
• What are the salient features of Walmart Marketplace and Target marketplace? (Comparison and contrast)
• What are the pros and cons of Walmart Marketplace and Target Plus marketplace services?
• How to sell on Walmart Marketplace and how to sell on Target marketplace
What Is Walmart Marketplace?
Introduced in 1999, Walmart Marketplace is the place to find the expanded online product range of Walmart.com. For the past two decades, it has enlisted select third-party retailers that enhance the omnichannel brand’s catalog.
The online marketplace Walmart built uses a two-pronged approach: providing shopping conveniences to customers and supporting partner brands. Specifically, the latter – its “curated community of respected, professional sellers” – benefits from the Walmart eCommerce platform through the following:
• Reach of up to more than 110 million monthly active users
• Free setup of Walmart seller account
• Seamless integration of items and tracking of inventory
• Hassle-free checking and processing of orders on Walmart Seller Central
• Efficient fulfillment of orders through the Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS)
• Competitive referral fees for sales made
As we said earlier, Walmart Marketplace gained significant traction from 2020 to 2021, snagging second place in retail eCommerce market share – a tough spot to get to and maintain with the behemoth Amazon at the lead.
The immense rise of retail eCommerce in the United States, coupled with the intensive growth in technology, has pushed Walmart Marketplace to the top. And more recently, its collaboration with Shopify has proven to be one of the most successful Walmart marketing strategies to date.
This partnership opened the platform to Shopify small business sellers, allowing Walmart to surpass its goal of onboarding 1,200 sellers by the end of 2020. In June 2020, it already exceeded 3,000 and was poised to hit more than 3,600 the following month. By the end of last year, the total number of sellers on Walmart Seller Central reached a whopping 70,000.
What Is Target Plus?
Launched in February 2019, Target Plus (stylized as Target+) is Target’s foray into e-retail. In a span of two years, it has cinched the sixth-largest market share in retail eCommerce.
Unlike Amazon, Walmart and other competitors, it handpicks third-party eCommerce reseller partners to ensure the quality of its partners and products. Still to be seen is whether this invite-only marketplace approach might also be complemented by Target Plus marketplace seller applications in the future.
Anyway, exclusivity has its perks. Once you get in, you’re entitled to the following Target Plus marketplace services:
• Zero listing fees
• Access to Target’s loyal customers
• Participation in a curated Target seller marketplace community
• Unique listing per product (no other Target marketplace seller can list the same product)
• Partnership with a Target-approved retailer is possible if you aren’t eligible for selling on the platform yet
Walmart Marketplace vs. Target Plus Marketplace Features
Learn the basic and essential features of the two platforms to establish a solid foundation for your Walmart Marketplace or Target Plus marketplace management.
Various age group
Mostly 25 to 44 years old
|Total Number of Sellers
Around 36 million products in 2020
|Pricing Structure (Walmart Seller Account)
Free setup, no subscription fees; 6 to 15 percent referral fee for each completed purchase
|No hidden fees; 5 to 15 percent commission rate or referral fee for each completed purchase
|Pricing Model (Products)
Price Parity Rule and Pricing Leadership Rule
|Price Parity Rule
WFS including shipping, returns and customer service
|Credit cards, PayPal, gift cards
|Credit cards, gift cards and Target RedCards (5 percent of all items and other perks)
So now you’re a few steps away from selling on Walmart Marketplace or Target Plus marketplace. But first, let’s explore the pros and cons of performing Walmart Marketplace or Target Plus optimization.
Like on all other online marketplaces, selling on Walmart has its advantages and disadvantages. Before diving into how to sell on Walmart Marketplace, let’s weigh the pros and cons of this platform.
Massive Customer Base
There are plenty of opportunities to expand your reach on Walmart Marketplace. You can tap into Walmart’s loyal customer base across 11,400+ brick-and-mortar stores, where some of the platform’s 300 to 400 million unique monthly visitors may have come from.
No Hidden Fees
There are no charges for signing up on Walmart Seller Central and listing your products on the platform. This online marketplace Walmart created will only ask for a referral fee once you make a sale. The cost amounts to 6 to 15 percent of the product sold, depending on the category. A lot of retailers will find this flexible method more ideal compared to a flat monthly fee, which you’ll have to pay regardless of whether you make a sale or not.
Walmart Marketing Strategy for Boosting Conversion
Support for various stages of your Walmart eCommerce experience is available through the following eCommerce marketing services:
• Product listing optimization tools
• Advertising options
• Expedited shipping program (seller-fulfilled delivery)
• Trusted fulfillment solutions that include shipping, returns and customer service (ensure you’re registered on the Walmart Seller Center before applying)
When you leverage the organic Walmart marketing strategies mentioned above, you can boost your conversion by up to 50 percent. Want more lift in conversion? Consider working with an eCommerce marketing agency to enhance both organic and paid strategies outside Walmart Marketplace, such as search engine marketing, while you focus on sales and operations.
Pricing rules allow the marketplace Walmart envisioned to retain the brand’s low-cost feature. It’s important to know these whether or not you’re hiring an eCommerce marketing company:
• Price Parity Rule: Simply put, any eCommerce reseller on the platform should maintain the same price for a product across all online marketplaces. Walmart will unpublish a listing if it appears with a lower price on a competitor’s website.
• Price Leadership Rule: Your Walmart eCommerce prices should always be competitive. Walmart will unpublish a listing if a similar product costs less on a competitor’s website.
An eCommerce digital marketing agency can assist you in tracking, monitoring and adjusting your prices to prevent your listing from getting unpublished.
Smaller Profit Margins
As part of the Walmart marketing strategy, you often need to lower your prices. This aligns with Walmart’s brick-and-mortar model of prioritizing sales volume over profit margins.
However, this model may not always be viable for small businesses. One workaround here is to have a provider of eCommerce marketing services train you to optimize for and sell on Walmart Marketplace.
Look into a few deciding factors before fully committing to any platform. In this case, you should first ask why you have to sell instead of how to sell on Target marketplace.
A Target Plus marketplace seller can enjoy less competition on the invite-only marketplace. As mentioned earlier, Target Plus marketplace services include a policy requiring a specific item to come only from one seller.
Target Plus Optimization
The company provides the Target seller marketplace community with instructions on creating and optimizing product listings, price offerings and fulfilling orders. If you have been selected and want to integrate this platform into your overall eCommerce marketing strategy, you can also enlist an experienced eCommerce marketing company to avoid making mistakes.
Unlike the Walmart marketing strategy, Target/Target Plus focuses on big profit margins. If you execute your eCommerce marketing strategy right on the platform, this can benefit your bottom line overall.
This is a pro for those part of the Target Plus marketplace management and board of directors, but not really for the ordinary, small-time eCommerce reseller. The “our platform, our rules” vibe is strong with this one. Still, we understand that Target wants to have more control over the customer experience.
Is there a workaround? Yes. You can look for an approved Target marketplace seller and check if they’re offering Target seller marketplace services, or turn to an eCommerce marketing agency that can find this kind of opportunity for you.
A Target Plus marketplace seller must abide by stringent guidelines after getting selected. These include submitting their product listings for approval. These products should also come from the approved categories, somehow limiting the products you can offer on the platform.
How To Sell on Walmart Marketplace/How To Sell on Target Marketplace
Employing Walmart Marketplace and Target Plus optimization is not as easy as it sounds. However, if you’re confident about your technical skills, you can follow the guidelines provided by each platform. Better yet, avoid making costly mistakes and build the proper foundation by hiring an expert in eCommerce marketing services.
Be on the lookout for an eCommerce digital marketing agency specializing in Walmart Marketplace and Target Plus for better chances at conversion.
We’ve just touched on the various aspects of two of the most viable online marketplaces today. From Walmart marketing strategies to Target Plus marketplace management, we’ve laid down the foundation of operating on these two platforms.
We’ve also weighed the pros and cons of using each option. Our eCommerce marketing company, Thrive, believes the pros outweigh the cons. But then again, nothing is ever easy.
Even if you have an optimization and conversion strategy for maximizing both platforms, you must undergo application and approval. At this point, you have a higher chance of getting onboard Walmart Marketplace. So we suggest bolstering your performance on the platform, strengthening your Walmart seller account game while waiting for Target Plus to be open for all.
Make Thrive your eCommerce marketing agency as you go through this journey. We are an eCommerce digital marketing agency with extensive experience in eCommerce marketing services. Our specialty includes Walmart Marketplace and Target Plus, so you can rest assured we can put together short-term and long-term strategies for your online marketplace growth.
Speak with one of our consultants to learn more about the profitable options that await you on the other side of online marketplace applications.