Walmart Rolls Out Fulfillment Services for its Marketplace Sellers
Walmart announced today that it's rolling out a new service called Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) that offers selected marketplace sellers access to its supply chain capabilities, including storing, picking, packing and shipping items, as well as the handling of returns and customer service. The retail giant said in a statement emailed to Total Retail that WFS is "designed to help sellers generate more profitable sales of their inventory at scale, while growing their business with Walmart Marketplace." In the statement, Walmart laid out a few details of WFS offerings. They include the following:
- Competitive pricing: Walmart said WFS offers transparent pricing to sellers and is one of the lowest-priced services on the market. Participating sellers will pay a low storage and fulfillment fee in return for a seamless service that's easy to use — all without a seller monthly membership fee.
- Fast shipping: Participating marketplace sellers that use WFS can access Walmart’s fulfillment options, including two-day shipping.
- Larger assortment of leading brands: Customers will have access to an expansive assortment of merchandise from brands such as such as PopSockets, Thorne, Leatherman Tools, and Peet Shoe Dryer. They’ll get fast shipping, easy returns and dedicated customer service.
- Trusted partnership: Walmart said it built WFS with sellers for sellers, and gave early-phase sellers the opportunity to influence its strategic road map. Walmart also said that all sellers that are a part of WFS must meet specific qualifications before being accepted as viable sellers.
“Walmart’s next-generation fulfillment network gives participating sellers a new, competitive advantage to grow their business," said Jare’ Buckley-Cox, vice president, Walmart Fulfillment Services, Walmart eCommerce. "We intentionally designed WFS together with sellers, and offer benefits including two-day shipping, easy returns, dedicated customer service, and a low-cost, simple fee structure — all without a membership fee. With WFS, sellers get a trusted partner that truly cares about their business and their customers. We’re very excited to begin rolling out this service for sellers.”
Total Retail's Take: OK, Walmart to Amazon, game on! With WFS, Walmart is clearly entering Amazon's Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) lane, and ready to compete with the online behemoth unapologetically. And it's time. The options have grown in the last year as smaller e-tailers that sell through marketplaces have begun to realize that fulfillment is a major pain point for them. Besides FBA, there are similar marketplace services such as Shipbob, Flowspace, Shyp, and more. Despite all the choices, the most important factors around fulfillment for online sellers are service and speed. While Walmart is promising both, it will be interesting to see if WFS really can deliver.