How to successfully launch your brand on Walmart
Delight in the latest installment of the podcast "The Ecommerce Lab By Ecomcy" featuring Vincenzo Toscano, our expert on Amazon.
The Ecommerce Lab By Ecomcy by Vincenzo Toscano
In this exclusive episode, delve into the world of Walmart with Michal Chapnick, Founder of the eCom Creative Team and a seasoned Walmart eCommerce Mentor.
Discover a master class in successfully launching your brand on Walmart, a pivotal player in the e-commerce landscape. Michal shares invaluable experience, essential tips, and insider secrets to navigate and excel on this influential platform.
This episode unveils proven strategies and the keys to triumph, offering a blueprint to elevate your brand to new heights on Walmart.
Related: Selling on Amazon vs Walmart
Vincenzo: Hello, guys! Welcome to another episode of "The Ecommerce Lab" by Ecomcy, the place for all things related to Amazon FBA, e-commerce, and now Walmart. My name is Vincenzo Toscano. I'm the host and founder of Ecomcy. Today, we bring you a very close friend of mine, Michal. She's the founder of Ecom Creative Team, one of the top agencies in the space, helping scale brands and products on Walmart. We know Walmart has been a hot topic, especially for Amazon sellers looking to diversify. Walmart has emerged as a strong channel, offering new opportunities for traffic, sometimes with cheaper advertising and less niche saturation. I find this super interesting because lately, certain Amazon sellers have faced limitations. But when they migrate products from Amazon to Walmart, they find a second chance they didn't have before. That's why I wanted to bring you here today. I know you're an expert in all things related to Walmart, and it's a pleasure to have you. How are you doing, Michal?
Michal: Hey, Vincenzo! Thank you so much for inviting me.
Vincenzo: It's a pleasure. Thank you for having me here. Just to give a little bit of context, the first time we met in person was in Vegas. We were together at the Alibaba co-create event. We had some fun there; it was a good event, I would say, overall. You know, it was a pleasure meeting you there. I've been hearing from you for a while now; I follow your content, what you do, also with Norm and everything in the Walmart space. For me, it's definitely a pleasure to have you on the show because, as I just mentioned, we are very Amazon-heavily focused when it comes to content. And I feel like we were really missing an expert like you to talk about Walmart. I'm very excited to see what you can share today.
Now, before we jump into that, though, I do this with all my guests because I feel this is something dynamic I like to do with my podcast, which is learning more about who we bring to the episode, right? Like a little bit about their life, how they jumped into the commerce space, and in your case specifically, why Walmart? Why not maybe Amazon, why not maybe Shopify, etc.? I want to learn a little bit more about that background.
Understanding the Walmart Ecosystem
Michal: So how did I started with e-commerce? I think like almost 99% of people, right? We all started with Amazon. I was kind of lucky enough because when I started with Amazon, that was 12 years ago, even more, even more than 12 years. So, I found myself at home; I just had my first son and, you know, looking for something to keep me busy. And I found Amazon. I started learning, and then I just started finding things to sell, and it was such a quick success that I got drawn into that. And really quickly, I started contacting manufacturers and starting to get accounts and selling a lot of merchandise in the licensed merchandise space. And that was amazing for so many years.
It was like so easy, like it was the most easy thing to do and make money, and a lot of money, really easy. Till things change with the years, it's more competition. Amazon started taking some of my accounts and a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems, and it just, you know, like a lot of obstacles on the way, but I was still, you know, so I transitioned to more private label, and I was trying to, you know, evolve with things changing. And then one day I got an email. And even before Walmart, I already understood that why if I have all this merchandise, why just to sell it on Amazon? So even before I got introduced to Walmart, I had Amazon Canada, I had eBay, and I had Shopify. So I had all those channels.
And then one day I got an email from Walmart. It's like, 'We would like to invite you to sell on Walmart marketplace.' I was like, 'I don't know where it's came from, but I was like, okay, yes.' I was excited. So I opened my account and I started putting my inventory, and things started selling. And with time, it just got better and better and better.
And then, I think it was 2018 when Amazon started to put in a lot of IP claims, on sellers that are selling licensed merchandise and different things just for no reason. Nobody even complained, and everything I sold, I was authorized to sell. And then, you know, so they put the IP claim on you, they delete your listing, so now all my customers that come into Amazon to find all the merchandise I'm selling, cannot find anything because it's gone. So people, so I noticed that shift real fast. So, you know, Amazon closed all those listings, and the next day my sales on Walmart started to grow, right.
Because what happened is that customers, still, for example, I was selling a lot of like kids' pajamas, like you know bath and this item, it sells a lot because, you know, kids, everybody has kids, everybody in a pajama, those items sell a lot. And what happened is that customers still want this item. So if they cannot find it on Amazon, they will go to Google. If they go to Google, where is it going to send them? To Walmart, right? Probably,
Vincenzo: Of course, yes.
The Shift from Amazon to Walmart
Michal: That's the way I saw it, how it's moving. So, things just start, you know, getting better and better on Walmart. At the same time, I was part of a big Mastermind group, and I was like, guys, I do sell on Walmart, and everybody's know, and, you know, I was like, you're missing out, I was like, guys, go apply, don't miss this chance. So everybody went and applied, and then we had our group had like maybe like a hundred members, and then fifty of them applied and got their account. So then I started teaching and sharing, you know, how that's work, what they do, how their account work, what to sell, everything, right?
And overnight, we had so many success stories. And then, I don't know if it's good or bad, but then COVID happened. And what happened in COVID, the eCommerce boomed, right? So what happened is all the sellers that were selling on Walmart, you know, and overnight, everybody started making like, you know, five, six figures right away because it was so much traffic, so much traffic. And at the same time, there was a lot of issues with Amazon because if you had all your inventory at FBA, what happened? Now it's stuck in there. And Amazon took them three weeks to deliver a package. At the same time, if you did more Merchant fulfill or had your inventory with Walmart, everything was going faster.
So, a lot of customers went all over to find, you know, where the fastest place they can get their items. We know that by looking at the graphs for Walmart. In 2021, Walmart grew 97% in e-commerce, and that's insane! There's no marketplace in the world that grew like that. Since then, they've continued growing, and we're growing.
Walmart's Rise and Unique Opportunities
Vincenzo: The rest is history. I mean, I think Walmart, to be honest, is really a big threat to Amazon. The reason why I strongly believe that is because they have the secret weapon, which is the physical locations, right? If they become very clever and combine the shopping experience in physical locations with the online experience, that's where I think Amazon doesn't have a competitive edge anymore.
I'm sure you've heard this stat, I don't remember it off the top of my head, but I think Walmart is like five or 10 miles from every single American, right?
Michal: There's more than 3,500 stores that potentially, you know, slowly, slowly all of them are going to function as fulfillment centers. Right now, if you have a store close to your house and you order with Walmart Plus, anything available in the store, even though they might tell you the order could take a day or two sometimes, it will be at your door in two hours. And if it's groceries, it's definitely going to be at your door in a couple of hours. So, it makes it very convenient for people to shop online. You know, our life today is different.
You know, in the past, we had more time. I don't know what changed in the world. In the past, we had more time to go to the store and go to the mall, and today I just... I don't know.
Vincenzo: Sometimes I miss that, you know? Sometimes I feel like, 'Wow, I would like to have two extra hours in my day just to simply walk, go to the supermarket without stress, not think about meetings and anything.' But it seems like nobody has time to do that anymore.
Michal: It's like, what happened?
Mindset Shift for Walmart Success
Vincenzo: I know. I know. Now, let's talk about your journey to basically make the jump from all these platforms—Amazon, eBay, Shopify—to Walmart. Because I feel, and we were having this conversation before going live, about the mindset shift. Because I feel like if you come from the mindset of an Amazon seller specifically, like the majority of people watching and listening to this episode, they might think that it's just a copy and paste, and basically, you're ready to go. And we know that's not the case because things are completely different strategy-wise.
So, let's talk a little bit about how that mindset is shifted. And then, of course, more down the line, we can start talking about tips and things like that.
Michal: I like this topic because I've talked to so many people in events or, you know, talking to brands. I know a couple of things. People are very skeptical about Walmart. The reason why is because they really see, for example, they're very successful on Amazon and they know what they can do, where they can go with Amazon. But they have a hard time seeing that with Walmart, even though it's right there. There are statistics, there's data; you can see how it's growing.
You can see, I don't know if you know, but there is a statistic that came from Walmart. In 2022, more than 25% of all sellers, so Walmart doesn't have a lot of sellers, and that's a good thing. 200 sellers, I think, and over 25 of them, active ones, did over 500k in 2022. So, it means there is a lot of money. Walmart e-commerce is making 80 billion dollars a year just in e-commerce, we're not talking about the rest, it is insane. There's so much more.
But there's 200,000 sellers. If you take all that money and you divide it among the sellers, like every seller can make millions of dollars easily, right? Correct. So, people need to look at it like that and understand that Walmart is growing. So, maybe I'm telling a lot of sellers. Maybe, the first year you may be going to have maybe a hundred orders a month. But that's a conversation for five years. If you continue doing what you're doing and you're going to continue investing as Walmart.com's customer base is growing, now you can have in five years, you can plan to have, you know, a thousand orders a month.
So, is that good? That's a question you need to ask yourself. Like, do you want to think about it like that? So, people come in with the wrong mindset. That's like the biggest issue. You come with the wrong mindset and they're not investing. So, they're not investing time to learn that it's a different platform. They're not investing time understanding the need to have a listing being created specifically for Walmart. Copying a listing from Amazon, it's not going to work.
Vincenzo: I know.
Michal: It will be there.Maybe customers will find that. Maybe customers will buy. But Walmart has a couple of guidelines, and one of them is that Walmart is telling you, 'We want the listing to be unique, that's what we want.' And we know why. There's so much science behind it, right? The SEO, that's... you know, I'm not going to go into details, but there's so much science behind it, and it's very important that you actually follow that. And this is where you're going to see really good results.
So, taking the time today, we have AI that can help you, or take, go and hire an agency. There are a bunch of them out there, like me and Vincenzo and some other ones. So, take the time and do things correctly, run ads. You know, I do research all the time for customers, like comparative analysis, and I'm in a shock to find that there are so many products in categories nobody's running ads. Did you notice that?
Vincenzo: I know, I have done audits, and just to support your point, sometimes I do all this for a client, it's like, 'Guys, there is no sponsored product, like everything is organic.' Like, this is crazy!
Michal: So, it means that in one day, I can put you on the first page on your best keywords, on the first spot, on top of the page, right away. I can put you there immediately.
Vincenzo: And if you've got the extra leg and do the sponsored brands, which I'm sure you know of this, you can even have the banner.
Michal: Now, we have the videos. Another thing people don't know, now there're sponsored videos. There's so much happening. Soon there will be sponsors like brand stores and so many updates. Walmart is constantly updating and trying to catch up as much as they can with Amazon or do things even better.
So just, you know, like, let's go back to the mindset. So, come and believe that Walmart is another channel that can bring you a lot of money. And maybe right now, it's not going to bring you the same numbers you make on Amazon, but it potentially can in a couple of years. So, don't you want to build it now? So, I tell all the brands, you are building a nice ground.
Identifying Winning Categories and Products on Walmart
Another thing that you want to remember is that it really depends on what you're selling. That's another thing that people need to be really aware. Unfortunately, at this time, not everything is really going to sell very well on Walmart. Some things can do very well. I actually have products and clients that have items that actually selling better on Walmart than Amazon. But in general, you should expect, you know, maybe, I would say between 20 to 30, 40% of your sales on Amazon you can expect on Walmart. But it really depends on what you're selling.
So, if you're selling something very sophisticated and that people don't really know about, and you know, it might not be the best item. But if you're selling basic stuff that people are really coming and searching on Walmart or even on Google all the time, like, you know, just basic stuff like a beauty product or office supply or toys or socks or pajamas.
Vincenzo: I wanted to actually ask you about this now, now that we're touching categories. Because I can't really think people asking this in the comments. They might want to know, like, are there specific, I know you mentioned some categories already, but are there some products right now that you see in Walmart are really on a consistent basis for your clients and your experience are having a better chance of success? And not only the category, even the price point, because I know there are some price points in Walmart that still have some resistance.
So, can you touch a little bit on those two things? Because I'm sure people are going to ask that.
Michal: That's a good point. So, again, the category right now really matters. But at the same time, I'm not going to tell you, 'Hey, if this item we see right now there's not a lot of searches, you shouldn't put it on Walmart.' You should put it and wait for when there's going to be much more traffic coming and people know that Walmart is like Amazon and they can find everything on Walmart. It will happen in a matter of a couple of years. So, you do want to be there. You want to build your presence. You want to get yourself ranked, and you want to sit there and wait, you know? So, I wouldn't say to someone, 'Hey, don't bother.' No, I'm not going to say that. But at the same time, you need to also look into the categories that are really good.
And a lot of time, I really like to work sometimes with new sellers that are kind of open to try new products, new categories. Because, again, Walmart customers, and also another thing, by research and by the data and by what Walmart is telling us, that, the customers go into Walmart stores and the customers that come into Walmart.com, it's not the same customers. Okay? Because people think that most of the people that go into the Walmart stores are the same people that come into Walmart.com, but it's not correct. They actually see the level of, you know, it's like medium class and high class actually come into Walmart.com. Those customers are not most likely to visit the stores, but they are visiting the site.
So, again, the customers that come on site are different. So, you can sell things, you can sell brand names, you can sell things at different price points. But in general, I would say, stay with items that are basic. What does it mean?
Because people will come to Walmart to look for the basic stuff because it's associated with, like, if you go in camping,
Vincenzo: Like groceries, groceries kind of level.
Michal: Like, if you need your decoration now for Halloween, people will go to Walmart or they are even going to search in Walmart.com. And if you go camping, you know, that's the best place you can find stuff, right? In good prices and really good quality and good brands.
Another thing that Walmart is very good at is customer service. So, when people want to buy stuff, they have a lot of confidence to shop at Walmart.com. And kind of getting frustrated, and I think a lot of customers are getting frustrated with Amazon customer service because it's very difficult. You need to have a degree to understand the website, even how to contact someone. It's complicated, right? And the thing is, at the end of the day, customers want to know that they can return or anything. So, Walmart is really good with that.
And, you know, the people that have Walmart Plus, you just need to go to your order and click a return, and a driver comes to your house and will take the item. You don't need to pack it. You don't need to go nowhere. They will come and take it from you. So, I think this is like the top of customer service.
Vincenzo: It's a game changer. I think something that you can mention and I totally am on board with this idea is the fact that Walmart right now, at 2014, Amazon, it's about to explode, right? And we need to make a lot of emphasis on this because we always have this conversation, this something you're mentioning, like, people want to launch on Walmart, but they don't see the search volume. But it's about being there, like, when the explosion happens, you already have those 100, 200 views that you've been slowly building up, and that presses on first page organically, which, that's why we see sometimes monopolies on Amazon.
This is people that were there in 2014. They waited for the explosion, and now nobody's gonna take them for the first page. The same is gonna happen in Walmart, right? The same.
Michal: Another thing that I want to say is you really need to take advantage of the things that Walmart is offering right now. For example, right now, they let you syndicate reviews from your Shopify store. Maybe in a couple of years, they're not going to let you do that. So, you've missed your chance. Now, they let you get reviews for $5 to $10. This depends on the timing. Right now, they have the accelerator program. It's only $5 to get your review. Those things are not going to stay forever. Right now, if you're a high-volume seller, you can get a strategic account manager. Again, there are so many things happening right now that I do not know for how long they're going to stay.
Vincenzo: Even ungating, let's be honest. Right now, there are products that, to get the same on Amazon, it might take you an amount of weeks because of the paperwork. At Walmart, they've been more easy right now because they haven't yet figured out the proper filters to avoid things to go fully live. And that can allow you to enter categories that maybe in one year's time, they're going to ask you a ton of documentation that is going to make it even more difficult, right?
Michal: Yeah, exactly. All these things.
Crafting a Strategy for Walmart Success
Vincenzo: Now, in terms of let's talk a little bit about the strategy because of course, we're mentioning that it's a matter of giving it a try regardless of your product. But I'm sure you have a blueprint, high-level, of course, without going too much into detail about what the right things to do when getting started on Walmart.
What I mean by this is, you know, maybe in terms of optimization, in terms of advertisement, in terms of even how you price your product against the competition, do you have some blueprint, high level, that you can share that you see working consistently?
Michal: Yes, so I think, the first thing is really to take the time to understand how Walmart is working and not to expect that if you're not going to invest.
Vincenzo: So, we've basically been talking about everything in terms of the mindset and the fact that Walmart, right now, is a matter of giving a try to your product regardless of the category. As we mentioned, it's a blue ocean. But at the same time, I would like to maybe make it a little bit more clear in terms of at least a strategy blueprint at the high level about what are some of the things somebody has to take into consideration in terms of optimization of your listing, advertisement, and maybe even pricing yourself on Walmart to have the biggest chance of success at least when getting started.
Michal: So, when you start with Walmart, you really need to take a little bit of your time and your resources to make sure you do it right. So, again, either you do it yourself, take the time to learn and understand, or you can hire someone. I would say the first thing is the ground. Follow the guidelines, create unique listings; this is the first thing. Then, monitor your score. Once it's all good, now you're ready to go and start running ads. Because if you create a listing that is not optimized and doesn't have keywords, or if the content is not good enough to convert, what's going to happen is you're going to spend money on ads and nothing is going to happen, or many people will come to your product and they're not going to buy.
So, take advantage of the fact that you can upload a lot of images, at least six. Six is the most important, at least. Video upload the video to your listing. Differentiate yourself from your competition because your competition is not doing those things. They might not be running ads, or maybe they're missing out a lot of keywords. I see a lot of sellers running ads without their listing being optimized. So, it's like shooting in the dark. When you go and you spy on them, it's easy to find all those weaknesses points, and then you can very fast, build a strategy and take them over because they don't really know what they're doing there.
Running ads, run your keywords. There are so many tools out there right now, so it's not an excuse not to know.
Vincenzo: Walmart even helps you with that. Maybe you can touch on that because I know Walmart tells you why you're missing, pretty much.
Michal: Exactly. We're gonna get to the listening part, but I still aim to talk to people and brands and like, 'Oh, I know my keywords.' I'm like, 'How do you know your keywords from Amazon?' 'but these are Amazon keywords.' Yes, most likely a lot of those keywords are going to be similar. But some phrases can be super, super important for you for Walmart. And if you don't know it, you're missing out on all those really relevant customers that actually can find you if you're using that. And not to talk about the ad algorithm. It's extremely smart, and that's working together with the listing score.
So, your listing score, Walmart is scoring your listing, and the way scoring it is scoring it by the guidelines, by the keywords, by a lot of factors, by your price, by your shipping, by if your product has reviews or not. And the better score and higher score you have, first, you will get better organic placement, and second, you get better placement on ads.
So, understanding how Walmart works and how the algorithm works is really important, and I think that's the first thing. The second thing, please do yourself a favor and ship your merchandise to WFS.
Vincenzo:I know, because people sometimes are so cheap with that.
Michal: I know, because that's what creates success. It's a couple of things together, you know? Your listing content, your score, your ads, and you can also create promo tags. It's like tags that show up, indicating your item is at a reduced price or it's on clearance. So, mixing it together with an ad, a customer sees it, and it's also something that really catches their eye because they see, 'Oh, that was the price, now it's this.' And it shows up on top of the page. Then, he scrolls down and maybe he can see you again organically. And then he's like, 'Okay, now you've got this customer's attention. Now he's most likely going to click on your listing.'
Now, the next thing is when he's on your listing, make sure your content is high quality, that it's written in a nice flowing, proper English, and at the same time, it's written in a way that is kind of, I would say, a fifth grader can understand, simple, not too complex. Because again, you don't want too many things. Sometimes people think, you know, if they put all these fancy words, no. Make it simple, make it flowy. Content is very important. So, to convert, your content needs to be good, your images need to be amazing, and you need to have a couple of reviews. So, if you've got all that, there is no reason now why a customer is not going to buy a product. So, you're working really hard to get this traffic.
Now, make sure you also convert. So, I think this combination, doing that again, that's how you get a lot of sales, and it really depends on your brand. If you have resources, if you have more money, you know, invest more in ads, get outside traffic.
Leveraging External Traffic and Algorithms
Vincenzo: I was gonna mention outside traffic. Traffic is something that I feel and what my people mention a lot. But if you have a big brand, let's say on Amazon, you already do B2C on Shopify. And maybe you tell me if this is something that even can benefit you, but you could send all the traffic, your email list, to Walmart to a specific place when you're running these promotions. And that, I'm sure, is gonna also help you somehow, right?
Michal: Walmart algorithm loves outside traffic. They love it. So, if you can share your links in social media, have an influencer... When I work with brands and they have an email list, we create email marketing that will be helping customers to click on those links. If they're going to buy it or not, but that's a really big strategy. Get, you know, share that link everywhere, get traffic. And you can even do it smarter and, you know, put your keyword and then take that link. It's even better. There's a lot of tricks that you can do with, you know, kind of help your ranking. And again, Walmart algorithm is, for this moment right now, I know exactly how it is working. And it's very easy, not to trick it, but to make it happy. I call it, make it happy. That's what the algorithm likes to see. Make him happy and you will be ranked, like organically. I noticed that with most of our clients, if it's nothing too competitive. And I even have products that are extremely competitive, it was not so difficult to rank organically.
Now, I want to say something that we have a lot of customers who come to their listings, and everything is perfect. The listing is beautiful, they have the best score, and then, they say, 'I cannot find the product.' So, that's something that happens a lot. And it's an easy fix. It's your product type. You need to go to your backend and check your product type. Because, for example, if you're selling reading glasses and in the backend, your glasses went into sunglasses, now you're not ranking, so nobody can find you. So just one fix like that, the next day you will have
Vincenzo: Relevance, basically. So, there are a lot of things people don't know. They call it a 'nugget.' They call it the 'nugget of the day.'
Michal: Like, I have a case study on that. We have customers whose items are not showing up. When we fix the product type, the next day they're on the first page, on the top, literally, like that, super fast. Because the backend of Walmart is guessing your shelf, your category, your subcategory, your product type from what you fill in your listing. So, this is why if you copy-paste it from Amazon, this is why it's really gonna hurt you, because you're missing out on those things that you need to fill up in the right spots.
So, filling up and creating listings specifically on Walmart, Walmart is providing you those Excel specs. Filling this up correctly will help you put you on the right shelves. Because Walmart, again, the backend of Walmart is different than Amazon. It's completely different.
Vincenzo: Of course. Wow, what a better way now to, you know, conclude today's episode with that amazing tip. Thank you very much for that, Mel, and not only for that, I mean all the amazing insights you shared today. I'm sure all these Amazon sellers watching it now are gonna start implementing and get that Walmart account up and running as soon as possible.
Role in guiding sellers through the Walmart
Before we conclude, though, I want you to take a little bit of time as well and tell us a little bit about your agency and how you can help all these Amazon sellers that are watching this, that they want to make the jump, but realistically, they want an expert like you to lead them through their journey and how they can get in contact with you.
Michal: Yes, so first, we help with Walmart, and really, we like to educate the most. The thing that I like is really to educate people. This is why I also have a Walmart Sellers Facebook group, it's absolutely free, and me and my dear friend Norm, the beard guy, I think everybody knows him. And what I like to do the most is really help people, you know, optimize their listings, make sure they're launching properly, and create plans with you. We can create your plan on how to succeed on Walmart and a strategic plan.
So, you know, I'm really enjoying doing that. So, feel free to reach out, I'm available to, you know, answer your questions and take a couple of minutes to talk to you if you need any help. And you can find us in the group as well, so again, selling on Walmart Marketplace, that's our Facebook group. And we also have our own podcast for Walmart sellers, the Ecom Power Podcast, that's specifically for Walmart sellers. So if you want to check it out, you can learn so much from it.
And another thing I want to share is I'm really excited that we actually put on our first virtual Summit for Walmart sellers with more than 20 speakers, all Walmart experts, really to help Walmart sellers to scale on Walmart. You can find that information under ecompowersummit.com. So, you can find that Summit there and it's absolutely free. So, you can come and check it out. And just to find me, you can find me on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find me on LinkedIn, and feel free to reach out.
Vincenzo:Thank you very much for everything. It's been a pleasure, looking forward to seeing you soon at future events. It's been a pleasure, I appreciate your time, and see you in the next one.
Michal: Thank you!
Vincenzo:Thank you, bye-bye!